Professor Sharon Lewin is the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health (Royal Melbourne Hospital). Professor Lewin is an Infectious Diseases Physician and basic scientist; she is also an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Infectious Diseases, Monash University and Alfred Hospital, and with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne. Sharon’s main research focus is on understanding why HIV and hepatitis B virus persist and evade the immune system with the goal of finding a cure for HIV.



Professor Michael Nilsson, is the Executive Director of Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), Newcastle, Burges Professor of Medical Science at the University of Newcastle and Staff Specialist in Rehabilitation Medicine at Hunter New England Health, Newcastle, Australia. He is a Conjoint Professor of Neurorehabilitation and Translational Stroke Research, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden and Honorary Professor of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia.

Michael has over 15 years’ experience from senior executive roles in health and medical research and health care in Sweden and Australia, bringing expertise in managing large scale projects with multimillion dollar budgets.

As clinician and neuroscientist, Michael is internationally renowned for his research in the fields of astrocyte biology, neuroprotection, brain plasticity and neural recovery after stroke. He is currently a CI and co-lead on an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in stroke rehabilitation and brain recovery.



Professor Sandy Middleton is Director of the Nursing Research Institute a joint initiative between Australian Catholic University and St Vincent’s Health Australia, located in Sydney. Professor Middleton has a particular interest in stroke and implementation research with approximately $17m awarded in competitive grant funding over her career to date. She is the currently the lead investigator on the NHMRC funded T3 Trial: Triage, Treatment and Transfer of patients with stroke in Emergency Departments. She also was the lead investigator on the Quality in Acute Stroke Care (QASC) Implementation Project which was awarded the NSW Premier's 2014 Public Sector Award for Improving Performance and Accountability.

Sandy is a member of the NHMRC Research Translation Faculty and the Cardiovascular and Stroke ‘Call for Action’ Steering Group. She also is a member of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Stroke Clinical Care Standard Topic Working Group. Professor Middleton is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry and a member of the Board of Directors for the Clinical Excellence Commission and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation.


Associate Professor

Clara Gaff is Executive Director of the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance. Clara has influenced the use of genetics and genomics in health care through roles in genetic counselling, management of genetic services, health professional education, and strategic development in Australia and the UK. She has worked in public health, government, academic and not-for-profit sectors.

Clara is a member of the Australian Genomics Health Alliance National Steering Committee and co-leads their Education and Workforce Development Program.

Clara is a member of the Genomics Health Futures Mission Ethics, Legal and Social Issues Working Group and the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health Regulatory and Ethics Working Group.

An Honorary Principal Research Fellow at the Departments of Medicine and Paediatrics at The University of Melbourne, Clara holds a PhD in molecular genetics, certification in genetic counselling and postgraduate qualifications in health service research and evaluation.

Clara was awarded the inaugural International Leadership Award by the National Society of Genetic Counselors (USA).



Professor Jonathan Craig is an internationally recognised clinician and scientist and holds the position of Vice President and Executive Dean of the College of Medicine & Public Health at Flinders University.

Professor Craig has made a significant contribution to the clinical research landscape in the prevention, identification, management and treatment of chronic kidney disease, particularly in relation to children and in Indigenous communities.

He has led the formation of state, national and international networks to conduct high-quality, relevant trials in children and has been instrumental to the development and implementation of best-practice methods and guidelines relating to chronic kidney disease in Australia and globally.

Professor Craig holds a large number of board and advisory panel positions, including as a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Advisory Group on the Synthesis and Translation of Research Evidence, a member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, a member of the Medicare Services Advisory Committee, a member of the International Advisory Panel for Singapore’s Agency for Care Effectiveness, and President of the Australia-NZ Society of Nephrology.

He is a past member of the WHO expert review panel for global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, a past chairman of the Steering Group of the Cochrane Collaboration, and a past member of the Expert Advisory Group for the Structural Review of NHMRC’s Grant Program.



Consumer Representative, Ms

Ms Philippa Kirkpatrick (BSc, GradDipEd, MBA) is the Deputy Director of Future Capability at ACT Health. Philippa has 10 years’ experience in senior roles in the health sector, with her career history spanning laboratory science, clinical research, non-government organisations, state and Commonwealth government.

She was a founding Director of the Immune Deficiency Foundation of Australia and was a representative on the Close the Gap Steering Committee. Philippa established the National Blood Sector Research and Development Program and was a member of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Research Advisory Committee.

Philippa is passionate about improving care at the end of life and was integral in the development of the Dying to Talk Discussion Starter, for which she was awarded the Marion Seal award in 2016.


Associate Professor

After completing her PhD in Psychology, Professor Melissa Baysari worked in railway safety (train driver errors) before transitioning to medication safety in 2009. Melissa leads the ‘Electronic decision support and human factors in healthcare’ stream in the Centre for Health Systems & Safety Research. She is a human factors researcher with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative evaluation. Her research is focused on understanding and preventing prescribing errors, with a particular focus on the design and evaluation of computerised decision support. 

Melissa has published widely in the areas of medication safety, decision support and human factors and has secured over $6 million in research funding in the area of health technology evaluation. Melissa’s research has also resulted in several significant changes being made to hospital electronic prescribing systems, as well as to hospital policy and work practices.


Baum AO

Professor Fran Baum is a Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Director of the Southgate Institute of Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University. She was named in the Queen’s Birthday 2016 Honours List as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to higher education as an academic and public health researcher, as an advocate for improved access to community health care, and to professional organisations”. Fran is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and one of Australia's leading researchers on the social and economic determinants of health.

In 2008 she was awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship focusing on development of effective government and community responses to social determinants of health inequity and social exclusion. She holds several other national competitive grants investigating aspects of health inequity, and has an extensive teaching career in public health.



Professor Christensen is the Director and Chief Scientist at The Black Dog Institute and a Professor of Mental Health at UNSW. 

She is an international leader in the use of technology to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to communities and individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression, or who are at risk of suicide. Helen leads the Digital Dog team that is investigating novel methods for detecting mental health risk via social media, and developing novel interventions for mental health treatment. The Digital Dog team focuses on interventions to target depression, suicide risk and to enhance wellbeing. Helen also leads the LifeSpan trial that will investigate a novel systems approach to suicide prevention in NSW. This trial aims to reduce the number of suicide deaths by 21% and the number of suicide attempts by 30%.

Helen’s research also encompasses prevention of mental health problems in young people through school-based research programs. These programs are aimed at prevention of depression and suicide risk through eMental Health interventions. Helen has recently published the novel approach to preventing the onset of depression through targeting insomnia with the SHUTi program.



Ms Annette Panzera is the Director of Health Policy at Catholic Health Australia. Prior to this appointment she spent five years working in north Queensland both for Queensland Health (based at Cairns Hospital) and for the Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening at James Cook University. During that time her research focus has been on health workforce innovation, in particular with regard to regional and rural Australian workforce shortages and how teaching and training programs can be adapted to deliver flexible solutions for present and future health professionals. She has also undertaken several clinical redesign projects as a consultant for QH including improving patient flow within hospital, decreasing emergency department waiting times and fostering better relationships between the health service and general practice.

Prior to her return to Australia in 2010, Annette worked at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris for ten years concentrating on international health, education and social policy development. She has also worked as a consultant at the World Bank.



Professor James Vickers is the Director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre. He previously held the roles of Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health Head of the UTAS School of Medicine and Chair of Pathology

He holds several national leadership roles, such as President of the Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS, 2014–2016) and Chair of the Scientific Panel of the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation (2014-2016).

James’ research areas are neurodegenerative conditions, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, as well as neural injury. He has an extensive track record in laboratory-based neuroscience research, from human brain research through to in vivo and in vitro models, as well as interventional cohort studies, cognition, neurogenetics, medical ethics and health services research.

He has previously been registered to practice as a Psychologist in Tasmania and have held NHMRC Senior Research, RD Wright and CJ Martin Fellowships.


Adjunct Professor

Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward has more than two decades of experience as a Nurse Leader, and a senior level Health and Aged Care executive. Kylie also brings an innate passion for people, professionalism, service and leadership to the Australian College of Nursing (ACN).  Her career – including nursing with a clinical background in intensive care and aged care, Monash University lecturer and more recently as an expert in transformational leadership, culture and change management – has resulted Kylie’s skills in organisational design, culture shaping, insight and strategy development.


Associate Professor

Associate Professor McAullay has considerable experience in health research, policy and practice. He has worked in a number of senior positions in these areas as well as in tertiary education. He is a registered nurse with qualifications including a Doctor of Philosophy, a Master of Applied Epidemiology and a Bachelor of Science. He has provided advice to a number of Government departments and non – Government organisations, including large research institutes and has sat on a number of committees providing advice to State and Commonwealth Government in the area of health. He has a strong health research track record including presentations, publications and grants. His primary research areas of interest include maternal, infant and child health, primary health care and other health services research.

He currently works as Research Associate Professor at the Centre for Improving Health Services for Aboriginal Children (Princess Margaret Hospital / University of Western Australia) and as the Principal Research Consultant at Kurongkurl Katitjin, Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research at Edith Cowan University. He also runs his own consulting company (Dan McAullay Consulting) and consults with the wholly Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned and managed consulting company, DDMC Partners.