Kevin Pfleger
Chair of the Executive Committee
Associate Professor Pfleger is a NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Research Fellow (Level 2), Head of Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The University of Western Australia (UWA), and Chief Scientific Advisor of Dimerix, a spin-out company from UWA of which he was CSO from 2008 to 2014. Kevin was awarded his MA and PhD from Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities respectively. He has received numerous accolades, including WA Young Scientist of the Year 2009, an NHMRC Ten of the Best Award in 2010 with the tag-line ‘Young Entrepreneur’, the 2011 Australian Museum 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science, an NHMRC Research Excellence Award 2014 and the Novartis Prize of the British Pharmacological Society 2016. Kevin is also Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT).
Carolyn Williams
CEO, Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation
Dr Williams completed her double degree with Honours at UWA and later obtained her PhD in molecular genetics from the University of London, whilst establishing and running the first genetic screening lab in the country. In Melbourne, Carolyn ran her own clinical research program at The Alfred Hospital and through her “Gene Bank” platform at the Baker Heart Research Institute became a Founding Member of the Australasian Biospecimen Network. Living and working in the Maldives, she established a state-of-the-art genetic screening service aiming to improve the carrier screening services for thalassaemia. After returning back home to Perth, Carolyn ran her own research lab investigating the genetics of respiratory disease and worked closely with Director, Professor Peter Leedman as Special Projects Manager at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Carolyn has experienced first-hand the world-class research being undertaken in WA, and her mission is to ensure this research has a global impact is perfectly aligned with the vision of CERI.
Jonathan Morris
Director, The Kolling Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney
Professor Morris is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and completed his Obstetric and Maternal Fetal Medicine sub specialty training in Sydney. He completed his PhD in Oxford and returned to Sydney in 1998 at the Royal North Shore Hospital. Since then he has built a perinatal research group that extends from basic science to population health. He is currently Director of the Kolling Institute for Medical Research. His major research interests are the prediction, prevention and management of pregnancy complications.
Kiara Bechta-Metti
Director, Adelaide Enterprise, University of Adelaide
Kiara Bechta-Metti is the Director, Adelaide Enterprise, the technology transfer office for the University of Adelaide, which has a mandate to accelerate commercialisation through licensing and new start-up companies. Kiara has more than 20 years' experience in technology commercialisation, finance and new business creation in Australia and the United States. From 2005-2014, Kiara led the commercialisation on a wide range of technologies developed at CSIRO across the fields of agriculture, food, health and mining. Prior to CSIRO, she was a financial analyst in equities research at global financial firms UBS and Deutsche Bank, with a focus on healthcare, medical device and biotechnology companies. Kiara started her career working for several Silicon Valley-based biotechnology firms, after completing her degree from UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Michael Wallach
Associate Head of School, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney
Professor Wallach has over 30 years of experience in molecular parasitology with a wealth of experience in both academic and industrial science. He was the inaugural director of a key research institute, IBID, at UTS in 2002. In 2008, Michael established a new course in Bio-Innovation and Entrepreneurship where graduates work in small teams to form creative innovative ideas for medical health products. This course has been given locally and internationally culminating in 2016 with a course given at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In 2013, he was appointed as the inaugural director of the SPARK Sydney program, which was established by UTS and the University of Sydney, to emulate the Stanford SPARK program. Furthermore, Michael played a key role in building SPARK Global, which is expected to be formally established, with the participation of 10 countries, in 2017.
Kath Giles
Director, SPARK Co-Lab
Dr Giles is a physician and University of Western Australia MBA alumni. Currently she is the WA investment manager for Brandon Capital Partners that manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund. In addition to her investment experience Kath has start up experience in medical apps, diagnostics and fitness devices. Kath still practices as a medical doctor mainly working within the surgical field and also has experience as a medical officer monitoring clinical trials. Before entering the commercial world Kath spent a few years working in clinical medicine gaining a range of experience across medical and surgical specialities and critical care. Kath is a member of the Curtin Commercialisation Advisory Board and a Director of Spark Co-Lab as well as a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Laurence Meagher
Deputy Director, Monash Institute of Medical Engineering, Monash University
Professor Meagher is responsible for the science leadership of the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME) as well as leading an academic research group and teaching in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Laurence leads MIME research teams in multidisciplinary, clinically focussed translational research, as well as being responsible for science planning, strategic development, industry engagement and the initiation of new research and PhD programs. His research group has a particular focus on bioactive surface coatings for medical devices and other applications. Laurence received his PhD from the Australian National University, carried out postdoctoral studies at The University of Melbourne and was a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO for 16 years.
Paul Rolan
Director of Innovation, University of Adelaide
Professor Paul Rolan is a clinical pharmacologist, drug developer and physician whose career has been divided between university and pharmaceutical industry both in Australia and the UK. He took a key role in developing a university spin out clinical research company in Manchester, UK to becoming the largest clinical research unit in the country. He has been principal investigator in over 700 clinical research studies with particular expertise in lean, focused proof-of-concept programs. He returned to Australia in 2005 where he was Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide before joining a small team taking the first Singaporean based pharmaceutical company to listing on the local stock market. Since 2016 he has been the Director of Innovation at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide, bringing innovations to undergraduate and postgraduate education including a focus on commercialisation and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally he continues to advise pharmaceutical companies on drug development and is an angel investor.
Georgia Von Guttner
Director of Innovation & Enterprise, University of Melbourne
Georgia von Guttner is the Director of Innovation & Enterprise for the University of Melbourne and the Director of Health Workforce Development for the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. Georgia directed the collaboration between the University of Melbourne and Monash University to jointly develop a vehicle for biomedical science translation and drug discovery, now established as the JV, BioCurate Pty Ltd, in which she remains closely involved. Georgia helped found the Centre for Workplace Culture Change, RMIT, has held international management team roles in start-ups Clarion International and Storm Telecommunications, was on the national executive of the Federation of Rural Medical Educators, and was the founding Executive Director of the University of Melbourne Shepparton Medical Centre. An experienced board director, Georgia holds a Bachelor of Economics, Monash University, a Master of Arts (Personnel and Development), Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, and has post-graduate leadership training from the Saiid Business School, University of Oxford. Georgia is a graduate member of the Australian Company of Directors.
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