Kevin Pfleger
Chair of the Executive Committee
Professor Pfleger is Director of the Western Australian Life Sciences Innovation Hub at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Head of Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology at the UWA Centre for Medical Research (Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research). He is also 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, the Novartis Prize of the British Pharmacological Society 2016 and UWA Innovation Champion 2018. Kevin serves on the Board of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT), is a member of the International Advisory Group of the British Pharmacological Society, is a member of the WA State Committee of AusBiotech, and serves as the Commercialisation Representative on the WAHTN Management Committee. Kevin is also Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT), member of the International Advisory Group of the British Pharmacological Society, member of the WA State Committee of AusBiotech, and serves as the Commercialisation Representative on the WAHTN Management Committee.
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.
Russell Nicholls
Deputy Director of Commercialisation, Curtin University
Russell Nicholls is Deputy Director, Commercialisation at Curtin University where he translates research into commercial outcomes, focussing on medical technologies, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and food. He has expertise in business planning, intellectual property management, licensing, fund raising, research collaborations and start-ups. Prior to 12 years in university technology transfer, he worked in the biotech/pharma industry in the UK. Russell is a Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and completed The Bridge Program in 2018. He holds a Masters of Science in Intellectual Property Management (Queen Mary, London) and a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Applied Neuroscience (Manchester). Russell is currently a Non-executive Director of Selvax, a cancer immunology start-up company developing treatments for animal health and human medicine.
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.
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.
Laurence Meagher
Deputy Director, Monash Institute of Medical Engineering, Monash University
Professor Meagher is the Director of the SPARK Monash and Co-director of SPARK Oceania. He is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Monash University and leads a research group working in multidisciplinary, clinically focussed translational research. His research group has a particular focus on bioactive surface coatings for medical devices, bioprinting with a cardiac and neural focus, materials for stem cell expansion and control of fate and antimicrobial materials. Laurence received his PhD from the Australian National University, carried out postdoctoral studies at The University of Melbourne and the University of Illinois and was a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO for 16 years working with companies on the translation of medical materials.
Paul Young
Chair of Commercialisation, Medicine and Health, University of Sydney
Professor Paul M Young holds the inaugural Chair of Commercialisation in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney. His focus is to translate basic and applied sciences into commercial innovations that have real world applications and to drive a culture change in entrepreneurship within the academic community. Paul is also a Professor of Respiratory Technology and Deputy Executive Director of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. His research team focusses on developing advanced drug delivery systems for treating a wide range of respiratory disorders ranging from asthma to Tuberculosis
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 dot.com 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.
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.
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