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Board of Governance

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BOARD OF GOVERNANCE


The Board of Governance is a key group of Consortium and independent representatives that drive the VCB strategically. The independent members bring a range of expertise to the Board in fields of business strategy, scientific research, consumer relations and academia, to name a few.

Associate Professor Stella Clark, Chair

Stella runs own business Stella Connect P/L, helping people, organisations and their ideas connect to maximise productive outcomes. Previously she was CEO of Obesity Australia and for nine years before that was CEO of the Bio21 Cluster (now Biomedical Research Victoria). This was preceded by senior management roles at the School of Graduate Studies, University of Melbourne and the Baker Heart Research Institute.

After gaining a PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1984, Stella spent three years as a CJ Martin Fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London before returning to a research career in Australia. Her career was as a biomedical research scientist in the area of diabetes was recognised in 2014 when she was listed on the NHMRC website “High Achievers in Australian Health and Medical Research”. In 1994, Stella helped establish the Premier’s Award for Medical Research in Victoria, which recognises outstanding talent amongst young Victorian medical researchers.

Stella is currently Chair of the Victorian Cancer Biobank and is on the Boards of The Bionics Institute, the Melbourne Boston Sister City Association (where she Chairs the Hugh Rogers Fellowship Committee) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function. In 2012 Stella was made an Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne In 2013 she was awarded a Certificate of Merit upon graduation from the AICD Company Director’s Course.

Associate Professor Paul Field, Deputy Chair

Paul Field is an independent member of the VCB Governing Board bringing a deep background in biotechnology business development. He is currently the Senior Advisor – Life Sciences at Austrade, the Australian Government’s trade and investment promotion agency. His responsibility is the facilitation of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Australian life sciences. Before joining Austrade in September 2014, Paul was the Executive Chairman of Bio-Link, a privately-owned biotechnology business development company with offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

His work at Bio-Link involved the commercialisation of pre-clinical discovery programs in oncology, neurology, infectious diseases and other therapeutic areas. Before joining Bio-Link, he managed the biotech start-up company incubator at the Australian Technology Park, Redfern. Earlier he was commercialisation manager at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) focused on the translation of UTS life science research. Previously, he managed international sales for Cellabs Diagnostics, including a four year posting in Munich, Germany to establish a European distribution network for the Cellabs range of monoclonal antibodies and diagnostic tests.

Paul has served as an independent, non-executive director on a number of different Boards around Australia. His recent company directorships include the Co-operative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC Ltd.) headquartered at the University of Queensland and the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group Ltd. based in Newcastle, NSW. He is currently a Member of the Foundation Committee for the Global Health Alliance Melbourne.

VOTING CONSORTIUM MEMBERS

Dr. Beena Kumar, Monash Health

Beena Kumar is the Director of Anatomical Pathology at Monash Health, Victoria, Australia. She has keen interest in breast and haematolymphoid pathology and is the designated pathologist for Monash Breast Screen and the Lymphoma Working Group at Monash Medical Centre.

She is also part of the faculty at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and is involved in teaching undergraduate and post graduate medical students.
She is involved in medical research and has worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne. She is currently involved in oncology based research projects in the areas of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and lymphoid neoplasms. She has 52 publications in peer reviewed journals.

She is a member of the Immunohistochemistry Committee and serves as the Convenor for the Immunohistochemistry Module of the RCPA Anatomical Pathology Quality Assurance Programs Pvt Ltd. She is the Principal Investigator of the Monash Health Biobank and the Victorian Cancer Biobank branch operating at Monash Health.

Professor Christopher Gilfillan, Eastern Health

Professor Chris Gilfillan is currently Director of Endocrinology at Eastern Health and has a private endocrine practice in Box Hill. He oversees an active clinical research program and is currently principle or associate investigator in 9 international clinical trials. He has clinical interests in all aspects of endocrinology and research interests in type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease and thyroid cancer. He is a Clinical Professor in the Monash Department of Medicine and the Eastern Clinical School and involved in the teaching of medical students, and basic physician trainees in endocrinology and internal medicine.

He was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to diabetes on the Mornington Peninsula.

He is currently principal investigator in a clinical trial of the effectiveness of wearable activity and blood glucose monitors in modifying health-related behaviour in type 2 diabetes. He has been involved in numerous clinical trial protocols testing novel therapies of type 2 diabetes and well as novel lipid lowering medications and new treatments for osteoporosis. He is also currently lead investigator in a study examining the genetic pathology of thyroid tumours and the isolation of thyroid cancer cells in peripheral blood. He is supervising a PhD student examining muscle mass and function in hip fracture patients and examining the molecular mechanisms of muscle wasting and sarcopenia in these patients.

Professor Stephen Fox, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Professor Stephen Fox: Head, Molecular Pathology Laboratory, is also currently Director of Pathology at Peter Mac and Professorial Fellow in the Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne. He took an Honours Degree and Medical Degree at the University of Bristol, UK (1986), before completing Pathology training in Oxford, UK after which he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, UK, by examination, on first attempt in 1994. He was awarded a DPhil in Medicine at the University of Oxford in 1996 for work in angiogenesis and human cancer. He moved to Christchurch, New Zealand in 1996 as a Specialist Anatomical Pathologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago and established the de novo and angiogenesis research laboratory. He returned to Oxford in 2001 as Clinical Reader in Pathology as part of the CRUK Chemopathology Group, while still coordinating the Christchurch laboratory. In February 2006 he moved to Melbourne, passed the Fellowship of the Royal College of Australasia by examination on first attempt and has recently been awarded a Fellowship in the Faculty of Science in the RCPA.

He has numerous positions of responsibility both within Peter Mac, state-based organisations and international organisations. He is a member of numerous relevant professional organisations; he reviews widely for numerous journals and grant review bodies, and is editor for three pathology journals. He sits on many pharmaceutical advisory boards for breast, lung and some gastrointestinal tumours.
Currently he has a laboratory which he established at Peter Mac focusing on prognostic and predictive markers together with the molecular pathology of cancer. Being a Clinical Pathologist, he focused on translating many of the new genomic tests including KRAS, BRAF, ALK and HER2 in colorectal, breast, lung and melanoma. He publishes widely in numerous high-impact journals, has a strong publication record in excess of 180 articles, citations in excess of 9000 (Scopus) and has an H-index of 45. He is recognised as an expert in breast and molecular pathology.

INDEPENDENT MEMBERS

Professor John Mills, Independent – Scientist Entrepreneur

Prof John Mills AO is an internationally-regarded physician, scientist and biotechnology businessman.  He was recruited from the United States to Melbourne 25 years ago as the managing director of the Burnet Institute of Medical Research & Public Health.  Since then he has been managing director of an ASX-listed company, chairman of another ASX-listed company and executive chairman of a Swedish biotechnology company, and non-executive director of a further ASX-listed company. 

Mills is currently non-executive director of an Australian venture capital company and an Australian-NZ biotech company, and non-executive director of two charitable companies (one Australian and one US).  Fourteen years ago he co-founded a boutique, private, anatomic pathology practice in Victoria, TissuPath Specialist Pathology, serving as its managing director for three years before stepping down (as the practice was sold to the pathologists) to Director of Research and Development.  This practice provided tissue biobanking from the beginning.

He is an honours graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard Medical School, and is a Fellow of both the US and Australian Colleges of Physicians. His clinical expertise is in infectious diseases and pulmonary diseases.  He maintains a clinical practice at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. 

Ms. Carmela Monger, Independent – Contract Law

Carmela has more than 20 years’ experience managing the intellectual property portfolios for businesses in the area of biotechnology working in private practice and in-house. This has included overseeing the strategic commercialisation of technologies including negotiating with pharmaceutical and biotech companies as well as universities and medical research institutes in Australia and overseas.
She currently has responsibility for drafting and negotiating commercial agreements and developing risk management strategies. She is a current member of the board commercialisation committee, gender equity committee and the advocacy and support committee at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Carmela has co-drafted various submissions on behalf of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research including submissions to:

·        The Senate Community Affairs Committee on their enquiry into Human Gene Patents

·        The Productivity Commission on their enquiry into compulsory licensing

·        IP Australia on the” Raising the Bar Bill and on the research exemption

·        IP Australia on the proposed examination practice following the High Court decision in Darcy v Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Carmela is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is an Independent Director of the Victorian Cancer Biobank Governing Board. She holds memberships with The Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand, Inc, Licensing Executive Society of Australia and New Zealand and Ausbiotech.

Dr. Emeline Ramos, Independent – Clinical Informatics

Dr Emeline Ramos is a clinical informatician. She is the Asia Pacific Physician Executive for a global healthcare technology company where she provides clinical leadership for the strategic planning, management, integration, and implementation of InterSystems’ product suite.

Prior to this, she was the Clinical & Research Advisor for the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre IM&ICT Project. Emeline worked in clinical trials for 5 years and has held Medical Director and Global Research Physician roles at AstraZeneca.

She completed her medical education in the UK and worked as a surgical trainee for the UK National Health Service.

Professor Melissa Southey, Independent – Research

Professor Melissa C. Southey, BSc (Hons) PhD, GradDipLaw, is a molecular geneticist (FHGSA) and a Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Science, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FFSc, RCPA). She heads a research program at the University of Melbourne that has a genetic epidemiology focus. Her work has been pivotal to the establishment of large genetic epidemiological research resources that are now being utilized to address key questions in cancer research.  Melissa is best known for her work with multiple-case cancer families and heritable risk factors that has provided the evidence base for best practice guidelines for the clinical management of individuals at high risk of the disease.

Her research programs are focused on characterizing the genetic and epigenetic factors responsible for cancer predisposition and progression, including familial aggregation of cancers. She leads a large active team of researchers, and in parallel, has numerous national and international productive collaborations. Significant focus is placed on the common cancers (breast, colorectal and prostate cancer) utilizing PEDIGREE’s mature population-based studies and the application of new genetic technologies. She leads well advanced studies using highly selected multiple-case families that are applying massively parallel sequencing to identify new “high risk” breast and prostate cancer susceptibility genes, has recently led the formation of an international consortium COMPLEXO that aims to pool data to expedite discoveries in this area and has worked to define modes of translation of new genetic information into clinical practice. Her work has been pivotal to the establishment of large genetic epidemiological research resources that are now being utilized to address key questions in cancer research. 

Associate Professor Michael Christie, Independent – Molecular Pathology

Dr Michael Christie MBBS FRCPA PhD is a specialist anatomical pathologist with extensive experience in molecular pathology. After completing his PhD on the molecular biology of colorectal cancer at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, he helped to develop diagnostic molecular testing at the University of Melbourne Centre for Translational Pathology. This group was the first in Victoria to obtain NATA accreditation for next-generation sequencing of cancer samples, and whole exome sequencing. He has published in multiple leading journals, and is a dedicated teacher of post-graduate pathology registrars.

His current interests include the clinical applications of whole genome and exome sequencing. Dr Christie has worked closely with the Victorian Cancer Biobank developing tissue collection protocols, performing quality control, and representing the Department of Pathology on the RMH steering committee. He has also been a long-standing customer of the Biobank, accessing many hundreds of samples for a wide range of research projects.

Ms. Alison Button-Sloan, Independent – Consumers

As a committed patient and research advocate, I work in partnership with other consumers, health professionals, cancer organisations and researchers to develop and establish collaborative and productive relationships within the community where the focus is always on improving outcomes for cancer patients and their families.

Alison’s other Board and consumer appointments include:

  • Melanoma Patients Australia
  • Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment and Management of Melanoma Working Panel.
  • Australia and New Zealand Melanoma Trials Group
  • Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Clinical Trials Consumer Network
  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Melbourne Melanoma Project Consumer Reference Group
  • Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Victorian Clinical Cancer Trials Advisory Panel
  • Australian Melanoma Consumer Alliance.

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS

Professor Andrew Scott, Austin Health

Graduated in Medicine from the University of Sydney (MB BS – Hons), and trained in Internal Medicine, Nuclear Medicine and Tumour Immunology in Sydney, and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, USA. His current appointments include Laboratory Head, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute; Professor, School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University; Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne; and Director, Department of Molecular Imaging and Therapy, Austin Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Prof. Scott is Chair of the Board of Cancer Trials Australia. He is also President of the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine and Biology, and Chair of the International Relations Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine. He is also a Board member of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, and the Victorian Cancer Biobank.

His clinical and research interests are focused on developing innovative strategies for targeted therapy of cancer with monoclonal antibodies, and in molecular imaging, particularly oncology applications in PET in staging cancer, as well as global issues of nuclear medicine and human health. His laboratory has been involved in the preclinical development and first-in-man trials of eight recombinant antibodies in cancer patients and five antibodies from his program have recently been licenced to Biotech and Pharma companies.

Prof. Scott has 307 peer reviewed publications reviews and 20 book chapters principally in cancer research and PET.  He has been the Principal Investigator of research grants from NHMRC, US National Institutes of Health, Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Cancer Council Victoria, Harry J Lloyd Foundation, Komen Foundation, Movember, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, Victorian Cancer Agency, and the Australian Government.

Professor Geoff Lindeman, Melbourne Health

Geoff Lindeman is Joint Head of the Stem Cells and Cancer Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. He is also a medical oncologist and Head of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Familial Cancer Centre. His laboratory is studying molecular regulators of normal mammary gland development and breast cancer with a strong commitment to translational research.

Geoff has been a member of the Consortium Committee since July 2006.

Dr. Anna Boltong, Cancer Council Lead Agency Representative

Dr. Dayna Swiatek, Victorian Cancer Agency

Ms. Audrey Partanen, VCB Executive Officer

Audrey commenced her career in tissue banking in 2000 when she established Tissue Bank at Royal Melbourne Hospital. During this period she held the position of Tissue Bank Project Officer for the Victorian Tissue Bank Cooperative at the Cancer Council Victoria.

In this role, she developed and implemented the strategic plans to standardise and harmonise tissue banking activities across four existing tissue banks that are now the founding members of the Victoria Cancer Biobank Consortium members.

In 2010, she joined the Wesley Research Institute where she helped establish a biobanking network in Queensland. She returned to Victoria in 2012 where she was appointed the Executive Officer of the Victorian Cancer Biobank.