The VCB is led by an exceptional team that serves as the foundation of our strategic direction, decision-making, accountability and innovation. Functioning within a robust governance framework, our leaders unite experts in medical research, clinical practice and business management, drawing from diverse backgrounds across academia and industry.
Cancer Council Victoria
The VCB consortium consists of six members, with Cancer Council Victoria as the lead agency, comprehensively managing and overseeing the whole program. This includes the supervision of quality control, project oversight, data management and business development.
Strategic Advisory Group
The Strategic Advisory Group guides the VCB on its strategic direction and priorities to best achieve our mission and vision, as well as to further enable our long-term viability and sustainability.
Professor Melissa Southey
BSc (Hons, Pathology) PhD (Medicine), GradDip (Law)
Distinguished Professor Melissa Southey, BSc (Hons, Pathology) PhD (Medicine), GradDip (Law), is a Molecular Geneticist (FHGSA), a Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Science, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FFSc, RCPA) and a NHMRC L3 Investigator Fellow. She is Chair of Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Director of Biobanking Victoria and Co-Director of the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium.
Professor Southey’s research program has a population-based focus that has been pivotal to the establishment of large genetic epidemiological research resources that are now being utilized to address key questions in human health and disease. 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.
Professor Southey has led multidisciplinary teams in diagnostic and research settings in Australia and internationally, supported by programmatic awards from the European Commission, the National Institutes of Health (USA), NHMRC and The National Breast Cancer Foundation totalling over 30M in the last 5 years. She has co-authored more than 600 peer reviewed publications and was named by Clarivate in 2018 as a Highly Cited Researcher. She actively participates on a number of national and international scientific advisory, governance and editorial bodies and in 2021 was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) (General Division) for service to epidemiology and precision medicine.
Consortium Member Representatives
Dr Alison Skene
Acting Director of Anatomical Pathology Austin Health
Alison is the Acting Director of Anatomical Pathology and is a graduate of the University of Adelaide medical school. She undertook anatomical pathology training in Victorian hospitals, obtaining RCPA Fellowship in 1999, followed by a fellowship in cytopathology at Victorian Cytology Service. She has a long-standing interest in medical renal pathology, including a research sabbatical in the field of molecular pathology of transplantation, and continues collaborative research projects, including in transplantation and diabetic renal disease.
She has a key role in providing gynaecological pathology expertise to the Mercy Hospital for Women. Her interests also include cytopathology, postgraduate teaching, digital transformation, leadership and quality improvement. She is currently a member of the RCPA Cytopathology Advisory Committee.
Professor Chris Gilfillan
MB BS PhD FRACP, Director of Endocrinology, Eastern Health, Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, Eastern Clinical School, Monash University, Director Eastern Clinical Research Unit (ECRU) Endocrinology
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 11 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 Geoff Lindeman
BSc (Med) MBBS (Hons) FRACP PhD FAHMS FAA,
Geoff Lindeman, a clinician-scientist, is Joint Head of the Cancer Biology and Stem Cells Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. He is also a medical oncologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He also has an honorary appointment as Professorial Fellow in the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne.
His laboratory is studying molecular regulators of normal mammary gland development and cancer, with a particular interest in understanding how mammary stem cells and their progeny contribute to the mammary epithelial cell hierarchy. Using this approach, it should be possible to decipher the molecular and cellular events that lead to breast cancer. Recent work has led to the discovery of RANK-positive progenitors as a target for breast cancer prevention in BRCA1 mutation carriers, with an international breast cancer prevention study to commence in 2019. His laboratory is also using patient derived xenograft (PDX) models to test promising anti-cancer agents. Pre-clinical studies using BH3 mimetics has led to an early phase studies of the BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax in breast cancer. This research program has a high requirement for well-annotated fresh and archival tissue.
He has a longstanding interest in tissue banking, including the establishment of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Tissue Bank and helping to lead the application that led to the establishment of the Victorian Cancer Biobank in 2006. He is the current representative for the Melbourne Health Tissue Bank.
Associate Professor Beena Kumar
MBBS, MD, FRCPA
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 68 publications in peer reviewed journals.
She is a member of the Immunohistochemistry Committee and the general Diagnostic 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.
Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute
Professor Stephen Fox
Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute
Stephen Fox is Director of Pathology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He holds Honours degree and Medical degrees from the University of Bristol, UK and a DPhil in Medicine from the University of Oxford. He has Fellowships of both the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia (RCPA) and UK and is also a Founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. His current focus is development of diagnostic predictive markers of response to therapies in several tumour types using protein and DNA-based assays.
Mr Alan Barlee
Alan Barlee spent 33 years working in the chemical industry, initially studying part-time as a trainee chemist at ICI’s Central Research Laboratories in Victoria before graduating in 1962. In the years that followed, Alan managed various factories manufacturing colour pigments, nitrocellulose, and polyethylene film, and in 1982 he became the general manager of Pigment Manufacturers of Australia, a joint venture company of ICI and BASF. In 1986 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.
In 1992-93 Alan managed a Mobil distributor company in Shepparton, followed by nine years in the renewable energy industry, where he was a sole trader and a partner director of two small businesses that designed and installed solar systems, both off-grid and in inner Melbourne. During that decade and before the industry reached mainstream, he was a director of the peak national industry association that spearheaded the creation of an industry training program, new Australian Standards and an accreditation system for solar designers and installers.
In 2003 Alan was diagnosed with prostate cancer, with surgery following shortly after. Over the subsequent 20 years he has had ongoing medical and radiation treatment to control recurring metastatic disease, during which time he has maintained close monitoring of the clinical research literature relating to prostate cancer. He was recently diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer, which has been treated with surgery and subsequent radiation therapy.
In 2012 Alan joined the steering committees of the Australian Advanced Prostate Cancer Support Group and in 2014, the Geelong Prostate Support Group and in 2016, the Research Advisory Committee of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. He participates in an international pharmaceutical company consumer advocacy panel and prepares periodic submissions in support of PBS and Medicare funding of new drugs and diagnostics for prostate cancer. Alan assists investigators in research grant submissions, has been a member of the Victorian Cancer Biobank Strategic Advisory Committee since 2019, and most recently, joined an expert advisory committee reviewing the national prostate cancer testing guidelines.
Dr Daniel Simeon-Dubach
Daniel is the owner of Medservice, a biobanking consulting & service company located in Walchwil, Switzerland. He earned both his MD and his Master of Health Administration (MHA) from the University of Bern, Switzerland.
He has been in biobanking for more than 15 years. His research focus and special interest is in biobank business planning & governance, standards & best practices, sustainability, process, and quality management as well as biomedical reproducibility.
He holds various leadership positions in the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). He chairs the ISBER Standards Committee, is member of the Operational Advisory Committee, and has been a member of the Programme Committee in recent years.
He has co-organized and co-chaired a series of symposia on sustainability at different annual meetings of ISBER. Based on the presentations at these symposia, he and his co-chairs have published special issues on these topics in the journal “Bio preservation and Biobanking”, the official journal of ISBER, and have served as guest editors.
He is section editor for biobanking management – human research of the journal “Bio preservation and Biobanking” and member of the editorial board of the journal “Synergy”. He serves as International Advisor of the Victorian Cancer Biobank Strategic Advisory Group.
National University Hospital, Singapore
Dr Chon Boon Eng
National University Hospital, Singapore
Dr Eng Chon Boon, is the director for the Tissue Repository, National University Hospital (NUH) and runs the Hospital-based Cancer Registry (HCR) at the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS) and has an adjunct position in the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH), National University of Singapore (NUS). He is also the principal person-in-charge of tissue banks across the National University Health System (NUHS) public healthcare cluster and the co-lead PI for the Singapore Integrated Network of Biorepositories (SINB), an infrastructure network formed by academic tissue repositories in Singapore. He is the Singapore’s convenor for ISO//TC276 Biotechnology and in the editorial board of “Bio preservation and Biobanking” by Mary Ann Liebert.
He is a past recipient for International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) special service award (2010) and had numerous voluntary responsibilities within the ISBER over the years (Councilor, Chair of the ISBER Marketing Committee, members of ISBER Finance, Nominating, Strategic Planning, Program Committee), vice-chair of local organizing committee for the 2007 ISBER Annual Meeting in Singapore. Currently, he is also a member of the advisory panel for Biosample Hub, a not-for-profit company that helps industry requesters to partner with academic providers. He has numerous publications/book chapter/patent in the field of biobanking and had given talks, conducted biobanking workshops and consulted for various international biobanks over the past 15 years.
For a list of biobanking activities and further info, please refer to the following:
NSW Health Statewide Biobank
Professor Jennifer Byrne
NSW Statewide Biobank
Professor Jennifer Byrne is Director of Biobanking- NSW Health with NSW Health Pathology and conjoint Professor of Molecular Oncology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney. Professor Byrne has spent much of her scientific career analysing childhood and adult cancers at a molecular level. She has published over 110 peer-reviewed publications that have collectively received over 4,000 citations. Her current research interests include the analysis of human biobank research outputs and the detection and analysis of incorrectly reported reagents in the biomedical research literature.
Bioplatforms Australia Ltd
Mr Andrew Gilbert
General Manager, Bioplatforms Australia Limited
Andrew is the General Manager of Bioplatforms Australia (www.bioplatforms.com), overseer of $500 million Commonwealth Government research infrastructure investment in the discovery sciences of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics. With 17 investments across Australia Andrew has an extensive network of contacts from Commonwealth and State Governments, along with prominent universities, medical research institutes, agricultural research institutes and commercial entities. The network supports 4500 users per annum across the spectrum of pure research to commercial production.
In addition to managing the national infrastructure network, Bioplatforms Australia has catalysed the formation of a series of strategic national scientific collaborations - in the broad themes of wheat productivity and quality, Great Barrier Reef genomic surveying, wine characterisation and development, native fauna sequencing and melanoma biology. Each of these projects is by design multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional and contain both discovery implications and pathways to end use. Innovation is inherent in both the model of collaboration and the environment created to foster excellent science and application to national challenges.
The Royal Children's Hospital
Dr Colleen D'Arcy
The Royal Children's Hospital
Dr Colleen D’Arcy (MBBS, BMedSc,PhD, FRCPA) is a graduate of Monash University medical school, where she also completed a BMedSc (hons) degree and combined MBBS/PhD. She undertook registrar training in anatomical pathology at The Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Alfred Health and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, obtaining Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in 2017, followed by a clinical fellowship in paediatric pathology at The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. She has been a consultant pathologist at Alfred Health and, since 2018, has been a consultant paediatric pathologist at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. She is currently the Medical Director of Anatomical Pathology at The Royal Children’s Hospital and continues collaborative research projects in paediatric neuropathology and molecular pathology. Her interests include paediatric pathology, neuropathology and molecular pathology.
Dr Nicholas Wilson
Nick is Senior Director and Head of Translational Science at CSL Limited and is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne. He completed his PhD in the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne before joining DNAX Research Institute, Palo Alto, California and subsequently Elan Pharmaceuticals, South San Francisco. In his current role as Head of Translational Science, CSL Limited, he oversees a global team of more than 80 scientists based in Europe, North America and Australia. Translational Sciences functions within CSL at the intersection between preclinical and clinical development and focuses on biomarker discovery, compliant assays for non-clinical and clinical studies, as well as human proof-of-mechanism research. The CSL Translational Science laboratories collaborate closely with local clinicians, academics, biobanks and specialist providers on preclinical and clinical projects including procurement of human samples from relevant disease populations. His work has contributed to the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for various diseases, including acute myeloid leukemia, lupus, asthma and other inflammatory conditions.
Victorian Cancer Agency Representative - Funder
Victorian Cancer Agency, Victorian Department of Health
Dr Sophie Broughton
Victorian Cancer Agency, DHHS Representative
Dr Sophie Broughton is the Senior Program Advisor at the Victorian Cancer Agency, responsible for delivery of the cancer research annual funding round at the Victorian Department of Health and research priorities within the Victorian cancer plan 2020-2024. She is also heavily involved in relationship management, contract execution and performance monitoring of the Agency’s numerous stakeholders. She has been in the role since June 2019, following her academic career in cancer research as a Leukaemia Foundation fellow at St Vincent’s Institute and then at the Bio21 Institute (University of Melbourne). Dr Broughton completed her PhD from Monash University in 2011 investigating the immune response in celiac disease. She is an active member of a number of advisory groups and committees in research and philanthropic organisations including the Victorian Cancer Biobank Strategic Advisory Group, personalised therapies and clinical trial innovation programs within the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance and Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium and has served on a number of Cancer Council Victoria committees. Her cancer research experience and her passion for science allow her to advocate for cancer research and support improved outcomes for cancer patients.
Cancer Council Victoria Representatives - Lead Agency
General Manager, Victorian Cancer Biobank
Dr Wayne Ng
VCB – Cancer Council Victoria Representative
Wayne is the General Manager of Victorian Cancer Biobank (VCB) consortium since 2019. He oversees the operations of this partnership in delivering one of the largest cancer biobanking services in Australia. He also builds and implements strategic priorities of the consortium, including engaging the Strategic Advisory Group and Victorian Government. Since joining the VCB, he has successfully transitioned the VCB into new governance, developed business plans that secured increased funding from the Victorian Government, established an MOU between VCB and Singapore Translational Cancer Consortium for cross-border collaboration. His key biobanking vision is to create an ecosystem that biospecimens are discoverable, accessible, and interoperable for any research that advances sciences and saves lives.
Prior to joining the VCB, he was the Assistant Biobank Manager at the CONCERT Biobank in Sydney. Wayne has been appointed as Director-at-Large of Indo-pacific rim region / Board member for the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) in 2023. He is also member of the Steering Committee for Australian Donation and Transplantation Biobank (ADTB) since 2021 and is a member of Australasia Biospecimen Network Association (ABNA).
As a molecular scientist by profession, he has a PhD in Medicine from Western Sydney University for research in the molecular pathology of colorectal cancer.
Director, Victorian Cancer Registry
Professor Sue Evans
Victorian Cancer Registry – Cancer Council Victoria Representative