Meet the Australian Science and Innovation Forum:
Co-Chair: Dr Martin Rees is a Senior Medical Science Liaison with Shire, a global innovator in specialty biopharmaceuticals with a focus on rare diseases. His career in medical research and Medical Affairs combines 17 years experience in therapeutic areas including cardiology, haematology, trauma/emergency medicine, intensive care, anaesthetics, neurology and gastroenterology. Martin champions the role of science and science innovation by writing for Australian Doctor magazine and through successful crowdfunding featured in the Lancet and national TV, radio and print media. Martin currently serves on the Executive Committees of the Australian Pharmaceutical Medical and Scientific Professionals Association and the Australian Science and Innovation Forum, which focuses on encouraging the development and teaching of entrepreneurial skills to emerging young researchers and business people. Twitter: @martdrees
Co-Chair: Dr Lauren Giorgio is a PhD-qualified medical research scientist who has always been driven by acquiring knowledge and using it to benefit society. Following nine years of work and study in the academic system, Lauren became a Business Development Associate at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Her role is to manage projects that ultimately enable effective capture and translation of the institute’s intellectual property. This includes opportunity identification, partnering, marketing and communication, agreements and licensing, strategic/business plans and management of institute spin out companies such as Catalyst Therapeutics. Lauren’s PhD is in cancer biology from the University of Adelaide. Twitter: @laurengiorgio
Dr Nadine Brew works in medical research commercialisation and intellectual property management at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. She has previously participated in the Molecules 2 Medicine research commercialisation program and undertaken a Churchill travel fellowship learning about drug development in USA, Germany and Singapore. Earlier in the year she completed a placement with the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund. Currently she is jointly appointed as a commercialisation analyst at Monash Innovation. Nadine has a Ph.D in neonatal lung injury from Monash University and was previously a postdoc researcher in the Ritchie Centre, Melbourne, and at Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C.
Dr Matthew Wenham directs science policy activities for the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), Australia’s national academy for applied science, technology and engineering. Prior to returning to Australia, Matt worked in the US for a non-profit science policy think tank, the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP). The ISGP aims to bring together distinguished scientists and policy makers from governments around the world to discuss scientifically credible options for addressing key public policy topics impacted by science and technology. Matt moved into science policy after a career in medical research as a postdoctoral fellow at the US National Institutes of Health and a DPhil (PhD) in cell biology and immunology at the University of Oxford, UK. Twitter: @DrMattWenham
Dr Annabella Newton is a Patent Attorney specialising in chemistry and pharmaceuticals at Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick. Her research background is in organic and medicinal chemistry and her work has been published in several high-impact journals. She now works with start-ups and small-medium enterprises, as well as large multinationals, and assists with their intellectual property needs in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Annabella is also co-founder of the start-up Hemideina which won the 2016 Medtech’s Got Talent Medtronic Award. She is passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship and the commercialisation of research. Twitter: @bellatronic
Dr Ken Seidenman is an overseas qualified (patent) attorney specializing in biotechnology at FB Rice. Ken moved to Melbourne, Australia from the U.S. where he worked in law firms on both coasts, and in a pluripotent stem cell-based start-up company in the San Francisco bay area. His research background is in molecular neuroscience, electrophysiology, and stem cells. He is passionate about securing valuable IP for his clients, and helping to bring about a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in this wonderful country.
Dr Dania Yaghobian is a Medical Science Liaison with Novartis. She is currently working in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry with previous experience in medical research developing novel therapies for kidney diseases. She has a strong interest in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Her passion lies in making positive changes towards a more innovative culture in Australia.
Dr Anna Figueiredo seeks to help improve commercial engagement outcomes to the benefit of the research and broader community. In her more recent Business Development role at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Anna was involved in facilitating several commercial and academic licensing and collaboration opportunities, and assisted in establishing startup companies from the Institutes intellectual property. At Brandon Capital she learnt about medical innovations through the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund. Anna entered the commercial sector from academia and has worked with Thermo Fisher, Genera Biosystems and the global Strup Accelerator, MassChallenge. Her research background is in medical virology and she did a postdoctoral fellowship in the USA. Twitter: @Fluoro_Bio
Dr Udani Ratnayake is a Strategic Development Adviser at Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University. Her role is to support high-value partnership and engagement opportunities with government, industry and philanthropic partners. With over 10 years of health, medical and research expertise in academic, research and not-for-profit environments, she is driven by ambition to make a contribution to improve health and wellbeing globally. Udani has a Ph.D in Developmental Neuroscience from Monash University and was previously a postdoc researcher at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.
Dr Mel Thomson completed her PhD in microbial genetic regulation at University of York, UK. After the award of her PhD in 2009, she became interested the host-pathogen interactions at the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, UK. Dr Thomson returned to Australia in 2011 to start her own research group at Deakin Medical School. She has now joined the Medtech and Pharmaceutical Industry Growth Centre, MTPConnect, as GM of Education, Skills and Events, to help develop the sector ecosystem in Australia. Dr Thomson was also a Victorian finalist in the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. Twitter: @DrMel_T
Ex Officio and Past Chair (2016-2017): Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea is the inaugural Executive Director of the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). She has over 15 years of experience leading translational research programs in cell and gene therapies in the United States and Australia, and her work has been internationally recognised with numerous awards. Dr Evans-Galea has chaired several executive committees and served with advisory groups in state and federal governments. She has also developed graduate mentoring programs in the US and was founding chair of the EMCR Forum with the Australian Academy of Science. An internationally recognised advocate for women in STEMM, Dr Evans-Galea currently serves on the Science in Australia Gender Equity Expert Advisory Group, is co-founder and CEO of Women in STEMM Australia and an Ambassador for the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. Twitter: @MVEG001