Professor Ingrid Scheffer

The University of Melbourne, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

[email protected]

Professor Ingrid Scheffer is a physician-scientist whose work as a paediatric neurologist and epileptologist at the University of Melbourne and Florey Institute has led the field of epilepsy genetics over more than 20 years, in collaboration with Professor Samuel Berkovic and molecular geneticists. This resulted in identification of the first epilepsy gene and many more genes subsequently. Professor Scheffer has described many novel epilepsy syndromes and performed genotype–phenotype correlation. She recently played a key role in the first major reclassification of the epilepsies in two decades as Chair of the International League Against Epilepsy Commission for Classification and Terminology.

She obtained her medical degree from Monash University and her PhD from the University of Melbourne for which she received the Chancellor’s Award. She trained in paediatrics at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, paediatric neurology at The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, London UK, and epileptology at the Austin Hospital. In her PhD on the genetics of the epilepsies, she described four novel epilepsy syndromes which served as the basis for gene discovery.

She has received many awards: 2007 American Epilepsy Society Clinical Research Recognition Award, 2009 RACP Eric Susman Prize, 2013 GSK Award for Research Excellence, ILAE Ambassador for Epilepsy Award, 2013 Australian Neuroscience Medallion, 2013 Emil Becker Prize for child neurology and the L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Laureate for the Asia-Pacific region for 2012. In 2014, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences. She was awarded the Order of Australia in 2014 for “distinguished service to medicine in the field of paediatric neurology as a clinician, academic and mentor, and to research into the identification of epilepsy syndromes and genes.” Together with Professor Sam Berkovic, she was awarded the 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

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Immediate Past President

Professor Ian Frazer

The University of Queensland

Professor Ian Frazer works to raise awareness and funds for medical research through his role with The University of Queensland (UQ) and as Chair of the TRI Foundation Board.  He is also the current Chair of the advisory board advising the commonwealth government on the use of the Medical Research Future Fund, a member of the Commonwealth Science Council and President of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science.

At UQ, Professor Frazer works with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) as an advisor on medical research and with the Vice-Chancellor on fundraising through the University’s Campaign Committee.  He also leads a research program at TRI on skin cancer immunology with staff from UQ’s Diamantina Institute and continues to work with Admedus Vaccines on a herpes vaccine and new vaccine technologies.

As the founding Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research for the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane, Australia, Professor Frazer lead the development of a world-leading biomedical research facility focused on translating scientific knowledge into practical benefits for the community.  Combing the intellect of its partners: the University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute, Mater Research and School of Medicine; Queensland University of Technology Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation; and the Princess Alexandra Hospital Centres for Research, with a Clinical Research Facility and a co-located biopharmaceutical manufacturer, TRI has the capacity to discover, produce, test and manufacture new treatments and vaccines in one location.

Internationally renowned for the co-creation of the technology for the cervical cancer vaccines, Professor Frazer began his career as a renal physician and clinical immunologist in Edinburgh, Scotland before emigrating in 1981 to Melbourne, Australia. He continued his clinical training and pursued studies in viral immunology and autoimmunity at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research with Professor Ian Mackay. In 1985, Professor Frazer accepted a teaching post with the University of Queensland and was appointed Director of The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in 1991. In early 2011, Professor Frazer relinquished directorship of the Institute to commence as CEO and Director of Research for TRI. In February 2015, he relinquished this role to focus more on his research.

Professor Frazer was awarded the 2005 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science and was selected as Queenslander of the Year, and Australian of the Year in 2006. He was also awarded the 2008 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, the 2008 Balzan Prize for Preventive Medicine, the 2009 Honda Prize and was recently elected as a Fellow of the esteemed Royal Society of London. In 2012, Professor Frazer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2014, Professor Frazer was elected as the inaugural President of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

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Hon Treasurer and Public Officer

Professor Simon Foote

John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University

Professor Simon Foote was appointed as Director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University in November 2014. His prime research interests are in the areas of infectious disease, specifically malaria, where his team is developing new antimalarials using a genetics approach. He has worked on the genetics of numerous diseases including Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer and leads a team who are trying to understand the genetics of indigenous glomerulonephropathy.

Professor Foote obtained his medical degree in 1984 at the University of Melbourne and in 1989 completed his PhD in Molecular Genetics studying the genetic basis of drug resistance of the malarial parasite. He worked at the Genome Center at the Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he produced the first physical map of a human chromosome and then a map of the entire human genome. He returned to Australia where he headed the Genetics and Bioinformatics Division at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, was the Director of the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania from 2005 to 2011, and the Dean of the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University from 2012 – 2014.

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Vice President

Professor Steven Wesselingh

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Professor Wesselingh was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, from 2007-2011. Prior to taking up the Deanship, he was Director of the Burnet Institute an independent medical research institute specialises in infectious diseases, immunology and public health.

Professor Wesselingh undertook his undergraduate and doctoral training at Flinders University/Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia and his post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins in the United States. In 2012 Professor Wesselingh joined a list of 566 people inducted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars.

Professor Wesselingh is an Infectious Diseases Physician and researcher in Neurovirology, HIV and vaccine development.

Professor Wesselingh has consistently worked towards the integration of high quality medical research with health-care delivery, leading to improved health outcomes for Australia and the poorly resourced countries of the region.

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Professor Bronwyn Kingwell

CSL Limited

Professor Bronwyn Kingwell is the Senior Director, Research Therapeutic Area Lead in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases at CSL Limited.  She is also a graduate and fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Professor Kingwell’s fundamental and clinical research in arterial biomechanics has elucidated genetic, hormonal and environmental (exercise, diet) mechanisms contributing to large artery stiffening as well as opportunities for therapeutic modulation.  With her collaborators she has contributed to our understanding of coronary plaque rupture, one main mechanism responsible for myocardial infarction, and has identified lipidomic biomarkers which through a licensing agreement with Zora Biosciences are currently available as a clinical test at the Mayo clinic. She has pioneered the transition of detailed cellular and molecular studies of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in laboratory models, in particular with regard to glucose metabolism, to a human context.  This work has opened new avenues in HDL therapeutics.  Her contributions have also extended to studies influencing national and international physical activity guidelines.  Professor Kingwell is a current member of the NMHRC Research Committee, the National Committee for Medicine and Public Health (Australian Academy of Science) and the Victorian Government SMaRT panel.

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