Office Bearers

Anthony Hannan
President
Professor Anthony Hannan is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Head of the Epigenetics and Neural Plasticity Laboratory, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne. Prof. Hannan received his undergraduate training and PhD in neuroscience from the University of Sydney. He was then awarded a Nuffield Medical Fellowship at the University of Oxford, where he subsequently held other research positions before returning to Australia on an NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Fellowship to establish a laboratory at the Florey Institute. He subsequently won other fellowships and awards, including an ARC FT3 Future Fellowship, the British Council Eureka Prize, the International Society for Neurochemistry Young Lecturer Award and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies Anniversary Prize. Prof. Hannan and colleagues provided the first demonstration in any genetic animal model that environmental stimulation can be therapeutic. This has led to new insights into gene-environment interactions in various brain disorders, including Huntington’s disease, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. His research team at the Florey explore how genes and the environment combine via experience-dependent plasticity in the healthy and diseased brain. Their research includes models of specific neurological and psychiatric disorders which involve cognitive and affective dysfunction, investigated at behavioural, cellular and molecular levels so as to identify pathogenic mechanisms and novel therapeutic targets.
Tony Hannan 
Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Tel: (03) 9035 6638
Email:anthony.hannan@florey.edu.au
Robert Ramsay
Past President
Rob is the Group Leader of the Differentiation and Transcription Laboratory (since 1995) and Head of the Cancer Cell Biology Program at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. His PhD in Biochemistry was gained at the Queensland Institute for Medical Research. He did post-doctoral training at Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York and the Ludwig Institute, Melbourne and currently holds a National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellowship Level B. He is a past President of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) and serves on a number of national and international medical research funding, judging and policy committees, teaches second and third year genetics at Latrobe University and co-ordinates an Oncology lecture series with other members of the Peter Mac research faculty for The University of Melbourne Pathology Department. During this time he has put a lot of his energy into early career development within and outside the NHMRC and has advocated the importance of mentoring young researchers at all levels within the medical research sector. In the past he has worked as the science advisor for a Biotechnology company working on cancer biomarkers over five years (2004-8). His research group’s interests span from epithelial stem cells in the context of colorectal and breast cancer, to neurogenesis, radiotherapy and genome instability. He is currently involved in clinical trials and the development of novel cancer therapies including DNA vaccines that target nuclear oncogenes.

Robert Ramsay
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Tel: (03) 9656 1863
Email: rob.ramsay@petermac.org

Robert Medcalf
Secretary
Professor Robert Medcalf was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne in 1984. His first post-doctoral appointment was at the University of Melbourne where he investigated the role of the plasminogen activating system in rheumatoid arthritis. In 1986, he continued his research in Lausanne, Switzerland where he extended his interest in the transcriptional regulation of the plasminogen activators and their inhibitors. In 1993, he returned to Australia where he established a laboratory in the Department of Medicine at Monash University in Melbourne and was a foundation member of the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD). During this time he initiated a program of research investigating the role of the fibrinolytic system in the central nervous system and this is currently the most prominent research focus of his laboratory. He has a particular interest in understanding how the fibrinolytic protease, tissue type plasminogen activator (t-PA) potentiates neuronal injury and modulates blood brain barrier permeability and the influence of this in ischaemic stroke. His laboratory is also exploring the role of the fibrinolytic system in traumatic brain injury and in models of neurogeneration. He has published more than 110 papers in peer reviewed journals. He was appointed to the NHMRC Fellowship Scheme in 2003 (SRF-A) and was promoted to the level of Principle Research Fellow in 2012.

Robert Medcalf 
Australian Centre for Blood Diseases - Monash University
Tel: (03) 9903 0133
Email: Robert.medcalf@monash.edu


Elizabeth Gardiner
Treasurer
Associate Professor Elizabeth Gardiner is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Head of the Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics in the John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU, Canberra, Australia. She is Scientific Head of the recently established National Platelet Referral and Research Centre at ANU and The Canberra Hospital. She has published more than 110 peer-reviewed research papers, commentaries and reviews in the area of platelet biochemistry and platelet function, particularly relevant to both thrombosis and bleeding in patients. She identified a novel mechanism for shedding of vascular receptors triggered by shear stress, enabling new capabilities in diagnostic and therapeutic reagent development. She is a Trustee of THANZ, a Principal Editor and the Methods Editor of the journal Platelets and is Treasurer of the National Association of Research Fellows (NARF). She sits on the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scientific Committee on Platelets. She has held executive roles on the International Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis Vascular Biology Scientific Subcommittee, and the Australian Vascular Biology Society.

Elizabeth Gardiner
JCSMR, Australian National University
Tel: +61 (02) 6125 8523
Email: elizabeth.gardiner@anu.edu.au


Olivier Piguet
NSW/ACT State Representative
A/Prof Olivier Piguet is a clinical neuropsychologist with 15 years clinical experience in the field of ageing and neurodegeneration. He is the co-director of FRONTIER, the frontotemporal dementia clinical research group based at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) in Sydney and the director of the memory programme of the Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC). A/Prof Piguet trained in Geneva and Melbourne and completed his PhD at the University of Sydney. After a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at MIT, he established his research group at NeuRA in 2007. His research focuses on early clinical markers of frontotemporal dementia and related younger-onset dementia syndromes. He is particularly interested in the biological correlates underlying changes in social cognition, memory and executive function in these disorders. A/Prof Piguet has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. His research is funded by the ARC and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Olivier Piguet
Neuroscience Research Australia
Tel: +61 2 9114 4144
Email: olivier.piguet@sydney.edu.au

John Silke
VIC/TAS State Representative
Professor John Silke is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. He first completed a law degree in King's College, London, before seeing the error of his ways and obtaining a second degree in Biochemistry at Churchill College, Cambridge (1992). He completed a PhD in Zürich, Switzerland, with Prof. Walter Schaffner, looking at the role of DNA methylation in the regulation of transcription (1997). A Swiss fellowship allowed John to post-doc with Prof. David Vaux in the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia (1997-2005), where he focused on cell death mechanisms and in particular the role of Inhibitor of APoptosis proteins (IAPs) in regulating cell death. After a five-year stint running a lab in La Trobe University, Australia, he returned to the WEHI (2011). He has a strong interest in translational research and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals Corporation for 5 years. In this capacity he has contributed to our understanding of how IAP antagonist drugs, now called Smac-mimetics, kill cancer cells and the development of a well tolerated Smac-mimetic, called birinapant. Smac-mimetics such as birinapant work to kill cancer cells by inducing inflammatory cytokines such as TNF and simultaneously sensitising cells to cell death induced by these cytokines. They are widely used together with TNF to induce necroptosis and John's lab has a keen interest in exploring the mechanisms and consequences of this newly recognised type of cell death.

John Silke
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Tel: 61 3-9345-2945
Email: silke@wehi.edu.au

Fred Meunier
QLD State Representative
Professor Frederic Meunier obtained his Masters degree in Neurophysiology at the Paris XI University, France in 1992 and completed his Ph.D in Neurobiology at the CNRS in Gif-sur-Yvette, France in 1996. He was the recipient of a European Biotechnology Fellowship and went on to postgraduate work at the Department of Biochemistry at Imperial College (1997-1999) and at Cancer Research UK (2000-2002) in London, UK. After a short sabbatical at the LMB-MRC in Cambridge (UK), he became a group leader at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2003. He joined the Queensland Brain Institute of the University of Queensland in 2007 and obtained an NHMRC senior research fellowship in 2009, which has been renewed in 2013 with promotion combined with his promoted to full Professor. Since establishing his own laboratory, his research has received continuous funding amounting to over $9 million from ARC Discovery, LIEF and NHMRC projects. He was also the recipient of a UQ Research Excellence Award ($80,000) for his work on phosphoinositides and secretion. Overall, he has published 53 research articles, 13 reviews and 10 book chapters. He has established a strong international profile in the field of neurobiology over the last 15 years, with particular expertise in exocytosis, neurotoxins and synaptic plasticity. His lab has made important contributions to our understanding of how specific proteins and phosphoinositides dynamically interact to control vesicle priming and fusion with the plasma membrane. The overall goal of his research is to determine how brain cells communicate and survive in health and disease. His lab focuses on the molecular events governing vesicular trafficking within presynaptic nerve terminals and neurosecretory cells.
Fred Meunier
Queensland Brain Institute - University of Queensland
Tel: (07) 3346 6373
Email: f.meunier@uq.edu.au
Stuart Pitson
SA State Representative
Prof Stuart pitson gained his PhD at La Trobe University, and then undertook postdoctoral positions at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, and then the University of New South Wales. He then moved to Adelaide and began his current research interests in examining sphingolipid-mediated cell signalling pathways, and how they contribute to cancer and other diseases. He gained a RD Wright Early Career Fellowship from the NHMRC in 2003, and in 2008 he became a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, which was renewed in 2013. His laboratory has expertise in cell signalling, enzymology, post-translational protein modifications, structure-based drug discovery, and cancer biology.
Stuart Pitson
Centre for Cancer Biology - University of South Australia
Tel: (08) 8222 3472
Fax: (08) 8232 4092
Email: Stuart.Pitson@unisa.edu.au
Gina Ravenscroft
WA Representative
Dr Gina Ravenscroft is a NHMRC Career Development Fellow at UWA and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. She completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Western Australia, with a focus on muscle physiology and genetics. Her research focuses on identifying novel human disease genes for severe neuromuscular diseases and understanding how gene mutations cause disease. The research team is also focused on prevention of severe genetic diseases and is researching the implementation of pre-conception carrier screening in WA. Gina receives funding from the NHMRC, the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM), A Foundation Building Strength for Nemaline Myopathy and the WA Department of Health. Gina was awarded a WA Young Tall Poppy Award and the World Muscle Society Young Myologist of the Year Award in 2016. She is an active member of the UWA Researchers’ Association and the Harry Perkins Institute Student and EMCR Mentoring committees and is passionate about promoting health and medical research to the broader community.