Katherine Woodthorpe


Dr Katherine Woodthorpe is a professional company director on a number of government, corporate and not-for-profit boards. Prior to this she was the Chief Executive of AVCAL, the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association for seven years. Prior to AVCAL, she held a broad range of management and board positions, in Australia and overseas.

Katherine has considerable experience, expertise and a long track record in public affairs including government relations. She has deep knowledge of the private equity and superannuation industries in the financial sector and a strong track record in a broad range of technology orientated industries including mining and healthcare. Katherine has a strong background in commercialisation and R&D.


  • Chairman: Hearing Cooperative Research Centre
  • Director: Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute


Professor Matthew Cooper is currently co-founder, Director and CEO of Inflazome, co-founder and Director of Defensin Therapeutics, Affiliate Prof. at Trinity College Dublin, and holds a fractional Professorial Research Fellow appointment at the University of Queensland, where he is Prof. of Chemical Biology at the Institute of Molecular Bioscience and Affiliate Prof. in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biology.  Professor Cooper was founder and Managing Director of Cambridge Medical Innovations (now part of Abbot) and was CSO and co-founder of Akubio.  He was responsible for positioning of start-up companies and management of multidisciplinary R&D teams with programs in electronics, physics, materials science, chemistry, microbiology, virology and diagnostics. He has consulted extensively to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies: AdProTech, Alere Technologies GmbH, Apax Capital Partners, AstraZeneca, Cambridge Antibody Technology, DeNovo Pharmaceuticals, Ellume, GE Healthcare, Heptares Therapeutics, Ionian Technologies, Inverness Medical Australia, NxP Semiconductor, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Protein Mechanics, Respirio, Science Foundation Ireland, Sense Proteomics/Procognia, Solexa.

Professor Cooper is a scientific entrepreneur with a solid track record of innovation, community engagement, intellectual property generation, and business development.   He is known internationally in the fields of infectious disease, diagnostics, biosensors and drug discovery, with invited seminars at conferences and research institutions worldwide. Outside of science, Professor Cooper has travelled and worked in various roles, from films to driving tractors.  He was a World Wildlife Fund researcher and Park Ranger in Northern Australia, and has spent more than two years’ travelling, hiking and climbing in SE Asia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and the Middle East.

Professor Cooper obtained his Ph.D. in 1995 in Organic Chemistry and a B. Sc. (Hons, 1st Class), from the University of Adelaide, Australia. He was the George Murray Fellow with Prof Dudley Williams, at the University of Cambridge.  He then spent 9 years in start-ups and biotechnology companies in Cambridge, before returning to Australia in 2009 as NHMRC Australia Fellow, at the University of Queensland, where he drove research and development of infectious and inflammatory disease diagnostics and therapeutics. He has > 300 scientific articles, > 25 patents, 2 books, and has helped launch multiple medical technology products on the market today.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, a member of the Pfizer Australia Stakeholder Faculty, a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Science; a Member of the Royal Australian Society of Chemistry; the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases and the Australian Society for Antimicrobials.  Prizes and Awards include the 2014 Medal for Excellence from the Journal of Antibiotics; 2013 NHMRC Nationally Top Ranked Development Grant Award; 2013 Australian Society for Antimicrobials Howard Florey Oration; 2008 NHMRC Australia Fellow; 2007 Institution of Engineering and Technology Award for Emerging Technologies; 2006 Dept. Trade & Industry Micro and Nanotechnology Innovation Award, UK; 2005 UK Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist; 2003 Trinity College Cambridge Support Scheme Award, UK; 2002 Dept. Trade & Industry Smart Innovation Award, UK; 1999 Howard Florey Centenary Research Fellowship; 1995 George Murray Fellowship at the University of Cambridge, UK.


  • Director, Co-Founder and CEO: Inflazome Pty Ltd
  • Non-Executive Director of the Board: Defensin Therapeutics
  • Professional Research Fellow: University of Queensland
Dean Moss


A UQ alumnus, Dr Dean Moss has over 30 years’ experience in science, academia, business, management and commercialisation in Australia, USA and the UK.  

He has been managing director or senior business development executive of several health and biotech companies worldwide, including Agen Biomedical, Launch Diagnostics, AMRAD ICT, AMRAD Biotech, and United Drug.  He established his own start-up business in the UK, York Medical Technologies.  Prior to moving into the commercial world, Dean was principal R&D scientist at Agen Biomedical. He also worked as an NHMRC research scientist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Royal Brisbane Hospital and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. He is a recipient of the Campion-Ma-Playoust Memorial Award for Medical Research. 

Dean is a board member of several Australian companies and was a member of the investment committee of the pre-seed venture funds Uniseed, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund and the New Zealand Government’s KiwiNet. He has contributed to raising over $100m in venture capital investment.


  • Chairman: Innovation and Commercialisation Group of the Group of Eight universities (2016–Current)
  • General Manager: Life Sciences (2005–Current); CEO/Acting CEO: UniQuest Pty Ltd (2005–Current)
  • Board Director: Admedus Vaccines Pty Ltd. (2005–Current); Que Oncology Inc (2013–Current); NuNerve Pty Ltd (2010–Current); Vaxxas Pty Ltd (2011–Current); Symbiosis Pty Ltd (2013–Current); QUE Oncology Pty Ltd. (2017–Current); AUS Biotech Ltd (2018-Current)
Anna Lavelle


Dr Anna Lavelle is the Independent Director and Chair of Medicines Australia (MA) which represents the innovative medicines industry. She joined the board in 2017 and served as Deputy Chair prior to being appointed as the first female Chair of MA.

Dr Lavelle is an experienced board director with nearly 30 years experience as an Executive or Non Executive Director.  She currently serves on the Boards of several private for profit and not for profit organisations including Independent Director of SoilCRC, Chair Avatar Brokers and Chair ANDHealth (Australian National Digital Health accelerator) in addition to Senior Advisor, MTP-Connect and Advisory Board for the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Melbourne.  

Dr Lavelle has been named one of the top 100 influential people in biotechnology worldwide by Nature Scientific American, World View 2015.  The only Australian to be named.  Dr Lavelle was awarded the Johnson and Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Award for Industry Leadership in 2018.

Dr Lavelle has also been Chair, or a member of various Federal and State government committees associated with biotechnology and medtech.  Previous appointments have included the R&D Tax Incentive Advisory Committee, the Pharmaceuticals Industry Strategy Group, Medical Device Industry Action Agenda and the Victorian Biotechnology Advisory Council (Federal and State Ministerial appointments, respectively).  

Dr Lavelle holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics from the University of Melbourne, is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, she is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, including their 'Mastering the Boardroom' program.


  • Non-Executive Director: SoilCRC
  • Advisor: MTPConnect
  • Chair of the Board: Avatar Pty Ltd; ANDHealth Ltd; Medicines Australia
  • Consultant: LifeBiosciences
Robyn Ohehir


Professor Robyn O'Hehir AO, FAHMS, FRACP, PhD, FRCPath, FRCP, FThorSoc is an internationally acclaimed academic clinician-scientist in allergy and clinical immunology. She is currently Professor/ Director of Respiratory, Allergy and Clinical Immunology (Research) at Central Clinical School, Monash University, and Alfred Health, Melbourne. Professor O'Hehir has a long-standing interest in immunomodulation as a therapeutic treatment for allergic and other immune-mediated diseases with a sustained record of competitive grant funding from NHMRC, ARC and as Melbourne node Director of the CRC for Asthma for 12 years. She has published more than 280 peer reviewed publications with over 20,000 career citations.

Professor O'Hehir has an active patent portfolio in translational research with inventorship on 15 patent families that have progressed through development. These include two spinout companies Paranta Biosciences Ltd, and Aravax Pty Ltd which has just completed a successful first-in-human Phase I trial of a peptide therapeutic in peanut allergy. She is a Board Director of Cabrini Health and a former Board Director of the Menzies Foundation and the Asthma Foundation of Victoria. She serves on the Menzies Foundation Council and the Council of Cabrini Institute and holds Membership of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor O'Hehir was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in recognition of her exceptional contributions to the field of respiratory health.


  • Employment: Monash University, Alfred Health – Research and inventions on experimental medicines and anti-inflammatory's being commercialised by Paranta Bio Pty Ltd and Aravax Pty Ltd
  • Non-Executive Director: Cabrini Health (Honorary) (2010–Current)
  • Numerous medical and scientific publications with Elsevier and Wiley 
John Prins


Professor John Prins is the Head of Melbourne Medical School.

He was previously the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Mater Research, a Senior Staff Endocrinologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Queensland.

John is an active clinician-scientist, a key opinion leader in diabetes and endocrinology in Australia and sits on numerous national and international scientific, clinical and educational committees and boards for NHMRC, non-government organisations and industry. John is the author of over 150 scientific publications.

John has substantial commercialisation experience, holds three international patents and was the founder and scientific Director of a biotech company – Adipogen Pty Ltd.

John undertook his clinical training in Endocrinology and his PhD in adipose tissue biology in Australia and then undertook a four year post-doctoral appointment at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. When returning to Brisbane in 1998, John established an active research program undertaking basic research and clinical trials in obesity and diabetes.


  • Employment: Head, Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne; Consultant Endocrinologist, Royal Melbourne Hospital; Consultant for Merck                                    
  • Director: Centre for Eye Research (CERA) and Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI)


Professor Ashley Bush (MBBS, DPM, FRANZCP, PhD, FAHMS, FAPA), NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, is the Director of the Melbourne Dementia Research Centre- a partnership between The Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health and The University of Melbourne. He is a clinician-scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the neuroscience field, most notably his discovery of the importance of metal biology in neurodegenerative brain diseases.  The impact of his work has moved the field of neurodegeneration towards an appreciation for an underlying disturbance in brain metal homeostasis, and has provided insights into the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as well as other brain diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.  His leadership has led to the development of new predictive tests for AD and innovative, potentially disease-modifying strategies based on his research.  He is Co-Director of Biomarker Development for The Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of Ageing (AIBL). He is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, and holds courtesy staff appointments in Psychiatry and Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA. He is founding scientist of Prana Biotechnology Ltd, Cogstate Ltd, and Chief Scientific Officer for Collaborative Medicinal Development P/L. Prof Bush has published more than 430 publications (>40,000 citations, h-factor 99) and 28 patents, and has delivered over 300 invited lectures (including over 300 international and 25 Plenary). Prof Bush is among the most highly cited neuroscientists in Australia, is rated in the top 1% of neuroscience researchers worldwide for high impact citations (Highly Cited 2015-16, 18), and is listed among The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds (Clarivates).


  • Consultant: Collaborative Medicinal Development Pty Ltd 
  • Funding: NHMRC Project grant, NHMRC Program grant, NHMRC Fellowship
Julie Phillips


Ms Julie Phillips has a strong background in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, having worked as the CEO and Director of start-up Australian biotechnology companies operating in the life sciences sector. Her technical background in clinical trials, regulatory affairs and pharmacoeconomic assessment/pricing of therapeutics was gained leading groups in multinational pharmaceutical companies.

As a passionate advocate for the life sciences sector in Australia, Julie chairs AusBiotech Ltd, the peak national biotechnology industry association, is a Director of MTPConnect, the Medtech and Pharma Industry Growth Centre, and is CEO and Director of biotechnology company, BioDiem Ltd.  She sits on Innovation and Science Australia’s R&D Incentives Committee and on the Council of the University of Newcastle. Julie is an inventor on two patents which are currently being commercialised.


  • CEO and Director: BioDiem Ltd
  • Chairman: AusBiotech Ltd
  • Chairman: R&D Incentives Committee, a Committee of Innovation and Science Australia
  • Managing Director: Opal Biosciences Ltd
  • Non-Executive Director: Medtech and Pharma Growth Centre (MTP-IIGC Ltd)
  • Funding: ARC ITRP Hub, Australian Research Council, Australian Federal Government
  • Member: Premier’s Science and Innovation Council (South Australia)
  • Council Member: University of Newcastle
Rebecca Davies

Consumer Representative, Ms
Davies AO

Rebecca Davies has been involved in health related organisations for over 22 years, since her now 24-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She is a long standing board member at JDRF Australia, chairs its research committee and sits on the International Board. She is President of the Heart Foundation (NSW) and on its national board, and sits on the boards of other organisations in the health sector, including public and private hospitals, aged care and community care.

Her professional training is as a lawyer and she was a partner of a major law firm for many years. She has also been board member and chair at various financial services institutions. Rebecca is a previous member of the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee, Research Committee and the Community and Consumer Advisory Group, and is a previous member of Research Committee. Rebecca has also been an observer for NHMRC grant reviews.


  • Director: Catholic Healthcare Limited, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, Juveniles Diabetes Research Foundation, Transparency International Australia Limited, The Actuator Operations Ltd
  • Member: Quality and Safety Committee, UNSW Big Data, Patient and Public Panel, British Heart Foundation Big Beat Challenge, Finance Council of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Sydney Health Partners and Sphere, National Heart Foundation, member Strategic Research Committee
  • Board: Advisory Board, Catholic Development Fund, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
  • Writer/Facilitator: Australian Institute of Company Directors
Ruth Stewart

Associate Professor

Associate Professor Ruth Stewart holds the position of Associate Professor, Rural Medicine within the College of Medicine & Dentistry at James Cook University. She brings to this role 29 years of work as a Rural Generalist doctor, with the advanced skills of a GP obstetrician. Ruth now lives on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait where she delivers women’s health clinics on the outer islands of the Torres Strait. She received a PhD from Flinders University in 2014. Her thesis examined the lessons learnt from a Managed Clinical Network of rural maternity services in South West Victoria. Ruth is the immediate Past President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and is on the College’s board. She is also on the board of the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service, and of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia and has a number of representative and medico political roles.


  • Employment: Director of Rural Clinical Training and Support, James Cook University; Associate Professor, James Cook University
  • Senior Medical Officer, Thursday Island Hospital
  • Funding: Research grant from Flinders University Training Hub
  • Board Member: Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service; Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine; Rural Doctors Association of Australia; Tropical Australia Academic Health Centre
Jennifer Hertz


Jennifer Herz founded Biointelect in 2011 to provide strategic commercialisation services to the biopharmaceutical industry.

Jennifer has over twenty years commercial, business development and scientific affairs experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has held a variety of roles with responsibility for Australia, New Zealand and European markets. She was the first Managing Director of Sanofi Pasteur in Australia.

She has previously served on the Board of Medicines Australia. She was also active in a variety of European and International Industry Association working groups responsible for liaison with health authorities including European Institutions and the WHO.

She is a member of the Accelerate Commercialisation Expert Network, on the Steering Committee of the NHMRC funded Centre of Research Excellence: Policy relevant infectious disease simulation and mathematical modelling (PRISM) and is a member of the Expert Reference Group of the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE).

Jennifer has extensive international & local network of industry, policy, scientific and clinical experts across many therapeutic areas and healthcare sectors along with global experience in multiple new product launches and start-ups at all stages of development.


  • Director: Equillium AUS Pty Ltd; 60P Australia Pty Ltd (and shareholder)
  • Co-Founder and Director: Biocelect Pty Ltd
  • Founder and Managing Director: Biointelect Pty Ltd
  • Consultant: National Health and Medical Research Council grant applications
Juli Coffin


Professor Juli Coffin is recognised as a prominent Aboriginal researcher, with expertise in cultural security, education and research across a diverse range of settings including chronic diseases, nutrition, contextualising bullying, community development and health promotion. Professor Coffin is highly regarded by her peers as a leader in creative and innovative approaches to confronting some of the most controversial and complex areas in Aboriginal health, wellbeing and education.

A key pursuit for Professor Coffin is the continued exploration of effective implementation and translation of knowledge to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people. Her current major research focus, the Yawardani Jan-ga Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) research project involves co-designing an Aboriginal specific training program, building a specialised local Aboriginal workforce of EAL practitioners, and the development of culturally secure brief intervention tools for collecting data regarding the social and emotional wellbeing status of Aboriginal young people.