Committee members

Graeme Samuel


Professor Graeme Samuel AC is a corporate adviser with specialist expertise in competition and consumer regulation, communications and media, corporate governance, strategic planning and change management, public policy and dealings with government and regulators.

He is a Vice Chancellor's Professorial Fellow in Business and Economics at Monash University and also holds a number of other appointments including as a Councillor of the Australian National University, President of Alzheimer's Australia, Chair of the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, and Chair of the National Institute for Dementia Research.

Professor Samuel has held a number of roles in public service including as the former Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1998. In 2010 he was elevated to a Companion of the Order of Australia.


  • Leadership roles in a number of not for profit institutions that have an interest in the outcomes from health and medical research.
  • A director of and family holds a minority shareholding interest in two companies (Sonoeye Pty Ltd and Mupharma Pty Ltd) that are involved in medical research and may benefit from grants made by the NHMRC.


Over the last 30 years, Dr Kerry Hegarty has enjoyed creating global businesses based on early-stage technologies, in diverse sectors ranging from energy to biotechnology. Prior to her present appointment at The University of Melbourne, Kerry served as Managing Director/CEO of Sienna Cancer Diagnostics where she built the team and partnering relationships responsible for successfully delivering to market the first clinical tool exploiting the powerful biomarker telomerase for the detection of cancer. In September 2015, Kerry joined the business development team at The University of Melbourne as part of strengthened efforts and revised strategies to diversify the sources of research income and exploit commercialisation opportunities for The University globally. In her role as Business Development Director, Life Sciences, Kerry assists research teams with external engagement including industry partnership opportunities and the commercial translation of outstanding research outcomes. Kerry brings the requisite credibility to the role having created and led several early-stage technology companies from benchtop science to global sales.

After receiving her Ph.D. at Columbia University (New York) in the Earth Sciences in 1985, Kerry ventured to Australia to join a small research team at The University of Melbourne. This novel work ultimately served to launch an upstream service company based in Melbourne, which continues today to provide laboratory services to international oil and gas explorers. Like Sienna, Geotrack International started from novel benchtop concepts which were translated to global sales by generation of strong teams and selected partnerships.

Kerry is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has served as Company Secretary for a number of public, private and not-for-profit organisations.


  • Employed as Director, Life Sciences at The University of Melbourne – Hold shares in several listed and unlisted companies in the healthcare and medical research sectors
  • Hold equity in a number of listed and unlisted healthcare and medical research companies
  • Granted status of Honorary Fellow at The University of Melbourne
  • Public presentations for Sienna Cancer Diagnostics Ltd Pursued active engagement of key corporate partners around the world on behalf of Sienna
  • I am a member and active participant in a number of industry-related membership groups.
  • Innavac is a biotechnology company developing novel, synthetic Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists as vaccine adjuvants and for the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections.


Professor Matthew Cooper completed his PhD in Australia in 1995 and then spent 13 years in the UK, first at the University of Cambridge, then in start-ups and biotechnology companies. This involved innovation, fund raising, intellectual property generation, licensing, product development and commercialisation.

He returned to Australia in 2009 as a NHMRC Australia Fellow and is now a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. He has consulted with Private Equity Investment, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics companies, was Managing Director of Cambridge Medical Innovations (part of Alere Inc.) and CSO of Akubio Ltd. He is an inventor and driver of a several antibiotic drug discovery programmes with lead compounds pre-clinical. Professor Cooper’s research focuses on the rational design and development of novel antibiotics and anti-virals active against drug-resistant pathogens.


  • Chair SAB, Adenium Biotechnology A/S
  • Investor and Non-executive Director: Defensin Therapeutics ApS
  • CEO and a shareholder in Inflazome Ltd – this company is developing drugs to address clinical unmet needs in inflammatory disease by targeting inflammasomes
  • Holds a fractional Professorial Research Fellow appointment at the University of Queensland


Buzz Palmer is the CEO of STC Australia and a passionate technologist who enjoys mentoring early stage companies execute on their strategy and venture investment.

Buzz is a dynamic business leader with a track record of entrepreneurial success in medical technologies and Biotech. Primarily, Buzz is focused on the translation of next-generation technologies, creating and leading innovative commercial and technology solutions into new markets. With experience from start-ups to large corporations across the EU, India, Arabian Gulf and Asia Pacific, he brings a global perspective on business, entrepreneurship, and product development. With a background in orthopaedic regenerative medicine and microsurgery, Buzz is ideally positioned to strategically drive innovative clinical technology solutions that provide a significant impact on society. Buzz also holds the positions of strategic advisor for the European Commission. Buzz sits on many start-up boards and committees both within Australia and globally.


  • Employed as Chief Executive Officer, STC Australia
  • Employed as Executive Director, Cytentia
  • Employed as Director of Entrepreneurship, Monash University
  • Employed as Professorial Fellow of Technology Commercialisation, Monash University
  • Employed as specialist Research and Innovation Expert, Horizon 2010, European Commission
  • Advisory board membership of the NHMRC Health Innovation 
  • Advisory Council
  • Advisory board membership of the NHMRC Development Grants Panel 
  • Advisory board membership of the Swinburne Business School Industry Advisory Board
  • Advisory board membership of the SEMIP Industry Steering 


Dr Roberts has been the Chief Executive Officer/President of Cochlear Limited since February 2004. Cochlear is the market leader in implantable devices for the hearing impaired.

Dr Chris Roberts has over 37 years of experience in international medical device businesses, including renal (dialysis), orthopaedics (electrical bone growth stimulation), cardiology (pacemakers), respiratory and sleep medicine (CPAP and ventilation) and otology (cochlear implants and acoustic implants).

He was a non-executive director of ResMed Inc (August 1989), and from 1992 served as ResMed’s Executive Vice-President, until he became CEO of Cochlear Limited in 2004. He remains on the ResMed Inc board. He is a member of: The New South Wales Innovation and Productivity Council; the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Faculty of Medicine Advisory Council; Macquarie University Foundation Board of Patrons and the University of Technology Sydney Vice-Chancellor’s Industrial Advisory Board.


Director, shareholder, or advisor to a number of companies and institutions



Professor Edwina Cornish is the inaugural Provost at Monash University. As the chief academic officer the Provost and Senior Vice-President is responsible for:

  • Setting the university's academic strategy and priorities with a view to improving education, research and the financial performance of the university
  • Oversight of faculties, academic related portfolios and university wide centres and institutes
  • Leading academic staffing strategies, including recruitment, probation, performance management, promotion, reward and recognition
  • Fostering interdisciplinary areas of excellence and collaboration.

Professor Cornish was appointed to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Monash University in February 2004. In August 2009 she was also appointed Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. In 2012 she was appointed to the role of Provost and Senior Vice-President of the University. In May 2012 Professor Cornish was appointed as a member of the Defence Science and Technology Advisory Board (DSTO). She played a key role in building one of Australia's first biotechnology companies, Florigene Limited. Under her leadership the company established global research and development and marketing operations and successfully commercialised the world's first genetically modified flowers. Professor Cornish is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Professor Cornish received an Officer of the Order of Australia Award. She has contributed to Australian research policy at both state and federal levels.

Professor Cornish has a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Melbourne.


  • Employee of Monash University
  • Member of the Australian Research Council Advisory Council
  • CSIRO Board Member and Member of Museum Victoria Research Committee
  • Monash (Suzhou) Consulting Company Limited Board Member
  • ClimateWorks Australia Board Member
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay/Monash Research Academy
  • Member of the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap Expert Working Group


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. Ms Davies is a current member of  the NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee and the Community and Consumer Advisory Group, and is a previous member of Research Committee. Ms Davies has also been an observer for NHMRC grant reviews.


  • Non executive director and member/chair of various committees LCM Healthcare is only remunerated position 
  • I am also a donor to JDRF and Palestrina Foundation
  • Writer and facilitator, member National Education Advisory Committee
  • (Chair/President) NSW. National board member donor expenses only reimbursed
  • Member of Council- unpaid position
  • Unpaid directorship


A UQ alumnus, 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 and has established his own start-up business in the UK. Dean is a board member of several Australian companies and served on the board of Spinifex Pharmaceuticals for 8 years.  He has contributed to raising over $125m in venture capital investment.  UniQuest is the main commercialisation company of The University of Queensland.  


  • Since 2005 General Manager, Life Sciences, Acting CEO and CEO, UniQuest Pty Limited, commercialisation company of The University of Queensland.
  • Family hold shares in MediBank Private Board
  • Director, Admedus Vaccines since 2005, Que Oncology Inc since 2013, NuNerve since 2010 and Vaxxus since 2011.
  • Executive Member Knowledge Commercialisation Australia
Kelvin Kong

Associate Professor

Associate Professor Kelvin Kong qualified as the first Aboriginal Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), specializing in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

Kelvin hails from the Worimi people of Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. He completed his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at the University of NSW in 1999. He embarked on his internship at St. Vincent's Hospital in Darlinghurst and pursued a surgical career, completing resident medical officer and registrar positions at various attachments. Along the way, he has also been privileged in serving the urban, rural and remote community. He is now practising in Newcastle (Awabakal Country) as a qualified Surgeon specializing in Paediatric & Adult Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery (Ear, Nose & Throat Surgery).

He is part of a strong, medical family, his mother is a nurse, his father a GP, his sister Marlene is a Public Health Physician Trainee/ General Practitioner and her twin Marilyn, is Australia's first Aboriginal Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Complementing his surgical training, he is kept grounded by his family, who are the strength and inspiration to him.


  • Director– Board of NCIE (National Centre Indigenous Excellence)
  • Committee Member RACS (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) IHC (Indigenous Health Committee)
  • Multiple presentations to medical forums on various Otolaryngology medical topics. Stay, national & International. None sponsored.
  • Chief Investigator NHMRC CRE ATSI ear disease
  • Chief Investigator NHMRC Surgical Intervention on ear disease