Professor Vlado Perkovic

Vlado Perkovic is currently Executive Director of The George Institute, Australia, Scientia Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Sydney, and a Staff Specialist in Nephrology at the Royal North Shore Hospital. He will be moving into the role of Dean of Medicine, UNSW in October 2019. Vlado’s research focus is in clinical trials and epidemiology, in particular in preventing the progression of kidney disease and its complications. He leads several international clinical trials, and has been involved in developing Australian and global treatment guidelines. He has played a central role in the development of an affordable dialysis system, which was a Eureka Prize finalist in 2017.

Vlado is the President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institute and a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Committee on Research Translation, and is on the Board of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance. He is Chair of the International Society of Nephrology Advancing Clinical Trials (ISN-ACT) group; and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He serves on the Editorial Boards of a number of leading specialist and general journals, including the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Circulation, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Benchtop to Bedside Cardiovascular Research

Professor Chris Hayward BMedSc, MD, FRACP, FCSANZ

Professor Hayward is a Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologist at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney. Research interests include the haemodynamics of cardiac failure and advanced heart failure management with particular interest in the patient-pump optimisation of left ventricular mechanical support devices.

Professor Diane Fatkin

Professor Fatkin is head of the Sr Bernice Research Program in Inherited Heart Diseases, Molecular Cardiology Division, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, with appointments as Honorary Medical Officer in the Cardiology Department, St Vincent’s Hospital, and Professor (conjoint) in the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales. Her research is focussed on the clinical management and molecular genetics of inherited cardiomyopathies, in particular, familial dilated cardiomyopathy and familial atrial fibrillation. 

Professor Peter Macdonald AM MBBS FRACP PHD MD

Peter Macdonald is a Conjoint Professor of Medicine in the University of New South Wales, Medical Director of the Heart Transplant Unit at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney and head of the Transplantation Research Laboratory at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. He is a past President of the Transplantation Society of Australia & New Zealand (TSANZ). His major research interests over the last 30 years have been in the areas of heart failure, heart transplantation, donor management and organ preservation. He has co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, more than 30 invited manuscripts and has contributed to the development of 10 national guidelines on these subjects. His current H index is 57. In 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019 he was nominated for the Award of Australian of the Year. In 2015 his research into the recovery and transplantation of hearts from DCD donors was recognised by the NSW Government with the NSW Ministerial Award for cardiovascular research excellence and by the ACT Gift of Life Organisation with the Terry Connolly Award for Healthcare Leadership and Innovation. In 2017, he was made a member of the Order of Australia.

Professor David McGiffin

Professor McGiffin graduated from the University of Queensland Medical School and subsequently interned and trained in General Surgery at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane before going on to train in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Prince Charles Hospital. In 1982, Professor McGiffin went to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar and undertook a Fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He joined the faculty at UAB but returned to Australia in 1986 to The Prince Charles Hospital where he did adult and paediatric cardiac surgery and also set up the Queensland Heart Transplant Program. In 1992, Professor McGiffin returned to UAB where his clinic duties included the full range of adult cardiac surgery and heart and lung transplantation. He commenced a pulmonary endarterectomy program for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

Professor McGiffin returned to Australia in 2013 to take up a position as Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Alfred Hospital. His clinical practice includes adult cardiac surgery, heart and lung transplantation, ventricular assist devices and pulmonary endarterectomy. His major research work involves investigating mechanisms of driveline infection after implantation of ventricular assist devices and hypothermic perfusion to extend the ischemic time of donor hearts for transplantation.

Session 3 – Benchtop to Bedside Cancer Research

Dr Anthony Joshua

He completed his medical oncology training at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney, Australia before moving to Toronto, Canada to complete a PhD under the supervision of Dr Jeremy Squire in prostatic carcinogenesis, and a clinical Fellowship under Dr Ian Tannock.

He joined the Department of Medical Oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto as a staff oncologist in late 2008, specialising in genito-urinary malignancy and melanoma with research interests in circulating tumour DNA, tumour heterogeneity, mechanisms of enzalutamide resistance and autophagy.

He returned to Australia, joining the Kinghorn Cancer Centre and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in late 2015. He is currently a conjoint Associate Professor with the University of New South Wales.

Associate Professor Louise Emmett

She is a Nuclear medicine physician with a specialty interest in the PET imaging and therapy of prostate Cancer. She undertook her medical undergraduate training in Auckland, New Zealand, prior to completing her specialty training in Nuclear Medicine in Sydney, and a post specialty fellowship in Toronto, Canada in 2001. She has a strong interest in research, having completed a Doctorate of Medicine in 2012. She commenced work in Nuclear medicine and PET at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney in 2012, and has since initiated radiopharmacy production of both F18 fluoromethyl Choline, Ga68 DOTA and Ga68 PSMA on the St Vincent’s campus for clinical and research evaluation of prostate cancer. She is heavily involved in multidisciplinary prostate cancer research in Australia, including both imaging and therapy.

Dr James Thompson

Dr James Thompson is an experienced robotic and minimally-invasive urological surgeon. He graduated from Medicine at UNSW with 1st class honours in 2007, then completed a 2-year residency in medicine/ surgery at Royal North Shore in 2009. He completed a 6-year Royal College of Surgeons accredited training program in urological surgery in 2016, and graduated from a PhD in prostate cancer research in 2017.

He then travelled to London for a Royal College of Surgeons UK accredited position as senior clinical fellow in robotic prostate and bladder cancer surgery at University College London Hospital (UCLH), the largest centre in the UK; in 2017, he received the rare honour of being appointed as a consultant surgeon performing robotic prostate and bladder cancer surgery at UCLH.

In 2018, he returned to Sydney to bring home sub-specialised robotic cancer surgery to the Australian community. He is a senior lecturer at UNSW and a senior research fellow at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre/ Garvan Institute of Medical Research. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, is a reviewer for leading international urology journals and is an investigator on several clinical trials and academic research grants.

Dr Barbara Withers

Dr Barbara Withers is a haematologist working at St Vincent’s Hospital. She has a special interest in allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplant and the use of cellular therapies to manipulate immune cell recovery post-transplant. She has completed a PhD on the use of CMV-specific T-cells to treat refractory CMV infection post-transplant. She won the American Society of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy George Santos award for the best clinical science article by a new investigator in 2018. The article described the creation of an off-the-shelf bank of virus specific T-cells for treatment of viral infections after transplant. She also works with neurology colleagues to oversee the clinical program of autologous transplantation for treatment of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune neurological disorders. In future, she would like to explore the use of cellular therapies in the setting of autoimmune disorders and primary immune deficiency disorders as an adjunct to transplantation.