SAHMRI. Inspired research, better health for all.

Our research advisory committee

Professor John Shine AO, FAA

Professor Shine was Garvan's Executive Director from 1990-2011. His name is known to most undergraduate biology students for his role in defining the Shine-Dalgarno gene sequence, which is responsible for the initiation and termination of protein-synthesis.

John has a number of other significant scientific ‘firsts’ under his belt. He was a central figure in the cloning of the insulin and growth hormone genes; was the first to clone a human hormone gene; was responsible for cloning of an endorphin gene and was the first to demonstrate that hormone genes cloned in bacteria could be expressed in a biologically active form. He also determined the first sequence responsible for replication of a cancer-causing virus.

John’s scientific career took off following a move, in 1975, to San Francisco. It was there that he cloned numerous genes as well as develop techniques to do this – he is a sole inventor on a patent for using phosphatase to direct the joining of DNA molecules.

A three year appointment at California Biotechnology (CalBio) Inc company saw John guide it from a staff of some 15 scientists in 1984 to over 200 in 1987. During this period, Cal Bio developed several important new therapeutics including treatments for congestive heart failure, infant respiratory distress syndrome, and burns and general wound healing agents. At the same time, John developed an interest in the generation of functional diversity in the nervous system, a research area he established on joining the Garvan.

Professor Vicki Anderson

Professor Anderson is a paediatric neuropsychologist with over 20 years' experience. She started her career working at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, where she worked as a clinician, then as Coordinator of Neuropsychology Services, until taking up a lectureship at the University of Melbourne. In 2002 she was appointed Director of Psychology at the Royal Children's Hospital, and in 2005 she took up the position of Theme Director, Critical Care and Neurosciences Research at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

Her interests are in disorders of childhood that impact on the central nervous system, including both developmental and acquired disorders. Her primary research focus is understanding the impact of traumatic brain injury for the developing brain, and in identifying ways of preventing and treating the resultant impairments. She has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, as well as two text books and has obtained competitive research grants totalling over $4 million. Her research group has recently established the Australian Centre for Child Neuropsychological Studies at the MCRI.

She serves as consulting editor on a number of prestigious international neuropsychology journals. She has served on the Board of Governors of the International Neuropsychological Society, and has had a long-term involvement, at an executive level, with the Australian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment and has been President of the Society. She was recently made a fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

Professor Ian Frazer FAA

Professor Frazer is one of Australia’s most celebrated medical research scientists. He has received numerous national and international awards for his work in developing the technology that has enabled vaccines to help prevent cervical cancer. In May 2011, Prof Frazer was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. This achievement elevates him to the same status as world renowned scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Sir Isaac Newton. In 2012, Professor Frazer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Beginning his training as a renal physician and clinical immunologist in Edinburgh, Scotland, Prof Frazer emigrated to Melbourne in 1981 to pursue studies in viral immunology and autoimmunity at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research with Prof Ian Mackay.

In 1985, he moved to Brisbane to assume a teaching post with The University of Queensland (UQ) and was appointed Director of the Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research (known as The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute) in 1991. He has most recently taught immunology to undergraduate and graduate students of the University and has research interests in immunoregulation and immunotherapeutic vaccines for Papillomavirus associated cancers.

He is the immediate past President of the Cancer Council Australia, Chairman of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation's Medical Research Advisory Committee, and Chair of the International Agency for Research on Cancer Scientific Advisory Committee.

Professor Doug Hilton AO, FAA

Professor Hilton is the sixth Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, head of its Molecular Medicine division, and head of the Department of Medical Biology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Professor Hilton's research aims to understand which of the 25,000 genes are important in the production and function of blood cells and how this information can be used to better prevent, diagnose and treat blood cell diseases such as leukaemia, arthritis and asthma. He has been awarded numerous prizes for his research into how blood cells communicate and has led major collaborations with industry to translate his discoveries from the bench to the bedside.

Professor Hilton was educated at Warrandyte primary school and East Doncaster high school in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, prior to completing a Bachelor of Science degree at Monash University. In 1986, he moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and The University of Melbourne as a Bachelor of Science Honours student and stayed to complete his PhD. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at The Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, before returning to WEHI as a laboratory head. In 2005 he was invited to create and lead the Division of Molecular Medicine, which aims to use systems biology to understand the blood cell system. In 2009, Doug was appointed as the 6th director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

Professor Nadia Rosenthal

Professor Rosenthal is Founding Director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University, Melbourne and Scientific Head of EMBL Australia. She also holds a Professorship of Cardiovascular Science at Imperial College London. She obtained her PhD from Harvard Medical School, where she later directed a biomedical research laboratory. She established the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) mouse biology campus in Rome, is an EMBO member, and was awarded the Ferrari-Soave Prize in Cell Biology, Doctors Honoris Causa from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris and the University of Amsterdam, and an NH&MRC Australia Fellowship. She is a Founding Editor of Disease Models and Mechanisms and Editor-in-Chief of Differentiation. Rosenthal’s research focuses on the role of growth factors, stem cells and the immune system in the resolution of heart and skeletal muscle injury and disease for applications in ageing and regenerative medicine.

Professor John Mattick

John Mattick was born in Sydney in 1950. After completing his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Sydney and Monash University in 1977, he undertook postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. In 1982 he returned to Australia to work at the CSIRO Division of Molecular Biology in Sydney, and in 1988 moved to the University of Queensland in Brisbane, where he was the Foundation Professor of Molecular Biology, and Foundation Director, ARC Federation Fellow and then NHMRC Australia Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

During this period he was also the Foundation Director of the Australian Genome Research Facility, the ARC Special Research Centre for Molecular & Cellular Biology and the ARC Special Research Centre for Functional & Applied Genomics. He also spent sabbatical periods at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Cologne and Strasbourg. In 2012 he returned to Sydney to take up the position of Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Professor Mattick has served on councils, advisory boards and committees of a number of research and funding organisations, including Genome Canada, the Wellcome Trust, the Human Frontier Science Program, the National Health & Medical Research Council, and the Human Genome Organisation.

He has made several seminal contributions to molecular biology, including delineation of the architecture and function of the fatty acid synthase complex, development of one of the first recombinant DNA-based vaccines, and genetic characterisation of bacterial surface filaments called type IV pili involved in host colonisation.

Over the past 20 years he has pioneered a new view of the genetic programming of humans and other complex organisms, by showing that the majority of the genome, previously considered ‘junk’, actually specifies a dynamic network of regulatory RNAs that guide differentiation and development. He has published over 250 research articles and his work has received coverage in Nature, Science, Scientific American, New Scientist and the New York Times, among others.

Professor Peter Libby

Professor Libby, MD, is the previous Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He also serves as the Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His current major research focus is the role of inflammation in vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. Dr. Libby has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research accomplishments, most recently the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology (2011) and the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association (2011). His areas of clinical expertise include general and preventive cardiology.

Dr. Libby’s professional memberships include the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and elected honorary memberships in the British Atherosclerosis Society, the Japan Circulation Society, and the Japanese College of Cardiology. He has served as the President of the Association of University Cardiologists. He also has served in many roles as a volunteer for the American Heart Association, including chairman of several research committees and member of the executive committees of the Councils on Arteriosclerosis, Circulation, and Basic Science. He has served two terms as Chairperson of the American College of Cardiology’s Research Allocations Peer Review Committee. He directed the DW Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center and two cycles of Leducq Foundation Awards, and has received continuous funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for several decades.

An author and lecturer on cardiovascular medicine and atherosclerosis, Dr. Libby has published extensively in medical journals including Circulation, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature. He is one of the Editors of Braunwald’s Heart Disease, having served as the Editor-in Chief of the 8th Edition. Dr. Libby has also contributed chapters on the pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of atherosclerosis to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. He has held numerous visiting professorships and has been selected to deliver more than 70 named or keynote lectures throughout the world.

Dr. Libby earned his medical degree at the University of California, San Diego, and completed his training in internal medicine and cardiology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital). He also holds an honorary MA degree from Harvard University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Lille, France.

Professor Melanie Wakefield

Professor Wakefield is Director of the Cancer Council Victoria's Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC). She is also a Principal Research Fellow of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, with honorary professorial appointments at three Australian universities. She has training in psychology and public health.

Her centre conducts applied behavioural research to guide the development and evaluation of population-focused cancer prevention programs, including mass media campaigns in tobacco control, skin cancer prevention, obesity prevention and to promote cancer screening. Her research centre is closely integrated with Cancer Council Victoria programs that develop and deliver mass media campaigns, including the well-known Australian Quit and SunSmart campaigns, and it provides advice and input into cancer prevention policies and media campaigns to governments at state, national and international levels.

Professor Wakefield is internationally known for her research on the effects of tobacco control policies and mass media campaigns on smoking behaviour, supported by grants from Australian, US, and international funding sources. She has published around 200 peer-reviewed journal papers, including experimental studies of advertising exposure and population survey studies to assess campaign effects on population-wide smoking behaviour. She is a member of various Australian government advisory committees on preventive health, an Expert Advisor to World Health Organisation on tobacco control issues, and a past voting member of the FDA's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. Melanie was recently awarded the internationally prestigious American Cancer Society Luther L. Terry Award 2012 for Outstanding Research Contribution in Tobacco Control.

Dr Justin McArthur

Dr McArthur is nationally and internationally recognized for his work in studying the natural history, development and treatment of HIV infection, multiple sclerosis and other neurological infections and immune-mediated neurological disorders. Dr. McArthur has also developed a technique to use cutaneous nerves to study sensory neuropathies, including those associated with chemotherapy, HIV and diabetes.

Dr McArthur is also the Director the of the Johns Hopkins/National Institute of Mental Health Research Center for Novel Therapeutics of HIV-associated Cognitive Disorders. The Center is comprised of an experienced interdisciplinary research team who have pooled their talents to study the nature of HIV-associated cognitive disorders. Their aim is to translate discoveries of the pathophysiological mechanisms into novel therapeutics for HIV-associated dementia (HIV-D).

Dr McArthur received his medical degree from Guys Hospital Medical School in London, UK. He then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. He then stayed with Johns Hopkins to complete a residency in neurology and achieve his masters in public health. He is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology.

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Adelaide 5000
South Australia

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PO Box 11060
Adelaide 5001
South Australia


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SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and pays respect to the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region. We also acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and the relationship of the Kaurna people to their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna peoples' ancestors and the living Kaurna people today.