Phenomics Australia Board
The Phenomics Australia Board provides oversight and strategic guidance for all Phenomics Australia activities and investments. The Board members provide extensive experience in scientific strategy, biomedical research, policy, governance, industry engagement and commercialisation.
Dr Carol Wicking BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD has over 30 years’ experience in academic research both in Australia and internationally. In addition to her role as member of the Board of Phenomics Australia, she a Chair of the Scientific and medical Advisory Committee and a non-executive Director of Australia’s peak organization for rare disease, Rare Voices Australia.
“Following a long career in medical research, I am a passionate advocate for the importance of research in generation of knowledge, wealth and positive health outcomes. I therefore understanding and appreciate the value of a coordinated and collaborative national research infrastructure platform of the highest caliber and, through my role on the Board, am committed to ensuring Phenomics Australia remains a crucial link in this infrastructure pipeline”
Dr Carol Wicking
Dr Liz Jazwinska PhD, MBA, GAICD, BSc Hons is experienced in R&D innovation, technology and business development and has held senior executive position in Academia, Industry and Government in Australia and Internationally. In addition to her role as Chair of the Board of Phenomics Australia, Liz assists several not-for-profit organisations in Australia and New Zealand to build strategy and deliver socio-economic benefit.
“Phenomics Australia plays a key role in driving economic growth through its support of excellence and innovation in the Australian research sector. As the current and inaugural chair of the Governance Board (2016-2019), I am delighted to continue to contribute through my membership of the Board to the ongoing strategic growth and development of this highly relevant and valuable national infrastructure facility.”
Dr Liz Jazwinska
Dr Susan Pond AM, FRSN FTSE FAHMS is an experienced leader in business & academia, recognized for her national & international contributions in science, technology and medicine.
Apart from her role as Board member of Phenomics Australia, Susan chairs the New South Wales Smart Sensing Network and is non-executive director of several listed, private and not-for-profit organisations.
“I was a member of the Australian Government’s National Research Infrastructure Review in 2015 and continue to promote the strong case for investing in excellent research infrastructure through my membership of the Phenomics Australia Board.”
Dr Susan Pond
Dr Douglas Robertson is Director of the Research Services Division at the Australian National University reporting to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research; an appointment he took up in July 2013.
The Director leads the research service support activities at the ANU. He has over 30 years’ experience in research, economic development, technology transfer, spin out companies and commercialization in the UK and Australia.
During that time he has negotiated over $3.9bn of research and development funding, served on the board of over 20 technology businesses and assisted the established of over 20 other early stage technology businesses.
Dr Robertson was a founding Director of Praxis-Auril (formerly Praxis), a major UK and international technology transfer training organization and Chair in 2012 and 2013. He serves on the Boards of MTP Connect and four NCRIS facilities including Phenomics Australia.
“Collaboration is of fundamental importance in advancing knowledge and supporting research through the provision of shared facilities and aggregated expertise is key to a strong innovation oriented economy which is needed now more than ever.”
Dr Douglas Robertson
Dr Michael Poidinger has over 20 years’ experience in the management and analysis of biological and biomedical data, and has worked in academic, government and commercial settings working on integrated core systems to enable biodiscovery in Australia, the UK, Singapore and the USA. He spent 10 years as a principal investigator in bioinformatics at the Singapore Immunology Network, and currently works as the Research Dara Manger for the Murdoch Children’s Research institute.
“I have many years’ experience in seeing how powerful and important well set up core facilities are in advancing all aspects of modern biomedical research . The services and expertise that Phenomics Australia provides to the research community is invaluable and I am proud to be on the Board and help drive strategy and innovation for Phenomics Australia.”
Dr Michael Poidinger
Prof. Glenn Withers is an honorary professor in economics at ANU an and adjunct professor in cybersecurity at UNSW Canberra. He has been President of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and of the Australian Council of Learned Academies. He was the founding CEO of Universities Australia and, earlier, a Professor of Public Policy at ANU.
Glenn has a Harvard PhD in economics and business and has consulted for government, business, and community sectors, including chairing a Commonwealth Task Force on Infrastructure. He received an AO for the development of the Australian immigration points system and is Chair of the Global Development Learning Network.
“Having reviewed infrastructure strategy for Government and having long been an advocate for universities within that space, I am delighted to be able to join the Phenomics Australia Board and play a new direct role in a crucial foundation area for facilitating leading scientific research”
Prof. Glenn Withers
Phenomics Australia Scientific Leaders
The Phenomics Australia Scientific Leadership Committee is responsible for the delivery of Phenomics Australia’s various services, while regularly providing highly informed scientific, technical, and strategic advice to the Board.
A/Prof Kaylene Simpson has a passion for technology development and application in biomedical research and extensive national and international connections with leading companies to ensure early access to new technologies .
She has led the Functional High Throughput Technologies Australia meeting for the past 10 years, bringing together the screening community to continue to raise the profile within the country .
“The VCFG enables researchers Australia-wide to perform unbiased discovery screens using CRISPR, RNAi and compounds together with quantitive cellular phenotyping using High content imaging in both 2D and 3D settings. An NCRIS lab for the past 11 years, the VCFG is a highly experienced team who actively engage with researchers to support their projects from assay development to analysis, training the next generation and providing critical infrastructure to the nation.”
A/Prof. Kaylene Simpson.
Head Of Victorian Centre For Functional Genomics (VCFG) at Peter Mac
Professor Marco Herold is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Laboratory Head in the Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall institute of Medical Research (WEHI), Melbourne.
His research team specializes in applying CRISPR gene editing techniques to identify novel cancer driving genes and to develop new pre-clinical models of disease . Marco established the Melbourne Advanced Genome Editing Center (MAGEC), which uses CRISPR/Cas9 techniques to generate mice with knockout, knock-in and complex mutant alleles.
Since the establishment of the MAGEC laboratory in 2014 it has successfully produced more than 250 mutant mouse models for the Scientific community in Australia.
The MAGEC lab is one of four CRISPR nodes within the Phenomics Australia network, which regularly communicates and exchanges ideas and reagents with the other nodes.
“Phenomics Australia represents in my opinion a fantastic resource for the Australia Research Community. The MAGEC lab is happy to contribute pre-clinical mouse models to facilitate cutting edge research to better understand and find new treatments for different disease.”
Prof. Marco Herold
Head Of The Melbourne Advanced Genome Editing Center (MAGEC) at WEHI
Prof Paul Thomas' research focuses on the development of CRISPR genome editing technology for a range of applications including generation and analysis of mouse models for neurodevelopmental disorders, development of genetic therapies for eye and muscle diseases and synthetic gene drives for invasive pest suppression.
He has published more than 100 scientific articles with > 8,000 citations.
In 2014, he established the SAGE Facility at the University of Adelaide and in 2018, he relocated SAGE and his research laboratory to SAHMRI.
SAGE is one of four CRISPR mouse nodes supported by Phenomics Australia and his generated over 100 mouse models for researchers across Australia. Regular exchange of ideas and techniques between the nodes ensures that the latest technical advances are used to generate modified mice for the Australian research community.
“New genome editing tools such as CRISPR have been a game-changer for biomedical researchers, enabling rapid development of preclinical mouse models to investigate gene function and develop of new therapies. I am delighted that SAGE, through the support of Phenomics Australia, is able to offer a cost effective and efficient mouse production service to accelerate discovery science and facilitate development of better therapeutic approaches for a host of diseases.”
Prof. Paul Thomas
Head Of The Genome Editing Laboratory And South Australian Genome Editing (SAGE) Facility at SAHMRI
Dr. Alexander Combes is Head of the Development and Disease laboratory at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. His research investigates kidney formation and birth defects in animal models and applies developmental principles to engineer new stem cell models of human kidney disease.
At Phenomics Australia, Dr. Combes heads an expert team dedicated to generating new cellular and animal models of disease with CRISPR gene editing and traditional approaches. They also facilitate the import and use of mouse ES cells from international repositories and provide cryopreservation facilities mirroring those at the ANU, to safely store mouse lines.
“Our work at Phenomics Australia enables academic and industry bodies across the nation to investigate disease mechanisms and develop new therapies to address our national health priorities. We aim to provide equitable and economical access to the latest technologies to support Australia’s biomedical research community.”
Dr. Alexander Combes
Head Of The Monash Genome Modification Platform (MGMP) at Monash University.
Prof Janet Keast was recruited to the Chair of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne in 2012, following her role as NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Director and Director of Basic Research at the Pain Management Research Institute, the University of Sydney at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Janet’s research is strongly based on functional anatomy and aims to understand at multiscale the connectivity and communication between neural networks and organ systems.
Her Research utilizes rodent models and clinical specimens and is currently focused on understanding the neural regulation of the urogenital system, and the impact of injury and disease on these circuits.
At Phenomics Australia, Janet leads a talented team of histopathologists who provides expert phenotyping services to researchers across Australia. These services include extensive, quality-controlled tissue preparation and histological processing, pathological analyses, and digital slide scanning for experimental mouse models.
We also partner internationally with PATHBIO, an EU Erasmus + Knowledge Program, to develop and promote training in precision pathology of disease models.
“Our team at Phenomics Australia has the expertise to perform detailed histopathology analyses across all of the organs of the body, providing researchers with fundamental insights into the biological processes underpinning disease. We have had the privilege of assisting with more than 500 projects across Australia since our inception in 2008 and look forward to continuing to build research outcomes in the future ”
Prof. Janet Keast
Head Of The Histopathology And Digital Slide Service Unit at The University Of Melbourne.
Dr Louise Winteringham has an extensive background in cancer research focusing on the regulation of gene expression in normal and cancer cells and was a member of the FANTOM5 consortium, undertaking an extensive analysis of mammalian transcriptomes.
As head of the Translational Cancer Research Program, she has established a research pipeline to facilitate sample collection, processing, analysis, and biobanking with a focus on developing precision medicine for oncology patients.
“Phenomics Australia provides an extraordinary opportunity for researchers to access the latest expertise and technology in functional genomics to advance our scientific knowledge and drive better health outcomes.”
Dr Louise Winteringham
Head Of The Translational Cancer Research Program at Perkins Institute.
Professor Graham Mann joined the John Curtin School of Medical Research as its Director in July 2019, bringing a national and international reputation in basic and translational cancer research.
After graduating in Medicine and training in medical oncology in Sydney he studied cell proliferation mechanisms as a graduate student at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Sydney Branch, and as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Umeå, Sweden. In 1990, having obtained his PhD and FRACP, he established himself at the Westmead campus of Sydney Medical School as a full-time researcher in cancer genetics in partnership with Rick Kefford, focussing on familial melanoma.
In a diverse team of clinical and translational research leaders in melanoma, associated with Melanoma Institute Australia, Graham has held NHMRC Program Grants since 2006, led a new NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Melanoma in 2017, and been supported by translational program grants of Cancer Institute NSW. His research has engaged in all aspects of melanoma control, from the genetics of melanoma risk and its environmental and psychological aspects to the use of molecular markers and targets to improve the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. From his base in the Westmead Institute he has initiated and co-led the Australian Melanoma Genome Project, the MelCOR Australian Clinical Outcomes Register project, and the ACRF Centre for Excellence in Melanoma Diagnosis (ACEMID) project, awarded the triennial $10m ACRF capital grant.
Prof. Graham Mann
Director Of The John Curtin School Of Medical Research, ANU.
Phenomics Australia Executive Team
The Executive Team is responsible for the day-to-day operation of Phenomics Australia.
Dr Michael Dobbie has worked to establish and operate Phenomics Australia since its foundation in 2007, serving as CEO since 2013.
Prior to leading the development and implementation of these national research infrastructures, Michael was a biomedical research with a PhD in Neurochemistry from the University of London and gained over 20 Years’ experience at the bench in field including genetics, vascular biology, cancer angiogenesis, neuroscience, metabolism, developmental biology, malaria and oxidative stress.
“I am dedicated to ensuring that the NCRIS program achieves its ambition to catalyze the highest quality Australian research through partnerships and the provision of world-class research infrastructure. It is reward to work with the myriad of partnerships, including those within Phenomics Australia, other capabilities across the NCRIS program, and our national and international discovery partners.”
Dr Michael Dobbie
Chief Executive Officer
Jim joined Phenomics Australia as Chief Operating Officer in 2017, having previously worked within the Operations Team running the University of Sydney's Core Research Facilities.
A chemist by training, Jim has held research positions with the CSIRO and the Australian National University in Canberra, and was an Editor for Nature Research in London for 4 years.
Dr Jim Hennessy
Chief Operating Officer
Dr Marina Trigueros joined Phenomics Australia in 2020 as a Communications and Outreach Coordinator bringing an in-depth knowledge of science communication.
Prior to joining Phenomics Australia, she founded and led Cariboo Design, a science communication studio devoted to explaining Scientific topics to broad audiences through illustrations and 3D animations.
She has worked in various research roles for the CSIRO and Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology, with a focus on projects using gene editing technologies.
Marina holds a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cell Biology, a research center funded by both the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Spanish Research Council in Valencia, Spain.
She is a Board member of the Association of Spanish Researchers in Australia-Pacific and member of the National Science Week Coordination Committee for the ACT.
“Phenomics Australia is a great example of impactful teamwork collaboration. It is fulfilling working with such a diverse team of experts with the same enthusiasm for science, willing to go the extra mile to boost Australian research excellence and ultimately improve health outcomes worldwide.”
Dr Marina Trigueros
Communications and Outreach Coordinator
John has over 20 years’ experience in therapeutic R&D for pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and world-leading medical research institutes. He is an experienced project manager deft at managing stakeholder relationships in key collaborations and who has succeeded in projects running from target validation via in vitro or in vivo models, to preclinical drug discovery and assay development for high-throughput screening, to lead identification and optimisation to develop drugs suitable for human clinical trials. He has a comprehensive understanding of the path to market for new drug entities. His involvement has been within drug development within multiple therapeutic disease areas encompassing cancer, respiratory, inflammatory, tropical diseases, and more recently, immunotherapeutic targets. He has a deep understanding of the pre-clinical to regulatory pathways to develop new therapies for approval by the TGA & FDA and will be managing the functional genomics portfolios of BPA/PA via a shared appointment.
Strategic Partnerships Advisor
Sarah joined the Phenomics Australia team in 2022 as the Executive Assistant supporting the Phenomics Australia Executive, Board, Scientific Leadership Committee, and Node staff. She is an experienced Executive Assistant, having worked in similar roles for a number of years in the Public Service. Prior to joining the Phenomics Australia Team, she worked as a Program Officer supporting the due diligence process for the Government’s Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
“As the Executive Assistant, I am delighted to be representing the Phenomics Australia team and providing high-level administrative and executive support. I hope via cultivating close working relationship amongst its many key contacts, I can assist in ensuring the NCRIS program achieve its high-impact healthcare outcomes in precision medicine.”
Phenomics Australia is made possible by phenomenal people. Here we shine a spotlight on some of our staff members who go above and beyond for researchers; enabling high impact outcomes benefitting all Australians.