Orators/Invited Speakers/Guests

Firkin Orator



Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding is a University Distinguished Professor, and a researcher in the LiFEPATH research group of the University’s Liggins Institute.  Her training included a medical degree at the University of Auckland, a D Phil at the University of Oxford, and a postdoctoral Fogarty Fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco.

Professor Harding has undertaken teaching and research at the University of Auckland for much of her career. She is a paediatrician and practised as specialist neonatologist caring for newborn babies at National Women’s Hospital.  She was also Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), with overall responsibility for the University’s research activities.

Her on-going research concerns the role of nutrition and growth factors in the regulation of growth before and after birth, blood glucose regulation in the newborn, and the longterm consequences of treatments given around the time of birth.

Amongst her many awards are the Howard Williams Medal from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Beaven Medal from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Norman J Siegel Outstanding Science Award from the American Pediatric Society, and the Rutherford Medal from the Royal Society of New Zealand.

AWT Edwards Orator

Professor David Craik, UQ Laureate Fellow

David Craik obtained his PhD in organic chemistry from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia and undertook postdoctoral studies at Florida State and Syracuse Universities before taking up a lectureship at the Victorian College of Pharmacy in 1983. He was appointed Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Head of School in 1988. He moved to University of Queensland in 1995 to set up a new biomolecular NMR laboratory and is currently an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow.

Professor Craik is in the Division of Chemistry and Structural Biology at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Australia. He discovered the cyclotide family of circular proteins and has characterized the structures of many animal toxins including conotoxins from cone snail venoms. He heads a research team of 35 researchers whose current work focuses on applications of circular proteins, toxins and NMR in drug design.

He is author of over 600 scientific papers, including 6 in Nature/Nature Communications/Nature Neoroscience/Nature Structural Biology/Nature Chemical Biology/Nature Chemistry, 1 in Science, 9 in PNAS and 8 in Angewandte Chemie. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and has received numerous awards for his research, including the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award from the American Chemical Society (2011), Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research (2014), GlaxoSmithKline Award for Research Excellence (2014), the Vincent du Vigneaud Award from the American Peptide Society (2015) and the FAOBMB Award for Research Excellence (2015). He is an Honorary Professor of Jinan University, Guangzhou and has an Honorary Doctorate from Kalmar University in Sweden.

Invited Speakers

Professor Mark Febbraio

Professor Mark Febbraio is a Senior Principal Research Fellow of the NHMRC, and the Head of the Cellular and Molecular Metabolism Laboratory within the Drug Discovery Program at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University Australia.

He is also the CSO of N-Gene Research Laboratories Inc., a USA based Biotechnology Company and the Founder and CSO of the recently incorporated company. His research is focussed on understanding mechanisms associated with exercise, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer and his aim is to develop novel drugs to treat lifestyle related diseases.

He has authored over 270 peer reviewed papers in leading journals, has over 40,000 career citations and an H factor of 112. He has won prizes at international, national and institutional levels including the A K McIntyre Prize for significant contributions to Australian Physiological Science (1999), the ESA/ADS Joint Plenary Lecture (2009), the Kellion Award for the Australian Diabetes Society (2017), The Eureka Scientific Prize (2020), The GSK Award for Research Excellence (2020) and The Endocrinology Society UK International Medallist (2021).


Professor Fabienne Mackay

Professor Fabienne Mackay studied Medicine and Biomedical Engineering before she obtained her PhD in Molecular Biology and Immunology from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France. She is the 8th Director and CEO of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Queensland. Prior to that, in 1994, she started her research career in the biotech industry at Biogen Inc. in Boston. She then arrived in Australia in 1999 when she joined the Garvan Institute in Sydney and became Director of the Autoimmunity Research Unit. In 2009, she was recruited as Head of the Department of Immunology at Monash University. In 2015, she became the inaugural Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences and Head of the Department of Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Her laboratory discovered the role of a very important factor, named BAFF, in health but also in autoimmune diseases, findings described in very highly cited articles and providing the knowledge foundation for the development of a novel therapy called belimumab (BenlystaTM), and now approved for the treatment of patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and the first new treatment for SLE in over 50 years. Professor Mackay’s group is focusing on inhibitors for the BAFF receptor TACI to treat Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) without compromising key immune function. She has published over 184 articles cited 18,500 times. Her h-index is 65. She has published the world’s most highly cited work on BAFF. Her landmark study on the role of BAFF in SLE has been cited 1025 times.


Professor Kate Schroeder

Professor Kate Schroder heads the Inflammasome Laboratory at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB, UQ), as an NHMRC RD Wright Fellow.  She is also the Director of the IMB Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research.

Kate’s graduate (PhD 2005) and postgraduate studies defined novel macrophage activation mechanisms and surprising inter-species divergence in macrophage inflammatory programs.

As an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow in Switzerland, Kate then trained with Prof Jürg Tschopp, a pioneer in the inflammasome and cell death fields. Upon returning to Australia, Kate established the Inflammasome Lab in 2013.  Kate’s laboratory is defining mechanisms of inflammasome signalling, antimicrobial defence and inflammatory disease.  Her lab co-invented inflammasome inhibitors entering Phase 2 clinical trials as anti-inflammatory drug candidates, under commercialisation by UQ start-up company, Inflazome, for which Kate served on the Scientific Advisory Board.  Inflazome recently sold to pharmaceutical giant Roche for $620M plus milestones, in the largest ever deal for Australian academic intellectual property.

Kate has published >100 articles in top journals, and was recently honoured with the 2020 Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal.


Professor Karen Canfell

Professor Karen Canfell is the inaugural Director of the Daffodil Centre, a joint venture between the University of Sydney and Cancer Council NSW.

She is an epidemiologist, modeller, and a translationally-focused population health researcher. She has led evaluations of new cancer screening approaches for government agencies in several countries and currently leads Compass, which is the first major international experience of cervical screening in an HPV-vaccinated population.

Her team’s work underpins the 2017 transition of the National Cervical Screening Program in Australia from Pap smears to 5-yearly HPV-based screening. She currently has active collaborative modelling grants from the US NIH and WHO to model cervical cancer prevention in the USA and globally. Her work as one of the co-leads of the WHO Cervical Cancer Elimination Modelling Consortium was presented and discussed at the Executive Board of the World Health Assembly in 2020 and supported the formal resolution by WHO to support the cervical cancer elimination initiative, launched in late 2020.

Most recently she led modelling to support new WHO cervical screening guidelines, launched in July 2021.


Dr Shalin Naik

Dr Naik is a graduate of the University of Queensland (Microbiology & Biochemistry) where he did Honours with Prof David Hume on macrophage activation by CpG DNA. After a 2 year hiatus in London, he returned to Melbourne to do his PhD with Prof Ken Shortman on dendritic cell development at WEHI. It was here he gained an interest in single cell tracking and fate determination in biology, and was awarded his PhD in 2006.

Interested in the emerging technology of ‘cellular barcoding’ Dr Naik did his postdoc in the laboratory of Prof Ton Schumacher at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, where he traced the single cell output of haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in vivo. After returning to WEHI in 2013, he was later appointed as a Laboratory Head in the Molecular Medicine and Immunology Divisions where his lab uses single cell systems biology to investigate haematopoiesis. He also leads the Single Cell Open Research Endeavour (SCORE) at WEHI – a collaborative centre for single cell technology, experimental design and computational projects.


Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite is Founding Director of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director of the Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science and Professor of Health Systems Research at Macquarie University.

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite is a leading health services and systems researcher with an international reputation for his work investigating and contributing to systems improvement. He has particular expertise in the culture and structure of acute settings, leadership, management and change in health sector organisations, quality and safety in healthcare, accreditation and surveying processes in international context and the restructuring of health services. Professor Braithwaite is well known for bringing management and leadership concepts and evidence into the clinical arena and he has published extensively, with over 633 refereed contributions. He has presented at or chaired international and national conferences, workshops, symposia and meetings on more than 1,185 occasions, including over 109 keynote addresses. He is the recipient of 53 awards, including the prestigious Health Services Research Award by Research Australia in 2015 and multiple Editor’s Choice awards for papers published in International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

Theories and ideas Professor Braithwaite has helped shape, formulate or devise, and provided research findings for, are now in common use as a result of his work: multi-method, triangulated approaches to research, the boundary-less hospital, accreditation models in general practice and beyond, clinician-managers as key players in reform initiatives, fundamental principles for the governance of health systems, diversity in clinical professional groups, inter-professional learning and culture change rather than restructuring as a more sustainable strategy for reform.


Professor Sharon Lewin

Leading infectious diseases expert, Professor Sharon Lewin, is the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute. She is also a Professor of Medicine at The University of Melbourne and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow. As an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist, her laboratory focuses on basic, translational and clinical research aimed at finding a cure for HIV and understanding the interaction between HIV and hepatitis B virus. Her laboratory is funded by the NHMRC, the National Institutes of Health, The Wellcome Trust, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and multiple commercial partnerships. She is also the Chief Investigator of a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE), The Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE) that aims to bring together Australia’s leading experts in clinical, laboratory and public health research to address the key components required for a rapid and effective emergency response to infectious diseases.

She has authored over 260 publications and given over 100 major international invited talks on HIV cure. Her work on in vitro models of latency, latency reversing agents and clinical trials of cure interventions has attracted widespread interest in the general and scientific media, including Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, The Economist and The New Yorker.



Professor Kelvin Kong

Professor Kelvin Kong is an Aboriginal ENT surgeon who hails from the Worimi people of Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. He is now practising in Newcastle on Awabakal Country, specializing in Paediatric & Adult Otorhinolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery. He is an active member of RACS and ASOHNS, having served on multiple advisory boards and committee’s including the Indigenous Health and Fellowship Services Committee. He is currently serving as secretary of Australia and New Zealand Society Paediatric Otolaryngology (ANZSPO) and chair of Mina (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee for RACS) and serves on Cancer Australia’s Advisory board. Through his connections to the Hunter Medical Research Institute in Newcastle and the Centre of Research Excellence in Ear and Hearing Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (Darwin), Kelvin conducts research into Aboriginal children’s ear disease.

Ms Anne McKenzie AM

Anne joined Telethon Kids Institute in 2004 as the Consumer Advocate, where she developed and implemented an internationally recognised joint program with the University of Western Australia’s School of Population Health to increase consumer and community involvement in health research.Anne is now the Manager of Community Engagement at Telethon Kids. She was previously Head of the Consumer and Community Health Research Network where she established a Strategic Framework and Program of Work for consumer and community involvement across the WA Health Translation Network’s partner organisations, including Telethon Kids.

Professor Paul Glasziou

Paul is Professor of Evidence-Based Practice at Bond University and the Director of the Institute for Evidence Based Healthcare. He was the Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford from 2003-2010. His key interests include identifying and removing the barriers to using high quality research in everyday clinical practice. He is a leader within the Reward Alliance, investigating research waste and promoting better prioritisation, design, conduct, regulation, management and reporting of health research.Other interests include overdiagnosis and overtreatment, general practice, uptake of evidence for non-drug interventions, and automation of systematic review processes.

Dr Tamika Heiden

Dr Tamika Heiden is the founder and principal of Knowledge Translation Australia. Tamika has worked in health research and research coordination for over 15 years and is passionate about making a difference through the translation of research into practice.

Tamika’s education in knowledge translation, and dedication to improving social outcomes from research, led her to develop Knowledge Translation Australia. Tamika’s goal, and purpose for creating knowledge translation Australia, is to ensure that research is relevant and accessible to the people who need it. Tamika has well developed networks, both nationally and internationally, and has trained widely in the field of translation.



Professor James McClusky

Professor James McCluskey has been Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at The University of Melbourne, since 2011. Prior to this he was the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Partnerships), Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology at The university of Melbourne.

Professor McCluskey trained in Perth as a physician and pathologist before spending four years at the National Institutes of Health in the USA. On returning to Australia in 1987 he worked at Monash University until 1991 before joining Flinders University and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Professor McCluskey joined the University of Melbourne in 1997 as Chair in Microbiology and Immunology.. He has published extensively on how genes control immunity, mechanisms of autoimmune disease, immune recognition and the basis of transplantation matching.