Orators/Invited Speakers/Guests

Orators and Speakers

AWT Edwards Orator – Prof Emily Banks AM

Professor Emily Banks AM is a public health physician and epidemiologist. She works mainly on using large-scale evidence to identify actions to improve health and health care, at an individual and population level. Her main areas of work are in chronic disease, tobacco control, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and healthy ageing. She is Head of the Centre of Epidemiology for Policy and Practice at the Australian National University, an NHMRC Investigator Fellow, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford and a Member of the Order of Australia.


Firkin Orator – Distinguished Professor Ian R Reid, MD FRSNZ

Ian Reid is an endocrinologist and Distinguished Professor at the University of Auckland.  His research interests include calcium metabolism, vitamin D, osteoporosis and Paget’s disease. He has worked extensively in the development of the bisphosphonates for use in osteoporosis and Paget’s disease, and also on the safety and efficacy of calcium supplements, vitamin D deficiency and supplementation, and has been involved in development of most new osteoporosis treatments in the last 30 years. He is a past-president of the International Bone and Mineral Society (IBMS) and the Australian & New Zealand Bone & Mineral Society (ANZBMS), and recipient of research awards from the European Calcified Tissue Society, the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, the ANZBMS and the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Science Prize.
Plenary and Keynote Speakers 
Prof. Eric Chow, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, The Alfred Hospital

Professor Eric Chow is a clinical epidemiologist and biostatistician at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) at The Alfred Hospital. He heads the Health Data Management and Biostatistics Unit and co-head the Clinical Evaluation Unit at MSHC and is a Professor at Central Clinical School, Monash University. He has published >350 peer-reviewed publications and his research program aims to improve the treatment, prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections (STI), with a particular focus on gonorrhoea and human papillomavirus (HPV). His work influenced global policies on the recommendation of the HPV program and has changed international STI treatment and screening guidelines. He is a member of 11 national/international committees and working groups including WHO. He has also worked with several non-governmental and community-based organisations on sexual health education and interventions.

Professor Chow has received >30 national/international research awards/prizes, this includes the 2022 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases (also commonly known as the ‘Oscars’ for Australian science) and ASMR’s Peter Doherty Leading Light Award 2022.

A/Prof Connie Wong, Monash Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Monash University

Associate Professor Connie Wong is the head of the Neuroinflammation Research Group and Deputy Director of Monash Centre for Inflammatory Diseases. The focus of Connie’s research is investigating the pathophysiology of stroke and the subsequent host inflammatory response. After completing her PhD at Monash University, Connie was trained in the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the University of Calgary in Canada and returned to Monash University in 2013, before heading her own lab in 2015.

A/Prof Wong has published >60 journal articles, including first/senior author in Science, Nature Immunology and Nature Medicine. Her research is funded by NHMRC, MRFF and National Heart Foundation and she is a current recipient of the CSL Centenary Fellowship.

Dr Sarah Stephenson, Neurogenetics Group, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Dr. Stephenson is a molecular neurobiologist who uses cutting-edge genomic modalities to understand, diagnose, and treat children with epilepsy. She is interested in new perspectives, strategies, and innovations. Moreover, she advocates for embedding research infrastructure at every stage of a patient’s treatment, believing it is essential for better patient outcomes.

Dr Katherine Howell Neurology, Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Dr Katherine Howell is a paediatric neurologist and epileptologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and a Clinician-Scientist Fellow and the Epilepsy Team Leader at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She is the lead investigator at the Melbourne Children’s Campus for the Gene-STEPS study of rapid genomic sequencing in infants with epilepsy, conducted by the International Precision Child Health Partnership consortium of world-leading paediatric institutes, aiming to improve precision diagnosis and treatment for children with rare diseases.  Her research has been supported by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Medical Research Futures Fund.

A/Prof. Arnold Ju, Charles Perkins Centre and The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Arnold Ju received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, USA. In 2014, he joined the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, Monash University, Melbourne as a junior postdoc; and relocated in 2015 to Sydney, to join the Heart Research Institute. In early 2020, Dr Ju joined the University of Sydney (USYD)’s new BME school as a senior lecturer and started up the Mechanobiology and Biomechanics Laboratory (MBL).

A/Prof Ju currently holds an Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship, working at the interface between mechanical engineering and mechanobiology. His team has pioneered multiple biomechanical nanotools, including blood clot-on-chip microfluidic devices (Nature Materials 2019), single-cell biomembrane force probes (Nature Communications 2018), and 4-D haemodynamic modelling (Nature 2021). Recently, he was awarded the prestigious mid-career Snow Fellowship.

His vision is to build novel platforms that integrate advanced biomanufacturing, high-throughput biomechanical manipulation, and artificial intelligence for biobank data processing. His track record spans developing, characterising, and evaluating innovations of 3D organoids and organ-on-chips, mechanobiology, imaging probes and biosensors, bio-nanotechnology, and image-based deep learning. These large facilities should provide significant benefits to interdisciplinary research in biofabrication, biomechanics and point-of-care microtechnologies.