Local Speakers

Brendan Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow, The University of Western Australia, Perth

Brendan Kennedy is a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Maths at The University of Western Australia.

His primary research interest is in the development of novel optical imaging techniques. In particular, he leads the development of optical elastography: a method to measure tissue’s micro-scale stiffness. He is developing optical elastography for intraoperative tumour margin detection in breast cancer (feasibility study published in Cancer Research in 2015). He is also exploring the application of optical elastography to tumour and vascular biology, biomaterials and airway physiology. More broadly, he is actively engaged in the development of convergent approaches to research at The University of Western Australia.

In 2014, he received a West Australian Tall Poppy Award for outstanding achievements in scientific research and communication. His research on optical elastography was highlighted as one of the most prominent developments in the field of optics in 2014 by the Optical Society. 

Juliana Hamzah, Laboratory Head, Targeted Drug Delivery, Imaging and Therapy, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Perth

Dr Juliana Hamzah is a NHMRC-National Heart Foundation R.D. Wright research fellow with expertise on targeted delivery for imaging and therapy. Previously she was an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Nanomedicine, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, California (2009-2012). Juliana relocated to Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in 2013 and established her laboratory, Targeted Drug Delivery, Imaging and Therapy.

Her research focuses on developing strategies, incorporating bioengineering and nanotechnology platforms, to specifically target pathological lesions including solid tumours and atherosclerotic lesions for local therapeutic intervention and in vivo imaging. Her work was published in journals including Nature, JCI and PNAS

Ming-Hao Zheng, Associate Dean International, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth

Professor Ming-Hao Zheng graduated from Shantou University and Sun Yet Sen University of Medical Science and obtained PhD (1993) and Doctor of Medicine (1999) at the University of Western Australia. He has admitted as fellow at the Royal College of Pathologists, UK and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Professor Zheng is currently the Associate Dean (International), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Winthrop Professor and Director of Centre for Orthopaedic Research at the University of Western Australia. He is the Chair of Western Australia Premier’s Award Committee (Western Australia in Asia, 2012-2014), Consultant Chief Scientific Officer of Orthocell Ltd. and Chung Kong Lecturing Professor at Zhejiang University, China.  He has published 150 papers and holds 7 patents. Professor Zheng’s major research focus is in the molecular and cellular biology of bone cells, development of autologous tendon cell therapy and cell-scaffold technology for cartilage, tendon and bone regeneration.  

Barry Doyle, Head, Vascular Engineering Lab, The University of Western Australia, Perth

Barry Doyle is the Head of the Vascular Engineering Lab (VascLab) and NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Fellow at The University of Western Australia. Barry has a BEng (2005) and PhD (2009) in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Limerick, Ireland, and was a Marie Curie Fellow in the Department of Medical Physics and the BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science at The University of Edinburgh. He remains an Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh University.

His group’s research focusses primarily on cardiovascular health and disease, and applies cutting-edge engineering techniques to better understand vascular physiology and treat disease. A major research area is aortic disease, such as aneurysms and aortic dissection. To date, Barry has authored one book, edited three books, five book chapters, 37 journal articles, and over 80 conference publications. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Endovascular Therapy and a guest editor for two other journals; leads numerous national and international collaborations; has won over 25 different awards, and has attracted approximately $5.5 million in funding.  

Alan Kop, Biomedical Engineer, Centre for Implant Technology & Retrieval Analysis, Royal Perth Hospital

Dr Alan Kop is a Chartered Professional Engineer having studied metallurgy/materials science at Curtin University, an MSc in advanced ceramics, and a PhD at Swinburne University (Melbourne) focusing on advanced manufacturing methods of composite materials.  After working in the mining industry as a consultant engineer, he took the opportunity to join the Biomaterials Laboratory at Royal Perth Hospital in 2000 and to date has a combined 25 years’ experience in materials and biomedical engineering.  Over this time he has led numerous research and development projects seeing laboratory results translated to industrial and clinical practice.  He leads a small tissue engineering group and is a senior staff member in the Biomaterials Laboratory.  In 2012 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study overseas with the aim of establishing a tissue engineering service at Royal Perth Hospital.  His current interests include the analysis of biomedical materials and the future use of tissue engineering combining bioresorbable ceramics and stem cells to treat patients.

David D. Sampson, Head, Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory and Director, Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis, The University of Western Australia, Perth

Professor Sampson leads the Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, School of Electrical, Electronic & Computer Engineering and the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis (CMCA) at The University of Western Australia. The CMCA is the Western Australian node of the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility, the National Imaging Facility (Australia) and part of Metabolomics Australia. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, of OSA – The Optical Society, and of SPIE – The International Society for Optics and Photonics.

Professor Sampson’s research interests are in the science and applications of light in medicine and biology and he is an authority in optical coherence tomography. His research is focussed on the translation of microscopy techniques to imaging in the living body – medical microscopy. He was awarded the IEEE Photonics Society’s Distinguished Lecturer Award for the Microscope-in-a-Needle, which targets surgical and biopsy guidance and recently won The Australian Shell Innovation Challenge for its promise for commercialisation. His other main interest is in the technology and applications of optical elastography, the micro-scale imaging of the mechanical properties of tissue, which holds promise in breast cancer. His main application areas of interest in imaging are airways, breast cancer, and burn scars.

Steve Wilton, Foundation Chair in Molecular Therapies, Centre for Comparative Genomics, Murdoch University, Perth

Professor Steve Wilton, Director, Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute, is the Foundation Chair in Molecular Therapies at Murdoch University  and head of the Molecular Therapy Laboratory in the Centre for Comparative Genomics.  He has developed a novel therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy using splice switching antisense oligomers to restore functional dystrophin expression. Eteplirsen, a morpholino oligomer has been in clinical trials for over three years, and appears to have slowed disease progression.  The translational impact of Professor Wilton’s research has been acknowledged by a number of awards, including the Western Australian Innovator of the Year Award in 2012,  the 2013 Eureka Prize in Medical Research Translation and ASBMB LabGear Discovery award (2014).

Len Collard, Australian Research Council, Chief Investigator, School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Professor Len Collard is an Australian Research Council, Chief Investigator with the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia.

Len has a background in literature and communications and his research interests are in the area of Aboriginal Studies, including Nyungar interpretive histories and Nyungar theoretical and practical research models. Len has conducted research funded by the Australian Research Council, the National Trust of Western Australia, the Western Australian Catholic Schools and the Swan River Trust and many many other organisations.

Len's research has allowed the broadening of the understanding of the many unique characteristics of Australia's Aboriginal people and has contributed enormously to improving the appreciation of Aboriginal culture and heritage of the Southwest of Australia. Len’s groundbreaking theoretical work has put Nyungar cultural research on the local, national and international stages. Finally Len is a Whadjuk Nyungar and who is a Traditional Owner of the Perth Metropolitan area and surrounding lands, rivers, swamps ocean and its culture.

Fred Chen, Head of Research, Ocular Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Lions Eye Institute, Perth, Australia

Dr Fred Chen is a clinician-academic in retinal diseases. He graduated with Honours in Medicine at the University of Western Australia. After ophthalmology training at Royal Perth Hospital, he studied and received a PhD in surgical techniques of retinal pigment epithelium transplantation for treatment of retinal diseases at the University College of London. He completed a 2-year surgical and medical retina fellowship at Moorfield Eye Hospital in London and returned to Perth to take up a senior research fellow position at the University of Western Australia.

Since returning to Perth in 2011, Fred has been a Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeon at Royal Perth Hospital and Lions Eye Institute. He established and leads the Ocular Tissue Engineering Laboratory and the Retinal Imaging Group at the Lions Eye Institute. His research interest includes clinical characterisation of inherited retinal disease, stem cell therapy and disease modelling, clinical trials in dry and wet macular degeneration and non-invasive retinal imaging. He has over 80 publications and is funded by NH&MRC early career fellowship. His research is funded by NH&MRC project grant, ORIA, Retina Australia and several philanthropic donations. 

David Glance, Head, University of Western Australia Centre for Software Practice, Perth, Australia

Dr David Glance is director of the UWA Centre for Software Practice, a UWA research and development center. Originally a physiologist working in the area of vascular control mechanisms in pregnancy, Dr Glance subsequently worked in the software industry for over 20 years at companies such as Microsoft, Tibco and IONA Technologies before spending the last 15 years at UWA. The UWA CSP has developed software for both research and clinical use in the health sector with a focus on mobile health and wearables targeted at consumers. Self eHealth is a web and mobile health based clinical research platform that also allows for consumer health engagement. Dr Glance's research is focussed on the role of technology in enabling consumers to effectively manage their health and wellbeing.

Simone Pettigrew, Distinguished Research Professor, School of Psychology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Simone Pettigrew is the Director of the Western Australian Cancer Prevention Research Unit (WACPRU) and a Research Professor in the School of Psychology and Speech Pathology at Curtin University in Western Australia. She specialises in health promotion research, with a specific focus on the areas of alcohol and tobacco consumption, child obesity, ageing, and mental health. Her research involves consideration of the broad range of macro- and micro-environmental factors and personal attributes that combine to determine individuals’ engagement in preventive behaviours.