Our Research Advisory Committee

The Children’s Hospital Foundation is committed to accountability and transparency in awarding funds to paediatric research. Applications for research funding undergo a rigorous peer review process conducted by an independent Research Advisory Committee consisting of eminent researchers with broad research experience in preclinical, clinical and health services research.

Professor Ian Frazer, AC FRS

Chair, Children's Hospital Foundation Research Advisory Committee

Translational Research Institute, The University of Queensland

Professor Ian Frazer is a clinician scientist, trained as a clinical immunologist in Scotland. As a professor at the University of Queensland, he leads a research group working on the immunobiology of epithelial cancers at the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane. He is recognised as co-inventor of the technology enabling the HPV vaccines, currently used worldwide to help prevent cervical cancer. He heads a biotechnology company, Jingang Medicine (Aus) Pty Ltd, working on new vaccine technologies, and is a board member of several companies and not-for-profit organisations. He was the inaugural president of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and he is a member of the National Health and Medical Council. Ian chairs the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board of the Medical Research Future Fund.

Ian was recognised as Australian of the Year in 2006. He was recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, and of the Balzan Prize, in 2008, and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2012. He was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2013.

Professor Nicholas Graves

Deputy Director, Health Services & Systems Research, Duke NUS Medical School, Singapore. Adjunct Professor, Queensland University of Technology

Professor Nick Graves is the deputy director of Health Services & Systems Research at Duke-NUS medical school in Singapore. His areas of knowledge include health economics, health services research, decision making and cost-effectiveness. He is interested in projects that show high and low-value care and in the processes around implementing new policies.

Other research interests include healthcare associated infection, chronic wounds, non-beneficial treatments at the end of life, health behavior change interventions, screening for infectious and chronic disease, and how research funding is allocated. Nick’s major focus is on showing how health services can be improved at low cost, or even improved with cost savings. He enjoys collaborating with clinicians who wish to improve the performance of health services.

Professor Sharon Mickan

Professor of Healthcare Innovations Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine, Bond University

Professor Sharon Mickan is leading a new inter-disciplinary healthcare innovations program designed to support health professionals to navigate the research evidence, critically evaluate health systems and implement clinical improvements. Professor Mickan has a wealth of experience in knowledge translation, implementing organisational improvement and building clinicians’ research capacity and engagement. In her recent position, as Professor of Allied Health, Sharon designed, implemented and evaluated a pipeline of clinical and implementation research that has built a positive research culture for allied health professionals within Gold Coast Health.

Specifically, she has co-designed an implementation project where allied health research fellows utilised knowledge brokering strategies to facilitate engagement of research-interested allied health clinicians. She supported a cluster randomised trial of structured journal clubs to engage clinicians in using research to inform their clinical practice. Follow up implementation and sustainability projects will support ongoing structured journal clubs. She has supervised clinical staff to identify effective research capacity building initiatives, create a practical toolkit of implementation strategies and to implement a service wide needs analysis of allied health clinicians’ research capacity and culture. Professor Mickan has also implemented and evaluated a range of innovative research projects to enable clinicians to pursue research projects.

Professor Vicki Anderson

Head of Psychology, RCH Mental Health; Director, Clinical Sciences Research, MCRI, NHMRC Senior Practitioner Fellow & Professorial Fellow, Psychological Sciences & Paediatrics, University of Melbourne

Professor Vicki Anderson is a paediatric neuropsychologist with over 35 years' experience. 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. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia, Australian Academy of medical and Health Sciences, Australian Psychological Society and Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment and President of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Vicki’s research is focused on improving our understanding of childhood acquired brain injury (e.g., traumatic brain injury, stroke, concussion), chronic illness (e.g., cystic fibrosis, cancer, chronic fatigue) and neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ADHD, learning disability). Her team is internationally recognised for their longitudinal work covering a range of modalities including neuroimaging, cognitive, social and behavioural outcomes, as well as psychological interventions for these children and their families.

Associate Professor Samudragupta Bora

Group Leader, Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up and Outcomes Mater Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland

Associate Professor Samudragupta (Sam) Bora is a Principal Research Fellow and the Group Leader of Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up and Outcomes at Mater Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland. His research focuses on high-risk infants, particularly those born prematurely, to improve the quality of life of children and their families. His team is striving to develop a better understanding of long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes of high-risk infants, along with discovering the independent and interrelated roles of neurological and social processes impacting these outcomes. His expertise and leadership were recognised by peers by electing him as Chair of Long-Term Outcomes of High-Risk Babies Subcommittee of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand for 2019–2021. In addition to clinical research, Sam is committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists and clinician-scientists. He was awarded the Sister Michaeleen Ahern Medal 2019 for excellence in mentoring of junior researchers.

Sam received his doctoral degree from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and pursued postdoctoral training at the University of Canterbury, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, USA. He has recently graduated from the Pediatrics Leadership Program at Harvard Medical School.

Professor Phil Darcy

NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Group Leader, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne

Professor Phil Darcy is a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Group Leader at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Phil received his PhD in 1994 and undertook postdoctoral studies at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research and Austin Research Institute prior to relocating to the Peter MacCallum in 2000. Since this time, his work has focused on developing novel T cell based immunotherapy approaches for cancer in preclinical mouse models and translating this into patients. Over the past 20 years he has shown that adoptive transfer of gene-engineered mouse and human T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) could effectively eradicate cancer in mice. A Phase I clinical trial leading from this work was recently completed at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia; it was the first in Australia using this approach with another CAR T cell trial currently underway in solid cancers.

More recently, his studies have involved combining gene-engineered T cells with other immune based therapies including checkpoint blockade which is showing tremendous promise in preclinical models and patients. Phil has received tremendous support from numerous national and international funding bodies and industry and has consistently published his work in premier scientific journals.

Professor Harriet Hiscock

Director, Health Services Research Unit, The Royal Children's Hospital; Group leader for Health Services at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Principal Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne

Professor Harriet Hiscock is a consultant paediatrician, NHMRC Practitioner Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and inaugural Director of the Health Services Research Unit, at The Royal Children’s Hospital. Since completing her Medical Doctorate (University of Melbourne 2003) she has worked part-time in research and in clinical practice seeing children with sleep, developmental and mental health problems. Her research focuses on improving mental healthcare, reducing low value care and developing sustainable models to keep children out of hospital.

Harriet has led over 15 randomised clinical trials in these areas and in the last five years, received 30 grants, published or has in press 100 peer-reviewed papers (>50% as first or senior author), and has successfully translated her work into practice and policy. She is CIA of the NHMRC-beyondblue CRE in Childhood Adversity and Mental Health. She is leading a multi-million dollar 5-year Campus Mental Health Strategy for her institutes and is a member of the federal government’s National Mental Health Strategy for Children Working Party.

Professor Michelle Gatton

Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology

Professor Michelle Gatton completed her PhD in Medical Engineering at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2000. She has a BSc (Hons) majoring in applied mathematics and statistics, and environmental pollution and health. Between 2000 and 2012 Michelle was a Research Fellow at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) where she was head of the Malaria Drug Resistance and Chemotherapy Laboratory (2010-2012). In 2008, Michelle was awarded an NHMRC Career Development Award (Level 1) in Population Health. Michelle joined QUT in 2013 and is currently Professor and Discipline Leader of Public Health. Michelle’s research interests focus primarily on mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.

Recent research projects include modelling the transmission of malaria parasites, quantifying the impact and cost-effectiveness of malaria control activities, and investigating parasite dormancy following treatment with the artemisinin class of drugs.

Michelle has a keen interest in ensuring the quality of diagnostic tools used for clinical diagnosis of malaria, and more recently COVID-19, and regularly works with the World Health Organization, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and Australian Army Malaria Institute on projects related to diagnostics.

Associate Professor Lisa Hall

School of Public Health, University of Queensland; Program Director, Masters of Epidemiology. Adjunct Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

Associate Professor Lisa Hall is Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the University of Queensland. At UQ she is the Program Director for the Masters of Epidemiology, a flagship program within the School of Public Health.

Lisa is an active health services researcher with expertise in epidemiology, implementation science and economic evaluation. She is internationally recognised for her research which focuses on the interface between evidence, policy and implementation to improve the surveillance and prevention of infectious diseases. Her work examines not only the effectiveness, but also the cost-effectiveness, feasibility and sustainability of health services and public health programs. Since 2013, Lisa has been named as a Chief Investigator on grants and consultancies worth over $8 million.

Lisa has significant policy experience at statewide and national levels. Prior to returning to academia in 2013, she was a senior manager at the state health department of Queensland – responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of infection prevention programs and policy.  She is currently a technical expert for several committees for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare and is an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Infection Control.

Dr Greg Merlo

Research Fellow, Primary Care Clinical Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland

Dr Greg Merlo’s research is at the intersection of health economics and implementation science. He collaborates with health service providers to evaluate services and assess the factors that determine successful implementation.

Greg has over ten years’ experience with economic evaluation and health technology assessment. He has developed models for economic evaluations assessing the cost effectiveness of faecal transfusion for the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile, lower limb prostheses, and podiatric surgery.

Greg’s current research includes evaluating interventions for influencing antibiotic prescribing of GP registrars and implementation evaluation of a new model of care for vocal cord dysfunction following congenital heart surgery.  


Associate Professor Geraldine O’Neill

Head, Children’s Cancer Research Unit, The Children’s Hospital, Westmead; Conjoint Associate Professor with the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Geraldine O’Neill is Head of the Children’s Cancer Research Unit at Kids Research, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and conjoint Associate Professor with the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She has a long-standing interest in the role of the tumour microenvironment in cancer progression and response to therapy, with a particular focus on the development of improved preclinical models for brain cancer.

Following post-doctoral studies at Fox Chase Cancer Centre in Philadelphia, USA, Geraldine returned to Australia with award of an NHMRC Howard Florey Post-doctoral Fellowship, then NSW Cancer Council Career Development Fellow. She is Deputy Director of the Kids Cancer Alliance, Cancer Institute NSW Translational Cancer Research Centre, member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for The Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) and member of the Gene Technology and Technical Advisory Committee of the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator.Geraldine has attracted ~$10M in funding for her research and serves on major national grant review panels including the NHMRC the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Associate Professor Jonathan Payne

Co-Group Leader at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist Royal Children’s Hospital; Honorary Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Jonathan Payne is co-group leader of the Brain and Mind Research Group within the Clinical Sciences theme of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and a senior clinical neuropsychologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital. He is an Honorary Principal Fellow with the University of Melbourne’s Department of Paediatrics. Within the Brain and Mind group, Jonathan heads the Genetics and Neurodevelopment team which aims to increase understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying complex neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and autism spectrum disorder by studying the cognitive, behavioural and neurobiological phenotypes that arise in single-gene conditions, primarily neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).

This fairly unique approach will help us understand some of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in complex and common neurodevelopmental disorders by working from a single known cause. He has a strong interest in clinical trials and has lead a number of multisite randomised controlled trials (RCTs) including the STARS study; the largest RCT of statins as a targeted treatment for cognitive deficits in children with NF1.

Jonathan’s research has been published in leading journals in his fields of research including Nature Neuroscience, Neurology, JAMA Psychiatry, Human Brain Mapping, and Neuropsychology Review.

Professor John Prins

Head, Melbourne Medical School The University of Melbourne

Professor Prins is an active clinician-scientist, a key opinion leader in diabetes and endocrinology in Australia and sits on numerous national and international scientific, clinical and educational committees and boards for the National Health and Medical Research Council, non-government organisations and industry.

John undertook his clinical training in endocrinology in Brisbane, completed a PhD at The University of Queensland and postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, UK before returning to Australia in 1998 as a Wellcome International Senior Research Fellow. Most recently, John was CEO/Director of Mater Research and Professor of Endocrinology at UQ prior to taking up his current role as Head of the Melbourne Medical School at The University of Melbourne.