Professor Ross Young
Executive Director – Queensland University of Technology Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Professor Ross Young is a clinical psychologist with a research background in integrating genetic and environmental risks for mental illness. He has been Executive Director of the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) since 2006.
Prof. Young has research interests in the psychological and biological factors contributing to substance misuse and major psychiatric illness, such as schizophrenia.
Professor John Prins MBBS, PhD, FRACP
CEO and Institute Director – Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI)
Professor of Endocrinology, University of Queensland
Senior Staff Endocrinologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital
Professor John 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(NHMRC), non government organisations and industry.
Professor Prins undertook his clinical training in endocrinology in Brisbane and then completed a PhD in adipose tissue biology at The University of Queensland (UQ).
His first postdoctoral research appointment was at the University of Cambridge, UK, based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He returned to Brisbane in 1998 after being awarded a Wellcome International Senior Research Fellowship.
In 2004 he was Founder/Director of the UQ Centre for Diabetes and Endocrine Research, one of the most prominent and successful groups on the Princess Alexandra Hospital campus, which merged with the UQ Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research (CICR) in January 2007 to form the Diamantina Institute.
As Chair of the Centre of Health Research on the Princess Alexandra Hospital Campus from 2005-9, his role involved coordinating the campus-wide research strategy, fostering research, facilitating the recruitment of researchers to the campus and integration of research and clinical activities wherever possible.
In 2009 Professor Prins was appointed CEO/Director of the Mater Medical Research Institute.
Professor Prins has substantial commercialisation experience, holds two international patents and was founder and scientific director of a spin-out biotech company Adipogen Pty Ltd.
Professor Prins is actively involved in undergraduate and post-graduate teaching and training and has ongoing research interests in obesity and diabetes.
Professor Robin Mortimer
AO, MB BS(Hons), FRACP, FACP, FRCP, FAMS, FCCP(Hon), FAMM, FRCPI, FRCPT, FCPSA(Hon)
Executive Director – Office of Health and Medical Research Queensland Health
Professor Robin Mortimer is Senior Director as well as Pre-eminent Staff Specialist at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
He was formerly Director of Endocrinology at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and also Professor of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology for the University of Queensland.
Awarded an Officer in the Order of Australia, Prof. Mortimer is also the Deputy President of the Australia Medical Council.
Professor Ken Ho
Chair of Princess Alexandra Hospital Centres for Health Research
As the new Chair of Princess Alexandra Hospital Centres for Health Research, Professor Ken Ho is bringing a program of research from Sydney to develop hormonal and metabolic treatments for obesity and frailty.
Ken Ho graduated in medicine at the University of Sydney in 1975, undertook studies towards a Doctorate in Medicine at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research before pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia. Before taking up his position in Brisbane, he was Chairman, Department of Endocrinology, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Head, Pituitary Research Unit, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and Professor of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Ken’s major research interests are in pituitary disease and the understanding of how hormones control metabolism, body composition and function. His work is strongly translational closely integrating laboratory and clinical studies encompassing the study of gene expression, receptor regulation, cell signaling, hormone secretion and the quantification of energy and substrate metabolism.
He has held continued peer-reviewed funding, including support from the NHMRC for 20 years. He has been invited to speak at numerous international meetings including those of the US, the British, German and the International Endocrine Societies. He was awarded the 2008 Asia Oceania Medal and the 2000 Clinical Endocrinology Trust Professorship by the British Endocrine Society. He was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, UK. He has participated in international consensus panels providing guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of pituitary disease. He has published over 200 scientific papers, which include publications in the Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
He has served on the NHMRC Career Development Award Committee and the Grant Review Panel. He is a founding Member and past president of the International Growth Hormone Research Society, and past-president of the Endocrine Society of Australia. He is an executive member of the Specialist Medical Review Council, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Professor Matt Brown
Director - The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
In 2011, Professor Matt Brown became the Director of The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute and since September 2005, has been the Professor of Immunogenetics at The University of Queensland, based at the Diamantina Institute and Institute of Molecular Biosciences. Prior to that he was Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences, University of Oxford, where he worked since 1994. He initially trained in rheumatology in Sydney, and remains clinically active, with a special interest in ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Professor Brown's group researches genetics of common diseases, particularly musculoskeletal diseases. They are the central genetics research centre for the Australo-Anglo-American Spondyloarthritis Consortium, the main international AS genetics group. In addition, the group is performing genomewide association studies in multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, cervical cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, asthma and several other diseases. Professor Brown is a Principal Investigator of the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium which did much of the development work and proof of principle studies for genomewide association studies, and is now involved in developing the approaches required for downstream genetics research (resequencing, fine-mapping, copy number variation studies). Professor Brown’s group also collaborates with researchers at the MRC Mammalian Research Facility Harwell, England, in ENU-mutagenesis approaches to develop new mouse strains with bone and joint disorders. Other major collaborations include with Professor Jon Tobias and Dr Celia Gregson (Bristol, UK) on genetics of high bone mass, Professor Huji Xu (Shanghai, China) on genetics of rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in Han Chinese, and Professor Jamie Craig and Dr Kathryn Burdon (Adelaide, Aus) on genetics of ocular disorders.
Professor Ranjeny Thomas
The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Professor Ranjeny Thomas is a clinical rheumatologist with 25 years’ experience and is particularly interested in the function of specialized immune cells called dendritic cells and their therapeutic potential in autoimmune diseases. Professor Thomas received her MBBS from the University of Western Australia in 1985, after which she went on to train as a rheumatologist in Perth. In 1990 she began a research fellowship with Peter Lipsky at Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas where she commenced her research into the development of dendritic cells, before returning to Australia in 1994 to become a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland.
In 2003, during the course of her research at UQ, Professor Thomas discovered that dendritic cells could be selectively modified to silence the immune system. This discovery provided the basis for a vaccine technology that aims to switch off the body’s auto-immune responses in inflammatory diseases. She founded and is presently director of the Brisbane-based biotechnology company Dendright Pty Ltd, which is developing this technology for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Thomas is now Professor of Rheumatology, holder of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, and Head of the Autoimmunity Division at the UQ Diamantina Institute where she and her group continue to study autoimmune disease and clinical applications of human dendritic cells. In concert with her role at UQDI, she founded and currently manages the Early Arthritis Clinic at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Research emanating from this clinic includes studies of the pathogenesis of RA and of atherosclerosis in early RA. Professor Thomas has an extensive collaborative network across the University of Queensland and greater PAH research community, leading a program of translational research at UQDI into diseases of immune regulation for the ultimate benefit of disease sufferers.
Associate Professor Nicholas Saunders
The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Associate Professor Nicholas Saunders began his training in pharmacology at the University of Western Australia. In 1990, he embarked upon post-doctoral studies at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the USA, where he began his research into the maturation processes of the skin cells, or ‘squamous cells’, that line the mouth and throat. In 1993, he returned to Australia to set up the Epithelial Pathobiology Group at the University of Queensland.
Now Head of the Epithelial Cancer Division at the UQ Diamantina Institute, Associate Professor Saunders and his research group investigate the molecular detail of squamous cell maturation and how these complex processes are disrupted in cancer formation. Thus far they have identified a unique set of proteins, or ‘factors’, that play an important role in normal cell regulation but which are defectively controlled in cancers. Associate Professor Saunders believes that studying these factors will provide further insight into the formation of squamous cell cancers. Moreover, the factors themselves may prove to be effective targets of anti-cancer therapies. Plans are underway to use existing anti-cancer compounds to validate these targets in patient samples and, if successful, to then progress to clinical trials.
Associate Professor Saunders group is also engaged in an effort to understand the cellular behaviour of paediatric osteosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer. By using sophisticated genetic technologies, they have now determined the cellular basis for the fatal complication that allows the cancer to progress from bone to the lung. He aims to use this information to discover ways of targeting these cells and thereby preventing this metastasis and decreasing associated mortality.
Associate Professor Saunders substantial knowledge and experience has resulted in an extensive network of collaborations across the UQ and PAH research community to lead an epithelial disease-focussed research program at the UQDI. In turn, he believes that the expertise, facilities and location of the UQDI makes the Institute ideally poised to progress translational research in epithelial cancers, in collaboration with clinicians and patients at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Professor Michael Schuetz
QUT Chair in Trauma / PAH Director of Trauma
Professor Michael Schuetz leads a team dedicated to managing trauma from the accident site, to the hospital, through to rehabilitation, with close linkages to prevention programs. The aim is to reduce the 1500 injury-related deaths each year, most commonly among one to 35 year olds, and decrease the $2.6 billion burden on the Queensland economy each year.
As a traumatologist and orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Schuetz’ research focus is on finding better ways to deal with injuries in order to prevent long-term disabilities. Professor Schuetz works closely with the up-and-coming researcher Dr Ben Goss, who was recently awarded a $1 million Queensland Government's National and International Research Alliances Program (NIRAP) Grant.
The grant will fund the research conducted by the Queensland-Canada Spinal Cord Injury Alliance - the joint initiative of QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) and the Rick Hansen Institute in Canada, in partnership with the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Spinal Cord Injuries Solutions Network, Griffith University and Queensland Clinical Trials Network – and will undertake research projects to track patients with injured spinal cords, their treatment and clinical outcomes with a view to improving quality of care.
Professor Colleen Nelson
Director, Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC-Q)
Professor Colleen Nelson directs the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland, which aims to improve our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, the most common cancer in Australian men, affecting one in seven men and kills almost 3000 men every year. Professor Nelson was awarded a Smart Futures Premier’s Fellowship in 2009 to develop new, targeted treatments for advanced prostate cancer.
Another lead QUT prostate cancer researcher, Professor Judith Clements, has been the driving force behind establishment and operation of the Australian Prostate Cancer Bioresource, a national collaborative resource providing biospecimens to underpin translational prostate cancer research.
Professor Pam Russell, a internationally long standing prostate cancer researcher, is also contributing to improved diagnosis and treatment with her investigation into how prostate cancer spreads to bone, which is a serious health risk. Professor Russell is also developing new imaging technology to see whether patients' prostate cancer has spread to their lymph nodes.
Other members of the team include Dr Patrick Ling, whose discovery of a particular constituent of vitamin E that inhibits the growth of prostate cancer tumours may lead to improved therapeutics.
Professor Peter Soyer
MD, FACD. Chair of Dermatology Group, University of Queensland
Professor H. Peter Soyer is an academic dermatologist from Austria with nearly 30 years in the field. He came to Brisbane, Australia, in 2007 to fulfil an appointment with The University of Queensland as the inaugural Chair of Dermatology. He is head of the Dermatology Research Centre at the University of Queensland and was recently awarded a Practitioner Fellowship from the National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Australia. He was appointed as the Director of the Princess Alexandra Hospital Dermatology Department in Brisbane in 2008.
Within the dermatology field he is considered among the pioneers of dermoscopy of pigmented skin lesions, a non-invasive diagnostic method for the early diagnosis of melanoma, and led the development of the morphologic classification system currently used worldwide. His specific research expertise lies in preventive dermatooncology, dermatopathology and clinico-molecular correlation of melanocytic and keratinocytic skin lesions. Recently he developed an interest in open access mobile teledermatology with the vision of “Melanoma Diagnosis by One Click”.
He is well published in these fields with over 450 peer reviewed publications, 5 books and numerous book chapters. He is invited regularly to chair discussions and speak on dermoscopy and teledermatology at the American and European Academy of Dermatology meetings and over the past 10 years have been a speaker at over 100 international conferences. In May 2012 he convened the 3rd World Congress of Dermoscopy in Brisbane.
Professor David Johnson
MB BS (Hons) (Qld), PhD (Syd), FRACP. Director of Renal Medicine, Princess Alexandra Hospital
David Johnson is currently Director of Renal Medicine at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Professor of Medicine and Professor of Population Health at University of Queensland to name but a few of his current roles.
He is the principal investigator on a number of large, multi-centre randomised controlled trials, including the balANZ, IDEAL, HERO, AVATAR, IMPENDIA and HONEYPOT trials. He has published more than 370 original manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and presented over 270 abstracts at national and international scientific meetings, winning numerous research awards for his clinical and basic science studies. In 2005, he was awarded the TJ Neale Award by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology for “outstanding contributions to nephrologic science.” He was a Queensland finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards for 2009.
Together with Associate Professor Glenda Gobe (UQ SoM), Professor Johnson leads the Centre for Kidney Disease Research and the Australian Kidney Trials Network bringing together clinicians and scientists in a multidisciplinary renal research centre with a focus spanning the fundamental bimolecular mechanisms of renal disease. The aim is to improve clinical practice in diagnosis, prevention and treatment of kidney disease and renal replacement therapies.