Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research - Translational Research Institute
Prof Ian Frazer, Australian of the Year 2006 and co-inventor of the cervical cancer vaccine (HPV), is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research of the TRI.
Prior to being appointed in this role in February 2011, Prof Frazer held the position of Director of the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. He was also a key member of the visionary team that established the TRI to become Australia’s first translational research institute (and one of only a few in the world) to research, trial and manufacture breakthrough treatments all within the one location.
His appointment is a key milestone for the TRI and is significant in that the research for the cervical cancer vaccine – sold worldwide under the brand names Gardasil and Cervarix – all took place in Queensland.
Under his charge as CEO, Prof Frazer brings an optimistic leadership combined with unrivalled experience. These qualities, together with his passion to retain and develop Australia’s most promising medical scientists, is set to see Queensland receive significant long-term economic benefits that will bolster and enhance the talent pool of young medical scientists.
A distinguished career
Prof Frazer is one of Australia’s most celebrated medical research scientists.
He has received numerous national and international awards for his work in developing the technology that has enabled vaccines to help prevent cervical cancer. In May 2011, Prof Frazer was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. This achievement elevates him to the same status as world renowned scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Sir Isaac Newton. In 2012, Professor Frazer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
However, Prof Frazer’s achievements are not the result of overnight success – rather, they are the result of a life-long commitment to medical research.
Beginning his training as a renal physician and clinical immunologist in Edinburgh, Scotland, Prof Frazer emigrated to Melbourne in 1981 to pursue studies in viral immunology and autoimmunity at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research with Prof Ian Mackay.
In 1985, he moved to Brisbane to assume a teaching post with The University of Queensland (UQ) and was appointed Director of the Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research (known as The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute) in 1991. He has most recently taught immunology to undergraduate and graduate students of the University and has research interests in immunoregulation and immunotherapeutic vaccines for Papillomavirus associated cancers.
He is the immediate past President of the Cancer Council Australia, Chairman of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s Medical Research Advisory Committee, and Chair of the International Agency for Research on Cancer Scientific Advisory Committee.
Chief Operating Officer - Translational Research Institute
In January 2012, Dr Kate Johnston commenced at the TRI in the role of Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Dr Johnston provides strategic and operational management for the TRI, directing and managing the Institute's operational business functions and will also be the main contact for bequest and major donation enquiries.
Prior to taking up this position Dr Johnston was Centre Manager for the Systems Biology Ireland CSET Institute, where she directed and managed its operational business functions including providing strategic input into governance and overseeing and facilitating the Institute’s objectives. Before joining SBI, Dr Johnston worked as the Programmes Manager for the National Biophotonics and Imaging Platform Ireland, where she was responsible for the operation of the multi-site biomedical platform. Her qualifications include a BA and PhD in Genetics and a Graduate Diploma in Information Technology. She has both wet and dry laboratory research experience with over six years experience working in post-PhD research, been a Systems Administrator for a large Linux Cluster, set up in conjunction with IT specialists streamlined web-based solutions for the management of research, equipment, e-learning, intellectual property management and reporting. She has also been Convenor for (2007-2008) and a member of (2008-2011) the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s Research Ethics Committee.