Translational Research Institute


Date: Tuesday 11 October 2022
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: TRI Auditorium or via Zoom (

Join us for the first EMCRs Professional Development Seminar as we welcome speakers from UQ, QUT, Mater Research and Vaxxas to talk about professional development opportunities for EMCRs. They will share their keys for career sucess and will discuss how EMCRs can navigate professional development with the challenges they are facing. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.


Prof Alastair McEwan
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Researcher Development), UQ

Professor McEwan is responsible for researcher development at the University of Queensland, including support for development of ECRs. As PVC Researcher Development he has responsibility for research training and development of academic and professional staff engaged with research. Prior to his appointment in 2022, Prof McEwan was Dean, UQ Graduate School from 2013-2021 and continues a strong commitment to development of doctoral candidates in his role as Convenor, Australian Council of Graduate Research. Professor McEwan graduated from the University of Leeds and was awarded his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham. He held a postdoc fellowship at the University of Illinois and the University of Oxford before moving the University of East Anglia. Professor McEwan joined UQ in 1993. He was Head of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences and then Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science.

Prof Janet Davies
Associate Dean Research, QUT

Prof Davies completed her PhD in Biotechnology at Murdoch University and undertook postdoctoral training at Monash University and The Alfred Hospital.  She is the Assistant Director of Research for Metro North Hospital and Health Service where she develops research strategy, policy and chairs the clinical research education program. The underlying theme of her research is antigen-antibody interactions. Her current work focuses on applied allergy research to improve diagnosis, treatment and understanding of the immunological mechanism underlying allergic respiratory diseases.   

Dr Sandra Depelsenaire
Lead Scientist (Preclinical Group), Vaxxas

Dr Sandra Depelsenaire joined Vaxxas in 2017, where she currently works as a Lead Scientist. Within the Preclinical department, Sandra is leading her team to study diverse preclinical aspects of larger projects from the bench to Phase 1. Key tasks involve conducting R&D on existing and new potential vaccine candidates. Originally from Germany, she completed her German Diploma in Biology at the Ludwigs Maximilians University in Munich. Concurrently, she obtained a BSc (majoring Forensic Science/Toxicology and Molecular Biology) with Honours in Nanotechnology from Murdoch University, WA. Subsequently, she obtained her PhD in Biomedical Engineering (UQ) specializing in cellular responses to endogenous adjuvants (via the Nanopatch) that stimulate the immune system. During her doctoral and postdoctoral time, she was an active member of the student/ECR/EMCR committees, heavily involved in establishing institute, inter-institute events and co-organized national/international conferences.  

Dr Arutha Kulasinghe
Peter Doherty NHMRC Research Fellow, 'Clinical-oMx Lab' Group Leader, UQDI

Arutha has pioneered spatial transcriptomics using digital spatial profiling approaches in the Asia-Pacific region. He has contributed to world-first studies for lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and COVID-19. Arutha’s research aims to understand the underlying pathobiology by using an integrative multi-omics approach. He has published his research in 60 manuscripts and is supported by the NHMRC, Australian Academy of Sciences, Cancer Australia, Cure Cancer, MRFF and numerous philanthropic and hospital foundations.

A/Prof Sumaira Hasnain
Immunopathology group Leader, Senior Research Fellow, Mater Research

Sumaira has an interest in chronic inflammatory diseases and was the first globally to demonstrate that immunity can modulate protein production in secretory cells in infection and chronic inflammatory diseases. Sumaira has had a rapid upward trajectory in research, evident by extensive body of high-quality publications in well recognised scientific journals. She has been awarded around $3 million in competitive funding, has won 17 scientific awards, and has had her research licenced into a the UQ start-up company, Jetra Therapeutics. Sumaira is well recognised speaker in the field and has delivered many international conference presentations. She currently serves on the Australasian Society for Immunology National Council as the Queensland representative. Sumaira’s research career started in 2006 with her PhD in infection/immunology and glycobiology at Manchester University. In 2011, Sumaira moved to Australia and Mater Research to work with the Professor Michael McGuckin’s group.