Translational Research Institute, 37 Kent Street, Woolloongabba QLD 4102
29 Apr 2024 12:00pm4:00pm

Health Research Consumer Expo

The Translational Research Institute (TRI) and The University of Queensland, Faculty of Medicine welcome QLD health consumers, community members, clinicians, and researchers to join us at TRI for the Health Research - Consumer Expo on Monday 29 April 2024

During the Consumer Expo you will hear from both consumers and researchers about the value of health consumers' lived experiences in shaping health research. Our honoured guests - experienced consumers, Anne McKenzie AM, Michel Itel, Jessica Taylor, David Milne and Maleeha Waqar, will present examples of strong consumer/researcher relationships, their learnings and strategies for success. You will then have an opportunity to network together over lunch in the Atrium at TRI.

After lunch consumers and community members are invited to continue their conversations with fellow consumers at the fireside chat. But first join us for a fun interactive lightning round Research Showcase and learn about the research that is underway and see how you can get involved.

Join us for this exciting interactive event; explore how consumer and researcher partnerships can excel, learn from each other and get lots of tips along the way.

All researchers interested in presenting their research should contact TRI’s Research & Clinical Translation Manager, Benedette Watson at [email protected].

Secure your seat today! Registrations close midnight, Tuesday 23 April.


12.00pm - 1.00pm: Presentations & Discussion Panel (TRI Auditorium & Online)
1.00pm - 2.00pm: Lunch (TRI Atrium)
2.00pm - 3.30pm: Consumer Expo (TRI Seminar Rooms 2003/2004)

  • Session Welcome - Prof Scott Bell, TRI CEO
  • Research Showcase – lightning presentations by our researchers
  • Fireside chat - where consumers discuss thought-provoking questions with experienced consumers and community leaders
  • Afternoon Tea – enjoy a bite to eat with new contacts

3.30pm – 4.00pm: Optional TRI building tour – consumers are welcome to visit the research laboratories and learn more about our facilities and see where the research takes place.

Event spaces are fully accessible, please be in touch on [email protected]  so we can cater for all needs.



Anne McKenzie AM

Anne McKenzie AM has held professional and voluntary roles as a consumer advocate for three decades.  She has worked in research organisations to increase community involvement in research since 2004 when she commenced at The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute. In this role Anne developed and implemented organisational frameworks for community engagement, facilitated training workshops for researchers and consumers, and published resources.

Anne is a member of Health Consumers Council WA and the Consumers Health Forum. She serves on key national health and research committees and in 2015 was appointed to the Order of Australia for her advocacy work. She received the NHMRC’s 2021 Biennial Award for Consumer Engagement and the Advocacy Achievement Award from Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine in 2022.



Michel Itel

Michel, a fulltime worker and father of 2, was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 Lung Cancer in 2017, is a survivor of Lung Cancer, who provides mentorship and guidance in early research as a lived experienced advocate. 

Michel’s moto is simple, “you call it research, we call it hope”, you take away that research, you are taking away our hopes and dreams. 

Michel has been involved in a number of initiatives locally, Nationally and internationally, some of the organisations include TRI (Transnational Research Institute Australia), LFA (Lung Foundation Australia), Cure Cancer Australia, Lung Cancer Stigma campaign, World Conference – Lung Cancer 2019,2022 & 2023, WCLC2023 STARs Program and the TABOO reality show. Recently in 2023 Michel was a finalists in the Research Australia, Health and Medical Research Advocacy awards, a proud moment for him.


Jess Taylor

Jess brings a wealth of expertise garnered from her leadership positions across various sectors including commercial, public, and not-for-profit organisations. With a background as a Director, Chief Executive Officer, and trusted advisor, Jessica has steered peak bodies throughout her career. Drawing from her extensive experience, Jess provides consultancy and mentorship to numerous researchers, organisations, and companies across Australia.

Deeply committed to community service, Jess has actively contributed to the not-for-profit sector through extensive volunteer work. Jess also serves as an advisor for endometriosis at both state and federal levels.


David Milne

David is a former international school principal and education consultant.

An interest in medical research stems from his family which includes a haematology consultant, a research chemist and a medical editor. He has participated in several research studies at The Translational Research Institute  (Australia) including the ACEMID 3D skin cancer program. David is a consumer advocate on several strategic committees within Metro South Health including The Human Ethics Research Committee.  He is interested in medical research about genomics and familial predisposition to diseases such as melanoma and ulcerative colitis.      


Jo Maxwell

Jo Maxwell is The University of Queensland, Faculty of Medicine Principal Project Officer and leads the Consumer and Community Involvement in Research program.

She works with UQ researchers, individual consumers, community groups, and research partner organisations to operationalise the FOM Consumer Involvement in Research program. Jo comes from a rehabilitation background as an exercise physiologist and then became a project manager for not-for-profit organisations like National Disability Service, Bupa Aged Care and Stroke Foundation. She is a lived experience representative with Beyond Blue and still loves teaching yoga and Pilates.



Dr Arutha Kulasinghe

Dr Arutha Kulasinghe is a Senior Research Fellow and leads the Clinical-oMx Lab at The University of Queensland. Dr Kulasinghe has pioneered spatial transcriptomics using digital spatial profiling approaches in the Asia-Pacific region, contributing to world-first studies for lung cancer, head and neck cancer and COVID-19.

His research aims to understand the underlying pathobiology by using an integrative multi-omics approach.


Dr Vaishnavi Nathan

Dr Vaishnavi Nathan is a Research Genetic Counsellor in the Integrating Genomics into Medicine (IGM) Team at the University of Queensland Frazer Institute based at the Translational Research Institute (TRI). She completed her PhD in skin cancer (melanoma) genetics through the University of Queensland at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in 2021, followed by a Masters of Genetic Counselling at the University of Technology Sydney in 2022. She has had experience in various projects on cancer biology and genetics in her 9 years being a researcher, and worked as a Clinical Allied Health Assistant at Genetic Health Queensland during her Masters degree.

Vaishnavi is a Singapore-born Australian of Indian ancestry and is the Clinical Research Co-ordinator of the South Asian Genes and Health in Australia (SAGHA) study, the first ever genomic study focused on South Asians in Australia. In this role, she has worked with various leaders and members in the Queensland South Asian community and understands the importance of co-design and consumer involvement in research.