Introducing the TRI Executive Team led by Professor Scott Bell, CEO of TRI. 

Professor Scott Bell


Chief Executive Officer 

Professor Bell is a leading clinician and researcher in Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  He recently co-led the development of a new global blueprint for the care of people with the fatal genetic disorder. His work will help the 3500 Australians with the incurable condition to live decades longer. Professor Bell has over 250 peer reviewed publications and has received grant support in excess of $22 million over the past 10 years.  He is a Senior Thoracic Physician at the Prince Charles Hospital and Editor-in Chief of the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis.  Prior to his appointment as TRI CEO, Professor Bell was the Executive Director of Research at Metro North Health and the head of QIMR Berghofer’s Lung Bacteria laboratory.

Dr Helen Benham

Associate Professor Helen Benham

Executive Director of Translation 

Associate Professor Helen Benham is an experienced rheumatologist who divides her time between clinical practice at the PA Hospital and translational research into rheumatic diseases. She is a senior lecturer with The University of Queensland and a previous NHMRC Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellow. Helen has experience in clinical trials and applying the principles of implementation science to her clinical field. Currently she is a Board Member of Metro South Hospital and Health Service, the Princess Alexandra Hospital Research Foundation and is Chair of Arthritis Queensland. She holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (Hons), Bachelor of Applied Science (Podiatry), a PhD from The University of Queensland; and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Karen Murphy

Karen Murphy

Chief Operating Officer

Karen Murphy is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at TRI. The COO oversees the Finance, ICT, Legal, HR, Communications and Marketing, Building Services, Facilities, and Workplace Health and Safety functions, and Chairs the Executive Leadership Team and the OneTRI Shared Operations Committee. Karen has an extensive background in executive leadership roles across the private, publicly listed, government and not-for-profit sectors. She has more than 20 years’ experience working in the allied health and medical-related fields. Among Karen’s key past appointments are the CEO of the Emergency Medicine Foundation, the CEO of the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the CEO of the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority. She is currently a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. Karen is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds an MBA with distinction.

Siobhan Barry

Melissa Watter

Director – Corporate Affairs and Marketing

Melissa Watter joined TRI in April 2023 as Director of Corporate Affairs after two decades as co-Founder and Director of a strategic marketing and communications firm.
She holds a journalism degree and prior to her move into corporate communications, was a political reporter across print and broadcast media, working in senior roles with the Seven and Ten networks. A trusted advisor, Melissa has shared her expertise as a committee member and volunteer Board Director for non-profit and community organisations.
During her professional career she has spearheaded national public awareness and education campaigns; helped deliver large scale events; worked closely with scientists, clinicians and researchers to translate complex information to a broad audience; and helped to bring staff and stakeholders along on important journeys of organisational change. An advocate for compelling organisational storytelling, Melissa and her team are committed to showcasing the incredible collaborations within TRI.

Kirsten Kiel-Chisholm

Kirsten Kiel-Chisholm

Director - Legal Services

Kirsten commenced at TRI in July 2009 and is an experienced General Counsel and Company Secretary.  As Director of Legal Services, Kirsten is responsible for managing the Institute’s legal requirements and providing legal advice to the Board and management across a range of areas. She also oversees human resources and compliance for the Institute.  
Kirsten previously worked as General Counsel and Company Secretary for the CRC for Sustainable Tourism.  Prior to that she was a corporate lawyer in private practice in both Australia and the United States and co-authored three publications on compliance with ASX and APRA corporate governance requirements.  She holds degrees in Law (First Class Hons) and International Business Relations as well as having a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance.  She is In-House Counsel Certified by the Association of Corporate Counsel and a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.   

Simon Preston

Simon Preston

Director - Finance

Simon is a chartered accountant with more than 20 years’ experience across multiple sectors. He started his career working in external audit, including five years with the major international accounting and auditing firm, Ernst & Young. Simon then moved into commerce, taking on the role of Head of Group Finance at Virgin Care, one of the largest private providers to the UK’s National Health Service.

In 2016, he joined global contract recruitment specialists Fircroft Group as Director of Group Finance. Simon relocated to Brisbane in 2019 to take up the role of Finance Director of Fircroft’s Australasian operations, before returning to professional services in 2020 as a Financial Management Consultant with BDO. During his time at BDO, Simon served as TRI’s Acting Director of Finance on two occasions, before joining TRI permanently in this role in January 2023. Simon holds a Bachelor of Economics and Finance and is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales.

Raj Davio

Raj Davio

Director - ICT

Raj initially joined TRI in 2021 in a consulting capacity with responsibility for reviewing the Institute’s ICT systems and developing a new technology strategy and governance model. In November 2022, he was formally appointed TRI's inaugural Director of ICT, with responsibility for strategic leadership of technology across the Institute. Prior to joining TRI, Raj consulted for TAFE Queensland as the Executive Director of Strategic Transformation, and before that he was the Director of IT Services at Bond University. Raj is currently on the board of a not-for-profit organisation. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computing Science and a Master of Business in IT Management.

Raj Davio


Director - Service Delivery & Quality

An accomplished biomedical research professional with over 20 years’ experience, Emily Duggan has a track record of developing innovative solutions. She joined TRI in 2022 after almost six years in the building as the University of Queensland’s Senior Gnotobiotic Facility Coordinator.   In that time, she established the TRI Gnotobiotic Core Facility and her experience since has ranged from the laboratory bench through to senior management, logistics, advanced administration tasks and data analysis.  Emily holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons - Class I) Physiology and Pharmacology and oversees TRI’s Core Facilities, Analytics, Scientific Services & Space, Building Services, Central Stores and Sterilisation.

Raj Davio


Director - People, Safety & Culture

An experienced human resources business partner Rod Yeo has worked in a variety of sectors including Health, FMCG, Insurance, Financial Services, Mining Services and Technology. He also has a proven track record leading on Occupational Health and Safety, Quality Assurance and Change Management projects. Results driven and passionate about the importance of People, Safety and Culture in contributing to business performance, Rod holds a Master of Human Resources Management. Since joining TRI in 2017, Rod has developed a raft of HR initiatives to improve productivity, employee engagement, employee retention and leadership capability.

Raj Davio


General Manager - Translational Biomedical Manufacturing

David Crowley (MSc (Dist.) Biochemical Engineering) joined TRI in April 2024 following a stint as General Manager Scientific Operations & Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics at QIMR Berghofer. There David was responsible for leading and delivering strategic and operational planning for the nine bespoke facilities that make up QIMR’s Scientific Operations and their Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics cGMP manufacturing facility. He will play a pivotal role in establishing operations for our new Translational Manufacturing facility TM@TRI, due to open in late 2025.

David is no stranger to TRI, having spent 11 years from 2012 to 2023 in a variety of senior process engineering roles at Patheon Biologics by ThermoFisher Scientific, finishing his time there as Head of Operations. David was a key member of the start-up and design team for the cGMP facility, leading the establishment of cGMP manufacturing operations and obtaining the Australian TGA manufacturing licence.  He has also worked for National Biologics Facility (NBF) and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) as a bio-process scientist after stints in microbiology for Sanofi Aventis in London, and in-process control for Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Johnson and Johnson) in Ireland.