Dr David Abbott
Principal Research Scientist, Medical Research Future Fund, Health and Medical Research Office, Australian Government Department of Health
Funding translational research: a Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) perspective
Eighteen months ago, David joined the Australian Government Department of Health as the Principal Research Scientist for the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). Prior to this he was employed at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for over ten years—most recently as advisor to the CEO, but he also worked on NHMRC funding schemes (peer review) and managed the development of a number of key NHMRC evidence statements and guidelines. In 2016, David was seconded to the Department of Health for six months to work on the National Health Genomics Policy Framework, which was released in October 2017.
David’s qualifications include a PhD from ANU in molecular biology. Before transitioning to policy development/research funding he spent thirteen years as a research scientist at CSIRO in the field of virology and gene silencing (RNA interference).
Professor Anthony Capon
Director, Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University
Professor Harriet Hiscock
Associate Director of Research, Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
A decade of translation: what works to translate research into everyday practice?
Professor Hiscock is a consultant paediatrician and National Health and Medical Research Council Practitioner Fellow. She is Associate Director of Research at the Centre for Community Child Health, Director of the Royal Children’s Hospital Health Services Research Unit, and Group Leader, Health Services, Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Her research focuses on developing, testing and implementing novel approaches to: (i) keep children out of hospital; (ii) reduce low value (wasteful) care; and (iii) integrate health, social and education services to improve health and wellbeing for children, including those living with family adversity. She has published over 180 peer-reviewed papers and been awarded continuous NHMRC funding since 2002, including a current CRE in Childhood Adversity and Mental Health, as CIA. She is assisted by a team of around 20 multi-disciplinary students and researchers.
Professor Hiscock has a strong focus on translation beyond traditional methods, including her infant sleep e-learning package for professionals, MCRI Sleep podcast for parents and clinicians (>15,000 downloads in the first month), a sleep app designed to help parents manage common child behaviour problems and rollout of her Infant Sleep program to 1,200 Victorian maternal and child health nurses, for which she was awarded the 2010 Early Years Minister's Award for Partnerships with Families and Communities. Her work informs content of the federal government-funded Raising Children Network Parenting site. She has co-authored a report which led to inclusion of a child mental health measure in the Victorian School Entry Health Questionnaire that enables earlier detection and management of child mental health problems.
- Principal Research Fellow, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
- Sessional Principal Specialist, Centre for Community Child Health
- Honorary Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne.
- 2018–2022: Practitioner Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council
- 2014–2017: Career Development Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council
- 2012: Fellow's Contribution Award ($150,000), The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- 2011: Mentors Award – special commendation, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- 2010: Early Years Minister's Award for Partnerships with Families and Communities for Infant Sleep Program, Victorian government
- 2010–2013: Career Development Award, National Health and Medical Research Council
- 2009: Rising Star award for excellence in research less than 10 years post doctorate, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
- 2009: Rue Wright Memorial Prize for best community child health research at the Annual Scientific Meeting, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- 2007: Centre for Community Child Health, Jeffrey Mahemoff Travel Scholarship
- 2001: Young Investigator Award at the Annual Scientific Meeting, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- 2001: Public Health Scholarship, National Health and Medical Research Council.
Professor Hiscock's research includes randomised controlled trials, health services research and secondary care. In particular, she focuses on common, high impact infant and child health problems—infant sleep and colic and associated postnatal depression in parents, child behavioural and mental health problems and child sleep.
- Australian Paediatric Research Network
- Baby Business
- NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence: Childhood Adversity and Associated Depression and Anxiety
- Digital Sleep App
- Early Minds Mindfulness Study
- Mental Health Services
- MRFF Million Minds: The Kids are not Okay: Emergency Care for children for Mental Health
- Understanding the burden of uncontrolled asthma
- Understanding family preferences for accessing mental healthcare for children with chronic physical health problems.
- National Health and Medical Research Council
- Sleep Health Foundation
- Murdoch Children's Research Institute
- Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission.
Professor Pierre Horwitz
Professor of Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University
Ecological determinants and environmental alliances for regional health (and sustainability)
Pierre Horwitz is a Professor at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia and Director of its Centre for Ecosystem Management.
For the last 30 years his research and teaching have included an ecosystems approach to the relationships between biodiversity, culture and human health and well-being, with a particular interest in wetlands and water resource management in Australia.
Pierre has held an appointment for the Ramsar International Convention on Wetlands as Theme Coordinator for Wetlands and Health on its Scientific and Technical Review Panel 2009-15, during which time he also worked with the Convention for Biological Diversity and the World Health Organisation. He is a former Director of Bush Heritage Australia, President of the Australian Freshwater Sciences Society (1999-2001), and co-founder of the International Association for Ecology and Health.
Pierre is currently working with colleagues in Fijian rural communities to investigate watershed-based interventions for health systems. In Australia his current projects include the ecological characteristics of Nyoongar songlines, locating loss of values from the effects of climate change in rural and regional communities, and predicting the effects of fire on water quality in water catchments.
Associate Professor Jaquelyne Hughes
Principal Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research
Predicting adults most at risk of rapid progression of chronic kidney disease—the eGFR Study 2007
Associate Professor Jaqui Hughes, BMed FRACP PhD, is a Torres Strait Islander woman and Darwin-based clinical researcher at Menzies School of Health Research.
Associate Professor Hughes' research program focuses on health-service strengthening and optimal patient-centred renal care which is aligned to the values of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and community.
Professor Louise Maple-Brown
Senior Principal Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research
A life course approach to improving diabetes health outcomes with Aboriginal communities
Louise Maple-Brown is Head of Department of Endocrinology, Royal Darwin Hospital (Northern Territory, Australia) and a NHMRC Practitioner Fellow with Menzies School of Health Research.
Louise leads a clinical research program within the Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Diseases division of Menzies, with a focus on diabetes and related conditions in Indigenous Australians.
Louise established and leads the Diabetes across the Lifecourse: Northern Australian Partnership. The partnership includes several large NHMRC-funded projects, including the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland Diabetes in Pregnancy Partnership and the PANDORA (Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia) Cohort Study.
After completing the majority of her physician and endocrinology training at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Louise moved to Darwin in 2002 to pursue her passion for improving the health of Indigenous Australians.
Louise is currently on the Australian Diabetes Society Council and was previously a member of the Council of the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society.
Louise has been providing clinical diabetes services to urban and remote NT communities for over 17 years, including more recently via telehealth.
Mr John Paterson
Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory
A born and bred Territorian, John’s family is affiliated with the Ngalakan tribe, located in the Roper River region. John was appointed as the EO of AMSANT in June 2006 and immediately outlined his priorities for the organisation in the coming years.
'My goal is to strengthen and enhance our community controlled health services in the NT so we can improve both the quality and duration of life for Aboriginal people,' John says. 'I’m particularly keen to help improve the mental health of the people in our region, with a holistic approach to primary health care.
'My other important agenda is to advocate vigorously for the further roll-out of the Primary Health Care Access Program (PHCAP) to improve the access of Aboriginal people to comprehensive primary health care services.'
John’s professional appointments
- CEO, Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service
- ATSIC State Manager, Victoria
- ATSIC State Manager, South Australia
- ATSIC Regional Manager, Broome
- ATSIC Regional Manager, Murchison/Gascoyne
- Senior Advisor, NT Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
- (Acting) Director of North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (NAALAS)
- ATSIC Commissioner, NT (North Zone)
- Council Liaison Officer, Northern Land Council
John has represented ATSIC at the United Nations Working Group of Indigenous Populations in Geneva, and at Indigenous economic conferences in Canada.
In 1992 he graduated from Edith Cowan University with a Bachelor of Social Science (Human Services) and has completed leadership courses with the Australian Rural Leadership Program.
John played 213 games of AFL for the Darwin Football Club (the mighty ‘Buffaloes’) and captained their NTFL Premiership team in 1980. He was twice selected for the NT News 'Team of the Year' and is a Life Member of the NTFL and the Darwin Football Club. He is currently President of the club.
Dr Danny Tsai
Infectious Diseases Pharmacist, Alice Springs Hospital; Centre for Remote Health, Flinders University
Optimising antibiotic dosing in critically ill Australian Indigenous patients
Dr Laura Weyrich
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
Dr Weyrich obtained a PhD from The Pennsylvania State University in 2012 and began a post-doctoral research appointment at the University of Adelaide, in the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.
Using her medical expertise, she helped establish calcified dental plaque (calculus) as the only fossil record of human microbiome in existence, and linked ancient and historic changes in human microbial communities to large shifts in health and disease.
In 2015, Dr Weyrich obtained a prestigious Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship, aimed at reconstructing the diversity of human microbiota around the world, including working with Indigenous people to reconstruct the microbiota from their ancestors. She became the first person to reconstruct a microbiome from an extinct species, Neandertals, and has reassembled the oldest microbial genome to date—at 48,000 years old.
In 2018, she was again recognised for her work on human oral microbiomes when she received an ARC Future Fellowship to investigate how industrialisation affected our microbes and health in the past and today.
As an Associate Professor at Penn State, she now directs the Penn State Ancient Biomolecules Research Environment (PSABRE)—one of the largest ancient DNA labs in North America—and leads a research team focused on understanding how and why microbial communities change over time in the human body and the environment.
She has received over $5 million in research funding, 21 awards for research excellence, and given over 50 guest lectures on the topic. Her research has been featured by the BBC, NPR, Science, Nature, New Scientist, NY Times, Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, and many others, and has been highlighted on Catalyst and a SBS documentary entitled 'Life on Us'. She has even had a Buzz Feed quiz written about her research. Her commitment to understanding how beneficial, friendly microorganisms contribute to disease, and how they shape the world around us, is changing how we view the human health today.