Confirmed International Speakers


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Professor Lucy Raymond - Professor of Medical Genetics and Neurodevelopment at the University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant in Medical Genetics at Cambridge University Hospital, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, UK

Lucy Raymond is Professor of Medical Genetics and Neurodevelopment at the University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant in Medical Genetics at Cambridge University Hospital, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, UK. Her research interest is understanding the genetic basis of intellectual disability and has identified many disease causing genes over the years which have been rapidly translated into clinical service. She leads several collaborative efforts to identify rare disease genes where neurological conditions predominate using whole genome sequence analysis. She is currently Director of the East England Genomics Medicine Centre.

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Assistant Professor Jason Vassy, MD – Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Clinician-Investigator, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston

Jason L. Vassy, MD, MPH, SM, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician and clinician-investigator at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His research examines the clinical translation of genetic and genomic testing to primary care patient populations, with a focus on its impact on patient outcomes. His studies have examined the impact of introducing whole-genome sequencing to the primary care of generally healthy adult patients, the utility of genetic susceptibility testing for predicting and preventing diabetes, and provider utilization and patient outcomes from pharmacogenetic testing.



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Confirmed National Speakers



Professor Ian Frazer AC FRS - University of Queensland, Brisbane

Professor Ian Frazer is a clinician scientist, trained as a clinical immunologist in Scotland. As a professor at the University of Queensland, he leads a research group working at TRI in Brisbane, Australia on the immunobiology of epithelial cancers.  He is recognised as co-inventor of the technology enabling the HPV vaccines, currently used worldwide to help prevent cervical cancer. He heads a biotechnology company, Admedus Vaccines, working on new vaccine technologies, and is a board member of several companies and not for profit organisations. He is current president of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and a member of the Commonwealth Science Council. Most recently appointed chair of the federal governments Medical Research Future Fund.

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Associate Professor Amanda Spurdle - Head, Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Amanda Spurdle is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and head of the Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory.

She began working in the field of molecular epidemiology of cancer at QIMR (now QIMR Berghofer MRI) in 2007, and her research currently encompasses studies of breast, endometrial, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancer. A major research effort is development and application of methods to determine the clinical importance of variants in high-risk cancer susceptibility genes, spanning the mismatch repair genes, BRCA1/2 and more recently TP53. She co-founded and now leads the ENIGMA international consortium to develop and apply methods to evaluate variants in breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility genes. She is active in both the Australian and Qld Genomics Health Alliances, primarily around promoting sharing of variant information to facilitate and harmonise clinical classification.

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Professor Naomi Wray - Institute for Molecular Bioscience & Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland

Naomi Wray is an Australian National Health & Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellow and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. She holds joint Professorial positions between the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Her research intersects quantitative genetics, statistical methodology and disorders of the brain. She has played leading roles in analyses for International Psychiatric Genomics Consortia working groups and established the sporadic ALS Australia systems genomics consortium

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Associate Professor Anne Cust - Head, Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Anne Cust is an epidemiologist who heads the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group based at the Sydney School of Public Health and also affiliated with the Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney. She is funded through Career Development Fellowships from the NHMRC and the Cancer Institute NSW. She has a strong interest in the genetic epidemiology of melanoma and on the potential for genomics to impact public health. She also teaches epidemiology and genetics in the Sydney School of Public Health.



Associate Professor Sue White - Deputy Medical Director, Victorian Clinical Genetics Services

Associate Professor Sue White is a clinical geneticist and Deputy Medical Director of the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services. Sue’s clinical and research interests are in dysmorphology and the clinical applications of new genomic technologies.

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Professor Keith McNeil - Assistant Deputy Director-General and Chief Clinical Information Officer

Professor Keith McNeil plays a key role in the clinical leadership of the statewide eHealth program. He works closely with key stakeholders to maximise the clinical and patient safety benefits associated with technology in the healthcare setting, while minimising risk.

Prof McNeil has previously worked within Queensland Health as the Head of Transplant Services at The Prince Charles Hospital, Chief Executive Officer at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, and Chief Executive Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

More recently, Prof McNeil was Chief Clinical Information Officer, National Health Service, United Kingdom following roles as Chief Executive Officer at Addenbooke's Hospital and Cambridge University Hospital Foundation Trust.

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Greg Pratt - Manager for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research, QIMR Berghofer

Manager for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research at QIMR Berghofer, Greg is descended from the Brown family of the Noonucal tribe of the Quandamooka people of Stradbroke Island. Greg Pratt is an Aboriginal man with a significant work history and track record as a project manager, clinician and policy advisor. Greg’s track record includes managing nationally-funded, complex partnership projects and he has extensive experience working with the health service sector, policy personnel and researchers. Greg has most recently completed stakeholder engagement activities for the development of a set of guidelines for the conduct of genomic research involving Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders. Engagement activities included facilitation of a series of focus groups and forums at five regional sites (Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Brisbane) and two remote communities (Weipa and Thursday Island). The events successfully engaged over 100 people with clinical, policy, health consumer, academic and research expertise from the public, industry and non-government sector of Queensland. His current role at QIMR Berghofer focuses on implementing and developing a transparent and needs based approach to research that seeks to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health; to support process that questions not only the role of biomedical research in furthering indigenous health, but the role of the indigenous health in supporting biomedicine to realise its potential.

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John Cannings OAM - Non-Executive Director Rare Cancers Australia Limited

John was until November 2016 a Partner of PwC Australia and the Australian National Markets Leader for Health, PwC’s Health Consulting Leader for Australia and Pharma & Life Sciences Leader for Asia-Pacific.

John was an experienced and well known corporate and commercial lawyer with extensive health and pharmaceutical industry knowledge. He was in practice for 33 years and specialised in corporate and securities law, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, corporate governance and board advice, particularly in the Health and Pharmaceutical sectors.

John has actively presented at Industry forums, made submissions to Government, principally around equitable access to new and innovative targeted cancer drugs and presented evidence to the Senate Committee on Access to New, Innovative and Targeted cancer medicines in Australia.

John is currently a non-executive director of Rare Cancers Australia Limited a NFP advocacy, research and patient assistance organisation.

John is also a Consumer representative on the Australian Genomic Health Alliance and a member of the joint committee with the Australian Digital Health Agency; and a Consumer representative on NSW Health’s Genomic Steering Committee.

John was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2010 for services to the community and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Laws from Sydney University.

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Jane Tiller - Public Health Genomics, Monash University; Genetic Counsellor/Study Coordinator, Victorian Clinical Genetics Service

Jane Tiller (LLB(Hons)/BSc/MGenCouns) is a lawyer and genetic counsellor with a background in corporate law and a keen interest in the regulatory and ethical aspects of genomics. She has a particular interest in the use of genetic test results in life insurance underwriting and is vocal in her call for government to increase consumer protection in this area. She is a founding member of the Australian Genetic Non-Discrimination Working Group and gave evidence to the recent Parliamentary Inquiry into the Life Insurance industry. Jane currently undertakes a number of diverse roles, including Ethical, Legal and Social Adviser in Public Health Genomics at Monash University and Genetic Counsellor/Study Coordinator with the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services.

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Dr Ainsley Newson - Associate Professor of Bioethics and Deputy Director Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney

Dr Ainsley Newson is Associate Professor of Bioethics and Deputy Director at Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney. She has degrees in science, law and bioethics and has worked in bioethics for 20 years. Her research explores the ethical aspects of genetics, genomics and reproductive technologies: specifically how new tests, technologies and interventions can be developed and implemented appropriately. Ainsley’s research is strongly oriented to practical ethical issues and she has forged many successful collaborations with clinical and research geneticists. She has published her research widely, and is also active in bioethics policy development and media commentary.

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Associate Professor Clara Gaff - Executive Director Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance

Associate Professor Clara Gaff is Executive Director of Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, which brings together 10 leading organisations to overcome the challenges of integrating genomics into everyday healthcare. Clara sits on the Australian Genomics Health Alliance National Steering Committee and co-leads their Education and Workforce Development Program.

Clara has been involved in the use of genetics and genomics in healthcare through roles in genetic counselling, management of genetic services, health professional education, and strategic development in Australia and the UK.  Clara holds a PhD in molecular genetics, certification in genetic counselling and postgraduate qualifications in health service research and evaluation. 

Clara is a member of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, and is an Editorial Board Member of the European Journal of Human Genetics.

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Professor Sandra Cooper - Deputy Head, KR - Kids Neuroscience Centre, The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Professor Sandra Cooper is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow with a background in neuroscience and genomics. She completed a BSc Hons I at the University of Otago, with PhD and postdoctoral training from University College London.

Sandra became postdoctoral protégé of Professor Kathryn North in 2000, and developed her own research group in 2005.  Professor Cooper is now Deputy Head of Kids Neuroscience Centre, devoted to identifying the causes, consequences and therapies for patients with inherited neuromuscular disorders.  She holds joint research positions at USYD, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the CMRI.

Professor Cooper’s genomics research has provided a precise diagnosis for 140/200 families with rare neuromuscular conditions.  While novel disease genes account for 5% of diagnosed families, tricky ‘splice-altering’ variants have been identified in one-third of diagnosed families. Therefore, her research focuses on development of novel informatics and functional pipelines for research translation of splice variants into clinical genomics.


Associate Professor Timo Lassman - Head Computational Biology, Telethon Kids Institute

Timo Lassmann, B.Sc. Biotechnology (1999), MSc Bioinformatics (2001),
PhD functional genomics (2006), Karolinska Institute Sweden, has a
major interest in computational biology and genomics. During his PhD
he published a series of innovative algorithms to analyze biological
sequences. In parallel, he led the data analysis in several
collaborative studies involving laboratory groups. Finally he
contributed to the PFAM consortium, a self-updating database of
protein domain families.

In 2006 he moved to RIKEN, Japan, where he transitioned into
leadership roles in the international Functional ANnotation of The
Mammalian Genome - FANTOM4 (3x Nature Genetics, 2009) and FANTOM5
project (3x Nature, 2014 - 2017, Science 2015). Between 2009 - 2012 he
was a lead analyst in the ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE)
project (2x Nature, 2012).

In 2014, Timo Lassmann was appointed as the head of computational
biology at the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI), Australia. The focus of
his research lab is to re-purpose big “omics” data in translational
projects to improve the well-being of children suffering from cancers
and rare diseases. In 2017 he was appointed the leader of the Genetics
and Rare Disease program at TKI, initiated a precision medicine
project and was awarded the Feilman Fellowship in genomics.


Dr Sarah Kummerfeld - Scientific Head, Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Dr Sarah Kummerfeld is the Scientific Head of the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. She uses genomics to understand human disease and translate findings into clinical diagnostics and treatments. Sarah completed her PhD in Computational Biology at the University of Cambridge, working on protein structure and function prediction. Her postdoctoral research at Stanford University studied the molecular basis of human aging.

Sarah has worked both in academia and industry, including 10 years as a Scientist at Genentech, the world’s first Biotech company, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. At Genentech, she used large-scale genomics approaches to understand why only some patients respond to treatment and to identify diagnostic biomarkers that predict response to particular drugs. Sarah is dedicated to bringing applying advances in genomics research to benefit patients.


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