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Our Leaders in Science and Society seminar program

Our Leaders in Science and Society seminars program features renowned Australian and international specialists from a variety of organisations. The seminars are intended to engage, educate and inspire our researchers. 

Leaders in science and society


Our upcoming 2018 seminars:


19 March
Prof Deborah Schofield

Professor and Chair, Health Economics
Director, GenIMPACT: Centre for Economic and Social Impacts of Genomic Medicine, Macquarie University Sydney


16 April
Dr Justin O’Sullivan
Senior Research Fellow
Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand


23 April
Prof Susan Clark
NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow
Head of Division of Genomics and Epigenetics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research


26 June
Dr Lee Rubin
Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University USA


20 August
Dr Peter Tontonoz
Professor and the Francis and Albert Piansky Endowed Chair in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
UCLA Los Angeles, USA


  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015


4 December
Professor Sharon Lewin (Nadine Watson Lecture)
Director, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne


27 November
Professor Peter Croucher

Division Head - Bone Biology, Garvan Institute
"A Zoologist’s Guide to Bone and Cancer"


13 November
Professor James Whisstock

Director, ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, Scientific Head, EMBL Australia, NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University
                         "Structural studies on the perforin-like family of pore forming immune effectors"


30 October
Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman
Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney
"Wind Turbine Syndrome a communicated disease"


23 October
Professor Peter Jones
VARI Chief Scientific Officer, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Epigenetics
"Improving Epigenetic Therapy with Oranges and Aza"


16 October
Hon Jillian Skinner
Previous Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research
"Research is not an optional extra when it comes to improving health care"


  9 October
Professor Seth Grant
Professor of Molecular Neuroscience, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, Edinburgh University
"The synaptic organization of the brain"


 18 September
Professor Aleksandra Filipovska

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, The University of Western Australia School of Molecular Sciences and The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
                          "Genomic and functional regulation of energy metabolism in health and disease"


11 September
Professor Alan Cooper
Director, Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide
"Prehistomics: Using Ancient Genomes, Epigenomes, and Microbiomes to study the evolutionary impacts of rapid environmental change" 


4 September
Professor Michelle Simmons
Director, Centre for Quantum Computational & Communication Technology, UNSW Sydney
"The development of a silicon-based quantum computer"


28 August
Mr Scott Farquahr
CEO, Atlassian
Fireside Chat with Scott Farquhar


21 August
Professor Adrian Liston
Professor of Translational Immunology, University of Leuven
"Shaping the human immune system"


14 August
Dr Scott Watkins
KISCO, Pollinate Energy and parkrun Australia
“From Research to Social Enterprise and Industry: chemistry, solar panels, startups and Korea”


7 August
Professor Robert Graham
Head of Cardiac Receptor Biology Laboratory, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute
“Thyroid hormone: master regulator of growth, development and metabolism – a cardiac perspective”


31 July
Professor Mark Febbraio
Division Head - Diabetes and Metabolism, Garvan Institute
“From Jock to Doc and back: Why exercise IS medicine!”


24 July
Professor Ada Yonath
Weizmann Institute of Science
“Next generation environmentally friendly antibiotics”


19 June
Professor David Thomas
Director - The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Division Head - Cancer, Garvan Institute
“Cancer: past, present and future”


5 June
Professor Emad El-Omar
Professor of Medicine/Editor in Chief, GUT, UNSW Sydney
“Role of the gut microbiome in health and disease”


29 May
Prof John Hopper
NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Director of Twins Research Australia, University of Melbourne
“Learning from the community: twin, family and volunteer resources for health and medical research”


8 May
Dr Elissa Deenick
Laboratory Head, Lymphocyte Signalling and Activation, Garvan Institute
“How to make an immune response just right: lessons learnt from mice and humans”


1 May 
Professor Glenn Marshall
Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital Sydney
“Individualising child cancer care”


10 April
Professor Matt Cooper
Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland
“Infection and innate immunity: Follow the bugs to get to the drugs”


3 April
Mr Thomas Barlow
Barlow Advisory
“Australia’s Economy of Ideas - trends in scientific discovery during an age of uncertainty”


27 March
Professor David Cooper
Director, The Kirby Institute, Sydney
“Antiretroviral therapy for HIV: 30 years in 30 minutes”

22 March
Professor Ingrid Scheffer
Epilepsy Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne Brain Centre
“How Genomics is Transforming Epilepsy Care”

13 March
Professor Mark Smyth
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
“Immunotherapy – the fourth pillar of cancer treatment”

6 March
Professor Wieland Huttner
Managing Director, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany 
“Neural stem and progenitor cells and neocortex expansion in development and evolution” 


27 February
Dr Dinshaw J Patel
Abby Rockefeller Mauze Chair in Experimental Therapeutics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center USA
“Structural Biology of RNA-mediated Gene Regulation and cGAS-STING-mediated Immune Regulation”


20 February
Professor Bruce Stillman
President, Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory, USA
“The Origin Recognition Complex and Chromosome Duplication: Structure, Function and Human Genetics”


9 February
Professor Greg Gibson
Professor of Integrative Genomics, Georgia Institute of Technology
“Transcriptomics for Personalised Medicine”


23 January
Dr Mark Chee
Chief Executive Officer, Prognosys Biosciences
“A perspective on Genomics Technologies”

5 December
Rev Tim Costello
CEO World Vision Australia
“Tackling our greatest global challenges: Hope for a fragile world”

28 November
Prof Liz Harry
Director, i3 Institute, UTS
“Knowing When and Where to Divide: A Bacterial Perspective” 

21 November
Prof Helen Christensen
Director and Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute
“Detect and Deliver”

14 November 
Prof Gail Risbridger
Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University
“Prostate cancer in BRCA mutation carriers: small cohort study with large impact”

24 October
Scientia Prof Katharina Gaus
EMBL Australia Node in Single Molecule Science, ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, UNSW Australia
“T cell receptor clustering - a new model of signal transduction”

10 October
Dr Kate Schroder
Deputy Director, IMB Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Queensland
“Inflammation control by inflammasomes”

26 September
Dr Markus Elsner
Research Editor, Nature Biotechnology
“Publishing in Nature Journals” 

19 September
Prof Georgia Chenevix-Trench
Senior Scientist, Cancer Genetics, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
“The Post GWAS Challenge: 188 breast cancer susceptibility loci and still counting” 

5 September 
Ms Anna Bligh
Chief Executive Officer, YWCA NSW


2 September
Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ KNZM FRSNZ FMedSci FRS
Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand
“Policy-making is messy – can science make it any cleaner?”

29 August
Dr Paul Boutros
Principal Investigator, Informatics & Biocomputing, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
“The Three Genomes of Cancer”

22 August (part of our diabetes symposium: 'Recent Advances in Metabolic Diseases')
Prof Jorge Ferrer
Chair in Genetics and Medicine, Head of the Section of Epigenomics and Disease, Imperial College London
“Non-coding genome function in pancreatic islets” 

8 August        
Mr Bill Ferris AC
Veteran of venture capital and private equity in Australia, Chair of Garvan Board from 2001-2013, and recently appointed Chair of Innovation and Science Australia
“Innovation and Science in a future Australia… so what for the Garvan?”

1 August
Prof Christina Mitchell
Academic Vice-President and Dean, Faculty of Medicine Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University   
“Regulation of Phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling by Phosphoinositide Phosphatases” 

27 June
Prof Louisa Jorm
Director, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Australia
“Big data, small populations: unpacking health inequalities using linked data”

9 June
Minister Pru Goward
Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Medical Research, Assistant Minister for Health, Minister for Women, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

31 May
Dr Vivien Bonazzi
Senior Advisor for Data Science Technologies & Innovation Office for the Associate Director for Data Science National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA
“The Data Commons – Changing the landscape for sharing and analysing large scale biomedical data” 

30 May
Prof Richard Gibbs AC
Director, Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Centre
“Precision Medical Research”

23 May        
Dr Anthony Joshua  Research profile 
Director of Oncology, Garvan Institute / St Vincent's Hospital Sydney 
“What can Medicine learn from the Airline Industry? Safety at 36000ft”

9 May
Prof Peter Visscher
Co-Director, The Centre for Neurogenetics and Statistical Genomics Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland
“The nature of genetic variation underlying complex traits and common disease”

2 May
David Thodey
CSIRO Chair 
“Leadership and Innovation in Scientific Research and Business are necessary – but is it the same?”

18 April       
Prof Angel Lopez
Director, Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology and University of South Australia
“Signalling by the βc family of cytokines” 

11 April       
Dr Roberto Weigert
Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute (NCI)
“Molecular Mechanism of Membrane remodeling in Live Animals by Subcellular Intravital Microscopy”

4 April         
Prof Anne Kelso AO 
Chief Executive Officer, NHMRC 
“NHMRC’s agenda in 2016”

21 March
Mr Charles Curran AC
“Reflections on economic and political developments in Australia over the last 50 years”

7 March
Hon. Dr Peter Beattie AC
Former Queensland Premier
“Where to from here Australia?”

22 February
Prof Yoshihide Hayashizaki
Director, Omics Science Center, RIKEN
“The recent progress of FANTOM omics, and its application to health care” 

30 November
Professor David Bowtell  Research profile
Lab Head - Ovarian Cancer Research, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
"Insights into the molecular biology of primary, recurrent and end-stage high grade serous ovarian cancer from the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study" 

23 November          
Dr Keith McLean
Manufacturing Flagship Director, CSIRO
“Implantable Materials for Medical Devices, Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery”

16 November
Professor Rob Parton
Group Leader, Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine Division, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland 
“Cave exploration at the nanoscale; new insights into the structure and function of caveolae”

9 November
Professor Peter Vogt
Executive VP & Chief Scientific Officer, Scripps Research Institute
“MYC and the Non-coding Transcriptome”

2 November
Professor Jane Visvader
Joint Division Head, Stem Cells and Cancer, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
“Unravelling breast cancer using the mammary epithelial hierarchy”

26 October
Professor Rodney Phillips
Dean of Medicine, UNSW Australia 
“Darwin’s Legacy”

19 October
Professor Samuel Klein
Director, Center for Human Nutrition, Washington University
“Obesity and Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease” 

12 October
Professor Carolyn Sue
Professor, University of Sydney / Director, Department of Neurogenetics, Royal North Shore Hospital
“Mitochondria in health and disease”

28 September
Professor Vanessa Hayes  Research profile
Lab Head - Human Comparative and Prostate Cancer Genomics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
“Next Generation Mapping” 

21 September
Professor Jonathan Sprent  Research profile
Lab Head - Cellular Immunity, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
“Cell membrane exchange: from immunoglobulin on T cells to immunotherapy” 

14 September
Professor Paul Griffiths
Associate Academic Director (Arts and Social Sciences), Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney
“The Concept of Information in Molecular Bioscience: from Crick's Central Dogma to Systems Biology” 

24 August
Professor Joe Trapani
Director, Cancer Research Division and Head, Cancer Immunology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
“Perforin, Immunoregulatory functions and structure/function relations”

17 August
Dr John Schubert, AO
Chair of the Garvan Institute Board
"The Chinese Curse: “May You Live in Interesting Times”"

10 August
The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG
Former Justice of the High Court of Australia
“After the Bench!”

3 August
Professor Sally Dunwoodie
Head, Embryology Lab, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute
“Identifying genetic and environmental factors causing developmental defects in humans and mice”

28 July (Tuesday at 11:30am)
Professor Alain Fischer
Hospital Necker (Paris)
"A reductionist view of T cell immunology based on the study of primary immunodeficiencies"

29 June
Professor Stephen Nutt
Division Head, Molecular Immunolgy, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
“Cell Fate Decisions in the Immune System” 

15 June
Professor Ian Jacobs
President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Australia
“The Good, the Bad & the Ovary: UNSW Strategy, Challenges for Higher Education and Ovarian Cancer Screening” 

1 June
Professor Nicholas Hayward
Senior Scientist QIMR
“The Australian Melanoma Genome Project” 

25 May
Dr Alex Swarbrick  Research profile
Lab Head - Tumour Progression, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
“Tumours as ecosystems” 

18 May
Professor Matthias von Herrath
Novo Nordisk
“New and unexpected insights into the histopathology of type 1 and 2 diabetes and therapeutic considerations” 

27 April
Daniel Petre
Garvan Institute Board Member
“The impact of Technology on Everything”

20 April
Associate Professor Daniel Christ  Research profile 
Antibody Therapeutics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
“Engineering of the human antibody repertoire”

30 March
Professor Juris J Meier MD
Head, Division of Diabetology and GI Endocrinology St. Josef-Hospital of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Germany
“Pancreatic & extra-pancreatic effects of GLP-1”

23 March
Associate Professor Geoff Faulkner
University of Queensland
“Jumping genes in the brain: a hidden layer dictating neuronal phenotype”

16 March
Professor Olivier Pourquié
Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“Development of the musculo-skeletal axis” 

9 March
Professor David Ryugo  Research profile 
Hearing Research, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
“Hearing & the Brain: Making Sense of Sound, Hearing Loss & Brain Plasticity”

2 March
Professor Chris Goodnow  Research profile 
Deputy Director, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
“Surfing between whole body systems, cells and genes: if you're not falling off, you're not getting better”

23 February
Professor Mark Caulfield
Genomics England
“The 100,000 Genomes Project”