Advisory Board

South Australian immunoGENomics Cancer Institute (SAiGENCI) is overseen by an Independent Advisory Board, comprising nominees of the Commonwealth Government, the University of Adelaide and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

The board exists to set and monitor the strategy and policy direction for the Institute, to review and approve its activities and expenditure, and to support the University in meeting its obligations under the Commonwealth Funding Deed.  

It acts autonomously in respect of financial and operational decisions, within the overarching constraints implied by SAiGENCI's establishment as an academic unit linked to the University of Adelaide’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Professor Brandon Wainwright AM

Professor Brandon Wainwright

Chair of the Board

Professor Brandon Wainwright AM is a geneticist, renowned for discovering the genetic pathway that causes most human cancer.  He is skilled in molecular genetics and is best known for discovering the first gene known to cause brain cancer, and the gene pathway responsible for common cancer - the 'Hedgehog Pathway'. He is the former Director of the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, where he led a team of talented discovery scientists, translating their findings to life-changing applications.

The primary focus of his current research is brain cancer, but he is also applying his expertise to common cancer generally (particularly skin cancer), and neurodegenerative disease.

Professor Wainwright is a graduate of the University of Adelaide, and also serves as Chair of the University's Robinson Research Institute Advisory Board.

Ms Anna-Maria Arabia

Ms Anna-Maria Arabia

Ms Anna-Maria Arabia is the Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science, and a passionate advocate for science, social justice and gender equity.

Her past roles include General Manager, Strategy and Partnerships of Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre - and CEO of Science and Technology Australia.

As well as her scientific background, Ms Arabia has worked in senior policy roles in both social and economic portfolios and served as Director of Policy and Principal Advisor to the Leader of the Federal Opposition from 2013-16.

Ms Lesley Dwyer

Ms Lesley Dwyer

Ms Lesley Dwyer is Chief Executive of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN). She has extensive experience in health service leadership, having served as CEO of the Medway maritime NHS Foundation Trust and the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service in the UK, prior to taking on her role at CALHN in 2018. She served as the COO and Acting CEO of the Adelaide Health Service from 2008-2011.

Ms Dwyer brings a deep understanding of the importance of research to health service delivery to the SAiGENCI Board.

Professor Michelle Haber AM PhD Hon DSc (UNSW) FAAHMS

Professor Michelle Haber AM, FAAHMS

Professor Michelle Haber AM is Executive Director of the Children’s Cancer Institute, and a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales. She has served as President of the International Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association and remains a member of its Steering Committee.

Professor Haber is Head of the Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Theme and Group Leader of Experimental Therapeutics at the Children’s Cancer Institute. Her research is focussed on improving treatment for neuroblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children through identifying molecular targets that drive cancer growth and development, developing new drugs to inhibit the action of these targets, and combining existing and new drug treatments into novel therapeutic approaches.

Professor Doug Hilton AO PhD FAA FTSE FAHMS

Professor Doug Hilton AO, FAA

Professor Doug Hilton AO, FAA is Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Research in Melbourne, and Head of the Department of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne.

His research has focussed on cytokines, signal transduction pathways and the regulation of blood cell formation (haematopoeisis). His discoveries include theinterleukin-11 receptor, the interleukin-13 receptor and the suppressors of cytokine signalling (SOCS) proteins. More recently, he and his collaborators established a program using large-scale mouse genetics and genomics to identify regulators of blood cell formation, with a view to determining targets for the development of new medicines.

He is a past President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).

Mr Gaby Jaksa

Mr Gaby Jaksa

Mr Gaby Jaksa is a very experienced commercial lawyer and commercial consultant, providing services to government and the private sector. He  worked for 25 years in the State Public Service in both legal and commercial roles, and is a former Deputy Crown Solicitor. He now runs his own legal and commercial consulting business.

Mr Jaksa has worked on a diverse range of commercial transactions, performing both legal and commercial roles. Highlights include the State Bank bail-out, the East End redevelopment, various whole-of-government ICT contracts, establishment of SA BITS Pty Ltd (an early-stage venture capital company), Olympic Dam Indenture renegotiations with BHP, PPP projects, structuring and negotiating the arrangements between SACA, SANFL and the SMA over the use and management of Adelaide Oval, and the Nyrstar guarantee matter.

Professor Ricky Johnstone PhD FAHMS

Professor Ricky Johnstone FAAHMS

Professor Ricky Johnstone is the Head of the Gene Regulation Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Centre, Head of the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology at the University of Melbourne, and Executive Director of Cancer Research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

In his cancer research, Professor Johnstone has utilised genetic mouse models of hemopoietic malignancies and solid tumours to understand the epigenetic changes that underpin tumour onset and progression, and to develop new therapies that target epigenetic and transcriptional regulatory proteins.

Professor Johnstone has also taken the lead in the creation of a National Cancer Clinical Trials Network, to which SAiGENCI intends to become affiliated.

Professor Benjamin Kile BSc (Hons) LLB PhD FAHMS

Professor Benjamin Kile FAHMS

Professor Benjamin Kile is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Kile's research has focused primarily on the molecular regulation of blood cell formation and function, at steady state, and in disease settings such as inflammation and leukaemia. His work has contributed to understanding the survival of platelets – the tiny cells that mediate blood clotting – and informed the clinical development of a new class of cancer drugs called the BH3 mimetics. His team has identified critical roles for the cell death machinery in suppressing innate immune signalling, suggesting new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of viral infections and cancer.

Professor Anton Middelberg FTSE

Professor Anton Middelberg FTSE

Professor Anton Middelberg is Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research) at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Middelberg is an internationally recognised research and thought leader in chemical and biomolecular engineering. His research is fundamental but directed toward significant problems including in the health and advanced biomanufacturing sectors. Professor Middelberg has researched, patented and licensed new technologies in the fields of rapid vaccine scale-up, soft condensed matter and bio-nanotechnology, including for cancer immunotherapy.