The Strategic Advisory Group has been appointed to provide the Minister for Health with advice on the strategic priorities for research investment through this Mission. Its role is to define evidence and knowledge gaps that should be addressed through Mission research funding to assist in transforming health care and health outcomes for individuals and communities. This role includes the definition of key research questions that, if answered, will deliver meaningful change to patients through the translation of research.

Strategic Advisory Group members will consult and engage with other researchers, industry and consumer/patient groups and participate in media and public activities to build awareness of and facilitate interaction with the Mission and with other MRFF-funded research.

Further information on the roles and responsibilities of MRFF Expert Advisory Panels (including the Strategic Advisory Group) can be found in the MRFF Mission Governance resource.


The Australian Government appoints the group. It is chaired by an independent Chair and includes members appointed for their expertise in brain cancer.



Background and experience

Declarations of interest 

Professor Sanchia Aranda AM


Professor Aranda is the Board Chair of Scope Australia, Victoria's largest disability service provider. She is also Board Chair for the City Cancer Challenge Foundation, Deputy Board Chair of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance and a director of the NSW Dust Diseases Board and the International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting.

Employed by Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Employed by University of Melbourne.

Deputy Chair, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance Board.

Member of New South Wales Dust Diseases Board.

Leader of New South Wales BreastScreen State Quality Committee.

Leader of Scope Australia Board of Directors.

Leader of Prostate Cancer Registry Steering Committee.

Leader of Victorian Cancer Registry Advisory Group.

Leader of City Cancer Challenge Foundation.

Ms Carrie Bickmore OAM

Ms Bickmore is an Australian journalist and the Director of Carrie’s Beanie’s 4 Brain Cancer Foundation. She is the Founder of The Brain Cancer Centre.

Director of Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer.

Founder of The Brain Cancer Centre.

Ms Aileen Boyd-Squires

Ms Boyd-Squires leads the Equal Access and Personalised Care Programs with the Collaborate Against Cancer initiative at Minderoo Foundation.

Employed by Minderoo Foundation.

Dr Jessica Buck

Dr Buck is a Forrest Research Fellow based at the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia.

Employed by University of Western Australia.

Employed by Telethon Kids Institute.

Fellowship Funding, Forrest Research Foundation

Grant funding, Cancer Australia.

Professor Jennifer Byrne

Professor Byrne is the Director of Biobanking, leading the NSW Health biobanking program, including the NSW Health Statewide Biobank. She is also conjoint Professor of Molecular Oncology within the School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney.

Leader of New South Wales Health Statewide Biobanking Scientific Advisory Group.

Member of Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia Steering Committee.

Member of Victoria Biobank Scientific Advisory Board.

Member of Westmead Research Hub Biobank Advisory Committee.

Dr Lawrence Cher

Dr Lawrence Cher is a neurologist treating headaches, stroke and epilepsy and specialising in brain tumours, and gliomas.


Professor Nick Gottardo

Professor Gottardo is a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist/Neuro-Oncologist and Head of Department of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology at Perth Children’s Hospital. He is also the Co-leader of the Brain Tumour Research Program at the Telethon Kids Institute.

Leader of Australia and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group.

Co-leader of Brain Cancer Tumour Research Programme, Telethon Kids Institute.

Member of Collaborative Network for NEuro-oncology Clinical Trials.

MRFF funding grant recipient.

Associate Professor Jordan Hansford

Associate Professor Jordan Hansford is a Paediatric Oncologist at Women’s and Children’s Hospital, South Australia.

Honorary position at University of Melbourne.

Honorary position at University of Adelaide.

Honorary position at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

MRFF funding grant recipient.

Member of Walter and Elizabeth Brain Cancer Centre.

Honorary position at Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.

Employed by South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

Employed by Women’s and Children’s Hospital, South Australia.

Leader of Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology, Brain Group.

Associate Professor Rosemary Harrup

Associate Professor Harrup is a cancer clinician and currently Head of Department (Medical Oncology/Haematology) at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Leader of Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation Scientific Research Advisory Committee.

Member of Cancer Council Tasmania.

Member of Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation.

Member of Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) Management Committee.

Member of National Cancer Expert Reference Group.

Member of Tasmanian Cancer Registry Advisory Board.

Employed by Tasmanian Health Services South.

Professor Doug Hilton AO


Professor Hilton is a molecular biologist. He is the Director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Leader of The Brain Cancer Centre.

Director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

Leader of The Brain Cancer Centre.

Member of Medical Research Advisory Committee, Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

Member of Scientific Advisory Committee, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

Member of South Australian Immunogenomics Cancer Institute (SAiGENCI).

Member of Scientific Advisory Committee, Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Member of National Health and Medical Research Council Research Committee.

Member of Australian Medical Research Advisory Board.

Member of Higher Education Standards Panel.

Member of Scientific Advisory Committee, Children’s Cancer Foundation.

Ms Marina Kastelan

Ms Kastelan is a Neuro-Oncology Clinical Nurse Coordinator at Ramsay Health Care. Ms Kastelan also leads the care co-ordinating team at The Brain Cancer Group.


Associate Professor Eng-Siew Koh

Associate Professor Koh is a consultant Radiation Oncologist based at Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre.

Leader of Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO).

Leader of Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, Neuro-Oncology Group.

Member of Cancer Institute New South Wales, Neuro-Oncology Group.

Employed by New South Wales Health, Sydney South West Local Health District.

Member of Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia Committee and Consortium.

Employed by South West Clinical School, University of New South Wales.

Member of Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group.

MRFF funding grant recipient.

Ms Marianne McNamara

Ms McNamara has been involved in establishing under the auspices of The Cancer Council (SA) and the Cancer Voices (SA). Ms McNamara has also been involved with the Adult Brain Cancer Support Association (ABC SA). Ms McNamara has also been an active consumer representative on the Australian Brain Cancer Mission Grant Assessment Committees.


Mr Dustin Perry

Mr Perry is a consumer advocate as a carer of paediatric brain cancer. He is also an Ambassador for the Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Foundation.


Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly

Dr Sansom-Daly is a Senior Research Fellow within UNSW Medicine & Health and Deputy Head of the Behavioural Sciences Unit. She is also a clinician-researcher and is the Clinical Psychologist at Sydney Youth Cancer Service.

Member of Scientific Advisory Committee of Psycho-Oncology Cooperative Research Group (PoCoG).

Employed by University of New South Wales. Position funded by NHMRC.

Employed by New South Wales Health (Sydney Youth Cancer Service, Prince of Wales and Sydney Children’s Hospitals, Randwick).

MRFF funding grant recipient.

Professional relationship with Canteen, Cancer Council NSW, and Country Hope Charities.

Professional relationship with colleagues within University of New South Wales Behavioural Sciences Unit who are MRFF funding grant recipients.

Previously employed by Canteen Australia.

Professor Jane Turner

Professor Turner is a psychiatrist at The University of Queensland.

MRFF funding grant recipient.

Professional relationship with Brain cancer Rehabilitation, Assessment Interventions for survivorship Needs (BRAIN) collaborators, Dr Haryana Dhillon (Chief Investigator) and Dr Helen Haydon (Researcher).

Declarations are accurate as of 10 March 2022.

No conflicts of interest required action beyond ‘register’ as defined in the MRFF Declarations of Interest Policy Statement.

Terms of reference

We will publish the terms of reference when they become available. 


The Strategic Advisory Group meets up to two times a year, with additional meetings held if needed.

Related committees and groups

The Strategic Advisory Group provides advice to the Minister for Health.

Cancer Australia provides secretariat support for the Strategic Advisory Group.


Strategic Advisory Group contact

Contact for further information on the Strategic Advisory Group. The MRFF funds the Mission. Cancer Australia supports the Strategic Advisory Group.

Strategic Advisory Group secretariat
Cancer Australia freecall
Cancer Australia
Strategic Advisory Group secretariat
jennifer.jack [at]

View contact

Last updated: 
26 April 2022