Stem Cell Therapies Mission Expert Advisory Panel

The Stem Cell Therapies Mission Expert Advisory Panel advises the government on the research priorities for this mission, which is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Role

The Stem Cell Therapies Mission Expert Advisory Panel 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.

Panel 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 can be found in the MRFF Mission Governance resource.

The Stem Cell Therapies Mission will accelerate stem cell therapy research in Australia, which has the potential to:

  • revolutionise the practice of medicine
  • transform patient care.

Members

The Australian Government appoints the panel. It is co-chaired by independent Chairs and includes members appointed for their expertise in research, clinical, commercial or community aspects of stem cell medicine.

Member

Background and experience

Declarations of interest

Professor Melissa Little (Co-Chair)

Professor Little is Theme Director of Cell Biology at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

Member of the Board, Research Australia.

President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2021-2022).

ARC, NHMRC and MMRF grant funding recipient.

Professor Mark Kendall (Co-Chair)

Professor Kendall is Entrepreneurial Fellow Professor at the Australian National University and Chief Executive Officer at WearoptimoTM Enterprise.

Founder of WearoptimoTM.

MRFF grant funding recipient.

Dr Dan Grant

Dr Dan Grant was the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of MTPConnect (MedTech and Pharma Growth Centre).

Employed by MTPConnect.

Associate Professor Pritinder Kaur

Associate Professor Kaur is a Group Leader/Lab Head in the Curtin Medical School at Curtin University.

Member of the Board, Australasian Society for Dermatology Research.

MRFF grant funding recipient.

Professor Maria Kavallaris AM

Professor Kavallaris is Head of the Tumour Biology and Targeting Program at Children’s Cancer Institute and Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at UNSW Sydney.

Member of Australian Institute of Policy and Science and the Australian Society of Medical Research.

Consultant to Inventia Pty Ltd.

ARC, NHMRC and MRFF grant funding recipient.

Professor Simon Koblar

Professor Koblar is a professor at the Adelaide Medical School within the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide.

Lead of a program of research and clinical trials in stroke and regenerative medicine at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Megan Munsie  

Professor Munsie is an Academic Specialist in the Anatomy and Neuroscience Department of the University of Melbourne.

Member of the Australian Academy of Science, Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research and International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy.

Lead of a program of research exploring the societal, ethical and regulatory issues of stem cell and regenerative medicine at the University of Melbourne.

Member of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

Non-executive director of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

ARC and MRFF grant funding recipient.

Professor Iona Novak

Professor Novak is Head of Research at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute, University of Sydney.

Member of Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Dr Siok Tey

Dr Tey is the Team Head of Translational Cancer Immunotherapy at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

Employed by QIMR Berghofer as the Medical Director of Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics.

Lead of a program of research in cell and gene therapy at QIMR Berghofer.

NHMRC funding recipient.

Dr Christine Walker

 

Dr Walker is a Senior Fellow at the Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne.

Member of numerous consumer organisation boards including epilepsy, genomics and healthcare reform.

Member of Commonwealth Department of Health Advisory Committees.

Employed by the Chronic Illness Alliance Inc.

Professor Stephanie Watson

Professor Watson is a professor at the Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney.

Chair of The Opthalmic Research Institute of Australia (2021).

Chair of Australian Vision Research (2021).

Lead of a program of research in stem cell treatment for corneas.

Advisor to Okogen Pty Ltd.

ARC, NHMRC and philanthropic grant funding recipient.

Declarations are accurate as of 1 March 2022.

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

Terms of reference

Purpose of the Advisory Panel

The Mission Expert Advisory Panel will provide the Minister for Health with advice on the strategic priorities for research investment through this Mission.

The role of the Expert Advisory Panel 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.

Expert Advisory Panel 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.

Membership

The Panel will be co-chaired by Professor Melissa Little and Professor Mark Kendall.

Key deliverables

The Panel will provide advice on priorities for research investment through the Mission by developing a Roadmap and Implementation Plan, including 2–3 questions/goals that investment through the Mission will support and be evaluated against.

Roadmap

A two-page high level strategic document for the Mission which will include:

  • the aim, vision and goals for the Mission
  • possible themes and priorities for investment.

Implementation plan

To support implementation of the Roadmap, the Expert Working Group will develop an Implementation Plan to outline:

  • 2–3 questions/goals that will outline specifically how the Mission will benefit Australian patients, guide the investment priorities that will achieve this objective, and be used to evaluate the ongoing progress of the Mission
  • priorities for investment, particularly defining research questions and outcomes for short, medium and long term investment
  • opportunities for leveraging additional investment through philanthropy and other sector, to support achievement of the Mission’s outcomes
  • activities required to support the Mission’s outcomes, and facilitate their longer term implementation, including community and industry engagement.

Public consultation

A public consultation on the Roadmap and Implementation Plan was undertaken between 14 December 2020 and 23 April 2021 to enable broad engagement on the priority setting process. The themes of feedback provided on the Roadmap and Implementation Plan, and how the feedback has been incorporated will be published on the Mission website.

Meetings

The Stem Cell Therapies Mission Expert Advisory Panel meets up to two times a year, with additional meetings held as required.

Related committees and groups

The Stem Cell Therapies Mission Panel reports to the Minister for Health.

The Health and Medical Research Office provides secretariat support to the panel.

Stem Cell Therapies Mission Expert Advisory Panel contact

Contact for further information on the Stem Cell Therapies Mission Expert Advisory Panel. The Stem Cell Therapies Mission is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
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