Our Medical Committee
At the heart of our funding excellence is our Medical Committee; a panel of internationally recognised independent clinicians and scientists who rigorously evaluate all research applications and volunteer their time to achieve this.
Professor Browett is a Consultant Haematologist at Auckland City Hospital, Professor of Pathology and Chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland. He is a graduate of the University of Otago Medical School, and after postgraduate training in clinical and laboratory haematology in Auckland, he was a Wellcome – HRC Research Fellow in the Department of Haematology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London. Peter is involved in several co-operative group and institution iniated studies in haematologic malignancies and stem cell transplantation. He also heads a laboratory research group with interests in the genetics of thrombosis and bleeding, molecular markers in leukaemia and the role of PI3 kinase signalling in acute myeloid leukaemia. Peter has been involved with the Auckland Medical Research Foundation for several years, initially serving on the Medical Committee, and more recently as a member of the Board.
Professor Peter Browett
Chair of the AMRF Medical Committee, BMedSci, MBChB (Otago), FRACP, FRCPA
Prof Nicola Dalbeth is a Specialist Rheumatologist at Auckland District Health Board and Professor of Medicine at The University of Auckland. She leads a research programme in gout, an arthritis of major significance to New Zealanders
Nicola is on the Board of Trustees of the Auckland Medical Research Foundation.
Professor Nicola Dalbeth
Deputy Chair of the AMRF Medical Committee, MBChB, MD, FRACP, FRSNZ
Professor Larry Chamley is Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the University of Auckland where he heads a research group studying the biology and immunology of reproduction. He is also the Director of the Hub for Extracellular Vesicles (HEVI) at The University of Auckland and is a member of the Council of the International Society for Immunology of Reproduction. He is the Editor of Trophoblast Research, an Associate Editor of Reproduction and Chair of the Publications Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Immunology.
Professor Larry Chamley
Deputy Chair of the AMRF Medical Committee, BSc (Waikato) MSc, PhD (Auckland), FSRB
Jane Alsweiler trained as a neonatal paediatrician in New Zealand and the United Kingdom and completed her PhD in paediatrics at the University of Auckland. Dr Alsweiler was appointed as a senior lecturer in the Dept. of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health in 2009. She also has an honorary appointment at the Liggins Institute and works clinically as a neonatal paediatrician in the neonatal intensive care unit at Auckland City Hospital. She is the neonatal representative on the RACP College Council, a member of the PSANZ policy committee and has previously been the chairperson of the Interdisciplinary Maternal Perinatal Australasian Clinical Trials (IMPACT) Network. She is the leader of the clinical trials team of the LiFePATH research group at the Liggins Institute. Her current research interests focus on neonatal glucose homeostasis and growth, including long-term consequences of hypo- and hyperglycaemia, and consequences of perinatal care, including probiotics and antenatal treatments.
Dr Jane Alsweiler
MBChB, FRACP, PhD (Auckland)
Dr Tim Angeli is a Rutherford Discovery Fellow and Senior Research Fellow with the Gastrointestinal (GI) Research Group at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI). He received his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Auckland in 2014, prior to which he completed BSE and MSE degrees in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Tim’s current research focuses on in vivo measurement and monitoring of GI electrophysiology, where he has a specific interest in developing new diagnostic devices and interventional therapeutics for functional gastrointestinal disorders. He particularly enjoys working on translational projects that span the interfaces of engineering, physiology, and clinical medicine. He has also previously worked in the fields of drug delivery and bioartificial organ research and development. Tim is an Associate Investigator with the MedTech national Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), as well as an Affiliated Researcher with the Riddet Institute CoRE. He is also a founding member of the medical technology spin-out company FlexiMap Ltd.
Dr Tim Angeli
BSE, MSE (Michigan), PhD (Auckland)
Professor Lai-Ming Ching obtained her BSc, MSc (Hons), and PhD in Cell Biology all from The University of Auckland. Following a period after graduation at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, and The University of Washington in Seattle, she returned to New Zealand to a position at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre to investigate the mode of action of novel drugs developed at the Centre. She currently leads the Stromal Targeting Group at the Centre. Prof Ching has a background in immunology, and now specializes on the development of agents that activate the cells of the immune system that have infiltrated into the tumour. Prof Ching has over 100 publications and 7 patents in this area of cancer research.
Professor Lai-Ming Ching
BSc, MSc (Hons), PhD (Auckland)
Dr Michael Hay is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Auckland. He is an Associate Investigator with the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery. He received BSc (Hons) and PhD degrees in Organic Chemistry from the University of Canterbury and then undertook post-doctoral studies at Imperial College, London and the University of Auckland.
Michael is a medicinal chemist with over thirty years’ experience in drug design and discovery. His current research interests focus on the design, synthesis and development of anti-tumour agents that target the tumour microenvironment. In particular, he has developed prodrugs activated under hypoxia to selectively deliver novel agents to tumours, explored synthetic lethal interactions with hypoxia-inducible factors and is interested in identifying new agents as radiosensitisers.
Associate Professor Michael Hay
BSc (Hons), PhD (Cantab)
Dr Julie Lim is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physiology, The University of Auckland. She received her undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland with her PhD research supported by an AMRF Doctoral Scholarship. She then undertook post-doctoral training in the Department of Physiology, University of Auckland, under the mentorship of Professor Paul Donaldson, where she worked on identifying membrane transporters involved in the uptake of antioxidants in the lens. She was then awarded a Foundation for Research and Science Technology post-doctoral fellowship in 2007, a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research postdoctoral fellowship in 2010 and received the 2010 Zonta Women in Science Award. Julie’s current work focuses on understanding the development of age related eye diseases with a particular focus on the lens and lens cataract. Current projects involve investigating the interplay between reactive oxygen species and antioxidants to determine whether endogenous antioxidant defence systems in the lens can be harnessed to elevate antioxidant levels in the lens and delay cataract formation and AMRF funded work investigating inter-tissue cross talk between the lens and other tissues of the eye to maintain ocular health.
Dr Julie Lim
BSc, MSc, PhD (Auckland)
Anthony is a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Surgery at the University of Auckland. Currently he is the Academic Leader for the Biomedical and Applied Biology (BMA) division in the School of Biological Sciences. He is also Director of the Applied Surgery and Metabolism Laboratory (ASML) in the Department of Surgery, a cross-faculty research laboratory and training environment that is specifically dedicated to supporting surgeon’s undertaking PhD studies in basic science. Anthony has previously worked for the Auckland Hospital Liver Transplant Service on its organ retrieval surgical team and as Medical Director for an international biotechnology company. He has published in the fields of wound healing, liver transplantation, acute pancreatitis, critical illness, lymphatic pathobiology, microbiology, and energy metabolism. In addition to these research interests he has experience in clinical trials and commercial drug development processes through his work within the biotechnology sector.
Professor Anthony Phillips
BSc (Victoria) MBChB (Otago), PhD (Auckland)
Dr Raewyn Poulsen is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Auckland. Following completion of a PhD in Biochemistry at Massey University, she spent 5 years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford, UK investigating the cellular signaling events involved in musculoskeletal degeneration. After returning to New Zealand, she was awarded a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship to continue her work on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis. She serves on the editorial board for “Rheumatology” and is a Review Editor for “Frontiers in Pharmacology: Translational Pharmacology”.
Dr Raewyn Poulsen
BSc (Canterbury), MScHons, PhD (Massey)
Dr Vanessa Selak is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. Vanessa has 15 years’ experience working in hospital-based clinical, funding, planning and quality roles. Dr Selak is the Director of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Programme and provides postgraduate training in health data analytics and quality improvement. Her research uses routinely collected electronic data to support clinical service improvement, primarily within the field of cardiology. Most recently, Vanessa has led the development of a bleeding prognostic model and individualised benefit harm calculator to guide the use of aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Dr Vanessa Selak
MBChB (Otago), MPH (Auckland), FAFPHM, FNZCPHM, PhD (Auckland)
Professor Trevor Sherwin has published over 100 papers in top ranking journals including Nature, Science and Cell and has presented his work at many international venues including a prestigious open lecture at the Natural History Museum, London. Trevor’s research has received 7000 citations with an h-index of 42. Trevor's PhD students have gained high honours including ‘Vice Chancellor’s Prize for best Doctoral Thesis’ and ‘Best PhD thesis from the Medical Faculty'.
Trevor’s research team focuses on the use of regenerative medicine in treating eye disorders. Conventional medical practice has aimed at halting the progress of disease within the affected individual, but the patient is often left with some disability due to loss of function caused by the disease process. Regenerative medicine aims not only to halt the progress of the disease but to restore function back to the affected parts of the eye and thus restore sight including:
Stem Cell Research – Trevor’s team are using several different types of stem cells, including those obtained from adult eye tissues and cells obtained from umbilical tissue after birth to assess their ability to incorporate into eye tissue and restore functionality.
Cell Reprogramming – Trevor’s research is also looking at the ability of essentially turning back the clock on the existing cells from the patient by reprogramming them and restoring functions to the cells that were present during early development.
Bioengineering – Researchers within Trevor’s team have developed productive collaborations with materials scientists to develop new biological materials which are capable of mimicking the eye tissues that have deteriorated and thus replace them with bionic implants
Corneal Dystrophies – Elucidating the mechanisms behind the pathogenesis of corneal diseases, in particular keratoconus.
Professor Trevor Sherwin
BSc, PhD (Kent)
Professor Ashvin Thambyah joined the University of Auckland as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering in 2007 and is currently Professor and Head of Department. Before joining the University, he spent 10 years as a research engineer at the National University of Singapore. There he worked closely with orthopaedic surgeons on various aspects of musculoskeletal research and contributed to many clinical projects involving bone and joint disease and pathology. Most of Ashvin’s current research is in the musculoskeletal and biomechanics areas, and to the AMRF committee he hopes to provide expertise on the bioengineering aspects where required.
Professor Ashvin Thambyah
BS (Milwaukee), MS (London), PhD (Singapore)
Dr Srdjan Vlajkovic is an Associate Professor in Physiology at The University of Auckland. He is a Principal Investigator with the Brain Research New Zealand and Eisdell Moore Centre for hearing and balance. His main research interest is in the field of auditory neuroscience. He studies the cellular and molecular basis of inner ear homeostasis in conditions of stress and injury. His recent research focus is on the inner ear therapeutics and methods of drug delivery to the inner ear. He is leading internationally the field of adenosine signalling in the cochlea, and the translational research in this area.
Associate Professor Srdjan Vlajkovic
MBChB, MSc, PhD (Belgrade)