The ARMI Development Engagement Committee

The ARMI Development Engagement Committee is a sub-committee of the ARMI Leadership Advisory Board (ARMILAB). The committee support major gift level funding submissions to government, trusts  and foundations, corporations plus major philanthropists, venture philanthropists and investors, as requested by the ARMI Leadership Advisory Board. The current committee were appointed on 26 March 2019 and their term will end March 2022.

ARMI Development Engagement Committee members

Dr Peter Rogers (Chair)
Dr Joachim Berger
Emeritus Professor Claude Bernard
Michelle Gallaher
Dr Avnika Ruparelia
Dr Zita Unger
Luke Belfield
Dr Chris Sotiropoulos

Dr Peter Rogers (Chair)

Peter Rogers is a Councillor of the Graduate Union at University of Melbourne, Emeritus Chairman Monash University Engineering & IT Foundation, Chairman of Australian Rotary Health District D9800 Committee, and a Past President of Rotary Club of Melbourne.

His early career was with ICI Australia (now Orica). He worked in agricultural chemicals and plastics businesses and at production facilities at Yarraville and Deer Park in Victoria, and Chester Hill in NSW. He was appointed Staff Manager of ICI Australia in Melbourne in 1980.

Peter was appointed to ICI PLC headquarters in London in 1984 He was a Director of ICI’s subsidiary and associated companies including  ICI Bangladesh, and ICI Bangladesh Trading Company. He was a director of the London based board of Employment Conditions Abroad Ltd (ECA) for two four year terms between 1985 and 2000. He later established International Consultants Centre, a consulting company he led for over 25 years. The company was transferred to the staff in 2015.

Peter was appointed Chairman of Monash University Engineering & IT Foundation Board at commencement of 2009 and served in that role for eight years. During this period the Leadership Program , MITI and three Research Institutes were established. This included establishment of Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME). The Foundation’s endowments reached $60m in 2018. The Faculty of Engineering was ranked highest in Australia in 2015 by Times Higher Education Rankings, and highest in industry engagement and fundraising and retains top ranking in 2019.

Peter was elected to the Board of Hepburn Wind in 2011 – Australia’s first community owned wind farm located at Daylesford Victoria. His tenure covered the period of $10m capital fundraising, construction and commissioning. Awards received during his time on the Board included Premier of Victoria award, WWEA, and Banksia award.

Peter graduated in chemical engineering from Monash, M App Sc from University of Melbourne, and received his PhD degree from Monash University in 1974. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia. He was awarded a Monash Distinguished Service Medal in 2008, Rotary Paul Harris Fellow 2008, and the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering medal in 2013. In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Monash University.

Dr Joachim Berger

In 1998, Dr Joachim Berger graduated in Chemistry and Biology at the University of Cologne, Germany, and worked in the field of plant development at the Max-Delbrück-Laboratory during two diplomas. Joachim received his PhD from the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen in the department of Peter Gruss, where he analysed the role of Pax6 in the development of the mouse brain. In 2003, he worked with Stephen Cohen at the EMBL for 6 months on a Drosophila screen looking for growth deficient mutants. Since 2005, Joachim has been working with Peter Currie, focusing on modelling Muscular Dystrophy in zebrafish, first at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney and since 2008 at the ARMI.

Emeritus Professor Claude Bernard

Emeritus Professor Claude Bernard undertook a Master of Sciences in Microbiology and Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine, Montreal followed by a Doctorate in the same field (1973). Claude then completed a Doctorate es Sciences (DSc) d’Etat, University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France (1978).

During his research and teaching career spanning more than 45 years, Claude’s employment, invitations, awards and collaborations are extensive. He has worked at the University of Alberta, Canada; the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia; LaTrobe University, and Monash University MISCL and ARMI. He has undertaken several sabbaticals during his research career at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel (1985), Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, USA (1991); San Raffaele Scientific Institute Milano, Italy; and the Laboratoire d’Immunologie Faculté de Médecine de Nancy, France.

He was a Fulbright Scholar with the Department of Neurology at the University College San Francisco (1998-99), and has held the title of Guest Professor at Kuming Medical University, China and the Bayi Brain Hospital, General Hospital of Beijing Military Command, China (2011-14).

He was the Interim Deputy-Director of ARMI from May 2016 until April 2018.

Michelle Gallaher

Michelle Gallaher has been an entrepreneur, marketer, clinician, advocate and leader in the Australian life sciences and health sector for over 25 years.

Her career spans working in allied health with low vision patients in public hospitals, to executive roles in ASX-listed biotech companies. She has represented national medical research initiatives and served as Chief Executive Officer of the peak body for biotech and medtech in Victoria, the BioMelbourne Network.

Identifying the emerging impact of social media in the healthcare sector, Michelle left corporate life in 2014, entering the world of entrepreneurship, co-founding The Social Science, a unique digital marketing communications agency focused on the science, health and technology sector.  At the same time, she co-founded a NFP advocacy group, Women in STEMM Australia.  Michelle is also co-founder in a third startup, SkinLife, established in 2016, developing new products with a therapeutic application in dermatology.

Michelle is renowned for her role in championing and mentoring many in the technology, biotechnology and medtech start-up community and as a vocal advocate for women in STEMM and women in leadership.

She is a sought-after speaker, mentor, podcaster, collaborator and influencer.  Michelle is an Ambassador for the Victoria Against Violence Campaign and a regular at the St Vincent de Paul’s CEO SleepOut raising funds for homeless women and children.

Michelle currently serves as a non-executive director on the Board of Cancer Trials Australia, the Actuator, Swinburne’s ARC funded Biodevices Training Centre and co-chairs Women in STEMM Australia.

Michelle was awarded the Victorian Telstra Business Woman on the Year 2017 and the Victorian Entrepreneur of the Year 2017.

The Social Science was recently announced as a national finalist in the Australian Small Business Awards and Michelle a finalist in the Australian Small Business Entrepreneur Award.

And finally, Michelle was inducted in to the Victorian Honour Roll for Women a couple of weeks ago, celebrating her contribution to the Victorian economy and community.

Dr Avnika Ruparelia

Avnika Ruparelia completed her PhD in 2014 at the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University, where she used zebrafish to identify the mechanism of disease in, and therapies for myofibrillar myopathy. In 2017, Avnika joined the Currie group at ARMI, and here she has established a new area of research focussed on understanding muscle ageing using the muscle stem cell compartment as a paradigm. For this purpose, she has introduced a new experimental system to the Australian research landscape – that of the African Killifish, which is the shorted lived vertebrate with a lifespan of 15 weeks – providing an innovative strategy to study ageing.

Avnika has an outstanding track record and has been awarded numerous awards, nationally and internationally, including the prestigious Research Australia Health and Medical Award, and a Winston Churchill Fellowship.

Dr Zita Unger

Dr Zita Unger has a distinguished career as an evaluator, educator and entrepreneur, drawing on extensive knowledge of organisational development, business acumen and governance. She gained her doctorate in Sociology of Education at the University of Melbourne.

Zita was founding Director of a consultancy firm, developing an award-winning online survey management platform and delivering survey-based solutions to corporate, education and public sector clients. She taught Program Evaluation at Deakin University to Instructional Design graduate students.

She is Chair of the Academic Board of Southern Cross Education Institute (Higher Education); Deputy Chair of Monash University Medical Foundation Board; Advisory Board member of the Centre for Program Evaluation at the University of Melbourne; and member of the Defence Reserves Support Council (Vic). She was board member of the Edmund Rice Camps Inc. (Vic) for five years.

She has received the Best Evaluation Policy and Systems Award, and was co-recipient of the Australasian Evaluation Society’s highest award for outstanding contribution to the evaluation profession. She is a Fellow of the Australasian Evaluation Society.

Luke Belfield

Luke is an experienced infrastructure professional with over 15 years of experience in policy, technology and business strategy, project management, and organisational and process optimisation in asset intensive sectors.

Luke has had a diverse background having previously worked in a variety of roles at the Department of Premier and Cabinet, as a management consultant for PwC and EY, as a project manager for a metropolitan based water utility and as an engineer for a large global engineering consultancy in the oil and gas and petrochemical industry. This has included leading multidiscipline teams for large-scale complex infrastructure investments, accountable for delivering and managing multiple concurrent projects from pre-business case development through to operational handover and decommissioning.

Luke is not only qualified in Mechanical Engineering (honours) but holds a Computer Science degree and a Master of Business Administration (Strategy / Public Policy). He is a Chartered Engineer with Engineers Australia, a Member of the Australian Institute of Project Management and is listed on the National Engineers Register (NER) as well as the APEC and International Engineers Register. He is also currently in the process of obtaining chartered accounting qualifications. Most recently Luke was listed in Engineers Australia’s top 100 most influential engineers.

Dr Chris Sotiropoulos

Dr Chris Sotiropoulos has over 25 years global expertise in global commercialisation of innovative healthcare and IT products. He serves as a Co-Founder/Director of APAC Health and CEO of Global Opportunities Commercialisation, private companies that are Australian based but deliver commercialisation advisory and its own innovative products to national and international clients.

He is part of an international networked group that includes representation from the highest level of government, finance, global and niche distributors, innovators and global subject matter experts across each of the continents. These pathways operate a ‘superhighway’ to enable prompt in depth assessment of R&D, products/services with market need and end customers across various market segments, ensuring rapid market entry.

Throughout his career, he has facilitated the licensing and distribution of healthcare and IT products and services across several market segments, between listed and private companies in the US, Europe, Australia and Asia. In Australia, he has introduced medicines for the treatment of sleep disorders, rare diseases and completed licensing deals over USD$300m in value.

He is also a practising Lawyer, focussing on International Trade and Commercial Law transactions, assisting his clients to grow their business, develop strategy and implement corporate restructure for global expansion in the US, Europe and Asia.

He has previously served on many committees including at the Law Institute of Victoria, the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand, University Industry Advisor Boards, the Rotary Club of Melbourne, private company boards and a Melbourne independent School Board. He has also delivered several commercial subjects for the Swinburne University MBA and AGSE programs. He holds a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from RMIT University, a Law Degree from Monash University and Executive Training in Leadership and Strategy in Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Executive Training from the Harvard Business School.