The Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute Leadership Advisory Board (ARMILAB)

ARMILAB enhances the reputation and positioning of the Institute by liaising with key stakeholders including business, government, media and the broader community.

ARMILAB works closely with senior management to promote the vision, role and accomplishments of the Institute. It helps ARMI achieve its goals through:

  • advocacy
  • contributing experience and insight
  • supporting and mentoring the Institute’s Director and its leadership
  • supporting the Institute’s fundraising objectives by assisting the Institute and Monash Advancement to build key philanthropic, donor and funding relationships.

ARMILAB members

Professor Andrew Dyer (Chair)
Professor Kim Cornish (Deputy Chair)
Professor Katie Allen
Emeritus Professor Claude Bernard
Professor Peter Currie
Dr Elizabeth Finkel
Dr Patrick Hughes
Dr Meroula Richardson
Dr Peter Rogers
Duncan Thomson
Sonya Walker

Professor Andrew Dyer (Chair)

Andrew is a company director and serves on a number of boards. He is also the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner for the Federal Government.

Andrew’s professional career includes executive and operational roles in the utilities, telecommunications, information technology and professional services industries. He continues to advise a number of organisations in the private and public sectors and specialises in governance and operational performance.

In addition to his board and government roles, Andrew is a Professorial Fellow at Monash University, where he assists with the University’s industry engagement programs.  He is a member of the Monash University Industry Council of Advisors (MICA), the Monash Energy Institute Advisory Council (Chair) and serves on advisory boards for the Monash Sustainability & Development Institute and the Engineering Faculty.

Immediately prior to his board career, Andrew was the Victorian Government Commissioner to the Americas, based in San Francisco, where he facilitated a number of significant trade and investment outcomes for Victoria and Australia.

A former McKinsey & Co. consultant, Andrew holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with first class honours from Monash University and an MBA from Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Professor Kim Cornish PhD FASSA (Deputy Chair)

Professor Kim Cornish is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia. She is the current the Head of the School of Psychological Sciences and the Director for the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (MICCN). In 2019, MICCN will transition into the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health- the first named institute at Monash resulting from the generosity of the late David Winston Turner, who has presented Monash University with Australia’s largest single gift to mental health. Kim will become the founding Director of the Turner Institute.

Prior to joining Monash University Kim held the prestigious Canada Research Chair in developmental cognitive neuroscience at McGill University in Montreal. She is a pioneer in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience having defined attention pathways and their trajectories across development in children with differing brain disorders such as Autism and fragile X syndrome. This work has resulted in a ground-breaking translational suite of interactive cognitive tools known as TALITM – the world’s first interactive attention training program for children with severe attention deficits. In partnership with industry, TALI is now used in clinics all over Australia and is NDIS approved as a medical device.

Professor Cornish is an Executive Board Member of the Australian Brain Alliance (ABA) and a Board member of the Hudson Institute of Medical Research (HIMR).

Professor Katie Allen

Professor Katie Allen was the Federal Member for Higgins in the Coalition Government 2019-2022.

Prior to that she was Division Head of Population Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Professor at both the University of Melbourne and the University of Manchester, UK and a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital for 28 years. She has authored more than 400 scientific publications and has extensive media experience.

Professor Allen has been on the Board of Cabrini Health, was Chair of Melbourne Girl’s Grammar School Council and on the advisory board of several MedTech start-ups.

As Member for Higgins she initiated inquiries into Recycling and Waste, the post-COVID recovery for the Arts and facilitating improved Clinical Trials investment in Australia. She was a founding member of the National COVID Health and Research Advisory Committee that has met weekly throughout the pandemic and succeeded in securing significant Federal funding for the National Allergy Council.

She Iives in Higgins with her husband and 4 children.

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.

Professor Peter Currie

Peter Currie received his PhD in Drosophila genetics from Syracuse University, New York, USA.  He undertook postdoctoral training in zebrafish development at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) in London, UK.  He has worked as an independent laboratory head at the UK Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, UK and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia where he headed a research programme focused on skeletal muscle development and regeneration.

His work is centered on understanding how the small freshwater zebrafish is able to build and regenerate skeletal muscle.

In 2016 he was appointed Director of Research of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.  He is a recipient of a European Molecular Biology Organization Young Investigators Award and a Wellcome Trust International Research Fellowship and currently is a Principal Research Fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia.

Prof Currie, along with Dr Georgina Hollway, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and Dr Phong Nguyen of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University, won the UNSW 2015 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research. They were awarded the prize in recognition of their groundbreaking research into stem cell generation.

Dr Elizabeth Finkel

Elizabeth Finkel is a former biochemist who switched to journalism.

She co-founded Cosmos Magazine, serving as Editor in Chief from 2013 to 2018 and is now Editor at Large.

She has published two books: “Stem Cells” in 2005, which won the Queensland premier’s Literary award and “The Genome Generation” in 2012.

Her journalism has earned her numerous awards including being named the National Press Club’s 2011 ‘Higher Education Journalist of the Year’ and in 2015, the winner of the Eureka Prize for Science Journalism.

In 2016 she was made a member of the order of Australia (AM). In May 2019 she was made a Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Monash University and in June 2019 received the medal of the Australian Society for Medical Research.

Besides journalism, she now serves as a Vice Chancellor’s fellow at La Trobe University and on advisory boards for Latrobe University Press,  Zoos Victoria and Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute.

Dr Patrick Hughes

Patrick graduated from Monash Medical School in 1977 and after an early exposure to rural general practice has enjoyed a long career as a specialist anaesthetist with a practice ranging from paediatrics to major reconstructive and complex airway surgery.

In addition to serving on the board of directors of the Victorian Anaesthetic Group, Patrick has served on the medical advisory panel of MIGA (Medical Insurance Group Australia) and on the advisory panel and board of directors of indemnity insurer Invivo Medical Pty Ltd. In addition he served on the Victorian Executive Committee of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists and over ten years as a member of the Victorian Consultative Council on Anaesthetic Mortality and Morbidity.

Throughout his career he has been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and clinical research. Growing up in a family of doctors he has been able to witness first hand the growth of innovation and research in the medical sciences, its effect on the delivery of health care and its remarkable impact on people’s lives.

Dr Meroula Richardson

Meroula is a medical graduate from the University of Western Australia. She completed cardiology training at Royal Perth Hospital after which she went to Harefield Hospital in London to pursue training in cardiac transplantation under the guidance of Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub. She returned to Australia in 1994 to take up a position as cardiologist with the Heart and Lung Replacement Service at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. She was a founding member of the Heart Failure Unit at The Alfred in 1997, a leading centre for the management of heart failure in Australia with the spectrum of therapies ranging from prevention through to transplantation and left ventricular assist devices. In 2001 she returned to Harefield on sabbatical leave for further training, this time for implantation of cardiac electrical devices including the relatively new technology of cardiac resynchronisation therapy for heart failure. There was no effective therapy for heart failure when she was a junior doctor. Throughout her career she has seen the direct impact of careful research leading to therapies which now routinely change and improve lives for patients.In conjunction with clinical work she has been involved in various research projects including early trials of left ventricular assist devices as destination therapy for end stage heart failure, and been Principal Investigator for clinical trials of new drug therapies. During her time at The Alfred she enjoyed the links with researchers afforded by the close relationship between the Heart Centre at The Alfred and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. After leaving The Alfred she worked in private practice, with an emphasis on delivering specialised care for heart failure patients in the private setting. Throughout her career she has had a strong commitment to teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and mentoring medical students and junior doctors. She has also served on Medical Panels and on the Advisory Board of Medtronic.

Dr Peter Rogers

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.

Duncan Thomson

Dr Duncan Thomson brings a pragmatic passion for translational commercialisation. He is an experienced executive with >25 years’ experience in animal health, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, having worked in senior marketing, sales and management roles in Europe, the US and Australia.

Having graduating as a veterinarian in ’94 from Sydney, he worked in practice for 5 years in Australia and UK before completing an MBA (Cranfield, UK). In 2001 he joined Novartis Animal Health and held various senior sales and marketing positions in Switzerland, US and Australia.

In 2010, he joined Regeneus as the Head of Animal Health. During his time at Regeneus, he launched an adipose derived allogeneic MSC product into the veterinary market in a pre-registration phase; opened an INAD with the FDA; and conducted numerous trials on the product. Usage of the product became #1 globally with >4000 treatments administered across >90 Australian practices, including 80% penetration of specialist veterinary surgeons. This success paved for the development of the subsequent human MSC product which has had a successful Phase 1 for knee osteoarthritis. He also launched the first ever veterinary personalised cancer immunotherapy in Australia; initiating a multicentre trial in the US; and received the regulatory green light for commercialisation in the US in record time. In 2015, he subsequently became the VP Licenses and Alliances for Regeneus. In late December 2016, Regeneus secured a multi-million-dollar manufacturing license agreement with the largest biopharma manufacturer in Japan and became only the 17th company to secure a significant licencing agreement in Japan in the previous 20 years.

Duncan is currently consulting in the regenerative medicine and animal health sectors.

Sonya Walker

Sonya Walker is a Board member with a wealth of experience in the Information Technology (IT), banking and finance, health, public and private business sectors.

She is an Executive Business Leader having worked across the Asia Pacific region and USA at international IT companies including IBM, Infor, RSA Security, SAS, SAP and Oracle.  Her most recent role was as an Executive Partner at IBM.  She is a highly respected global adviser where her strengths include go to market strategy, partners and alliances, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions together with business development and building high growth business.

Sonya has a passion for business and digital transformation and currently provides consulting services to enable her clients to translate board directives to develop strategy, execute successful C-level business plans and programs of work that deliver real revenue outcomes.  She is a recipient of many industry awards and service awards for her community work.  She has served on boards and committees for over 20 years including her current board role for the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute in the health and research sector.

She holds numerous qualifications including a Masters of Applied Science, postgraduate strategy and strategic human resource management together with a Bachelor of Science (Honours).

Please feel welcome to contact Sonya via