National Speakers
National Speakers

Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, Director, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University, QLD; Australian of the Year 2017​

Professor Mackay-Sim has had along interest in regeneration and repair of the nervous system. His research centres on the regeneration and repair of the olfactory mucosa, the organ of the sense of smell in the nose, in which new sensory nerve cells are made throughout adult life. This has many direct applications to understanding human disease and repairing other parts of the nervous system. His research team are using olfactory stem cells to develop cellular models of diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and motor neurone disease.

Professor Mackay-Sim is scientific director of a clinical trial in which cells from the olfactory ensheathing cells are taken from the nose of people with paraplegia after traumatic spinal cord injury, grown in the lab, and transplanted into their own injured spinal cord. This trial provides a precedent for future trials using adult stem cells.

Professor Katherine Kedzierska, Head, Kedzieska Group, Microbiology & Immunology, Doherty Institute, Melbourne

Associate Professor Katherine Kedzierska is the Head of the Human T cell Laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Her principal area of expertise is viral immunology. 

Dr Kedierska's  PhD work was recognised by the 2001 Premier’s Commendation for Medical Research, 2002 Monash University Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal and an NHMRC Peter Doherty Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue her postdoctoral research with Laureate Professor Peter Doherty. 

In 2007, she was awarded an NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship and established her own research team. She is currently an NHMRC CDF2 Research Fellow and a group leader of the Human T cell Laboratory.  Dr Kedierska  was the recipient of the 2011 NHMRC Excellence Award and the Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Award. She is an Adjunct Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, China and a Co-Director of the Sino-Australia Joint Research Laboratory for the Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease Research, Fudan-Melbourne University, located at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre. 

Dr Mark Schipp, Chief Veterinary Officer of Australia, Canberra

Dr Schipp leads Australia’s national responses to emergency animal disease incursions. He works to strengthen the veterinary services of countries in our region so they are able to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases of concern to both human and animal health. He has been active in leading Australian agriculture’s response to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance. As Chief Veterinary Officer he represents Australia at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) where he is also an elected member of the OIE Council.

Dr Schipp studied both Biology and Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at Murdoch University. He has been working to protect Australia from exotic disease incursions and seeking opportunities to expand market access for our livestock and animal products.

After graduation Dr Schipp  joined the Western Australia Department of Agriculture as a District Veterinary Officer where he advised farmers on livestock health and production, delivered field days, and boarded livestock vessels at sea to ensure they were clean before loading for live export.

He then worked in export abattoirs in Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania ensuring livestock presented for slaughter were healthy and the livestock products were suitable for export. Eventually he moved to Canberra to contribute to Australia’s export meat program at a national level.

Dr Schipp was posted overseas for six years—in Seoul, South Korea and then in Beijing, China where he opened the Agriculture Counsellor post at the Australian Embassy, Beijing and negotiated new market access for Australian agricultural products. In 2011, he was appointed Chief Veterinary Officer.

Associate Professor Megan Munsie, Policy and Outreach Manager and Head of Education, Ethics, Law & Community Awareness Unit, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Megan Munsie is a scientist who has combined her extensive technical expertise in stem cell science with an interest and understanding of the complex ethical, social and regulatory issues associated with stem cells in research and in the clinic. She is the Head of the Education, Ethics, Law & Community Awareness Unit, and the Policy and Outreach Manager for the Stem Cells Australia initiative.

A/Prof Munsie regularly provides advice and information to Australian researchers, academics, politicians, media, patient advocacy groups and community members on stem cell science and associated issues. She is a member of an international research team that is exploring community expectation in relation to stem cell science and in particular stem cell tourism and has developed several educational resources for the public and health professionals on stem cells.

In addition to having worked for over fifteen years in the Australian stem cell field, A/Prof Munsie also has more than ten years experience as a clinical embryologist in IVF clinics around Australia. She was the first person to demonstrate that stem cells could be made from ‘cloned' mouse embryos, that A/Prof Munsie saw the need for scientists to engage with regulators and the public.