Mentors

Meet our Mentors

Dr Erol Harvey

Dr Erol Harvey

Strategic Advisor, Bionics Institute; Co-founder and Director, MiniFAB

Scientist, educator and entrepreneur Dr. Erol Harvey has made significant contributions to Australia through his world-leading export-oriented microfluidic engineering company MiniFAB, his distinguished academic career and his unwavering support for research commercialisation and entrepreneurship.  He formed the Small Technologies Cluster, an incubator supporting commercialisation of new high-value medical device technology and has served on many Government and Academy of Technology & Engineering selection panels and working groups.

Dr Harvey gained a PhD in Plasma and Laser Physics from Monash University and worked as a researcher in Oxford, UK, before joining his first startup to commercialise laser micromachining. He returned to Australia to become a Professor of Microtechnology at Swinburne University and co-founded MiniFAB in 2002 where he was CEO until 2018. In 2019 MiniFAB was acquired by Schott GmbH.

He is a mentor to companies in The MedTech Actuator and has served on the boards of Co-Operative Research Centre, university spin-out companies, ARC Centre of Excellence, the NCRIS-supported National Imaging Facility, and membership based Not-for-Profit entities. In 2018 he was the Clunies Ross award winner for Entrepreneurship and is currently Head of Strategy and Translation at the Bionics Institute Australia.

Dr Jerome Wielens

Dr Jerome Wielens

Senior Business Development Manager, Research, Innovation and Commercialisation, University of Melbourne

Jerome is a Senior Business Development Manager within the Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (RIC) team at the University of Melbourne. In this role, Jerome is responsible for leading the growth, development and management of a pipeline and portfolio of commercial opportunities for the University with a focus on Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

Jerome has over fifteen years’ experience working at the interface between academia, government and industry to commercialise new drugs for high profile diseases like HIV, cancer, influenza and Hepatitis C Virus. Jerome’s background is in molecular modelling, structural biology, protein crystallography, high throughput screening and structure-based drug design. He has worked as a research scientist at St Vincent’s Institute and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences mostly on industry-based projects with several local biotechs. After transitioning from an academic role, Jerome worked as an analyst for a family office leading the acquisition of several life science companies in medical software, diagnostics and a clinical trials site. His last role was at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute helping to translate research in the digital health space. His focus is on business development, building relationships and multidisciplinary teams; packaging promising research projects and IP for licensing, collaboration, spinout or further funding opportunities; business strategy; investment valuations, financial modelling, contracts, building deal flow and managing deals across digital health, medical devices and life sciences.

Jerome holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (first class honours) and a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry. He also completed a diploma of financial planning and several courses in business valuation and financial modelling.

Katrina Sorocos

Katrina Sorocos

Technology Transfer and Licensing Officer, Research, Innovation and Commercialisation, University of Melbourne

Katrina has over 9 years of experience in commercialisation of early stage technologies within both the University and Investment sectors. Katrina leads the Life Sciences Portfolio within the Technology Transfer team in RIC at the University of Melbourne and is involved in assessing, protecting and developing University technologies as well as identifying and negotiating with commercial partners or investors to further develop and exploit these technologies.

Previously, Katrina held Business Development roles within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University and was involved in commercialising University technologies as well as identifying and facilitating a range of research funding and development opportunities with government and industry partners. Katrina also held an Investment Analyst role with the Trans-Tasman Commercialisation Fund, working closely with Investment Managers on sourcing and building investment proposals and performing due diligence on investment opportunities in early stage University technologies.

Katrina has completed a Bachelor of Biotechnology with First Class Honours and Master of Business (Science & Technology) at Monash University.

Dr Marc Gleeson

Dr Marc Gleeson

CEO, Azura Ophthalmics

With over 25 years of commercialization experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, with 19 years of those years working in Ophthalmology, Marc Gleeson serves as Chief Executive Officer of Azur Ophthalmics.

Prior to Azura Ophthalmics, Marc was Vice President of Global Marketing for Oculeve, a San Francisco start up that developed the first neurostimulatory device for the treatment of dry eye disease, which was acquired by Allergan in 2015. Prior to his work at Oculeve, Marc spent 14 years at Allergan working across the Asia-Pacific region and the US as Vice President Global Strategic Marketing for Eye Care. In this role, Marc lead the early commercial development of all internal R&D projects across the Ophthalmic franchise as well as focused on in-licensing or acquiring external assets. He also worked across the retina, dry eye, glaucoma and ocular surface disease franchises at Allergen.

Marc served on the Board of Elastagen Pty Ltd, an Australian start up that developed medical aesthetic treatments before being acquired by Allergan Inc. Prior to moving to the US with Allergan, Marc was responsible for both the Ophthalmology and Botox Cosmetic at Allergan Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Dan Beck

Dr Dan Beck

Patents and Trade Marks Attorney, Wrays (Intellectual Property)

Prior to Dan’s career in Intellectual Property, Dan completed his PhD under the supervision of Professor Martin Banwell at the Research School of Chemistry at ANU. He then went on to work as a post-doctoral research scientist at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland. His PhD and post-doctoral research focussed heavily on approaches to asymmetric synthesis of small organic molecules including natural products and drug leads.

During the 11 years he served at IP Australia he broadened his skill set significantly, supervising a multidisciplinary life sciences examination section of 24 examiners and issuing decisions on the validity of opposed patent applications as a hearing officer. As a patent data analyst Dan produced IP landscape reports and provided strategic IP information for research institutions and other government agencies, to help inform their decision makers. This experience has given Dan the expertise to handle drafting and prosecution of patents across all areas of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

In Dan’s current role as a patent attorney, his network of connections within the patent office combined with the wealth of knowledge he has of their internal practices has been of great value in providing efficient and effective service, in the best interests of his clients.

Dr Charles Bosworth

Dr Charles Bosworth

Chief Medical Officer, Azura Ophthalmics

Chief Medical Officer at Azura Ophthalmics with over 22 years of drug development experience. Charles has a successful track record across three major pharmaceutical companies with experience spanning device, branded products for both the anterior and posterior segments of the eye and generic drug development. His expertise includes non-invasive medical diagnostics for developing, validating and implementing novel endpoints to support both global drug approvals and reimbursement dossiers.

Charles started his career at the University of California at San Diego, Shiley Eye Institute completing a doctorate degree specializing in the development of non-invasive diagnostic technologies for the detection of deteriorative eye diseases. As the Director of the Visual Field Assessment Center (VisFACT) he directed the medical determination of glaucomatous visual field impairment and progression in patients receiving a novel neuroprotective agent for glaucomatous optic neuropathy.

Dr Glenn Begley

Dr Glenn Begley

CEO, BioCurate

Dr C. Glenn Begley is a clinical haematologist and medical oncologist, whose academic and commercial roles include board level and senior positions in Australia, the USA and the UK.  Prior to joining BioCurate, Dr Begley held the position of Chief Scientific Officer at Akriveia Therapeutics (Califormia), Chief Scientific Officer at TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals (Pennsylvania) and, from 2002-2012, Vice-President and Global Head of Hematology/Oncology Research at Amgen. During this time, he became interested in the issue of research integrity and scientific reproducibility.

Before joining Amgen, Dr Begley had over 20 years of clinical experience in medical oncology and hematology.  His personal research focused on regulation of hematopoietic cells and translational clinical trials. Dr Begley studied Medicine at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Cathy Drinkwater

Dr Cathy Drinkwater

Senior Project Leader

Cathy has experience in a range of therapeutic areas including endocrinology, neurobiology, oncology, immunology and inflammation. Cathy has extensive experience in both academic research and industry drug development. Following completion of her PhD at the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne, Cathy went on to postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford University School of Medicine (California) and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne).

Since then she has worked in the commercial sector, as Principal Scientist at AMRAD Corporation (later Zenyth Therapeutics) and Project Manager at CSL, and at the “interface”, with the Cancer Therapeutics CRC.  During that time, she was responsible for a number of early discovery and development projects, working with research teams to enhance their collaborative efforts and facilitate the timely delivery of their outcomes.

Prof Darren Kelly

Prof Darren Kelly

CEO, Certa Therapeutics and Occurx, Assoc. Dean Innovation and Enterprise, MDHS

Darren is the Associate Dean (Innovation and Enterprise, MDHS) at the University of Melbourne, the Director of Innovation and Enterprise at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and Director of Biomedical Research in the Department of Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, where his research expertise lies in progressing pre-clinical novel interventions and developing experimental models of cardiovascular disease.

Concurrent to his role with the University of Melbourne, Darren is the CEO and Managing Director of Certa Therapeutics and Occurx, Australia, bringing over 25 years of management and research expertise in the life sciences and biotech sector. He has published over 200 manuscripts in the field of translational research and novel interventions many of which have had a direct impact on human disease. In 2009, Darren was a recipient of the prestigious TJ Neale award for outstanding contribution to nephrology. In 2015 Darren joined the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund as Venture Partner.

Darren has proven history in translational research. He was previously Founder, CEO and Director of Fibrotech Therapeutics, a company that developed orally active anti-fibrotic inhibitors to treat underlying pathological fibrosis in kidney and heart failure, which was ultimately acquired by Shire Plc for a record 75 million USD upfront including milestone payments up to 600 million USD.

Darren has a PhD in Translational Medicine from the University of Melbourne. He is a current member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, AusBiotech, BioMelbourne Network and a Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology.

Dr Eric Hayes

Dr Eric Hayes

Senior Project Leader

Dr Eric Hayes has academic, commercial drug development and pharmaceutical R&D support services experience, spanning over 25 years, in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Eric completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies in medical pharmacology at the University of British Columbia and the National University of Singapore. As a scientist, Eric has deep experience in preclinical drug development and supportive assay/model development. He has a breadth of therapeutic area experience including CNS, respiratory, metabolic, infectious diseases, cardiovascular and genitourinary diseases.

As an entrepreneur, he has assisted academic and commercial individuals and institutions with discovery, development and commercialisation of a variety of life-sciences technologies with a strong focus on human therapeutics development.

Prof Laurence Meagher

Prof Laurence Meagher

Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Professor Meagher is responsible for the science leadership of the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME) as well as leading an academic research group and teaching in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Laurence leads MIME research teams in multidisciplinary, clinically focussed translational research, as well as being responsible for science planning, strategic development, industry engagement and the initiation of new research and PhD programs. His research group has a particular focus on bioactive surface coatings for medical devices and other applications. Laurence received his PhD from the Australian National University, carried out postdoctoral studies at the University of Melbourne and was a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO for 16 years.

Stephanie Miles

Stephanie Miles

Quality & Regulatory specialist

A Biomedical Engineer, Quality & Regulatory specialist working to support the translation of innovative medicaltechnology into commercial products, and passionate about the development of the medical technology industry.

Prof Daria Mochly-Rosen

Prof Daria Mochly-Rosen

Founder and Director, Stanford SPARK

Daria Mochly-Rosen is a Professor in Chemical and Systems Biology and the George D. Smith Professor for Translational Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is the founder and director of SPARK, a translational research program at Stanford University School of Medicine. She leads a multi-disciplinary research lab that includes chemists, biochemists, biologists and physician scientists and has used her basic research discoveries to develop a number of drug leads for human diseases with a particular interest in mitochondrial biology and pathology.

Dr Mochly-Rosen has served on many university leadership committees, was chair of her department (2001-2004) and the Senior Associate Dean for Research, Stanford University School of Medicine (2006-2013). She has published over 240 papers and over 30 patents and patent applications and has founded three companies: KAI Pharmaceuticals (2003-2011), ALDEA (now Aviv Therapeutics; 2013-) and Mitoconix (2016-).

Her experience in translational research led to her establishing SPARK. Each cohort of faculty members, fellows and students meets for two years and is advised and trained in the process of drug and diagnostic development. The program successfully addresses the growing gap between early academic discoveries and their development into products that impact human health; ~60% of the projects are licensed and/or are in clinical trials. She shares her experience with industry, has written a text book on the topic and helped establish SPARK-like programs in many universities in the US and internationally.

Prof Michael Wallach

Prof Michael Wallach

Director, SPARK Oceania & SPARK Sydney

Professor Wallach has over 30 years of experience in molecular parasitology with a wealth of experience in both academic and industrial science. In 2008, Michael established a new course in Bio-Innovation and Entrepreneurship where graduates work in small teams to form creative innovative ideas for medical health products. This course has been given locally and internationally culminating in 2016 with a course given at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In 2013, he was appointed as the inaugural director of the SPARK Sydney program, which was established by UTS and the University of Sydney, to emulate the Stanford SPARK program. Furthermore, Michael played a key role in building SPARK Global, which is expected to be formally established, with the participation of 10 countries, in 2017.

Dr Ruth Park-Jones

Dr Ruth Park-Jones

Business Development Director and Cluster Lead (MDHS)

Dr Ruth Park-Jones is the Business Development Director and Cluster Lead for MDHS working with an experienced and dedicated team of research translation specialists in the MDHS BD team to support academics as they translate their research discoveries to achieve impact.

Ruth has been focused on commercialising Life Sciences technologies and capabilities for over 15 years, establishing and running a contract research business before joining Melbourne Ventures as a junior Commercialisation Manager in 2007. With a background in Immunology and a PhD in Pharmacology, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law, Ruth has successfully managed many interesting and significant transactions over the years, with research groups from across the University, committed to adding value and building productive relationships with industry, academic and RIC colleagues alike.

Ruth has a passion for translating great ideas and driving changes to improve researchers’ impact in this space, and is committed to further enhancing the MDHS BD team’s position as trusted and valued advisors in true partnership with the academic community.

Dr Lorna Mitchell

Dr Lorna Mitchell

Senior Project Leader

Dr Lorna Mitchell is a medicinal chemist with 18 years international drug discovery experience, she is an inventor on 33 patents and has been directly involved in the delivery of 9 drug candidates to the clinic.

Lorna started her industry career, and training as a medicinal chemist, at Pfizer.  She stayed with Pfizer for nearly 10 years at sites in both the USA and the UK before moving into biotech.  Lorna worked in various oncology-focused biotech’s in Boston for 7 years, with most of that time at Epizyme, before she relocated to Australia in 2017 as VP of medicinal chemistry at Bionomics. She is currently applying her industry experience to the translation of academic discoveries as a Senior Project Lead at BioCurate in Melbourne.

Prof Lorena Brown

Prof Lorena Brown

Professor of virology

Professor Lorena Brown is a virologist who heads a laboratory dedicated to understanding and controlling influenza. After completing her PhD degree at the University of Melbourne, she was appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She returned to the University of Melbourne on a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship and has received 31 continuous years of NHMRC funding to support her research. She transitioned from her role as an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow to a teaching/research position in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, lecturing virology to students of Science and Medicine.

Graeme Rathbone

Graeme Rathbone

Neurobionics Project Manager

Graeme has worked in the private, public and academic sectors. He has lectured in biomedical engineering, control systems, design and development; initially at RMIT then LaTrobe University and (p/t) at the University of Melbourne. He held various academic management positions. He has undertaken neuro-stimulation research at the Bionics Institute over the last 10 years including supervision of Masters and PhD students. Since retiring from LaTrobe University four years ago he has worked part-time for the Bionics Institute as well as Blamey-Saunders Hearing, managing the development of new projects. Most recently for the Bionics Institute's minimally invasive implantable epilepsy monitor.

A/Prof Steven Rockman

A/Prof Steven Rockman

Director, Technical Innovation and Global Process Innovation

Experienced Director Of Research Development with a demonstrated history of working in the pharmaceuticals industry. Skilled in Validation, GMP, Quality Assurance, Biotechnology, and Management. Strong research professional with a PhD, MSc focused in Immunology, Virology from University of Melbourne.

Prof Richard Webby

Department of Infectious Diseases at St Jude Children's Research Hospital

Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds

Prof Richard Webby obtained his PhD from the University of Otago, Dunedin. He then moved to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, USA for a postdoctoral fellowship under the guidance of Robert Webster, a pioneer in the area of zoonotic influenza.

Richard moved up the ranks at St Jude and he is now a Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases. He also directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza and a US NIH-funded Center of Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance.

Richard’s research interests focus on understanding the factors that govern interspecies transmission of influenza viruses and developing counter measures. This work involves combining field studies in both animal and human populations with laboratory activities with a focus on emerging influenza threats.