Alumni Hour

The Alumni Hour series provides an in-depth look into some of the Faculty's most extraordinary and accomplished Alumni. Join us and renowned ABC presenter Angela Lavoipierre for conversations that will inspire the next generation of health care professionals.

AH Lauren Ayton

Past Event - Alumni Hour with A/Prof Lauren Ayton

Associate Professor Lauren Ayton (BOptom 2004, Ph.D.-Science 2009) is a passionate research innovator working on ground-breaking new treatments for blindness, such as retinal gene therapy, pharmaceutical trials and bionic eyes.

Lauren is a clinician-scientist with research interests in retinal disease, low vision and vision restoration. She is a Director of SPARK Melbourne, a University-led research incubator and mentoring program that originated from Stanford University.

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Past Event - Alumni Hour with Dr Kudzai Kanhutu

Dr. Kudzai Kanhutu (MBBS (Hons); BA/BSc 2001) is an infectious diseases specialist, with a background in immunology and French studies. She is the former Deputy Chief Medical Information Officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH).

Dr Kanhutu’s recent career achievements include the successful establishment of the RMH telehealth unit, winning the Women's Agenda emerging healthcare leader’s award and Australian Top 10 CIO in 2020.

A current Executive MBA candidate, Dr Kanhutu’s research undertakings are in the areas of telehealth and virtual care models for COVID-19 and housing as a social determinant of refugee settlement outcomes. Other research interests include digital literacy, public health policy and women’s health.

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Past Event - Alumni Hour with Dr Michelle Blanchard

Dr Michelle Blanchard (BA(Hons) 2003, GCertAdolHlthWelf 2004, PhD MDHS (2011)) is a Special Adviser at the National Mental Health Commission, leading the development of the National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy. Prior to joining the Commission, Michelle was Deputy CEO at SANE Australia and the Founding Director of SANE’s Anne Deveson Research Centre.

Michelle is also an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and has held previous roles at the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre.

Join us for this vital conversation about mental health, be inspired by Michelle's own story and learn about her quest to eliminate mental health stigma and discrimination in Australia.

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Past Event – Alumni Hour with Dr Ben Hurst

Dr Ben Hurst (BMedSc 2003, MBBS 2006(Hons)) is the founder of HotDoc, Australia’s largest patient engagement platform with over 18,000 listed doctors and 6 million active patients. Over the past 18-months, HotDoc, like all of us, has had to adapt and grow in the face of COVID-19. From telehealth consults, to COVID-19 testing, and now the vaccine rollout, hear more about how HotDoc has stepped up at every turn. With a career that has zigzagged from Geelong intern, Warrnambool ED resident, Port Phillip Prison psychiatrist, New York novelist and now CEO of HotDoc, this conversation with Ben is not to be missed!

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Postera Crescam Laude

Past Event – Alumni Hour with Associate Professor Misty Jenkins

Misty Jenkins (BSc(Hons) 2001, PhD 2007) leads her own immunotherapy lab searching for a cure for cancer at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

Her tenacity and resilience have seen her complete a PhD in Immunology at the University of Melbourne and go on to postdoctoral positions at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

Alongside her research and advocacy for brain cancer patients, Misty dedicates much of her time to supporting the next generation of female researchers in health.

Misty is an NHMRC fellow, ambassador of the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, committee member of the Aurora Project, a project which supports education opportunities for Indigenous Australians, and a founding member of the Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WISPP) committee.

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Past Event – Alumni Hour with Associate Professor Tom Oxley

Associate Professor Tom Oxley (PhD 2017) is a vascular and interventional neurologist and world expert in brain computer interfaces.

He is the founding CEO of Synchron, Director of Innovation Strategy in the Department of Neurosurgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York and was key in establishing the Vascular Bionics laboratory at the University of Melbourne, which he currently co-leads with Associate Professor Nick Opie.

During his PhD, Tom worked on preclinical model of the Stentrode, a fully implantable medical device that can translate brain signals from the inside of a blood vessel without the need for open-brain surgery. This pioneering ‘thought-controlled movement’ technology will revolutionise how we treat a number of previously untreatable nervous system conditions, including the ability to help paralysed patients restore functional independence, or improve the quality of life for those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

Tom became fascinated with the brain around the age of 12, initially pursuing psychiatry before entering into the world of medicine and completing his PhD in neuroscience at the University of Melbourne.

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Associate Professor Tom Oxley
Luke Burchill Large

Past event – Alumni Hour with Associate Professor Luke Burchill

Associate Professor Luke Burchill (MBBS (Hons) 1999, PhD 2013) is Australia’s first Aboriginal cardiologist. He is a Yorta Yorta/ Dja Dja Wurrung man who grew up on country in Mooroopna and Echuca.

Based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, he is an accomplished clinician scientist and currently leads the Cardiovascular Health Equity Group at the University of Melbourne. Luke is on a mission to achieve health equity in the communities that he serves, particularly adults living with congenital heart disease and Victoria’s Aboriginal community.

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Past event – Alumni Hour with Dr Bronwyn King AO

Dr Bronwyn King AO (MBBS 1999) is a social entrepreneur, movement maker, medical specialist and globally renowned humanitarian on a mission to inspire and transform organisations into purpose driven, sustainable businesses. Tobacco Free Portfolios, a global advocacy organisation she founded, has redefined finance industry standards.

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Dr Bronwyn King AO