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Professor Jonathan Carapetis – ASAVI Co-Director

Telethon Kids Institute

Professor Carapetis is a paediatrician and infectious disease specialist who holds a clinical position with Perth Children’s Hospital and is a Professor at the University of Western Australia. He is also the Executive Director of the Telethon Kids Institute and Head of the Telethon Kids Institute Strep A and Rheumatic Heart Disease Team.  He was previously co-founder, and is now a board member, of REACH (Rheumatic heart disease. Evidence. Advocacy. Communication. Hope) and was also the Australian lead investigator on the Coalition to Advance Vaccines Against Group A Streptococcus (CANVAS) initiative.

Professor Carapetis completed his doctoral studies to document the burden of RHD, and approaches to reducing it, in Indigenous Australians in 1994. He has made national and international contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and management of Strep A disease, RHD and other infectious diseases over the last two decades, specifically in Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Professor Carapetis has forged new directions in translational research through his leadership of two medical research institutes; Menzies School of Health Research and Telethon Kids Institute.

Professor Andrew Steer – ASAVI Co-Director

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Professor Steer is Director of the Infection and Immunity Theme, and Group Leader of the Tropical Diseases Research Group, at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. He is a paediatric infectious diseases physician at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and a Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne.

Professor Steer leads a broad research program on novel approaches to the prevention and control of poverty-related tropical infectious diseases, particularly Strep A disease and neglected tropical diseases including scabies. Professor Steer’s work aims to accelerate the development of Strep A vaccines and expand the evidence base for community control of scabies and other neglected tropical diseases. He leads a world-first human infection study of Strep A pharyngitis which will soon be used as a platform to test new vaccines, and a series of world-first community-based trials of mass drug administration for the control of neglected tropical diseases.

Alma Fulurija - Project Lead

Telethon Kids Institute

Alma Fulurija is an immunologist and holds a PhD from the University of Western Australia. She has more than 15 years of experience in the biotech and pharma sectors working at the interface of academia and industry. Prior to joining ASAVI, Alma has led research and development projects both in Australia and Switzerland, most recently as Head of Research & Development at Ondek Pty Ltd., a Perth-based biotech company developing bacterial-based immunotherapies for the prevention of allergic diseases. She also held positions at Cytos Biotechnology AG in Zurich and completed postdoctoral training at the WHO Centre for Neonatal Immunology and Vaccinology in Geneva. Alma is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia, where she is a researcher and lecturer in immunology and supervises post-doctoral fellows and higher degree students. Her research involves understanding vaccine development for infectious diseases such as Streptococcus pyogenes, Helicobacter pylori, otitis media and other infections.

Alma has a strong interest in translating evidence-based research into clinical outcomes and has a deep understanding of immunology, preclinical and early clinical development of vaccines and immunotherapies. She brings expertise in product development, clinical trials, regulatory, patents, and project management.

Glenn Pearson – Indigenous Lead

Telethon Kids Institute

Glenn Pearson is a Noongar man from Perth, Western Australia and is the Deputy Director Aboriginal Health and a member of the Telethon Kids Institute Leadership Team. His position drives a series of strategic projects across the Institute to ensure that the needs of Aboriginal children and families are fully integrated across all operations of Institute and specifically the Institute’s research program. A trained primary school teacher, he has 15 years of experience in senior positions within the Australian and State Governments in a range of areas including health, education and child protection including almost 10 years with the now, Department of Communities (formerly Child Protection).

He is the also a member on several state and national groups including the Chair of Australian National University’s (ANU) National Indigenous Genomic Centre, Inaugural Chair of the WA Primary Health Alliance’s (WAPHA) Strategic Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group (SAHWAG), Member on the University of WA (UWA) Centre for Best Practice in Aboriginal Suicide Prevention and Board Member for the Murdoch University  “Ngangk Yira” Aboriginal Health & Social Equity Research Centre. His greatest claim to fame is that he is the proud father of three kids.

Amy Baker – Business Manager

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Amy is an experienced project manager with expertise in managing large scale programs in research and academic settings. Amy gained her Master of Commerce from the University of Western Australia, focusing on management and human resources. Amy also holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting.

Prior to joining Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Amy was a Senior Program Manager in the Strep A, Rheumatic Heart Disease and Skin Health team at the Telethon Kids Institute. In that role, Amy focused on program management and coordination of a broad range of research projects in rheumatic heart disease and other Strep A related diseases, in addition to managing the research team in Perth. Amy also worked in professional services for eight years with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a management consultant, and was previously the Business Manager for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) portfolio at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Matthew Parnaby – Program Manager

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Matthew Parnaby is a Public Health professional with a focus on health and nutrition-programming for vulnerable populations. He gained his Masters of Public Health focusing on Aboriginal and international health and nutrition. He also holds a Bachelor of Nursing from Griffith University and is a Registered Nurse. Since working with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Matthew has had an operational focus in the Tropical Diseases Group, facilitating and streamlining research projects and programs in Australia and the Pacific Region.

Prior to joining Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, he worked with various international humanitarian organisations in the Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia, and the former Soviet Union. He has also worked extensively in Aboriginal health programs throughout the Northern Territory and Queensland, including the Rheumatic Heart Disease and Remote HIV/STI Programs.