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The Personal Journeys to Translation Workshop 2020

14 December 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

One of the key elements of the Australian Research Centre for Innovative BioEngineering (ARCTCIBE) is to provide the next generation of researchers with the interdisciplinary skills and mentorship to be leaders in the rapidly evolving, highly innovative field of bioengineering. The event is a significant step in this journey. We will hear from pioneers in the field, about their own personal journeys on the road to translation, taking devices out of the lab and into the world. For the young researchers in the Centre, it is an opportunity to learn from and be linked with mentors who are among the brightest minds in the Australian bioengineering landscape.

“Personal journeys along the road of translation’. Its aim is to inspire people to listen to stories of others’ journey along the road of successful translation.


Professor Farshid Guilak

Prof. Guilak’s laboratory’s research program focuses on osteoarthritis, a painful and debilitating disease of the synovial joints that affects over 27 million people in the United States. His laboratory uses a highly collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to investigate the role of biomechanical and biological factors in the onset and progression of osteoarthritis, with a particular emphasis on the development of new molecular and cell-based therapies. The laboratory has taken an interdisciplinary approach to study the disease at all different scales, ranging from clinical studies of joint loading, weight loss, nutrition, and exercise in people with osteoarthritis, to the development of various animal models of osteoarthritis, to tissue-level models of cartilage physiology and pathology under mechanical loading, and at to the cellular and subcellular levels to understand the transduction pathways involved in mechanical signaling. Each hierarchical size scale has specific advantages and disadvantages; thus, the ability to cross different levels of study in one laboratory is extremely valuable in translating findings from one system to another.

Research in the laboratory covers several major areas, including: 1) Obesity, inflammation, and osteoarthritis; 2) Mechanobiology and mechanisms of mechanical signal transduction in cartilage; and 3) Stem cell-based therapies for osteoarthritis.

Professor Ranjeny Thomas

Her research is focused on the study of the biology and clinical use of human dendritic cells in autoimmune disease. It has explored basic mechanisms of immunity and dendritic cell function in autoimmune disease.
Professor Thomas is a graduate of the University of Western Australia. She received her MBBS in 1984, and then trained in Perth as a rheumatologist. She commenced a research fellowship with Peter Lipsky at Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas in 1990, where she first identified and characterised human circulating dendritic cell precursors. She is now Professor of Rheumatology at University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Translational Research Institute, consultant Rheumatologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital and fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. In 2020 she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia.

Her research is focussed on the study of autoimmune disease and restoration of tolerance. Through this work, she developed and tested the first rheumatoid arthritis vaccine. She has also contributed major insights into the pathogenesis of spondyloarthropathy and autoimmune diabetes, leading to the development of disease biomarkers and innovative immunotherapies. With Uniquest, Ranjeny founded Dendright, which developed antigen-specific (personalised) immunotherapy and companion biomarkers to prevent and treat rheumatoid arthritis. She is funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Helmsley Foundation to develop antigen-specific immunotherapy for children with type 1 diabetes.

Professor Tony Weiss

Professor Anthony Weiss AM FRSC FTSE FRSN FRACI FAIMBE FAICD FBSE FTERM is the McCaughey Chair in Biochemistry, Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biotechnology, with co-appointments in the Charles Perkins Centre, the Bosch Institute and the Sydney Nano Institute at the University of Sydney.

He was recently elected as global President of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS). Prior to that he was elected as Chair of TERMIS Asia-Pacific.

Awards include Order of Australia, Eureka Prize, NSW Premier’s Prize for Science & Engineering Leadership in Innovation, Fulbright Scholar, Roslyn Flora Goulston Prize, NIH Fogarty International Fellow, Thomas and Ethel Mary Ewing Scholar, Australian Academy of Science & Royal Society Exchange Scholar, David Syme Research Medal, Amersham Pharmacia Biotechnology Medal, NSW Commercialization Expo Prize, Australian Innovation Challenge Award, Sir Zelman Cowen Exchange Fellow, Fondation des Treilles Scholar, Pauling Prize Medal, Barry Preston Award, ASBTE Research Excellence Award, FAOBMB Entrepreneurship Award and RACI Applied Research Medal.

Professor Weiss founded the biotechnology clinical stage company Elastagen Pty Ltd which was sold to Allergan in one of the largest transactions ever completed in the Australian life science sector.

He is an inventor with 95 awarded international patents in 17 patent families. National appointments include the Australian Biotechnology Advisory Council, National Enabling Technology Strategy Advisory Council, and Biological Sciences & Biotechnology, Australian Research Council College of Experts where he was national Chair. He is on 10 Editorial Boards in the field’s leading journals.

National appointments include the Australian Biotechnology Advisory Council, National Enabling Technology Strategy Advisory Council, and Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Australian Research Council College of Experts where he was national Chair.

The Weiss Laboratory at the University of Sydney is the leading research site for tropoelastin & synthetic elastin biomaterials. Current grants are drawn from Australia and around the world. His laboratory enjoys the contributions of a fine team of competitively placed postdocs, postgraduate students & technical staff.

Specialties: research translation, biochemistry,elastin, tropoelastin, extracellular matrix, tissue engineering, translational wound repair, cardiovascular repair, molecular biotechnology.

Dr. John Melki

Genetic Signatures is managed by Dr John Melki who has broad laboratory and business management experience. Dr. Melki joined Genetic Signatures in 2003 and since then has commercialised four research based products and seven diagnostic products. His previous research includes DNA methylation, microarray technologies, Real-Time PCR and biological software evaluation and he is the recipient of the Sydney University Peter Bancroft prize (2001). Dr Melki has led the product development team as Senior Principal Research Scientist since 2003 and now leads the company as Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Kelly Constable

Kelly Constable is a senior business executive offering 20 years of international commercialisation expertise in life sciences. Kelly’s expertise includes eight years leading breakthrough digital applications in precision medicine in the US and EU. She has a proven track record driving value in a top global biotech organization, through partnerships with multinational corporations and as a strategic thinker on startup Boards and teams.

Currently, Kelly is the Co-Founder and CEO of AULUS Partners, dedicated to accelerating commercialisation of high potential life sciences and med tech companies. She is the Chief Strategy Officer for Omico, a precision oncology clinical trials platform. She joined OneVentures Healthcare Fund as a part-time Venture Partner to focus on internationalising existing portfolio companies and to identify new opportunities. She serves on the Board of Directors of Prota Therapeutics, Oculo, and ANDHealth. Kelly serves as an expert advisor and commercial lead to NSW Health Gene Therapy and Manufacturing Initiative and she serves on the Investment Committee of the NSW Medical Device Fund.

Kelly developed her expertise at Abbott Labs through various roles in sales and marketing across general medicine and specialty therapeutics. Kelly joined Amgen in 2006, a world leader in biotechnology. She led the launch of the Sureclick autoinjector in 2006 and repositioned Aranesp after a FDA label change and led the US launch strategy for Prolia in osteoporosis in 2009, each >$1B annual sales products. More recently, Kelly led the global launch strategy for Aimovig in migraine through 2016.

Kelly developed her expertise in digital health and precision medicine when she was asked by Amgen to create a dedicated US innovation unit. In this role, she led and negotiated Amgen’s first technical alliance with GE Healthcare and through this strategic partnership, developed and launched the first  point of care software algorithm in osteoporosis, deployed initially in the US and now globally. Next Kelly co-founded Amgen’s first precision oncology initiative as a start-up inside Amgen, developing a  novel algorithm for anaemia in cancer, raising $20M of seed funding and managing Amgen’s first commercial software team with 50 cross-discipline experts in mathematics, software, biotech, regulatory, operations, and commercialisation. She oversaw the development and implementation of Amgen’s first software medical device solution in Germany which has since been launched in multiple countries across Europe. Kelly also served as the expert advisor in digital health to Amgen Ventures, the company’s Corporate Venture Fund, reviewing opportunities and participating in funding transactions.

In 2016, Kelly left corporate life after 20 years to become a full-time entrepreneur. She founded AULUS Partners with a mission to embrace start-ups that harness the potential to transform healthcare issues on a global scale. Currently AULUS is associated with four portfolio companies in the USA.

Dr. Michael Bonning

Dr Michael Bonning is an experienced general practitioner who has worked in Australia, Great Britain and the United States. He received his medical and public health degrees from the University of Queensland and subsequently practiced in Sydney where he completed his Fellowship in General Practice while also deploying as a medical officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Michael has special interests in the following areas:

  • Musculoskeletal and sports medicine
  • Adolescent medicine
  • Paediatrics
  • Travel and diving medicine
  • Goal setting and peak performance
  • Healthcare for professionals and doctors

Michael loves the outdoors and when not at work he is often involved in group hikes around Sydney. He has also worked as a doctor helping teams to climb the highest mountains on four continents.


14 December 2020
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm