Meet the 2023 WILD Cohort

Alma Fulurija – Head, Australian Strep A Vaccines, Telethon Kids Institute / Co-Founder – Biotome Pty Ltd

Alma is a life sciences professional with 20 years of experience across the Pharma/ Biotech/ MedTech sectors, who is passionate about translating evidence-based research into clinical outcomes and commercial opportunities to benefit global health.

She is currently Program Director of the Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative and co-founder and Director of Biotome Pty. Ltd, a Perth-based diagnostic start up. Prior, Alma led five R&D projects in Australia and Switzerland, developing vaccines and immunotherapies for the prevention of infections and inflammatory diseases. She is a strong, passionate advocate for women in STEM.

Hannah Brown – Science Strategy and Operations ManagerVictorian Heart Institute, Monash University

Hannah is an Adelaide born and educated, internationally trained, researcher-turned-leader and communicator who leads Science Strategy and Operations at the Victorian Heart Institute (VHI), in Melbourne, Australia. Having trained and worked as an academic, she now sits at the interface between science and the public, helping to turn ideas into impact through storytelling. She believes that creating clear and consistent narrative, engaging broadly with consumers, authenticity, integrity and humour are the keys to effective communication.

Hannah also consults on a range of projects in the communications, science and business strategy and diversity, equity and inclusion fields.

Chanel Egan – Manager, Technical Program Management – Mastercard

Chanel has 13 years of experience in Technology, having worked in government, consulting, education and finance sectors. Her career started in IT operations and transitioned to Project Management and people leadership. As a Technical Program Manager at a multinational organisation, she leads teams of engineers and developers to create products facilitating electronic payments.

With a Bachelor of Science, Master of Information Technology and Graduate Certificate in Project Management, Chanel is an avid learner. She volunteers for two organisations; Pint of Science and HunterNet. As Co-CEO of Pint of Science Australia, Chanel leads the organisation in science communication and D&I initiatives.

Christine Higgins – Co-founder – Accelo

Christine co-founded Accelo in 2009 to empower small businesses to survive and thrive. Now a multi-million dollar, VC-backed company, with 100+ employees in five countries, she cultivates a diverse and positive culture where everyone feels they belong, has a voice, and can succeed.

Christine holds a Masters in Computer Science and a double BA in Computer Science and Theatre. She believes diverse perspectives lead to stronger ideas and has a passion for taking complex problems and creating simple, elegant solutions. A caring mentor to young developers and new leaders, she strives for a future with more women in technology.

Deborah Pascoe – Head of Early Stage and Preclinical R&DVaxxas Pty Ltd

Deborah is Head of Early Stage and Preclinical R&D at Vaxxas, commercialising novel technology that enhances the performance of existing and next-generation vaccines. Deborah focuses on solving complex cross-disciplinary problems and developing people and ideas.

Before joining Vaxxas, she worked in the US in technical and business leadership roles at start-ups including Culture Biosciences and Zymergen, and she has company-founding experience along with earlier work at 23andMe and Genentech. She has also served in multiple non-profit board leadership roles. Deborah has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and a BE(Chem Hons) from the University of Queensland.

Denise Goldman – VP, Biosciences & Hearing Drug SolutionsCochlear Ltd

Denise Goldman leads a global team as the Vice President, Biosciences and Hearing Drug Solutions at Cochlear Ltd and is a recognized leader in the hearing research field, working with varied stakeholders to drive the development of new interventions for hearing loss. She has over 15 years of experience across the biotech industry in research and business management. Denise is both personally and professionally committed to the delivery of accessible healthcare interventions and, to this end, has served on the Board of Directors for patient-centred Not-for-Profits (recently President of the Deafness Foundation).

Denise was awarded a PhD in Molecular Biology from Monash University and has held senior roles in the UK and Australia. She regularly mentors in the STEM sector and is involved in forums that promote gender and First Nations inclusivity.

Dharmica Mistry Director – Diagnostics Industry Engagement MTPConnect

Dharmica is the Director- Diagnostics Industry Engagement leading MTPConnect’s Australian Diagnostics Action Plan for sovereign capability. Dharmica is an impact driven scientist and entrepreneur. She’s co-founder and ex-Chief Scientist of BCAL Diagnostics where she spent over a decade taking research discovery through to commercialisation, developing a blood test for breast cancer detection.

She was also Head of Medtech and Biotech at Cicada Innovations, a deep tech incubator where she supported researchers and entrepreneurs through programs and coaching to commercialise their innovations. Dharmica holds a B.Sc. (Honours) from University of Sydney and a PhD in Medicine from Macquarie University.

Ewa Douroux Asia Pacific Marketing Director Leica Biosystems

Ewa holds a PhD in molecular biology, INSEAD MBA and currently is the Asia Pacific Marketing Director at Leica Biosystems, with expertise in strategy, product life cycle, organizational transformation, operations, manufacturing, and medical affairs.

Ewa is passionate about how business can be a force for good, especially in the areas of healthcare, sustainability, diversity and inclusion. Her standout drive and passion led Ewa to receive Victorian, Federal and Industry Group institutional recognition. Ewa is an active member of the Victorian Advisory Group for the Australian MedTech Manufacturing Centre. In her spare time, Ewa mentors students and professionals and is an active contributor to the biotech sector.

Helen Williams – Executive General Manager Transport ANZ SYSTRA

Helen is the Executive General Manager for Transport in ANZ. Her career spans over 30 years of engineering management and leadership. She leads a broad range of interrelated technical, systems and human-centred disciplines blending local expertise with extensive global reach back.

Helen is passionate about building integrated, engaged teams to deliver optimal, safe and resilient solutions to complex challenges for the communities in which we all live and work. She is an advocate for creating safe and inclusive workplaces where everyone has a sense of purpose and belonging.

Janet Fox – Digital Health Business Development Lead – CSIRO

Janet looks after Digital Health Business Development and Commercialisation for CSIRO. A seasoned professional with over 20 years of business development and commercialisation experience, she excels in building strong relationships with key customers and developing and implementing new business models for digital health technologies. She especially enjoys working at the interface of discovery, implementation, and business strategy to translate digital health research technologies into sustainable commercial products.

Prior to joining CSIRO Janet held senior positions at QUT, QIMR, and PanBio Ltd, a medical diagnostics company. Janet holds a PhD from University College Dublin and an MBA from QUT.

Jenny Loveday – National Industry Lead – Maritime / Principal Maritime Engineer – Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)

Jenny has over 20 years’ experience as a Ports and Maritime Engineer, working predominantly on Defence and Navy infrastructure, bulk material, containerised cargo and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

In her current role as National Industry Lead – Maritime, she is the Client Relationship Manger for KBR’s key port and local government Clients, Principal Ports and Maritime Engineer and Maritime Lead across the Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub-program.

Jodie Smith – Branch Head – Geoscience Australia

Jodie is a senior executive in the Australian Public Service with a strong record leading strategic science programs in support of Australia’s national interests. Jodie has a strong scientific background with qualifications from UNSW and over 15 years experience leading coastal and blue-water marine research projects with multi-disciplinary teams across Australia’s tropical, temperate and Antarctic regions.

Jodie is passionate about delivering scientific information as the evidence-base for good decision-making and building partnerships to tackle knowledge gaps. Jodie is a champion for women in leadership and STEM-based careers.

Joy Francisco – Chief Commercial Officer Sydney Local Health District

Joy is the inaugural Chief Commercial Officer at Sydney Local Health District. She is a champion for catalysing the translation of STEM research and clinical insights to improve health outcomes and value-based care.

Joy has extensive technology transfer expertise (MIT, NIH, NCI, UNSW, UOM). Her interests encompasses the spectrum of health innovation and includes experience in venture capital (Uniseed, Brandon Capital), medical product development (Ventracor’s award-winning VentrAssist device), and health precinct and ecosystem development (Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Randwick Health and Innovation Precinct).

Her qualifications include RTTP, PhD(Medicine), MBA, MBiomedE, BE(Materials), GradCert(Research Management and Commercialisation).

Louise Moore – Co-Founder and Director Beyond Drug Development Pty Ltd

Louise has over 25 years experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry working in all aspects of Product Development, most recently providing consultancy advice on clinical, non-clinical, CMC, and Regulatory aspects to Biotechnology Companies throughout the drug development process, from pre-clinical to product licencing.

Louise has extensive experience in US, European and Australian Regulatory Affairs accompanied by excellence in Medical Writing, and has worked across global Pharmaceuticals Companies, local Biotechnology Companies and Clinical Research Organisations. Louise has extensive management experience, and in October 2020 founded of Beyond Drug Development an Australian based product development consultancy and CRO.

Madhavi Maddugoda Strategic advisor – Research training Institute for Molecular Bioscience – the University of Queensland

Madhavi is the strategic advisor for research training at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the University of Queensland. She is re-designing how we train life science researchers in Australia to impact the next generation of our STEM workforce. She trained as a scientist in the fight against antibiotic resistance and continues to influence this space through PhD programs.

Madhavi cares about enabling mid-career women in STEM to overcome barriers to leadership. She knows the powerful importance of having diversity in decision-making and is a champion for giving younger women a voice at the table.

Michelle Bradney – Chief Operating Officer OccuRx

Michelle completed a PhD with the Department of Medicine, Melbourne University before moving into the pharmaceutical industry. She has over 25 years of progressive global clinical development, clinical operations and medical affairs experience working across Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe and USA.

Michelle has worked in start-up biotechnology (ASX listed), global pharmaceutical and device companies where she has led successful IND and IDE approvals across multiple jurisdictions as well as leading their clinical programs and medical affairs operations.

As the Chief Operating Officer at OccuRx, Michelle is responsible to lead and manage OccuRx’s drug development, clinical trial execution and business operations.

Natalie Rickers – Business Development Manager, APAC Invitae

Natalie is currently leading Business Development for the Asia Pacific region for global clinical genetic testing company, Invitae. With 17+ years in the genomics industry, Natalie has had the opportunity to commercialise products onto the market, bringing quality and scale, in research, clinical and consumer markets and lead global marketing efforts for Invitae.

Natalie has had the privilege to work with global companies with incredible missions and strategy, creating business and marketing plans leading to strong success. Natalie holds a PhD (Molecular Biology) from Manchester University and a BSc in Biochemistry from Liverpool University.

Natalie Thorne – Lead, Genomic Information ManagementMelbourne Genomics Health Alliance

Natalie works on systems that enable complex data to inform clinical practice.

Her career began in research bioinformatics, before she joined the Melbourne Genomics team to develop GenoVic, a clinical-grade system for genomic testing. She has worked on bioinformatics pipelines and multiple software applications, as well as the conceptual design for the entire system.

She currently leads a team to mature and expand GenoVic as a sustained shared genomic information management system for Victoria, one that can enable better care for thousands of Victorians and open the door to precision medicine.

Pearl Ng – Lead Consultant – Aurecon

Pearl is a Lead Consultant at Aurecon, an engineering design and advisory company. Her solid knowledge base in STEM has enhanced her ability to think critically, connect the dots and drive innovation. Adopting those skills allow her to help her clients in their technology transformation journey.

Pearl was awarded the IBM Manager’s Choice Award and was also the recipient of the IBM Global Service Excellence Award. She is also named as the STA Superstar of STEM and ARN Women in Tech Finalist. Pearl hopes to inspire the next generation of female STEM leaders, especially those in underprivileged communities.

Roop Judge – Business Development and Commercialisation Manager – WestGrains Research and Development Corporation

Roop has over 15 years’ experience in identifying innovative solutions to problems in the medical and agricultural/agrifood industries, commercialising research outputs for market deployment.

Whilst Roop’s previous roles have focused on medical technology commercialisation, Roop is currently the Business Development and Commercialisation Manager – West for the Grains Research and Development Corporation, with commercial leadership of research investment portfolios of >$300m in the areas of agronomy, crop protection and biosecurity. She was also Co-founder and Director of a few startups and consultancies, and is passionate about supporting Australian companies developing novel technologies.

Roop holds a PhD in Biochemistry and an MBA.

Surya Bala – Engineering Project Manager – Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)

Surya is an Engineering Project Manager and during her career stint of 11+ years, she has managed and transformed a portfolio of infrastructure projects worth $ 16+ Billion across India, Africa, the Middle East and Australia from concept to commissioning.

She brings her international engineering experience in Energy, Water, social and mining Infrastructure projects to transform the lives of Australian communities.

Her work in the international engineering and infrastructure sector has been recognised through multiple accolades including Prime Minister (Indian) Scholarship, Build India Scholarship, outstanding employee award in the leading infrastructure organisations and holds a Guinness world record.

Tolu Okitika Senior Program ManagerTelethon Kids Institute

Tolu is a senior program manager providing program management and operational oversight of the Malaria Atlas Project – a global, multidisciplinary group at the forefront of utilizing innovative geospatial modelling tools to support the global malaria eradication efforts.

She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington Seattle and is a certified Project Management Professional. Her career experience spans 13 years of consistently demonstrated success in leading the delivery of medium to large-scale public health initiatives in academic and not-for-profit organizations.

She is passionate about people development and strongly advocates for diversity and inclusion in leadership positions.

Tracey Wilkinson Director Stakeholder Engagement WAMTPConnect

Tracey has over 14 years’ experience in the Medtech, Biotech, Pharma and Digital Health (MTP) sector across research, start-up and tech transfer roles.

Currently Director Stakeholder Engagement WA at the MTPConnect WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, she works to accelerate growth of the MTP sector in WA and Australia. Operating as an interface between government, industry and the research sector, Tracey loves to build connected communities and support innovators to translate their innovations into real-world outcomes.

A scientific entrepreneur, Tracey co-founded an award-winning bioinformatics analysis start-up prior to completing a PhD in bioinformatics at the University of Melbourne.

Udani Reets – Director, Partnerships and Enterprise Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Udani is a leader in Australia’s health and medical sector, with unique expertise and success in supporting companies to deliver innovative, large-scale partnerships, services and ventures that improve healthcare policies, practice and outcomes.

As the Director of Partnerships and Enterprise, she heads up the partnership and commercial strategy function at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia’s leading cancer centre. She is passionate about the translation of evidence-based discoveries and innovations into equitable, accessible and affordable clinical practices, treatment options and business models.

Udani trained initially as a neuroscientist and worked as a medical researcher at leading research organisations.

Zoe Keon-CohenDeputy Director of Department of Anaesthesia Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Melbourne

Zoe is the Deputy Director, Anaesthesia at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, and is a passionate researcher and innovator in the MedTech space. She has over 12 years of experience across a broad range of experience across academia, medicine, and emergency management.

Zoe completed her PhD in the Public Health and General Preventive Medicine Residency Program from Monash University, and also holds a MBBS and Master of Public Health.