Our Speakers | Leukaemia Foundation

Our Speakers

This year, we’re excited to bring some world renowned experts in blood cancer to our conference. Learn more about some of our speakers below.

Keynote speakers

Professor David Joske: Humanity into Healthcare

David JoskeDavid Joske is a clinical haematologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Western Australia, and
was Head of Haematology 1994 – 2012. His clinical and research interests include the
treatment of lymphomas and supportive care in cancer. He has held two NHMRC Grants, is a
University of Western Australia Clinical Professor of Medicine, has published over 75 peer-
reviewed publications and given a TED talk on “Re-humanising Cancer Care”. He founded
Solaris Cancer Care in 2001, was the WA Social Entrepreneur of the Year, has been a finalist
four times for Western Australian of the Year and plays guitar in a blues band.



Deborah Sims: Patient experience with personalised medicine

Deborah SimsDeborah Sims is a journalist by trade and was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in
2011 at the age of 38. After failing chemotherapy she moved overseas to enter a phase 1
combination trial of two new therapies in 2015. She has commuted between Melbourne and
London ever since to continue on the trial and secure access to her daily drug which is
maintaining her remission. Deborah is currently the Director of Relationships and Engagement
at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne. Deborah has three children and works to raise
awareness of the need for patients to have appropriate access to clinical trials.


Session Speakers

Prof David Ritchie: Allograft  Professor David Ritchie
Professor David Ritchie is a Consultant Haematologist and the head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Service of the Haematology Service of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. He is Director of Australian Cancer Research Foundation Translational Research Laboratory.  His clinical and translational research is specifically on the immunology and immunotherapy of blood cancers and the immunology of new drug therapies in myelodysplasia (MDS), acute and chronic leukaemias, myeloma and lymphoma, and the immunology of allogeneic transplantation. He has published and presented his work widely with over 200 peer-reviewed publications and abstract presentations at international meetings including ASH, EHA, EBMT and HAA.


Prof Andrew Grigg: Autograft  Andrew Grigg
Professor Andrew Grigg is a clinical haematologist consulting at Eastern Haematology Oncology Group. He has been the Director of Clinical Haematology at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne since 2010. Andrew is an experienced haematologist with a broad interest across the spectrum of haematological disorders, both benign and malignant. In addition to 20 years of service at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, he has also been involved as an investigator in a number of national studies in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). He has recently established a new allogeneic bone marrow transplant program at the Austin and directs a special interest group in lymphoma and active research programme in immunotherapy for haematological malignancies.



Associate Professor Prue Cormie: Physical wellbeing Prue Cormie
Associate Professor Prue Cormie is an accredited exercise physiologist whose research and clinical work focuses on the role of exercise in the management of cancer. Her track record includes over $3 million in competitive research grant funding, over 70 refereed publications and book chapters and over 150 invited presentations including a TED talk. Prue has produced influential research exploring the efficacy of targeted exercise prescriptions in counteracting significant side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. Her work has been recognised with awards including the Cancer Council WA Early Career Cancer Researcher of the Year Award and the WA Young Tall Poppy of the Year Science Award. Prue is the inaugural Chair of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Exercise Cancer Group and leads the Exercise and Sports Science Australia Cancer Special Interest Group. A core component of her work is invested to translating research into practice for meaningful improvements in health care services for people with cancer.


Jane Fletcher: Emotional wellbeing Jane Fletcher
Jane is a health psychologist with over 15 years’ experience working with individuals with cancer. Having established Melbourne Psycho-oncology Service in 2008, Jane continues to offer evidence based intervention to individuals, couples and families at all stages of the cancer experience from diagnosis to bereavement. She has extensive experience using cognitive-behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, a range of existential approaches and mindfulness based interventions. She is qualified in medical hypnosis and uses this for the treatment of cancer related sleep disorder, phobic and conditioned responses. She has a special interest in sexuality and is experienced in a range of specific interventions for the psycho-sexual issues associated with a cancer diagnosis. Jane is passionate about offering care to those diagnosed with less common cancers.


Dr Chun Fong: Understanding adult acute leukaemia  Chun Fong

Dr Chun Yew Fong is a clinical haematologist consulting at Eastern Haematology Oncology Group and a staff specialist at Austin Hospital as the medical lead for acute leukaemias and myelodysplastic syndromes. After graduating from The University of Melbourne, he completed physician training and advanced training in haematology at Melbourne’s leading hospitals. He obtained dual Fellowships of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Ensuring that he remains abreast of developments in his field, Chun undertook formal research training at The University of Cambridge and at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; working to apply scientific breakthroughs to the patients he treats. He has a special interest in the treatment of haematological malignancies.


Associate Professor Jake Shortt: Understanding non-Hodgkins lymphomaJake Shortt

A/Prof Jake Shortt is the Head of Haematology Research at the School of Clinical Sciences and interim Director of Oncology Translation at Monash University and Monash Health respectively. He trained in haematology at the Alfred Hospital before undertaking a PhD in cancer therapeutics at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He heads the Blood Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory within the new Monash Health Translation Precinct where his laboratory focuses on epigenetic and immunological treatments for haematological malignancies – in particular lymphoma and multiple myeloma.  In addition to his preclinical work, he is a principal investigator on a range of phase 1-3 clinical trials, an investigator for the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance ‘Aggressive Lymphoma Flagship’ and chair of the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group laboratory sciences committee.​


Professor Tim Hughes: Understanding chronic myeloid leukaemia Tim Hughes

Professor Tim Hughes holds a faculty appointment at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) where he is the Head of Translational Leukaemia Research. He is also Head of the Department of Haematology at SA Pathology, and Consultant Haematologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He teaches as a Clinical Professor of Medicine and holds a Practitioner Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council. His clinical interests include chronic leukaemias and myeloproliferative disorders. His current research interests are in molecular monitoring for leukaemias, clinical resistance to targeted therapies in leukaemia and the development of assays to predict response and resistance to targeted agents. He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals.


Dr Mary Ann Anderson: Understanding chronic lymphocytic leukaemia Mary Ann Anderson

Dr. Anderson finished her training in haematology in 2011.  Since then she has been working at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Walter & Eliza Hall Institute and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer centre as a haematologist and clinician scientist. As a clinician scientist, her focus is on new treatments for leukaemia and lymphoma. Her studies investigate potential anti-cancer agents that target proteins that keep cancer cells alive. The long term goal is to develop better treatments for people with cancer, without the serious side effects of chemotherapy.  Dr Anderson’s research has focused on the BH3 mimetic agent, ABT-199, assessing it as a potential new treatment for people with certain leukaemias and lymphomas.


Dr Melita Kenealy: Understanding myelodysplastic syndromes Melita Kenealy

Dr Melita Kenealy is a Consultant Haematologist at Cabrini Hospital, Victoria. She manages patients with all blood and bone marrow disorders including lymphoma, myeloma, leukaemias and myeloproliferative and myelodysplastic disorders. Dr Kenealy is a consultant physician and a specialist in Clinical Haematology as well as having a qualification as a Haematopathologist. Dr Kenealy has an active research interest in Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and in epigenetic therapies. She was awarded the Max Whiteside Leukaemia Foundation Scholarship in 2006, and has been an active member of the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group pioneering new treatments in MDS. Dr Kenealy has an interest in translational research, investigating the mechanism of action of epigenetic and immunologic treatments and researching biomarkers which may predict a good response to therapy.


Dr Lynette Chee: Understanding myeloproliferative neoplasms Lynette Chee

Dr Chee is a Consultant Haematologist and Bone Marrow Transplant Physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and has a keen interest in the management of myeloid malignancies; specifically myelodysplasia, myeloproliferative disorders and acute myeloid leukaemia.  Dr Chee’s PhD and post-doctoral research investigating novel retinoids in the treatment of AML1-ETO leukaemia has been published in leading Haematology journals and presented at both national and international conferences. She is actively involved in clinical and translational research through the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Translational Research Laboratory and Haematology Department at Royal Melbourne Hospital.


Professor Judith Trotman: Understanding Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia Judith Trotman

Professor Judith Trotman is Director of the Haematology Clinical Research Unit, Concord Hospital, Sydney.  Dr Trotman is a leading recruiter in the INNOVATE study of Rituximab +/- Ibrutinib in WM, and leads the WM cohort analysis of a large study of Zanubrutinib presented at recent international conferences. She is principal investigator on a number of ALLG lymphoma studies and co-PI on the Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinaemia Study Involving CART-WHEEL (WhiMSICAL), an innovative research partnership with patient investigators from the WMozzies and the IWMF. Patients consent online and enter their own patient-derived data at www.cart-wheel.org.  More than 310 patients globally have entered their symptoms, haemoglobin, IgM and treatment data into WhiMSICAL. The inclusion of validated patient reported outcomes will comprehensively chart the patient voice through their journey with WM.


Maryann Skarparis: Caring for the carer Maryanne Skarparis

Maryanne is very experienced in supporting patients and their carers on the emotional rollercoaster following a diagnosis of blood cancer.  Maryanne holds a diploma of Applied Science, Community Welfare and Health and has successfully completed a variety of certificates in crisis counselling, grief counselling, ego state therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, mindfulness, Lifeline Counsellors Training (Certificates 1 and 2) and a Certificate IV in Workplace Health and Training.  Maryanne believes her greatest teachers have been the clients who she has met whilst working with the Leukaemia Foundation.

Maryanne has a natural ability and great empathy in supporting people with emotional, financial and practical needs that arise from a blood cancer diagnosis.


Clinical Trial Q & A SpeakersDelaine Smith

Delaine Smith: What are clinical trials and how do they work? 

Delaine is the Chair of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) Executive Officer Network, and has held a range of advisory appointments in key government and industry sectors. Delaine is the CEO of the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG), she recently lead the ALLG to commence its own in-house trial centre which opened in July 2013. A key priority for the ALLG research effort is the sustained functions of the Tissue Bank facility.


Professor Andrew Roberts: Clinician led clinical trial compared to company led clinical trials in AustraliaAndrew Roberts

Professor Andrew Roberts is Research and Education Lead for Haematology across the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. An experienced haematologist and laboratory researcher, he champions the role of research in continuing to improve the care that we provide to people with blood cancers. Joint appointments with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the University of Melbourne ensure that clinical care provided by the integrated clinical haematology department of Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter Mac is linked to the precinct’s world leading research. The major focus of his research includes the molecular basis of leukemogenesis and lymphomagenesis; molecular basis of resistance to chemotherapy and targeted therapies; BCL-2 inhibitors and BH3 mimetics; and clinical trials of novel therapies.


Dr Gareth Gregory: How to find and access information on current clinical trials Gareth Gregory

Dr Gareth Gregory is a Consultant Haematologist and Clinical Lead for Aggressive Lymphoma at Monash Health, Research Fellow at Monash University and Project Manager for the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance Lymphoma Project.  He completed a PhD on targeted therapies in lymphoma and is passionate about translating innovative molecular genetic approaches to guide clinical practice and improve outcomes for patients with poor risk lymphoma.

Last updated on June 19th, 2019

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.

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