Leadership, management and guidance

The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) is a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001. We are also registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Our founding partners and key stakeholders, the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), engage us to provide research leadership, support, services and infrastructure to grow quality research under four-year funding and service agreements. In addition both partners provide in-kind support to us to advance the shared vision of improving the health of Illawarra residents through research excellence. Since 2014, we have been recognised as an independent Medical Research Institute (MRI) by the New South Wales (NSW) State Government, making us eligible for funding from the Medical Research Support Program administered by the Office of Health and Medical Research in the NSW Ministry of Health. Our patron is renowned scientist Dame Bridget Ogilvie (AC, DBE, ScD, FRS, FAA).

Our people

Board of Directors

IHMRI is governed by a Board of Directors comprising two directors each from UOW and ISLHD, as well as five independent directors. The conduct of IHMRI and the board are guided by the:

The IHMRI Chair is appointed by the board from among the independent directors. Click on the tabs below to view our current Board of Directors.

Professor Simon Gandevia

Professor Simon Gandevia


Deputy Director and Foundation Scientist, Neuroscience Research Australia

View Professor Simon Gandevia’s profile

Dr Paul Moy

Paul Moy

BA (Hons), PhD, Dumaresq Capital View Paul Moy’s profile  





Professor Sean Brawley
Sean Brawley

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Planning) View Professor Brawley’s profile


Professor David Currow
David Currow

FAHMS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Health and Sustainable Futures) View Professor Currow’s profile

Margot Mains
Margot Mains, Chief Executive of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District

LLB, RGON, DipNG, Chief Executive, ISLHD View Margot Main’s profile


Professor Denis King OAM

MB, BS, FRACS Chair, ISLHD Board View Professor King’s profile  


Executive Management Team

The IHMRI Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer reports directly to the Board of Directors and provides overall leadership, strategic management and direction for IHMRI. The Executive Director is assisted in the high-level management of IHMRI’s research program and operations by the Clinical Director, who also acts as IHMRI’s Deputy Executive Director. Click on the tabs below to read profiles on our Executive Management Team.


Distinguished Professor David J. Adams

 +61 2 4239 2264 djadams@uow.edu.au

Distinguished Professor David Adams

Distinguished Professor David J. Adams. Photo by MOD Photography.

Distinguished Professor David J. Adams joined IHMRI in December 2015 and is former Director of the Health Innovations Research Institute at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University. He was an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow from 2010 to 2015 and was previously Professor and Chair of Physiology at the University of Queensland (1995-2009), Head of Department of Physiology & Pharmacology (1998-2000), Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences (2000-07), Professorial Research Fellow in the Queensland Brain Institute (2008-09) and Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Program Grant (2005-2019) to identify novel pain therapeutics based on venom peptides (conotoxins) from cone snails. He has published over 232 refereed journal articles, 18 book chapters and has supervised more than 20 PhD students and 40 Postdoctoral fellows. Distinguished Professor Adams is the past President of the Australian Physiological Society (2004-10), a former member of the National Committee for Biomedical Science, Australian Academy of Science, NHMRC Grant Review Panels and Assigners Academy, Research Management Council for Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia and a member of five Editorial Boards of international scientific journals including Journal of Physiology and Frontiers in Pharmacology. In recognition of his leadership and research excellence, Distinguished Professor Adams was elected Fellow, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS), 2020; Fellow, American Physiological Society (FAPS), 2020; and Fellow, Physiological Society UK, 2019. He is a member of the NSW Cardiovascular Disease Research Advisory Committee (2018-22) and the Scientific Advisory Committee, Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation (2019-).


Associate Professor Bruce Ashford

 +61 2 4221 4333 bruceash@uow.edu.au  Associate Professor Bruce Ashford Associate Professor Bruce Ashford was appointed Clinical Director at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute in 2021. A/Professor Ashford is also a head and neck cancer surgeon in public and private clinical practice and has an academic appointment as the Associate Professor of Surgery within the School of Medicine at UOW. Following Dental and Medical School, he completed 6 years of surgical training in Australia. This was followed by a further 3 years of post FRACS Fellowships including a head and neck surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Toronto in 2009. He is an active teacher and researcher in cancer biology and surgery, and has in 2020 been appointed as the Executive Director of Research for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Local Health District. During his career, A/Prof Ashford has served with the Royal Australian Air Force and has seen operational service in Afghanistan, Timor Leste and Bali as a Trauma Surgeon.


Kara Lamond

 +61 2 4252 8941 klamond@uow.edu.au

Kara Lamond. Phhoto by Mark Newsham.

Kara Lamond. Photo by Mark Newsham.

Ms Lamond was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in August 2016 and is responsible for the general management of IHMRI’s governance, communications, planning, finances and infrastructure. With senior-level experience in both the public and private sectors, Ms Lamond has led major reforms and initiatives in service delivery and infrastructure management. Her most recent positions include Executive Manager of Strategy, Planning and Innovation at the NSW State Emergency Services, and Executive Director at Migration Law Australia. Ms Lamond also gained extensive experience leading health and justice projects as Senior Manager for the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. She holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wollongong. She also has a Graduate Law degree from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New England.


Scientific Advisory Committee

The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) provides advice on IHMRI’s research priorities and research strengths, as well as guidance on funding opportunities. The SAC also participates in reviews of research initiatives and provides a broad perspective of national and international trends in health and medical research. The SAC consists of up to eight members, including IHMRI’s Executive Director and Clinical Director, and external members who serve for an initial term of three years. Drawn from a range of external Australiasian institutions and universities, the external committee members are highly successful and experienced international researchers.


Professor Robin Anderson
Professor Robin Anderson

Head, Translational Breast Cancer Program, Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute View Professor Anderson’s profile


Professor David Craik
Professor David Craik

Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland View Professor Craik’s profile

Professor Melissa Little

Theme Director of Cell Biology, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

View Professor Melissa Little’s profile 

Professor Dena Lyras

Professor Microbiology, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute View Professor Dena Lyras’s profile

Associate Professor Tomas Kron

Director of Physical Sciences, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

View Associate Professor Tomas Kron’s profile

Professor Pankaj Sah

Director, Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland 

View Professor Pankaj Sah’s profile

Dr Sandro Demaio

Professor Paul M Young
Professor Paul M Young

CEO and founder, Ab Initio Pharma Ltd  View Professor Paul M Young’s profile


Research themes

Our multidisciplinary researchers work within and across three broad research themes. Each theme contains a broad cross-section of researchers, from those involved in basic science, through to researchers working in clinical, population and public health. IHMRI research themes organise activities to bring diverse researchers together to promote collaborative research opportunities. In 2020 IHMRI appointed new theme leaders for 2020-22. Each theme is facilitated by a scientific leader and a clinical leader. 


Researchers in this theme explore the fundamental mechanisms of disease. They use this knowledge to design, test and evaluate new drugs, as well as medical devices. They work together to increase treatment options and quality of life for patients with complex medical conditions.

Theme leaders

Professor Marie Ranson 

Professor Marie Ranson 

Scientific School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience, Molecular Horizons, University of Wollongong View Professor Marie Ranson’s profile

Professor Morteza Aghmesheh 

Clinical Professor Morteza Aghmesheh. Photo by James Grabowski 

Clinical Medical Oncologist (Cancer Specialist), Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District View Clinical Professor Morteza Aghmesheh’s profile

Researchers in this theme examine the mechanisms, causes, prevention and treatment of a wide range of chronic and complex psychiatric illnesses, neurodegenerative diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. Together they seek to address the burden of mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases in the region.

Theme leaders

Associate Professor Lezanne Ooi    

Dr Lezanne Ooi. Photo by MOD Photography 

Scientific School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience, Molecular Horizons, University of Wollongong View Associate Professor Lezanne Ooi’s profile 

Professor Nagesh Pai 

Professor Nagesh Pai. Photo by Paul Jones. 

Clinical Academic Leader of Psychiatry, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District View Professor Nagesh Pai’s profile 

Researchers in this theme study the links between disease and lifestyle risk factors, such as excess weight, poor diet, high blood pressure, drug addictions and physical inactivity. They work together to find better treatments and prevention strategies to extend healthy ageing.

Theme leaders

Senior Professor Tony Okely

Senior Professor Tony Okely 

Scientific Director, Early Start Research, University of Wollongong View Senior Professor Tony Okely’s profile

Professor Kate Curtis  

Professor Kate Curtis  

Clinical Emergency Nurse Clinician, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District View Professor Kate Curtis’s profile   

Affiliate Stakeholder Advisory Panel (ASAP)

The purpose of the ASAP is to support the IHMRI Executive and Operations Team to ensure that IHMRI strategic initiatives are relevant to our affiliate base, which is diverse both geographically and by research area. 


Equity, diversity and inclusion committee

IHMRI has a strong commitment to the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in defining our workplace culture. The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDI) was formed to provide advice and guidance to the Executive Management Team on EDI issues. The EDI Committee consists of representatives from across the organisation, including affiliated researchers and students, as well as administrative and technical services staff. The Committee meets four times per year. IHMRI’s equity, diversity and inclusion value pillars can be found here.


Professor Justin Yerbury
Associate Professor Justin Yerbury. Photo by Mark Newsham.

School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health University of Wollongong

Clare Johnson

Senior Technical Officer IHMRI Technical Services Unit

Dr Debbie Watson

School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health University of Wollongong

Kara Lamond (Chair)
Kara Lamond. Phhoto by Mark Newsham.

Chief Operating Officer IHMRI Executive Management Team

Dr Natalie Matosin
Neurobiologist Dr Natalie Matosin

School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health University of Wollongong

Dr Jeremy Lum

School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health University of Wollongong

Jason Aquilina

Corporate Services Manager IHMRI Operations Team

Dominic Kaul

Student Representative

Research integrity

To promote research integrity and help ensure compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, IHMRI worked closely with the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Research Integrity Office to secure a Research Integrity Advisor to represent our organisation. Associate Professor Martina Sanderson-Smith represents IHMRI as a Research Integrity Advisor, complementing other IHMRI researchers who act as Advisors in different areas of health and medical research.


Professor Chao Deng
Professor Chao Deng

Medicine (Animal Research)

Associate Professor Martina Sanderson-Smith


Dr Jonathan Shemmell
Dr Jonathan Shemmell

Medicine (Human Research)

Dr Jenny Sim
Dr Jenny Sim


Organisational chart