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.

Dr Stephen Anderson OAM (Chair)

Dr Stephen Andersen OAM


View Stephen Anderson’s profile   

Professor Simon Gandevia (Deputy Chair)

Professor Simon Gandevia


Deputy Director and Foundation Scientist, Neuroscience Research Australia

View Professor Simon Gandevia’s profile

Maree Kerr

Maree Kerr

GAICD, Dip Bus, Dip Mgt, Adv Cert Training & Development

Principal Director, Relish Consulting 

View Maree Kerr’s profile

Patrick Reid



View Patrick Reid’s profile  

Professor Jennifer L Martin AC

Professor Jenny Martin

BPharm, MPharm, DPhil (Oxon)

Deputy – Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

View Professor Martin’s profile

Professor Alison Jones

Professor Alison Jones

MD, FRCPE, FRCP, CBiol FRSB, FRACP, FACMT, FAACT, GAICD Deputy Vice – Chancellor (Health and Communities)  View Professor Jones’ profile

Margot Mains

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

LLB, RGON, DipNG Chief Executive View Margot Mains’ profile

Associate Professor Bruce Ashford

Associate Professor Bruce Ashford

BDSc (Hons), PhD, MBBS, FRACS Consultant Surgeon (Head and Neck) View Associate Professor Ashford’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, Head of Department of Physiology & Pharmacology (1998-2000), Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences (2000-07) and Professorial Research Fellow in the Queensland Brain Institute (2008-09). He is a 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 180 refereed journal articles (112 as first or senior author) in leading journals and 16 book chapters. He has been principal supervisor and co-supervisor of more than 30 PhD students. Distinguished Professor Adams is the past President of the Australian Physiological Society, a former member of the National Committee for Biomedical Science, Australian Academy of Science and a member of five Editorial Boards of international scientific journals. He is currently a member of NHMRC Assigners Academy and a member of the Research Management Council for Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia.

Professor Leonard Arnolda

 +61 2 4221 4307 larnolda@uow.edu.au

Professor Leonard Arnolda. Photo by MOD Photography.

Professor Leonard Arnolda. Photo by MOD Photography.

In January 2016, Professor Leonard Arnolda was appointed IHMRI’s inaugural Clinical Director – a new leadership role shared between IHMRI and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) to encourage and support clinical research in the region and facilitate collaborations between IHMRI-affiliated academic and clinician researchers. Professor Arnolda obtained his PhD from Monash University where he studied the role of vasopressin in heart failure. He was then a Commonwealth Medical Fellow and National Health and Medical Research Council Neil Hamilton Fairley Fellow at Oxford University (UK), where he studied skeletal muscle metabolism in heart failure. Returning to Australia, he accepted a post at the Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia, working there until 2001 until he moved to Perth to take up the role of Professor of Cardiology at the Royal Perth Hospital (RPH), where he served terms as both head of the hospital’s Cardiology Department and head of the RPH’s unit of the University Department of Medicine. In 2009 he was appointed Director of Cardiology at ACT Health and Professor of Cardiology at the Australian National University. Professor Arnolda is an active researcher whose work spans basic laboratory science and clinical research and involves investigations on the physiology of the heart and circulation in health and its pathophysiology, as manifest in diseases such as heart failure and high blood pressure. He currently chairs the National Blood Pressure and Vascular Disease Advisory Committee for the National Heart Foundation and the Hypertension working group of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

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 Perry Bartlett

Professor Perry Bartlett. Photo by Mark Newsham.

Director, Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland View Professor Bartlett’s profile

Professor Mark Cooper AO

Professor Mark Cooper AO. Photo by Mark Newsham.

Head, Department of Diabetes, Monash University View Professor Cooper’s profile

Professor David Craik

Professor David Craik

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

Professor Christos Pantelis

Professor Christos Pantelis. Photo by Mark Newsham.

Scientific Director, Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health View Professor Pantelis’ profile

Professor Melissa Wake

Professor Melissa Wake. Photo by Mark Newsham.

Cure Kids Professor of Child Health Research, Department of Paediatrics and the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland

View Professor Wake’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.

Professor Thomas Astell-Burt

Associate Professor Thomas Astell-Burt

School of Health and Society Faculty of Social Sciences University of Wollongong

Clare Atkinson

Senior Technical Officer IHMRI Technical Services Unit

Dr Yee Lian Chew

Dr Yee Lian Chew. Photo by Trudy Simpkin.

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

Heema Vyas

Heema Vyas. Photo supplied.

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

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

Joanna Harrison (Secretary)

Joanna Harrison

Executive Assistant IHMRI Operations Team

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