Community spirit in action

What began in 2006 as an ambitious vision to improve community wellbeing in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, has today grown into a world-class Medical Research Institute (MRI) with over 200 affiliated researchers, as well as their teams of Research Fellows, PhD candidates and higher degree research students. Our researchers, operations team and founding partners, the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), work together to better understand the causes of disease and illness. Our goal is to discover more effective ways to prevent and treat cancer, dementia, mental illness and diabetes. These are some of the most common areas of disease and illness that affect our community. Our vision is to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

Major milestones


Our founding partners and key stakeholders, the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service (SESIAHS) sign a memorandum of understanding to foster and expand health and medical research in the Illawarra.


IHMRI was formally constituted as a company limited by guarantee, with the UOW and SESIAHS as its founding members. In 2011 the SESIAHS became the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD). Professor Don Iverson appointed as IHMRI’s inaugural Executive Director and Sue Baker-Finch appointed as Chief Operating Officer. A contribution of $15 million from the NSW Government was matched by $15 million from the UOW to allow construction of a headquarters for IHMRI, with world-class research laboratories and clinical trial research facilities.


IHMRI’s state-of-the-art headquarters were completed and officially opened in July by the then NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon Carmel Tebbutt.


IHMRI recognised by the NSW State Government as an independent Medical Research Institute (MRI), allowing access to funding from the NSW Government’s Medical Research Support Program (MRSP).


Professor David J. Adams is appointed as IHMRI’s Chief Executive Officer / Executive Director in December.


Professor Leonard Arnolda is appointed as Clinical Director, a new role shared between IHMRI and ISLHD to encourage and support clinical research in the region and facilitate collaborations between IHMRI-affiliated academic and clinician researchers. Kara Lamond appointed as Chief Operating Officer in August.


IHMRI celebrates our 10th Anniversary at an event at Level One Restaurant, attended by over 100 people and emceed by former ABC journalist Richard Morecroft.


IHMRI becomes a member of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), a peak body for medical research institutes (MRIs) across Australia.


Associate Professor Bruce Ashford is appointed Clinical Director 

Governance History

Chair of the IHMRI Board

    • George Edgar (Mar 2009 – Mar 2012)
    • Alan Pettigrew (Mar 2014 – Feb 2020)
    • Tim Berry (Acting) (Feb – Jul 2020)
    • Dr Stephen Andersen OAM (Jul 2020 – Dec 2021)
    • Patrick Reid (Feb 2022 – June 2022)
    • Dr Paul Moy (June 2022 – Oct 22) (Acting Chair)
    • Prof Nicholas Glasgow (Oct 22 – present)

Executive Director

    • Don Iverson (Apr 2008 – Dec 2012)
    • Xu-Feng Huang (Acting) (Jan – Jun 2013)
    • Mike Calford (Jul 2013 – Mar 2014)
    • Brett Garner (Acting) (Mar – Dec 2014)
    • Alan Pettigrew (Acting) (Jan – Nov 2015)
    • David Adams (Dec 2015 – Oct 2022)

Clinical Director

    • Professor Leonard Arnolda (Jan 2016 – Jan 2021)
    • Associate Professor Bruce Ashford (Feb 2021 – Oct 2022)

Chief Operating Officer

    • Sue Baker-Finch (Oct 2008 – Feb 2016)
    • Kara Lamond (Aug 2016–present)