Policy, surveillance, clinical



Mr Brynley Hull BSc (Hons), MPH
Research Fellow/Epidemiologist

Brynley Hull is an epidemiologist and data analyst, working in public health research. He is a science graduate of the University of NSW and completed a Master of Public Health at the University of Sydney. After gaining experience in occupational health epidemiology, he is now the principal analyst for NCIRS of data from the Australian Immunisation Register. His main interests and expertise are the manipulation and analysis of public health data, immunisation research and spatial epidemiology.

1713039 02 DSC 8746 JPeg2Dr Heather Gidding BAppSci (Biomed), GradDipEpidBiostats, MAppEpid, PhD
Senior Research Fellow

Heather Gidding is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at NCIRS and Associate Professor at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of NSW. She is an infectious diseases epidemiologist and biostatistician. Her main areas of interest include the epidemiology of vaccine preventable diseases and blood-borne viruses. Heather is interested in maximising the use of routinely collected data for epidemiological research, in particular using data linkage methods, and longitudinal data analysis techniques.

D1511573 01 DSC 0852r Helen Quinn BSc (Hons), PhD, MAppEpid
Senior Research Fellow

Helen Quinn is a Senior Research Fellow at NCIRS and has a conjoint academic appointment as Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Sydney. Her background is in laboratory science (PhD in parasitology), with further training as an epidemiologist. Helen’s main interests are the epidemiology and control of vaccine preventable diseases, particularly pertussis, and vaccine safety. She is also interested in immunisation policy and attitudes to immunisation in parents and providers.  

1712896 01 DSC 6768Ms Katrina Clark
National Indigenous Immunisation Coordinator

Katrina Clark is the National Indigenous Immunisation Co-ordinator who joined NCIRS in 2016. Katrina is a proud Barkindji Woman, from far Western NSW who has lived within the Newcastle area for the past 20 years. Katrina completed studies at the Aboriginal Health College in Sydney, Armidale NSW and Adelaide SA, has worked for Hunter New England Local Health District for the past 15 years in Acute hospital and Community settings. Most recently Katrina has worked with HNE Public Health to improve the timeliness of immunisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Katrina’s current role with NCIRS involves working with the National Indigenous Immunisation Network to promote communication between the National Immunisation Committee and those involved in providing immunisation services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Katrina’s is committed to ensure equity of access to vaccinations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Ms Han Wang BSc (Math), MStats
Statistician/Data Manager

Han Wang is a statistician. She obtained a masters degree in statistics from the University of Sydney, after a primary mathematics degree from Peking University. Her research work involves study design, mathematical modelling and data analysis. She is interested in robust estimation for mixed models, longitudinal analysis, matched case-control studies, multivariate analysis and time series.

1511587 01 DSC 0915Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe MBBS, MSc
Research Fellow

Sanjay Jayasinghe is a medical graduate with postgraduate qualifications in community medicine and public health. He is currently enrolled in a PhD in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health in the Medical School of the University of Sydney. His PhD project involves assessment of the effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccinations in Australian children and the role of perinatal risk factors in the development of invasive pneumococcal disease in children. In addition to infectious disease epidemiology he also has extensive experience as a health services researcher in the areas of quality and safety of healthcare for the elderly, evaluation of complex system interventions, and assessment of provider and consumer perspectives of healthcare. He has a particular interest in appraisal of large administrative and clinical databases for research and use of linked data to inform clinical practice and policy. He also has worked as a clinical practitioner in Sri Lanka and Australia. At NCIRS Sanjay is a member of the team that provides evidence-based support for immunisation policy development.

1713588 2Dr Penny Haora, RM, MPH, PhD, PGCL & T(HE), FHEA
Research Fellow, Social Science

Penny joined NCIRS in September 2017, and has previously worked with many multidisciplinary research/evaluation/clinical and community-based teams in the UK, Canberra, Sydney and diverse settings in the Asia Pacific.  Her interests are broadly in the area of maternal, newborn and child health; more specifically, capacity building with primary and maternity care providers (e.g. midwives and immunisation), reducing
inequalities, Realist synthesis and evaluation approaches, and organisational cultures/learning.  Penny’s PhD research (with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University), was primarily policy-oriented social research on the ‘Birthing Transition’ in Thailand. 

In 2004-5 Penny managed the technical aspects of establishing and operating primary Maternal, Newborn and Child Health services in the Central Highlands of Afghanistan.  The perpetual learner, Penny enjoys mentoring and coaching students, undertaking research supervision and facilitating occasional interactive workshops/learning events.  She has contributed to the development, implementation and trialling of innovative approaches in higher education and health services, having also undertaken consultancies/contracts for various bodies including UNFPA and (formerly) AusAID.

1511588 02 DSC 0910Ms Alexis Pillsbury BA, MIPH, MPP, MAppEpid
Research Officer

Alexis Pillsbury is a Research Officer at NCIRS within policy and vaccine safety. In her primary role, she works as an epidemiologist and coordinator of vaccine safety surveillance under the national AusVaxSafety surveillance initiative. She also works within NCIRS policy team. Alexis completed her Master of Philosophy Applied Epidemiology (MAE) degree while working at NCIRS and also possesses postgraduate degrees in international public health and public policy. In addition to her interests in vaccine preventable diseases and vaccine safety, she is also interested broadly in infectious disease epidemiology and surveillance, disease control in developing countries and issues concerning public health politics.    

Alexandra Hendry 25 02 16 1612011 DSC 4552 31Dr Alexandra Hendry BSc(Hons), PhD, GradDip IPH
Senior Research Officer

Alexandra Hendry joined NCIRS in October 2015 as a Research Officer with the Coverage, Evaluation and Surveillance team. She completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) and her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Sydney and worked as a Postdoctoral Scientist at the University of Auckland for a number of years before moving into public health and completing a Graduate Diploma of International Public Health at the University of Sydney. Before joining NCIRS Alexandra worked in a number of public health research positions and has substantial experience in data analysis and using routinely collected data for epidemiological research and evaluation.

1712894 01 DSC 6785Ms Cyra Patel, BA (Hons), MSPH, MBA
Senior Research Officer

Cyra Patel has a background in public health and health systems, with extensive experience working in health research in both clinical and academic settings. At NCIRS, Cyra provides technical support to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) regarding immunisation policies in Australia, and contributes to research on vaccines and the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases. Prior to joining NCIRS, Cyra worked at the Sax Institute on implementation science research, specifically on projects that aim to increase the uptake of evidence in clinical practice. Cyra has a strong interest in international public health and strengthening health systems to improve population health outcomes. She has worked on a range of health projects overseas, including Liberia, Pakistan and USA.

MS 01 WhiterDr Meru Sheel BSc, PhD, MPhil Applied Epi

Meru Sheel is an infectious diseases epidemiologist and senior lecturer at the Children’s Hospital Westmead Clinical School, The University of Sydney. Meru has more than 10 years of experience working on infectious diseases with advanced training in microbiology , immunology and applied epidemiology. Meru obtained her PhD from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in vaccine development for group A streptococcal infection and rheumatic hart diseases. She completed her post-doctoral training working on understanding immune responses to malaria and leishmaniasis before transitioning into public health. Meru has extensive international field experience, having worked  in Pacific Island countries, Dominica and Bangladesh. Meru’s research interest lies in understanding epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases and strengthening operational response and research to outbreaks of infectious diseases.

1712898 01 DSC 6750Mr Peter Wnukowski-Mtonga BMedSc, MClinEpi
Research Officer

Peter joined NCRIS as a Research Officer in 2017. His role at NCIRS is to provide technical advice and support for immunisation related policy in Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Medical Science degree from the Australian National University (2012), and a Master of Clinical Epidemiology degree from the University of Queensland (2016). Through his study and previous work with the University of Queensland, he is interested in the prevention and treatment of infectious disease both domestically and internationally.

Dr Julie Leask DipAppSc, RM (midwifery), MPH, PhD Visiting Fellow

Julie Leask is a social scientist and Associate Professor at The University of Sydney, School of Public Health. She holds an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship and is Sub-Dean (Early Career Researchers) in the Sydney Medical School. She is a visiting Senior Research Fellow at NCIRS and Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in immunisation in under-studied and special-risk populations. Julie’s vaccination research interests include policy and evaluation, human behaviour and communications.

1712893 01 DSC 6791Dr Lucy Deng MBBS, DCH, MIPH

Lucy Deng is a general paediatrician and staff-specialist at NCIRS. She is part of the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS) team and reviews children who have experienced an adverse event following immunisation. Lucy is also currently undertaking a PhD in severe acute neurological events following immunisation.


Ms Catherine King BA, GradDip (IM - Librarianship), MAppSci (LIM), GCertEBP (Med), AALIA
Information Manager

Catherine King is a medical librarian, with postgraduate qualifications in both Library and Information Management and Evidence-Based Practice (Med). She has previous experience as the manager of both district and teaching hospital clinical libraries. Joining NCIRS in 2001, Catherine provides professional librarianship and information management services to support the evidence-based policy, teaching and research activities of the Centre, including ongoing literature searching for The Australian Immunisation Handbook and ATAGI working parties. Catherine is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Sydney, examining the types of information required to underpin vaccination policy for the prevention of seasonal influenza. 


Mr Edward Jacyna BAppSc, GradCert (Drug Dev), GradDip (Info & Lib Studies)
Assistant Librarian

Edward has a background in clinical trials working on various trials for the Langton Centre/Sydney Hospital. He has completed a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Graduate Certificate in Drug Development from the University of NSW and a Graduate Diploma in Information and Library Studies from Curtin University. Edward joined NCIRS in 2008 as the Assistant Librarian and is involved in maintaining NCIRS’s knowledge-based resource collection and sourcing relevant literature to support the policy, teaching and research activities of the Centre.

1310081 01Dr Jean Li-Kim-Moy MBBS (Hons), DipPaed, FRACP
Clinical Research Fellow

Jean Li-Kim-Moy joined NCIRS in February 2011. He completed his medical training at the University of Sydney (2000). He was awarded a Diploma of Paediatrics (2004) from the University of NSW and subsequently has completed his paediatric training (FRACP, 2010). He has worked extensively at The Sydney Children’s Hospital within both subspecialty and general paediatrics. He works as a General Paediatrician in a busy suburban practice as well as a Clinical Research Fellow at NCIRS. His current interests are in influenza vaccine efficacy and safety in young children.

1712891 01 DSC 6805Dr Harunor Rashid MBBS, DCH, MD

Harunor Rashid joined NCIRS in June 2011 as an epidemiologist in the clinical research team. He received paediatric training in Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UK, ultimately receiving, in 2009, his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the University of London for his thesis on Epidemiology of respiratory infections associated with Hajj pilgrimage, under the supervision of Professor Robert Booy. He is particularly interested in the epidemiology of vaccine preventable infections among travellers.

Julia MAGUIRE 01 05 17 1713063 DSC 8345 3Ms Julia Maguire BSc, MSci(Epi)
Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology (MAE) Scholar

Julia is an MAE scholar through the Australian National University field epidemiology training program. She completed her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne. Julia has previously worked as a data analyst and statistician at a Victorian health service, and is now training to become a field epidemiologist specialising in communicable diseases.

Kelley MEDER 02 05 17 1713062 DSC 8391 07Ms Kelley Meder, MPH, MIPH, MAppEpid (c)
Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology (MAE) Scholar

Kelley is a current MAE Scholar, run jointly through NCIRS and Australian National University.  She has a background in global public health with the completion of her Bachelor of Science in Global Health at the University of Washington (USA) in 2009, and Master of Public Health and Master of International Public Health at the University of New South Wales in 2015, focusing on tropical and infectious disease epidemiology and control.

Tracy TSANG 19 07 17 1713249 DSC 0514 05Ms Tracy Tsang, BAppSci (EXSS & Nutrition), MPH
Research Officer, Immunisation Handbook

Tracy joined NCIRS as a Research Officer in May 2017. At NCIRS, Tracy supports the development of the Australian Immunisation Handbook and related communication materials. Prior to joining NCIRS, Tracy worked as a Research Assistant at The George Institute for Global Health. She also has previous experience in developing clinical practice guidelines. Tracy completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) and Master of Public Health at the University of Sydney. She has a broad interest in infectious disease prevention and treatment.

Ms Chloe Damon RN, MIPH
AusVaxSafety Coordinator

Chloe is a Registered Nurse specialising in emergency medicine and has achieved a Master of International Public Health (MIPH) from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Chloe comes from an international development background and has worked with government, non-government organisations (NGOs) and UN Agencies across the Pacific region. Prior to joining the NCIRS team in 2017 as the AusVaxSafety Coordinator, Chloe worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Solomon Islands managing sexual reproductive health, child health, nutrition and gender portfolios. In this role she also provided technical advice and support to the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health.

Chloe comes from north-west Tasmania and recently gained membership to the Australian Red Cross Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) for New South Wales (NSW).

1713620 02 DSC 5324Ms Catherine Glover
Research Officer,Vaccine Safety

Catherine is an epidemiologist for AusVaxSafety. Catherine completed academic degrees in the USA, with a Master of Science in Mathematical Biology at The Ohio State University following a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She became interested in vaccine-preventable diseases during a graduate internship at the Ohio Department of Health, where she developed a mathematical model to examine the effectiveness of the delayed vaccination response to the 2014 measles outbreak in the Ohio Amish community. Prior to joining NCIRS, Catherine worked in microbiology and immunology research laboratories, coordinated a research study on hepatitis C in pregnancy, and taught mathematics at the college level. Catherine is interested in infectious disease epidemiology, vaccine safety, and vaccine hesitancy.

Dr Emma Langshaw BSc (Hons), PhD 
Senior Research Officer, Immunisation Handbook

Emma Langshaw is a Senior Research Officer at NCIRS with a background in infectious diseases and vaccine development (PhD in vaccinology). Emma joined the Australian Immunisation Handbook team in 2018 after working in a vaccine development research laboratory in Queensland. Her main interests are the human immune responses to different infectious diseases and the use of vaccines for disease prevention.

Ms Nicola Carter
Project Officer, AusVaxSafety

Ms Nicola Carter commenced in the newly established AusVaxSafety Project Officer position on Monday 23 July 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Human Movement and Health Education and is currently completing a Master of Public Health at the University of Sydney. Nicola comes from a health education background and has a particular interest in disease prevention and health promotion. Prior to joining the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance Nicola worked in various health education roles within New South Wales Health Local Health Districts and Pillars.

In her role as AusVaxSafety Project Officer, Nicola will be responsible for the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of HPV and maternal pertussis active vaccine safety surveillance activities. She will also fulfil a pivotal role by providing overall programmatic support to the diverse and rapidly expanding AusVaxSafety program.

Dr Ketaki SHARMA 17 04 18 1813928 DSC 7134 03Dr Ketaki Sharma MBBS MPH
Provisional Fellow in Public Health

Ketaki is a general paediatric advanced trainee who joined NCIRS in 2017. She is part of the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service team and reviews children who have experienced an adverse event following immunisation. She is also involved in research concerning maternal and infant immunisation.

Dr Elizabeth Ellis MBioc (Hons) (Oxon), BM (Hons), MRCP (UK), DipClinRes, MPH
Public Health Medicine Registrar

Elizabeth Ellis is a Public Health Medicine Registrar with the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine. She has a diverse background in both clinical and academic medicine. She initially read a four-year biochemistry degree at the University of Oxford before embarking on a career in medicine, completing core medical training in adult medicine in the UK. The award of a NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship enabled her to undertake research training with the Liver Fibrosis Group at Newcastle University, UK. Prior to commencing Public Health Medicine training, Elizabeth gained extensive experience in the field of clinical genetics, including general and cancer genetics. While at NCIRS, Elizabeth will be working in the areas of vaccine surveillance and policy


1713587 4Ms Melanie Coorey RN
Immunisation Nurse-NSWISS

Melanie Coorey is a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife with postgraduate certification in Immunisation, Neonatal Intensive Care and currently studying Child and Family Health Nursing. Melanie has worked at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for 17 years as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Grace Centre for Newborn care. Melanie joined NCIRS in 2017 working in the NSWISS Drop-In Immunisation Clinic.  

1712899 01 DSC 6740

Ms Rosemary Joyce RN
Research Nurse

Rosemary Joyce is a registered nurse and midwife with postgraduate certification in immunisation, neonatal intensive care and has also worked as a Rehabilitation Consultant Case Manager. Rosemary joined NCIRS in 2006 and is working as a clinical trials nurse investigating both paediatric and adult vaccines. Rosemary is currently working on studies investigating the pertussis vaccine, and is a member of the NSWISS team.

Deidre Brogan 25 02 16 1612013 DSC 4534 19Ms Deidre Brogan RN
Immunisation CNC

Deidre is an RN with post grad qualifications in Paediatric Nursing and Immunisation.

She has worked at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for 25 years in the areas of liver/renal transplant, emergency and medical imaging and with Northern Sydney Public Health School Immunisation Program.  Deidre joined the NCIRS team in 2015 and her current role is that of Clinical Nurse Specialist for the drop in Immunisation Clinic and has a special interest in developing services for children with needle phobia or disorders who are unable to be vaccinated without causing excessive distress.

1712901 01 DSC 6722Ms Lois Leacey RN
Research Nurse

Lois has been an RN for 35 years with a wide variety of experience in the Public and Private sector. She also holds a postgraduate certificate in Immunisation. Lois joined the NSWISS team in 2015. She combines her time between the NSWISS Immunisation Clinic at The Children’s Hospital Westmead and the School Immunisation Program with The Public Health Unit, which she has been a member of staff for 10 years.

129269 01Ms Jocelynne McRae CNC BN MHSc (Clin Data Mgmt) MPH
PAEDS Network Manager

Jocelynne McRae joined the PAEDS group in 2012 and as the national manager has facilitated the growth of the PAEDS Network. Previously Jocelynne held clinical research appointments in areas including infectious diseases and childhood cancer. Jocelynne holds a Master of Health Science in Clinical Data Management and a Master of Public Health both obtained from the University of Sydney. Aside from research, Jocelynne’s clinical background includes intensive care nursing and laboratory science in cytogenetics. Jocelynne is interested in vaccine safety, infection control and social research.    

Laura Rost 25 02 16 1612015 DSC 4515 09Ms Laura Rost RN
Research Nurse PAEDS

Laura Rost is a registered nurse and has worked at The Children’s Hospital Westmead for the last 35 years. She specialized in neonatal intensive care until 2006 when she joined NCIRS as a clinical trials research nurse and study coordinator for vaccine preventable diseases.  Her current role is with the PAEDS  team as a surveillance nurse.  

1713050 01 DSC 8765Ms Nicole Dinsmore RN

Nicole Dinsmore is a registered nurse with postgraduate qualifications in paediatrics and immunisation. She has experience in nursing education and an interest in public health issues. Nicole has specialised in nursing children with heart disease, and after developing a clinical trial for children experiencing heart surgery, she joined PAEDS as a surveillance nurse.

Gemma SARAVANOS 01 05 17 1713061 DSC 8353 5Ms Gemma Saravanos BBiomedSci (Hons), BN, RN
Research Nurse (PAEDS)

Gemma Saravanos joined NCIRS as a Research Nurse in 2015 undertaking work in special projects and later in paediatric surveillance. She is a registered nurse with qualifications in immunisation and in biomedical science. She has previously worked in the acute care hospital environment where she was actively involved in hospital infection control initiatives including staff immunisation and antimicrobial stewardship. Gemma has a passion for research and has contributed to research exploring influenza epidemiology and vaccination, child deaths from vaccine preventable diseases, and the development of improved diagnostic tests for cancer.


Professor Margaret Burgess AO, MD BS, FRACP, FAFPHM
Founding Director (1997–2003)

Margaret Burgess was the founding director of NCIRS and, on her retirement, held the position of Professor of Paediatrics and Preventive Medicine at the University of Sydney. She was a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation as well as a number of international committees. Professor Burgess carried out the first trials of rubella vaccination in Australia and has a long-standing clinical and research interest in immunisation and in vaccine preventable.