Policy, surveillance, clinical
Mr Brynley Hull BSc (Hons), MPH
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.
Dr 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.
Dr 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.
Ms 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
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.
Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe MBBS, MSc
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.
Dr 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.
Dr Jennifer O'Dea, BA, Grad Dip Nutr&Diet, MPH, PhD
Research Fellow, Program Evaluation
Jenny O’Dea is a researcher and Sydney University academic with postgrad qualifications in public health nutrition, health promotion and a PhD in Medicine. She has many years of experience in health promotion and health education and is particularly interested in the evaluation of health programs and interventions using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Jenny has published widely in the field of adolescent and child health, particularly in the areas of child and adolescent nutrition, diet, body image, obesity prevention and the evaluation of school-based health promotion programs. Jenny commenced work at NCIRS in 2017 and will be focusing on the national evaluation of the Zoster vaccine.
Ms Alexis Pillsbury BA, MIPH, MPP, MAppEpid
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.
Dr Alexandra Hendry BSc(Hons), PhD, GradDip IPH
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.
Ms 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.
Mr Peter Wnukowski-Mtonga BMedSc, MClinEpi
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.
Dr Lucy Deng MBBS, DCH, MIPH
Provisional Fellow in Public Health
Lucy is a general paediatric advanced trainee who joined NCIRS in 2017 as a clinical fellow. She is part of the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service team and reviews children who have experienced an adverse event following immunisations.
Ms Samantha Carlson BSc MPH
Research Officer Social Research
Samantha Carlson joined NCIRS in 2016 as a social science research officer. She obtained a Bachelor of Science (Immunobiology and Microbiology) in 2014 and a Master of Public Health in 2015 from The University of Sydney. She is passionate about the control of vaccine preventable diseases in Australia and how attitudes and barriers to immunisation can influence the control. She is also interested in how immunisation information is communicated.
Ms Catherine King BA, GradDip (IM - Librarianship), MAppSci (LIM), GCertEBP (Med), AALIA
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)
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.
Dr 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.
Dr 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.
Dr Chathura Edirisuriya MBBS, MSc, MD
Advanced Research Trainee
Chathura joined NCIRS on November 2016 as an Advanced Research Trainee to complete the qualification requirements setup by the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka to work as a board certified consultant in public health. He has a working background on field level public healthcare delivery in Sri Lanka. He later joined to National Epidemiology Unit of Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka to work on vaccine safety and setting up a web based immunization registry in Sri Lanka. He also played a major role in beta testing of the Vaccine Adverse Event Information Monitoring System (VAEIMS) developed by the World Health Organization and International Vaccine Institute. Chathura is interested in vaccine safety monitoring systems, communicable disease modelling and use of geographic information systems to solve health care delivery problems.
Dr Mohamed Tashani MB BCh, MPH, MHM, MIPH, DCH, PhD Fellow
Research Officer- Program Evaluation
Mohamed joined NCIRS as a PhD student in 2013 and recently started his new role as a Research Officer working on Immunisation Program Evaluation. Mohamed's role involves evaluating newly implemented immunisation programs in Australia, interviewing stakeholders, collating their feedback and making recommendations to the Australian Department of Health.
Mohamed is an overseas trained medical doctor, he commenced his post graduate training in the field of Public Health in Australia in 2010. Mohamed is a registered doctor in Australia and due to finish is PhD from University of Sydney in 2017. His thesis revolves around how new novel conjugate vaccines interact with each other and with other vaccines such as DTP/Tdap vaccine. Mohamed has been exploring the best way of administering these vaccines to mass gatherings of travellers, in order to gain optimum immunity. His research was awarded the International Robert Austrian Research Award in Pneumococcal Vaccinology 2014.
Dr Ben Smith
Provisional Fellow in Public Health
Ben joined NCIRS in 2017 and currently works in medical research. He is primarily studying the impact of influenza and influenza vaccination on child health. Ben has a background in paediatric infectious diseases and general paediatrics.
Sally Ioannides MB ChB, MPH (Distinction), PhD
Sally Ioannides is a Public Health Medicine Registrar with the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. She is a medical graduate from the University of Otago (2006). Sally has a diverse background in clinical and epidemiological research, with a special interest in maternal and child health epidemiology. She undertook her PhD in Medicine on the role of paracetamol in the pathogenesis and severity of asthma, as a New Zealand Health Research Council (HRC) Clinical Research Training Fellow (University of Otago, 2012). Prior to joining the NCIRS team in 2017, Sally was a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Sydney, and the Research Methods and Evidence Based Medicine Coordinator for the University of Sydney medical program. While at NCIRS, Sally will be working in the areas of vaccine surveillance, policy and communication.
Ms 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.
Ms 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.
Ms 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 Cindy Peng, BNutDiet(Hons), MPH
Research Officer, Policy
Cindy provides support for national immunisation policies, including analysis of relevant evidence and writing of policy advice. She graduated from the University of Wollongong with an honours degree in dietetics and completed postgraduate study of the Master of Public Health from the University of Sydney. Prior to joining NCIRS, Cindy worked in the development of major clinical guidelines for prostate cancer and stroke. Through her career, she has developed a great interest in translating evidence to inform policies and practice.
Ms Chloe Damon RN, MIPH
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).
Ms Karen Orr RN
Karen Orr is a Clinical Nurse Consultant who has postgraduate qualifications in immunisation and paediatrics. She joined NCIRS in 2013 after working for 12 years as the Immunisation Coordinator for the South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit. She has extensive background as a registered nurse specialising in paediatrics at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and in various hospitals in London. Karen’s current role with NCIRS is in influenza vaccine safety – active surveillance and the follow-up of children following febrile convulsions.
Ms Rosemary Joyce RN
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.
Ms Deidre Brogan RN
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.
Ms Lois Leacey RN
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.
Ms 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.
Ms 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.
Ms 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.
Ms 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.