National Speakers

Below is the list of national invited speakers for NDLR 2020.
To view international speakers click here.

A/Prof Susan Branford (SA)

Centre for Cancer Biology and SA Pathology and University of South Australia

Associate Professor Susan Branford is a Section Leader at the Centre for Cancer Biology and Head of the Leukaemia Laboratory in the Department of Genetics and Molecular Pathology at SA pathology. She is an NHMRC Research Fellow and  Fellow of the Faculty of Science, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Her research is focused on understanding the factors that predict for response to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy and the mechanisms of drug resistance for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia. As such she is a major contributor to international collaborative initiatives to establish guidelines and recommendations for producing reliable molecular data. Dr Branford leads the International Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Genomics Alliance, which is a collaboration involving researchers from 10 countries. Among their aims is to establish a genomically based risk classification system. Dr Branford was the recipient of the International Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Foundation Prize in 2016 for outstanding contributions to the improvement of treatment in emerging economic regions, and the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine Distinguished Award in 2017 for significant contributions in molecular diagnostics.  

Dr Catherine Carmichael (VIC)

ACBD, Monash University

Dr Catherine Carmichael is a group leader at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases within Monash University’s Central Clinical School in Melbourne. She completed her PhD and initial postdoctoral training at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute between 2004-2013, before moving to the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases in 2014. Her research focuses on gaining an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive malignant transformation of the myeloid lineage; with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic strategies for the poorest outcome subtypes of AML.

Prof Sarah-Jane Dawson (VIC)

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson is a clinician-scientist. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Melbourne in 1998, and trained as a medical oncologist in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. Following postdoctoral studies at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, she returned to Melbourne in 2014 to head the Molecular Biomarkers and Translational Genomics Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She also holds a joint appointment with the Centre of Cancer Research at The University of Melbourne (since 2016) and currently holds a CSL Centenary Fellowship (2018-2022). Her current research interests are focused on the development of noninvasive blood-based biomarkers (‘liquid biopsies’) for clinical application, including early detection, risk stratification and disease monitoring in cancer management.

Colm Keane (QLD)

Mater Research, University of Queensland

Colm is a haematologist and researcher at Mater Research, University of Queensland and the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. He obtained his PhD from Griffith University in Lymphoma Biology in 2015, completed an MBA also at Griffith University in 2012 and an MSc. in Haemato-pathology from the University of York in the same year. His research interests relate to how the immune system responds to lymphoma. This is with a particular focus on the commonest aggressive lymphoma DLBCL and rarer forms of DLBCL like those occurring solely in the brain or in the setting of immunosuppression. His work has been published in Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Haematology and Clinical Cancer Research. He is a current NHMRC ECF holder.


Prof John Pimanda (NSW)

Lowy Cancer Research Centre, UNSW Medicine

Prof Pimanda is a clinician scientist and head of the Stem Cell Group and the Adult Cancer Program at UNSW’s Lowy Cancer Research Centre. His research is focused on the molecular hierarchy governing stem cell development and maintenance, with a view to better understanding haematological and solid organ cancers in order to develop successful treatment strategies

A/Prof Hang Quach (VIC)

St Vincent’s Hospital

Associate Professor Hang Quach is a consultant clinical and laboratory Haematologist at St.Vincent’s Hospital. She is also the Director of Haematology Clinical Trials at St.Vincent’s with a portfolio of over 60 clinical studies mainly in multiple myeloma and lymphoma.

A/Prof Quach’s career in haematology is accentuated by her strong involvement in both clinical and laboratory research, that has resulted in many publications in high impact medical journals and attracted many peer-reviewed grants for research. She is passionate about improving the standard of care for patients with blood cancers in Australia, not only through research, but also through active roles on a number of national and international boards and committees, through which she has led a number of published national treatment guidelines and position statements on blood disorders

Prof Andrew Spencer (VIC)

Alfred Health, Monash University

Professor Andrew Spencer is Head of the Malignant Haematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Service at The Alfred Hospital, Professor of Haematology at Monash University, Head of the Myeloma Research Group and Co-Director of the ACRF Blood Cancer Therapeutics Centre at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, all in Melbourne, Australia.

Prof Spencer completed his medical training in clinical and laboratory haematology in Brisbane and Sydney in 1992. He then was awarded a LRF (UK) Fellowship and spent 3 years at The Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, United Kingdom where he undertook research into B-cell clonality in chronic myeloid leukemia and was awarded a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of London. Subsequently he moved to The Alfred Hospital where he established an independent translational research program. He was appointed Head of Malignant Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Services in 2007 and established a first-in-human and early phase hematology clinical research unit at the hospital in 2009.

Daniel Thomas (SA)

University of Adelaide & SAHMRI

With unique training experience at the Stanford School of Medicine, including mentoring from Professors Ravindra Majeti, Irving Weissman, Hiro Nakauchi and Craig Jordan (UC Denver), Daniel Thomas is a clinical haematologist and pathologist whose goals in research are to develop new drugs for the treatment of cancer and lead a productive cutting-edge cancer research group in Australia.

The over-arching goal of A/Prof Thomas’ research is to find novel mutation-specific drug targets for somatic mutations, especially in poor prognosis and difficult to treat cancer types, using acute myeloid leukemia as a test bed. His unique skills developing humanized in vivo models for AML, isolation and testing of pre-leukemia stem cells and bioinformatic algorithms together with key academic and industry networks will ensure success long term, attracting other leading scientists and skills to Australia and hopefully inspire medical students to pursue research and to think beyond the textbook.

Prof Judith Trotman (NSW)

University of Sydney

Professor Judith Trotman (University of Sydney) is a haematologist and Australian lymphoma clinician researcher who leads a number of international trials collaborations and provides global leadership in charting the role of PET scanning in lymphoma.  She is committed to embedding research into clinical care as the founding Director of the Concord Repatriation General Hospital Haematology Clinical Research Unit, NSW Australia, as the current Head of the Haematology Department and as a Board member of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance. She is also committed to the implementation of research findings into practice, as evidenced by her successful MBS listing of PET for indolent lymphomas. She has developed a number of digital practice and research initiatives in collaboration with colleagues and patients, including the first published Haematology MDT SOP, the ClinTrial Refer smartphone Application and the WhiMSICAL study. She has published extensively in leading journals including NEJM, Blood, Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology and The Lancet Haematology.

A/Prof Andrew Wei (VIC)

Alfred Health, Monash University

A/Prof Andrew Wei is a haematologist and the head of leukaemia research at The Alfred. A/Prof Wei is also Chairperson AML disease group Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group, Victorian Cancer Agency Research Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor, Australian Centre for Blood Diseases.

After completing doctoral studies at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 2005, A/Prof Wei joined The Alfred in 2008 to develop the Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) research program. He has been the AML disease group chairperson for Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group since 2009 and has led multiple nationwide cooperative group studies as chief investigator.

Dr Lev Kats (VIC)

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Dr Lev Kats is a group leader within the Translational Haematology Program at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He was awarded his PhD in 2009 from Monash University and completed his post-doctoral training at Beth Israel Deaconess Centre/Harvard Medical School. Dr Kats is interested in epigenetic regulation of haematopoiesis and leukaemia and his laboratory uses mouse models to understand how specific genes contribute to leukaemia initiation and maintenance.

Prof David Curtis (VIC)

Australian Centre for Blood Diseases

Prof David Curtis is head of the Division of Blood Cancer Research at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases.

Dr Claudia Bruedigam (QLD)

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Claudia Bruedigam, PhD, graduated in Biochemistry from University of Potsdam, Germany, and subsequently undertook training as Marie Curie early-stage researcher within the European Research Training network “NucSys” with a focus on nuclear receptor systems biology in aging-related diseases. Claudia obtained her PhD in Molecular Medicine from Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in 2015. Claudia is currently undertaking her post-doctoral training in the Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Leukaemia Research Laboratory, headed by A/Prof Steven Lane, at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia. Her current research focuses on the development of a comprehensive, representative AML PDX resource in conjunction with biomarker discovery, pre-clinical testing and optimisation of novel therapeutic agents, with a strong focus on the first-in-class telomerase inhibitor imetelstat.

Dr Emily Blyth (NSW)

Westmead Hospital

Dr Blyth is a bone marrow transplant physician and haematologist at the Westmead Hospital Department of Haematology, Deputy Director of the Sydney Cellular Therapies Laboratory at Westmead, an NHMRC Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research at the University of Sydney.