Mark Baker

President, Human Proteome Organisation & Professor of Proteomics & Biochemistry,
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Macquarie University

Mark Baker is a professor and researcher of proteomics at Macquarie University. Dr Baker is also President of the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO) and an ambassador for Business Events Sydney. Dr Baker has been CEO and director of APAF as well as Director of the Biomolecular Frontiers Research Centre at Macquarie University. Dr Baker obtained his PhD in biochemistry from Macquarie University and has since endeavoured to make the university a centre of proteomics excellence.

Dr Baker is a major driver of the global Human Protein Project (HPP) – both scientifically and managerially – and is on the HUPO and HPP Executive Committee. Dr Baker’s current research covers cancer proteomics, biomarkers, and molecular cell biology. This includes advanced proteomic technologies and cancer metastasis – as well as how protease receptors, growth factor receptors, and integrins membrane protein networks regulate the pathobiology of cancer. Dr Baker aims to develop novel platforms to determine what and how proteins interact to regulate metastasis and platforms for early cancer blood protein biomarker discovery.

Dr Baker’s extensive accomplishments include a 2012 HUPO Distinguished Service Award and three patents, 120 peer-reviewed publications and an H-index of 30, positions on editorial boards, international Congress plenary invitations, and successful supervision of 40 postgraduates.

Since July 2013, Dr John Carver has been Director of the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University in Canberra. He undertook his Honours degree in Chemistry at the University of Adelaide, was awarded his Ph.D. from the ANU in 1983 and subsequently undertook post-doctoral studies in Biochemistry at the Universities of Oxford and Adelaide.

In 1988, John assumed a position as lecturer in chemistry at the University of Wollongong. In 2004, he returned to the University of Adelaide as professor of chemistry and Head of the School of Chemistry & Physics. For periods, he was also Deputy Executive Dean of the Faculty of Sciences and Head of the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science.

John’s research interests are in protein structure, function, and interactions – particularly relating to molecular chaperones and their mechanism of stabilising other proteins. His research has applications in understanding diseases of protein aggregation (for example cataract, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) and milk protein interactions. He utilises a diversity of spectroscopic, biophysical, and protein chemical techniques for his research and has co-authored over 160 research publications and has received a variety of fellowships.


Professor Peter Currie

Deputy Director,
Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University

Dr Peter Currie is a professor and deputy director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) in Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine. He is a Principle research fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia).

Dr Currie obtained his PhD in Drosophila genetics from Syracuse University (USA). After his PhD, he undertook postdoctoral training in zebrafish development at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK). He also worked as an independent laboratory head at the UK Medical Research Council, Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh. At the Sydney-based Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Dr Currie headed a research program focusing on skeletal muscle development and regeneration.

Dr Currie’s work has focused on zebrafish models of muscle disease – centred on understanding how the fresh water zebrafish is able to build and regenerate skeletal muscle. Today, he continues this work at Monash University. Dr Currie has published extensively, including books and in the leading journals for developmental biology and regenerative medicine.


Associate Professor Derek Richard

Principal Research Fellow Faculty of Health,
Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Derek Richard is an associate professor and principle research fellow in QUT’s Faculty of Health. He is also scientific director of the Cancer and Ageing Research Program and is an investigator at the Australian Prostrate Cancer Research Centre.

Dr Richard obtained his PhD in microbial biochemistry from The University of Dundee (Scotland). After his PhD, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow studying archaeal DNA repair systems with Professor Malcolm White at the University of St Andrews. The St Andrews team made significant progress in understanding the role of the crenarchaeol SSB family of proteins, which led to the important discovery of the human SSB homologues.

In 2004, Dr Richard moved to the laboratory of Professor Kum Kum Khanna at Queensland-based QIMR before moving his research team to the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) in 2011. Dr Richard and his QUT team investigate the cellular processes that allow cells to cope with genomic stress and how these processes are modified in disease. This research centres on the initial basic discoveries of how these processes function in normal cells to prevent disease – and then how these pathways may go wrong in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Dr Richard has published in prestigious journals such as Nature, Genes and Development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Cell Biology, Pathology, and Nucleic Acids Research.


Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson

Head of Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics,
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Dr Kaylene Simpson is an Associate Professor at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and is the Head of the Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics (VCFG), a technology platform that is accessible to biomedical researchers throughout Australia.

Dr Simpson obtained a PhD in biology from La Trobe University. She undertook postdoctoral training at the University of Melbourne (Dept Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, USA) and was then an Instructor in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School (2004-2008). Her research career has focused on mechanisms of mammary development, breast cancer and tumour cell migration and invasion.

In late 2008 Dr Simpson returned to Australia to establish the VCFG, providing researchers access to cutting edge functional genomics technology, infrastructure, and expertise – enabling genome-scale and customised high throughput RNA interference screening approaches using siRNA, miRNA, long non-coding RNA, and shRNA knockdown platforms. The VCFG is fully equipped with liquid handling automation and high content microscopy and works with researchers to guide them from assay development and automation optimisation, through to screening and data analysis.

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia’s largest dedicated cancer research institute with a team of over 520 scientists that focus on the genetic risk of cancer, the molecular events regulating cancer growth, and the improvement of detection through new diagnostic tools.

Dr Simpson has written and contributed extensively to journals such as Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Clinical Cancer Research, Journal of Cell Science, Nature Cell Biology and Scientific Data. She is currently on the editorial boards of Scientific Reports, Scientific Data and Assays, Drug Development Technologies.


Professor Deborah White

Cancer Research, SAHMRI

Dr Deborah White is the director of cancer research and the deputy cancer theme leader at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide. She is also a professor in both medicine and paediatrics at the University of Adelaide and is a member of the university’s Centre for Personalised Cancer Medicine.

Dr White obtained a PhD in medicine from the University of Adelaide.
She has presented more than 130 papers at scientific meetings (both invited and peer reviewed) and has authored more than 50 scientific publications on CML and ALL in the last five years. Dr White has also been an inventor on several patents.

Dr White is an invited reviewer for many international scientific journals, including Blood, Leukemia, Clinical Cancer Research, JCO and Haematologica. She is also an abstract reviewer for EHA and ASH and is an invited project and fellowship grant reviewer for several international and national funding bodies – including the NHMRC, Cancer Australia, and the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.