Policy, surveillance, clinical

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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
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.

Dr Sarah Moberley
Research Fellow Handbook

Sarah Moberley joined NCIRS as a Research Fellow in 2015. Sarah currently supports the work of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in assessing evidence to inform updates to the Australian Immunisation Handbook. Sarah’s PhD examined the effectiveness and use of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in adults, and included the establishment of the first maternal vaccine trial in Australia. Sarah has led two updates of the Cochrane review on the use of pneumococcal vaccine in adults. Sarah is passionate about the role of vaccines in disease prevention and the ability of vaccines to address health inequity. Sarah brings substantial international experience, including the provision of humanitarian emergency relief and response to outbreaks and in the design of impact evaluations and rapid translation of research findings into policy.

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.

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 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. 

Samantha CARLSON DSC 4355 1612001 23 02 16 2Ms 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.

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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.

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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
Epidemiologist

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.

1712905 01 DSC 6670Dr Anastasia Phillips MBBS (Hons) MPH (Dist)
Public Health Advanced Trainee Registrar

Anastasia Phillips is an advanced trainee in Public Health Medicine and has an academic appointment as Clinical Associate Lecturer with the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. She completed her Master of Public Health at the University of Western Australia and has worked in public health medicine registrar positions across WA and NSW. Anastasia is interested in the epidemiology and control of communicable disease and vaccine safety.

1712904 01 DSC 6687Dr 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.

1712897 01 DSC 6760Dr 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.

1712892 01 DSC 6793Dr 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.

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Ms Karen Orr RN
Immunisation CNC

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.

1712899 01 DSC 6740Ms 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
Research Nurse

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.  

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.

1712900 01 DSC 6728Ms Jody Stephenson RN
Immunisation CNC

Jody Stephenson is a Clinical Nurse Consultant with post graduate qualifications in immunisation and mental health. She is currently completing her Masters of Public Health through the University of Newcastle. Jody joined NCIRS in 2016 after 10 years’ experience working at Hunter New England Public Health Unit. She has extensive experience working in immunisation and the active immunisation surveillance system - Vaxtracker.  Jody’s main focus is the management and follow-up of children and adults who have experienced an adverse event following immunisation.

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.

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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.