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Who we are

Centre for Oncology Education & Research Translation

CONCERT exists to bring together the knowledge and expertise of cancer health professionals & researchers to facilitate translation of research generated evidence into practice to achieve better outcomes for those affected by cancer. Established at 1st July 2014 as part of the Cancer Institute NSW (CINSW) initiative for Translational Cancer Research Centres (TCRC).

CONCERT will be a unifying body for cancer research being conducted at the following institutions

Our Vision

An inclusive and connected community of cancer health professionals, researchers and consumers working together to give people affected by cancer a brighter future.

Our Priorities

As our key priority areas are, ‘connecting our cancer community, ‘building a superior high-performance cancer workforce’, ‘planning for the future’ and ‘investing in cancer research excellence and innovation’, CONCERT has recognised that by investing in emerging strengths we can lead high impact research in identified practice gaps both national and internationally.

Governance

CONCERT is supported by a governance structure comprising a range of committees representing stakeholders and CONCERT staff. These committees provide management oversight, platforms for strategic discussion and guidance in relation to CONCERT’s operation.

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The Council

The Council is responsible for monitoring the conduct and progress of CONCERT to ensure the effective and efficient operation in relation to its purpose and objectives. They are:

Background: Michael Barton OAM is a radiation oncologist by profession. He is a committed academic and medical administrator who has achieved an international reputation in radiation oncology. He has a number of research and academic appointments including Scientia Professor, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney; Director of the SPHERE Cancer Clinical Academic Group as well as Director of the Collaboration for Cancer Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CCORE) group, Liverpool Hospital.

Expertise: Professor Barton is internationally recognised for his major contributions to research in cancer services delivery and to academic and professional education in the field of radiation oncology. He brings exceptional leadership skills to CONCERT.

Background: A molecular biologist by profession, Professor Marie Ranson is a distinguished academic and research leader. She has been highly successful in securing competitive grant funding and her research outputs have achieved international reputation in her chosen discipline of molecular biology.

Expertise: Professor Ranson provides her special expertise in research commercialisation, having pioneered the capability to perform pre-clinical, commercially-oriented drug development within her laboratory. She has successfully led her team to develop a package of pre-clinical data for chemotherapeutic drugs accepted for review by the FDA. Her expertise in facilitating the translation of chemotherapeutic drugs to clinical trials strengthens CONCERT’s research programs.

Background: Ben Smith, a behavioural scientist by profession, is CONCERT’s Translational Research Fellow, a position to which he brings his wealth of knowledge in moving evidence into practice.

Expertise: Dr Smith is currently working on implementing strategies to increase clinical trial participation by cancer patients typically underrepresented in trials, such as those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD). He also has a keen interest in the potential of web-based interventions to aid adjustment to cancer, particularly for survivors who may be reluctant to seek out traditional forms of psychological treatment, due to stigma, cost, and inconvenience. For CONCERT, Dr Smith is currently working on eHealth interventions to support cancer survivorship and treating fear of cancer recurrence.

Background: Geoff Delaney, a radiation oncologist by profession, is the Director of Cancer Services for the South West Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) and Director of Liverpool Cancer Centre.

Expertise: Professor Delaney is a highly experienced clinician and researcher, with his main areas of expertise being in breast cancer, radiation oncology, service planning and health services research. His numerous committee responsibilities including for the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, NSW Health and Cancer Institute NSW is testament to his abilities as a capable, astute administrator with exceptional leadership skills. Professor Delaney strengthens CONCERT’s collaboration and integration with clinical cancer services for better patient outcomes.

Background: Afaf Girgis, a behavioural scientist by profession, has worked for over 27 years in cancer control and psycho-oncology. She is a committed academic and exceptional leader who has achieved an international reputation in behavioural science and psycho-oncology.

Expertise: She has extensively researched and published in areas including prevention and early detection of cancer, development and psychometric testing of measures to assess cancer patients’, caregivers’ and health care professionals’ unmet needs. She has developed and evaluated strategies for improving psychosocial outcomes in clinical practice using rigorous research designs, and undertaken research and teaching in communication skills of health professionals. Professor Girgis strengthens CONCERT’s evidence to practice portfolio.

Background: Les Bokey is a colorectal surgeon by profession. He is Research Director for the SWSLHD and Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research. He is also the Professor of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Western Sydney University and Foundation Professor of Surgery, amongst many other prestigious appointments.

Expertise: Professor Bokey is an international authority on colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.  He has been awarded the OAM for service to medicine as a colorectal surgeon and establishment of surgical education programs, research, and medical administration. Professor Bokey brings to CONCERT his exceptional leadership and expertise in colorectal cancer.

Background: C. Soon Lee is a pathologist by profession. He is a clinician scientist and academic pathologist who has achieved an international reputation in his chosen discipline of Pathology. He has a number of research and academic appointments which are testament to his abilities as a capable, astute administrator and as a distinguished academic and teacher.

Expertise: Professor Lee’s expertise and technical innovations, especially in cancer pathology, are recognised both nationally and internationally. He is an effective teacher of many young pathologists and researchers from both Australia and overseas. Professor Lee provides leadership and expertise to CONCERT’s biobanking program.

Background: Desmond Yip is a medical oncologist by profession. He is the Clinical Director of Medical Oncology at The Canberra Hospital, Professor at the ANU Medical School and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra. He was also the Director of the Canberra Hospital Medical Oncology Research Unit.

Expertise: Professor Yip’s main clinical and research interests are in the area of gastrointestinal oncology and development of biological agents. He has subspecialty interests in renal cell carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Professor Yip strengthens CONCERT’s collaborative networks and its clinical trials portfolio.

Background: By profession, Kevin Spring is a molecular scientist. He is CONCERT’s Translational Research Fellow where he brings his knowledge in colorectal polyps and cancer, DNA damage recognition and repair, as well as in the clinical utility of circulating tumour cells (CTCs).

Expertise: A/Professor Spring is the founding convener for CONCERT’s Thomas Ashworth CTC Symposium and Australian CTC Society. He leads research into colorectal polyps and cancer and strengthens CONCERT’s molecular biology portfolio.

Background: Lorraine Chantrill, a medical oncologist by profession, is a distinguished academic and research leader and is also the Clinical Director of Medical Oncology at Wollongong Hospital.

Expertise: Professor Chantrill is the Principal Investigator on several clinical trials in gastrointestinal and lung cancers and is recognised both nationally and internationally for her expertise as evidenced by her directorship of the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG) and Upper GI working party of the AGITG. She is also a member of the Data Safety Monitoring Board of the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group and an executive member of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI). Professor Chantrill strengthens CONCERT’s clinical trials program.

Background: Minoti Apte is a molecular scientist by profession. She is an internationally renowned medical researcher into pancreatic disease and the Professor of Medicine and Director of the Pancreatic Research Group based at the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research.

Expertise: Professor Apte is internationally recognised for her pioneering work in pancreatic fibrogenesis, having been the first in the world to develop a method to isolate and culture pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). Her Group was the first to establish the role of these cells in the scar tissue of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. She is a capable, astute administrator, and a distinguished academic, teacher and mentor who brings to CONCERT her exemplary leadership skills and expertise in pancreatic cancer.

Background: Lois Holloway, a medical physicist by profession, has worked for over 20 years in medical physics and cancer. She leads a clinically-based medical physics research group at the Liverpool & Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centres.

Expertise: A/Professor Holloway is a highly experienced researcher, with her main areas of expertise being in radiotherapy, physics biology and physics in medicine. Her numerous committee responsibilities including for the Radiation Oncology Research Executive Committee and Australian Computer Assisted Therapeutics (OzCAT) group is testimony to her abilities as an academic teacher. A/Professor Holloway strengthens CONCERT’s collaboration and integration with medical physics for better patient outcomes.

Background: Tara Roberts is a molecular scientist by profession. She is a mid-career researcher and former Cancer Institute NSW Fellow who has achieved major research breakthroughs in her chosen field of Immuno-Oncology.

Expertise: Dr Roberts’ research, focusing on the links between inflammation, DNA damage and disease phenotypes, including cancer, has led to the identification of AIM2 as the receptor for cytosolic DNA and family member p202 as an antagonist of the pathway; demonstrated that loss of SMG1 in mice increases cancer development and is associated with increased inflammation and generated a rat model for Ataxia Telangiectasia which unlike Atm-/- mice displays neurodegeneration as a consequence of DNA damage induced accumulation of cytosolic DNA, activation of cGAS/STING signaling and broad neuroinflammation. Dr Roberts strengthens CONCERT’s Immuno-Oncology portfolio and mentoring of future generations of cancer researchers.

Background: Wei Chua is a medical oncologist who has worked for over five years in medical oncology and translational research. She leads the Clinical Trials Unit at Liverpool Hospital.

Expertise: Dr Chua is a highly experienced researcher. Her main areas of expertise are in medical oncology, translational cancer research and clinical trials. She is an astute academic administrator and a generous, effective mentor to junior medical officers, registrars, advanced trainees, basic and applied scientists, health administrators and her peers. Dr Chua strengthens CONCERT’s collaboration and integration with clinical trials for better patient outcomes.

Background: A molecular scientist by profession, Therese Becker is an astute academic and research leader. She has been highly successful in securing competitive grant funding and her research outputs have achieved an international reputation in her chosen discipline of liquid biopsy.

Expertise: A/Professor Becker provides her expertise in molecular research to establish the Circulating Tumour Cell Diagnostics & Research (CCDR) program at the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research. Her program is successful at attracting clinicians and researchers to undertake higher degrees and her leadership and mentoring skills strengthen CONCERT’s Cancer Biology portfolio and training of future generations of cancer researchers.

The Executive

The objective of the Executive is to provide operational leadership for CONCERT activities. They are:

Background: Michael Barton OAM is a radiation oncologist by profession. He is a committed academic and medical administrator who has achieved an international reputation in radiation oncology. He has a number of research and academic appointments including Scientia Professor, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney; Director of the SPHERE Cancer Clinical Academic Group as well as Director of the Collaboration for Cancer Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CCORE) group, Liverpool Hospital.

Expertise: Professor Barton is internationally recognised for his major contributions to research in cancer services delivery and to academic and professional education in the field of radiation oncology. He brings exceptional leadership skills to CONCERT.

Background: A molecular biologist by profession, Professor Marie Ranson is a distinguished academic and research leader. She has been highly successful in securing competitive grant funding and her research outputs have achieved international reputation in her chosen discipline of molecular biology.

Expertise: Professor Ranson provides her special expertise in research commercialisation, having pioneered the capability to perform pre-clinical, commercially-oriented drug development within her laboratory. She has successfully led her team to develop a package of pre-clinical data for chemotherapeutic drugs accepted for review by the FDA. Her expertise in facilitating the translation of chemotherapeutic drugs to clinical trials strengthens CONCERT’s research programs.

Background: Ben Smith, a behavioural scientist by profession, is CONCERT’s Translational Research Fellow, a position to which he brings his wealth of knowledge in moving evidence into practice.

Expertise: Dr Smith is currently working on implementing strategies to increase clinical trial participation by cancer patients typically underrepresented in trials, such as those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD). He also has a keen interest in the potential of web-based interventions to aid adjustment to cancer, particularly for survivors who may be reluctant to seek out traditional forms of psychological treatment, due to stigma, cost, and inconvenience. For CONCERT, Dr Smith is currently working on eHealth interventions to support cancer survivorship and treating fear of cancer recurrence.

Background: Tara Roberts is a molecular scientist by profession. She is a mid-career researcher and former Cancer Institute NSW Fellow who has achieved major research breakthroughs in her chosen field of Immuno-Oncology.

Expertise: Dr Roberts’ research, focusing on the links between inflammation, DNA damage and disease phenotypes, including cancer, has led to the identification of AIM2 as the receptor for cytosolic DNA and family member p202 as an antagonist of the pathway; demonstrated that loss of SMG1 in mice increases cancer development and is associated with increased inflammation and generated a rat model for Ataxia Telangiectasia which unlike Atm-/- mice displays neurodegeneration as a consequence of DNA damage induced accumulation of cytosolic DNA, activation of cGAS/STING signaling and broad neuroinflammation. Dr Roberts strengthens CONCERT’s Immuno-Oncology portfolio and mentoring of future generations of cancer researchers.

Background: Wei Chua is a medical oncologist who has worked for over five years in medical oncology and translational research. She leads the Clinical Trials Unit at Liverpool Hospital.

Expertise: Dr Chua is a highly experienced researcher. Her main areas of expertise are in medical oncology, translational cancer research and clinical trials. She is an astute academic administrator and a generous, effective mentor to junior medical officers, registrars, advanced trainees, basic and applied scientists, health administrators and her peers. Dr Chua strengthens CONCERT’s collaboration and integration with clinical trials for better patient outcomes.

Background: Nicole Caixeiro is a molecular scientist by profession. She is a part-time cancer researcher and established the CONCERT Biobank across the South West Sydney, Illawarra/Shoalhaven and ACT local health districts.

Expertise: Dr Caixeiro previously provided her molecular and protein chemistry experience, as well as her expertise with human research ethics, to assist cancer researchers design, plan and submit their research studies to various human research ethics committees utilising CONCERT Biobank biospecimens. Having assumed the Program Manager role, she is now focussed on driving CONCERT and its research programs with a focus on inclusion and engagement of clinicians, researchers, consumers and policy makers to help deliver improved cancer outcomes.

Membership is free and is available for those employed/enrolled at one of our participating institutions and based at SWSLHD, ISLHD or ACT.