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Scientific Advisory Committee

The Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee  has representation from all over Australia, including leading clinicians, basic researchers, an oncology nurse, a psycho-oncologist and a consumer representative. The function of the committee is to give relevant medical advice to the AGCF Board, to assess grants submitted to the foundation for research funding, and to make recommendations regarding the most appropriate grants to receive funding.

Processes for allocation of research grants are competitive, peer reviewed, transparent, coordinated and not conflicted. Results of research are published nationally and internationally.

Professor Jonathan Carter

Professor Jonathan Carter

MBBS, DipRACOG, FACS, FRANZCOG, MS, MD, CGO

Professor Jonathan Carter, MBBS, DipRACOG, FACS, FRANZCOG, MS, MD, CGO, is Clinical Director Women’s Health, Neonatology & Paediatrics SLHD, Director RPA Women and Babies, Conjoint Professor The University of Sydney and Clinical Executive Sponsor Sydney Institute for Women, Children and their Families.

Professor Carter trained and worked at the University of Minnesota in the United States from 1990-96 then returned to take up his current position. Professor Carter has published 142 papers, 14 book chapters, and 3 books.

He has received numerous awards including the Virginia K. Pierce Award from The Society of Memorial Gynecologic Oncologists, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre; Young Investigators Award Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG); Viertel Clinical Investigatorship Award & Grant; and Turnbull Scholarship from University of Melbourne.

Professor Carter has chaired the Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists, the RPA Medical Staff Council and the Sydney Local Health District Medical Staff Executive Council. He is currently on 5 committees including the SAC.

Dr Margaret Heffernan

Dr Margaret Heffernan

OAM BED BBUS ADMIN MARTS (COMM) PHD

Margaret Heffernan, OAM BED BBUS ADMIN MARTS (COMM) PHD, is an Academic in the College of Business, RMIT University. Margaret is responsible for helping the Australian gynaecological sector expand its presence nationally and internationally, including extensive Government liaison that led to the 2006 Senate inquiry and development of the National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers.

An informed, innovative researcher and gynaecological consumer advocate with a solid commitment to improving multi-disciplinary outcomes, her PhD dissertation has informed public policy regarding HPV vaccination in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Margaret’s academic and civic roles include research grant reviewer with the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme, Cancer Australia since 2009; Chair: WHO HPV Educators virtual sub-community of practice since 2010; is an inaugural Executive member of the International Indigenous HPV Alliance since 2011; and previously as Board member of women’s health and Arts organisations.

The partnerships Margaret has forged with Indigenous peoples resulted in empowerment and strategic resources to help overcome their inequity and isolation. Margaret’s work has resulted in numerous awards, including in 2006 an Order of Australia Medal for her contribution to women’s health and the Arts. She brings to the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee an analytical, intellectual and empathetic understanding of women’s cancer issues.

Professor Anna deFazio

Professor Anna deFazio

BSC (HONS I) PHD

Professor Anna deFazio, BSC (HONS I) PHD, was appointed the Sydney West Chair in Translational Cancer Research, University of Sydney, in 2013.

She has directed the Gynaecological Oncology Research Program at Westmead since 1995 and is on the Executive of the Sydney-West Translational Cancer Research Centre.

She completed her undergraduate degree (BSc Hons) at the University of New South Wales, her PhD at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of Sydney, and post-doctoral research at the Garvan Institute in Sydney.

The research focus of her lab is on individualisation of treatment through an understanding of genetic and genomic determinants of treatment response, and on understanding the early events that lead to ovarian cancer. She has over 190 peer-reviewed publications, including 107 collaborative group papers.

Assoc Professor Margaret Davy

Assoc Professor Margaret Davy

AM MBBS FRANZCOG CGO

Associate Professor Margaret Davy, AM MBBS FRANZCOG CGO, is Clinical Director Surgical Specialties, Royal Adelaide Hospital.

She is a graduate of the University of Adelaide. After training in obstetrics and gynaecology in Adelaide, she went to the Norwegian Radium Hospital, in Oslo, in 1973, initially for 4 months, to gain experience in treating women with gynaecological cancer. A decade later, after she had been the Assistant Director of Gynaecological Cancer in Oslo, she returned to Adelaide to direct gynaecological cancer services at the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals in 1983. She stepped down as Director of Gynaecological Oncology in 2009.

She was a foundation member of the two ground breaking societies with this sub specialty. The International Society of Gynaecologic Cancer commenced 1985 and Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists 1986.

Clinically for 20 years, she was responsible for the provision of medical care for women suffering from gynaecological cancer from South Australia and Northern territory, with outreach to Broken Hill and Mildura, both in the Public and Private sectors. Her research strengths have been in collaboration with basic science and leadership in clinical trials.

During this time, she has been involved in state, national and international committees promoting women’s health by leading opinion, by developing guidelines to influence government decision making. She enjoys every opportunity to educate both the profession and the public about health issues. Highlights of her career include:

  • National Cervix Screening Program Executive Committee’s Guidelines for Management of Abnormal Smears, both the initial and revised guidelines.
  • Chair Guidelines for Management of Ovarian Cancer.
  • Executive positions in Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists and Clinical Oncological Society of Australia.
  • Membership of various NHMRC committees including Strategic Research and Development Committee, Program and Project Grant Committee
  • Memberships Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Oncology Committee and Examination Board
  • In 2000, she received the AMA’s Women’s Health Award, and in 2002, she was given the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Women’s Health.
Professor Michael Friedlander

Professor Michael Friedlander

AM MBCHB (HONOURS) PHD MRCP FRACP

Professor Michael Friedlander, AM MBCHB (HONOURS) PHD MRCP FRACP, is conjoint Professor of Medicine and a medical oncologist in Department of Medical Oncology, The Prince of Wales Hospital and Gynecologic Cancer Centre, Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney. He is a past president of the International Gynaecologic Cancer Society and has been very active at both a national and international level in the fields of gynaecological oncology and breast cancer. He was the founding chair of ANZGOG and held the position from 2000-2008. He remains on the ANZGOG executive board and is a director of research and member of the Operations Committee. He has held numerous grants and has an active research program focusing on breast and ovarian cancer.

He has over 250 publications including peer reviewed papers, book chapters and invited reviews. He has received a number of awards including the Medical Oncology Group of Australia/Novartis Cancer Achievement Award in 2007, an Order of Australia (AM) in 2011 and the IGCS award for excellence in gynaecological oncology, as well as NSW Parliament Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding service to the community in the field of gynecological oncology and research into women’s cancers in 2013.

Dr Ilona Juraskova

Dr Ilona Juraskova

BA(HONS) MPSYCH PHD

Dr Ilona Juraskova, BA(HONS) MPSYCH PHD, is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at the School of Psychology, The University of Sydney. Since 2004, she has worked as a Senior Research Fellow, and since 2008 Deputy Director (Psychology), at the Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED) at the University of Sydney. She is also a Consultant Research Psychologist with the Sydney Gynaecologic Oncology Group and a co-chair of Clinicians’ Research Interest Group within the Psycho-oncology Cooperative Research Group (PoCoG). She is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed papers and a Chief Investigator on 15 peer-reviewed grants totalling over $6 million in funding.

Trained as a clinical psychologist and researcher, she has over 15 years’ experience conducting clinical research in the field of Psycho-Oncology, with extensive experience in behavioural, psychosocial, quality of life and supportive care research. Her PhD dissertation investigated the psychosexual adjustment of women treated for gynaecological cancer, and was published as a book called ‘Quality of Life / Quality of Sex’. Her main ongoing contribution to the field of gynaecological cancer has been the development of practical evidence-based tools to improve oncologist-patient-family communication, in the form of decision aids and communication skills training.

In 2008, Dr Juraskova was awarded a prestigious Cancer Institute NSW Research Fellowship to develop resources to address unmet treatment decision needs of women affected by ovarian cancer. More recently, she was a member of the multidisciplinary team led by Professor Patsy Yates that developed a series of interactive online training modules for health professionals to improve ‘Psychosexual Care for Women with Gynaecological Cancers’, funded by Cancer Australia.

Dr Juraskova currently leads and collaborates on several international and national psychosocial projects, including PeNTAGON (Peer & Nurse support Trial to Assist women in Gynaecological Oncology); TRIO (development of conceptual framework and clinicians’ training to optimally engage family members in cancer care); and REKINDLE (a psycho-educational online resource to improve sexual life of cancer survivors and their partners).

Professor Patsy Yates

Professor Patsy Yates

BA DIPAPPSC MSOCSC PHD FACN FAAN

Professor Patsy Yates, BA DIPAPPSC MSOCSC PHD FACN FAAN, is Head School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology. She is jointly appointed as Professor of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology and Director for Queensland Health’s state-wide Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education. She leads a range of research and service improvement programs focused on advancing the management of cancer related symptoms and treatment side effects, and strengthening the nexus between research, policy and practice in cancer care.

She has authored 140 journal articles, 15 book chapters, 7 conference papers and 8 conference items. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her research and service, including the Tom Reeve Oration Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Care. She was lead for the Cancer Australia’s “Psychosexual Care for Women with Gynaecological Cancers” project which led to the development of an online learning resource for health professionals.

She is currently:

  • President, Palliative Care Australia
  • Member, Nursing and Midwifery Board, Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority
  • Member, Council Committee, Clinical Oncological Society of Australia
  • Member, Research Committee, The Wesley Research Institute
  • Member, Research Advisory Committee, National Breast Cancer Foundation
Assoc Professor Peter Grant

Assoc Professor Peter Grant

MBBS FRANZCOG FRCS(EDIN) CGO

Associate Professor Peter Grant, MBBS FRANZCOG FRCS(EDIN) CGO, has been Head of the Gynaecological Oncology Dept, Mercy Hospital for Women since 1999.

He is Associate Professor in the Dept of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Melbourne.

He completed medical studies at the University of Melbourne in 1977 and qualified as a surgeon 10 years later.

After practicing obstetrics & gynaecology at the Mercy Hospital for Women, he obtained a Gynaecological Oncology Fellowship in Halifax, Canada. He is a Certified Gynaecological Oncologist.

He has chaired the Gynaecological Cancer Advisory Committee, Cancer Australia, since 2013. He served as:

  • Secretary Treasurer of Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists1994 – 98
  • Board Member 2004-07 and Chair of Board 2008-10 Victorian Cytology Service
  • Chair Gynaecological Oncology committee RANZCOG, 2002-06
  • Chair, Gynaecological Cancer Committee, Cancer Council Victoria 2006 -09
  • Member Research Advisory Committee, ANZGOG, 2003– 09
  • Member, Medical and Scientific Committee, Cancer Council Victoria. 2004 –12
  • He has a strong involvement in research, has published extensively and has a particular interest in familial gynaecological cancer and palliative care.
Professor Yee Leung

Professor Yee Leung

MBBS FRANZCOG CGO

Professor Yee Leung, MBBS FRANZCOG CGO, was recruited in 2011 as the inaugural Professor in Gynaecologic Oncology in Western Australia. He is the Head of Department of the Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Service and Director of Surgical Education at King Edward Memorial Hospital. He is Professor, School of Women’s and Infants’ Health, University of Western Australia, Head of Department, Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Service and Director, Surgical Education, King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women.

He is actively involved in RANZCOG serving as College Councillor, on the Gynaecologic Oncology Subspecialty Committee as Chair in 2006-2008 and 2012-2014, WA Regional Committee, Examiner for Gynaecologic Oncology, Education Strategy Committee, Education and Assessment Committee, Women’s Health Committee, Honours Committee, Continuing Professional Development Committee and Program Director for the WA Gynaecologic Oncology Fellowship Training Program.

Other involvement includes: Grant Review Panel member, NHMRC; Gynaecological Cancers Advisory Group Cancer Australia; Honorary Board of Management, Women’s and Infants’ Research Foundation: Advisory Group member, WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program 2012; Executive member, Australian Society of Gynaecologic Oncologists (Inc); Workshop Executive, Anatomy of Complications Workshop; Honorary Primate Gynaecologist for the Perth Zoo.

His research interest includes Gynaecologic Oncology clinical trials, basic and epidemiologic research. He obtained ethical approval to commence a gynaecologic cancer biospecimen bank for the Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Service in 2013, and successfully obtained a $1.25 million grant from the Cancer Research Trust for the Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Research Initiative.

Assoc Professor Kailash Narayan

Assoc Professor Kailash Narayan

MBBS FRANZCOG CGO

Associate Professor Kailash Narayan, MBBS MD PHD FRANZCR, has been Head of the Gynaecology Oncology Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, and Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Royal Women’s & Mercy Hospital for Women.

After graduating in medicine he completed a MD in biophysics in India, then, in 1981, a PhD in Experimental Pathology on “Effects of Beta-irradiation on Mammalian Tissues” at John Curtin School of Medical Research Australian National University, Canberra. During this time he studied angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, inflammation, tissue remodelling, and effects of irradiation on microvasculature in –vivo using autologous thyroid grafts in rabbit ear chamber. This led to a good understanding of the functions of terminal lymphatics and its role in clearing removing cellular debris and migrating cells from the interstitial tissue.

In 1987 he obtained a Diploma of Royal Australasian College of Radiology (Radiation Oncology) and became a Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Head & Neck Cancer. He also became an Associate in the Dept. of Surgery, then a Senior Associate in the Dept. of Pathology, University of Melbourne. During this time I treated H&N cancer patients, participated in clinical studies in combined modality treatment of H&N cancer and also carried out laboratory research. The clinical studies related to the use altered radiation fractionation, concurrent chemo-radiotherapy and the use of elective neck dissection in H&N cancer patients. This led to improved loco-regional cancer control in H&N cancer patients. His laboratory research involved working with mouse tumours and study of tumour vasculature, morphology of infiltrative and expansile tumours and the effects of irradiation on tumour vasculature using micro-vascular corrosion casts and scanning electron microscopy. This led to some understanding of the process of radiation response in tumours, differential radiation response in microvasculature of infiltrative and expansile tumours, disruption of irradiated tumour architecture, tumour cells removal and repopulation.

From 1995 to 2003 he was a Principal Specialist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute before commencing his current role. In 1996 he took charge of Gynaecological radiation oncology at PeterMac. Apart from treating gynaecological cancers using radiotherapy, he became especially interested in advanced cervix cancer patients. Using MRI and PET scan and knowledge gained from rabbit ear chamber and vascular casting experiments, he begun exploring the clinical biology of advanced cervix cancer.

At the same time, he started using image guided brachytherapy in the treatment of cervix cancer. In light of his earlier laboratory research experience, this clinical work led him to discover several links along the clinical biology of advanced cervix cancer. These were, the association of corpus invasive cervix tumour and lymph-node metastasis, differential radiation response in node negative and node positive tumours and possibility of tumour dissemination due to and during radiotherapy. It also led him to identify a sub-group of patients with very poor prognosis with a high risk of developing distant metastasis; a group not identified by either conventional staging or any tumour markers. This became the basis of enrichment for “High risk” patients for a NH&MRC funded international “OUTBACK” study under the auspices of ANZGOG. Presently this study “A Phase III trial of adjuvant chemotherapy following chemoradiation as primary treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer compared to chemoradiation alone: THE OUTBACK TRIAL” is successfully accruing patients.

More recently, following his interest in morphology, imaging and long term clinical observation through a prospective database he was able to show the systemic effects of hypoxemia due to low bone marrow reserve and smoking. Low bone marrow reserve reflected as a drop in haemoglobin during treatment and chronic smoking resulting in more invasive disease in cervix cancer. He has been continually involved in research and regularly author articles in peer reviewed journals.

Who we are

We are the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation.  The only organisation that focuses on funding laboratory research into all eight gynae cancers.

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