USIF – Invited Speakers

Genevieve Bell
Genevieve Bell AO FTSE FAHA

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell is a renowned anthropologist, technologist, and futurist. Genevieve completed her PhD in cultural anthropology at Stanford University in 1998 and is best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development. Genevieve joined the Australian National University (ANU). In 2017 after spending 18 years in Silicon Valley guiding Intel’s product development and social science and user experience research capabilities.

Genevieve is currently the Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Director of the School of Cybernetics and Florence Violet McKenzie Chair at the ANU. In addition to her roles at the ANU, Genevieve is also a Vice President and Senior Fellow within Intel Labs at Intel Corporation.

In 2017, Genevieve was appointed the inaugural Director of the 3A Institute, co-founded by the ANU and CSIRO’s Data61. The Institute’s mission is to establish a new branch of engineering to responsibly and sustainably scale AI-enabled cyber-physical systems. In 2021, she was appointed as the Director of the new School of Cybernetics at the ANU. The School of Cybernetics, in addition to housing the 3A Institute, is focused on building capacity in Systems and Design and establishing cybernetics as an important tool for navigating major societal transformation.

Peter Bury
Peter Bury
Director – Strategy, Energy and Research, Chemistry Australia

Peter Bury represents Chemistry Australia members on the Australian Academy of Science National Committee for Chemistry, the Green Chemical Futures Board, the Victorian Centre for Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing Board, the Chemical and Plastics Manufacturing Innovation Network Board and the Global Plastics and Environment network.  Peter is also a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He provides specialist policy and technical advice for, and on, the chemistry industry, strategic partnerships with government, industry, research, academia and community.  As the Chemistry Australia Company Secretary, he provides advice to the Board and CEO on strategy, governance, risk and industry development.

Melanie Bryant
Professor Melanie Bryant
ARC Research Hub for Sustainable Onshore Lobster Aquaculture

Professor Melanie Bryant is an expert on change adoption with a view to promoting dynamic rural industries. With a focus on management, her primary research question would be, how do we sustain industry in rural and regional areas and what are the most effective ways to adopt the changes that need to happen to ensure the longevity of agriculture, and food production in Australia

Mohammad Choucair
Dr Mohammad Choucair
CEO, Archer Materials Limited

Dr Choucair has a strong technical background in nanotechnology and has spent the last decade implementing governance, control and key compliance requirements for the creation and commercial development of innovative technologies with global impact. Dr Choucair served a 2-year mandate on the World Economic Forum Global Future Council for Advanced Materials and is a Fellow of both The Royal Society of New South Wales and The Royal Australian Chemical Institute. He has a strong record of delivering innovation and has been recognised internationally as a forward thinker.

Bruce Cornell 1
Dr Bruce Cornell
Director Science and Techhnology, Surgical Diagnostics Pty Ltd

Dr Cornell was for over two decades a scientist and research manager in CSIRO and for eight years the Director of the CRC for Molecular Engineering. He was the Chief Scientist at the Sydney based biosensor company AMBRI Ltd and has had extensive experience in R&D partnerships between academic and commercial organisations in Australia and the USA as well as serving on a number of Australian state and federal advisory groups on technology transfer. Over the last decade he has led a further biosensor company, Surgical Diagnostics Pty Ltd. Most recently he has worked with Chinese-Australian colleagues to establish a joint venture between Surgical Diagnostics Pty Ltd and a group of Chinese companies to access the Chinese domestic market.

Portrait Of The Chief Scientific Adviser Portrait, Professor Hugh Durrant Whyte Monday 7th August 2017
Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte
NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and Natural Resources Commissioner

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and Natural Resources Commissioner.

Hugh was Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence (2016-18); Professor and ARC Federation Fellow – University of Sydney (2014-16 and 2002-2010); from 2010-2014, he was CEO of National ICT Australia (NICTA), and from 1995-2010 Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems and of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR).

In his career he has worked with many major companies and has co-founded three successful start-up companies. He is particularly well known for his work with Patrick in delivering the automated container terminals in Brisbane and Port Botany, and for his work with Rio Tinto in pioneering and delivering the automated “Mine of the Future”. He is an honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia (HonFIEAus), a Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE), Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS).

Erol Harvey
Dr Erol Harvey
Head of Development and Research Translation, Bionics Institute
CEO, Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD)

Dr Erol Harvey has been involved in the commercial and academic development of micro and nano production techniques for more than 25 years and is the CEO of the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery. In 2002, he founded MiniFAB, a product development company and OEM volume manufacturer of polymer-based microfluidic, lab-on-a-chip diagnostic devices for clients around the world. He has worked in technological and commercial applications across a wide range of industries including biomedical diagnostics, implants, ink jet printers, microfluidics, solar panels, flat screen displays, corrosion monitoring, elite athlete instrumentation, and space applications.

A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), Erol has been on many Australian Government committees, both at the Commonwealth and State level and is a Board member of the NCRIS National Imaging Facility. He assists with commercialisation strategies and government liaison for Australian universities and research organisations, mentors several medtech start-up entrepreneurs and has been involved in starting more than 17 companies and not-for-profit organisations.

Grace Kennedy
Grace Kennedy
ARC Steel Research Hub

Grace Kennedy is a Research Fellow in the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong researching applications of Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE) across different domains including the Australasian rail industry, steel manufacturing, defence and healthcare systems.  Grace holds a Master of Systems Engineering (with Diploma in Industrial Studies) from Loughborough University, UK. She has expertise in Organisational Systems Engineering (modelling enterprises as systems, in particular the integration of “soft”/human aspects of organisations into these models).   Her research interests are in systems modelling and digital transformation approaches for organisational change.  She is a CPEng in the area of Systems Engineering and is a Certified Systems Engineering Practitioner through INCOSE.

Roya Khalil
Dr Roya Khalil
Director of R&D, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers

Roya Khalil is an experienced technical executive with more than 19 years of experience in industrial R&D and innovation management, working with some of industry leaders in the food, packaging, and agricultural sectors. Roya holds a Bachelor’s degree and PhD in Chemical engineering & an MBA specialising in strategic innovation.  She has a demonstrated track record of building and delivering innovation pipelines into profitable success, specialising in development of commercialised patented technologies for biobased plastic packaging, biofertilizers made from animal and food waste, trace element fertilisers and nitrogen inhibitors. 

Currently Roya is the Director of Research and Development at Incitec Pivot Fertilisers responsible for the innovation and R&D functions, from concept, development to commercialisation and leading the research partnerships with Universities.   Roya holds two partner investigator roles at the ARC Research Hub for Innovative Nitrogen Fertilisers and Inhibitors at the university of Melbourne and Catalytic modification of low-grade coal for ammonia capture at the Smart Fertiliser Hub at the University of Melbourne and an Industry Advisor role at the ARC research Hub for nutrients in circular economy at University of Melbourne.

Furthermore, Roya has been a member of the Industry Advisory Group at the School of  Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne for the last 6 years and has been an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering of Monash University since 2016, Roya’s experience is extending to guest lecturing on food packaging at Monash University as part of the Master of Food Engineering, RMIT University for Bachelor of Food Science and UNSW for the Bachelor of Food Engineering. Roya has also co supervised a number of PhD students, and examined PhD theses.

Peter Lee
Professor Peter Lee
Director, ARC Training Centre for Medical Implant Technologies

Professor Lee’s laboratory has made significant impact in applying interdisciplinary and multi-scaled solutions for complex biomedical problem, taking research through the full value chain from design, clinical trials to commercialisation. His team developed the titanium 3D-printed Melbourne Temporal Mandibular Joint prosthesis, using comprehensive biomechanical measurements to build computational models to represent the underlying physiology of the human jaw when actual measurements could not be obtained directly from patients. The titanium prosthesis was commercialised by the start-up company, OMX Solutions Pty Ltd in 2015 and has been fitted into more than 100 patients.

As Director of the ARC Training Centre for Medical Implant Technologies, he leads the largest industry-university-hospital partnership in Australia focusing on orthopaedic and maxillofacial implants to train a new generation of interdisciplinary engineers in biomechanics, materials and manufacturing for the orthopaedic and maxillofacial implant industry.

Dusan Losic
Professor Dusan Losic
Director of ARC Graphene Research Hub
Leader Nano Research Group
School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials
The University of Adelaide

Prof Dusan Losic’s interdisciplinary research involves fundamental, engineering and applied aspects across the  disciplines of nanotechnology, chemistry, materials science, engineering, medicine and agriculture, with a focus on engineering of new nano materials, new properties and their applications to address concerning problems in health, environment, agriculture and energy. His lab has developed capabilities to produce kg scale nanomaterials, using a broad range of production technologies and characterisation facilities, including advanced surface engineering and coating facilitates, and broad range of facilities for device prototyping and additive manufacturing for specific applications (2d printing of sensors, 3D printing etc).

Neena Mitter
Professor Neena Mitter
Director, Centre for Horticultural Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI)

Professor Mitter is the Director of the Centre for Horticultural Science, Queensland Alliance of Agriculture and Food Innovation, the University of Queensland. She is also the Director of the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Sustainable Crop protection.

Neena has been involved in molecular biology and biotechnology in Australia and India for over 30 years. She is globally renowned for her leadership in innovative, cross-functional research and exceptional industry engagement to address challenges of agriculture and food security, which has delivered global innovations such as ‘Environmentally sustainable BioClay platform for crop protection’ and ‘Clonal propagation of crops using plant stem cells’. These are groundbreaking platform technologies influencing agricultural production, environmental sustainability and socio-economic dynamics of farming communities.

Jacqui Mcrae
Dr Jacqui McRae
Business Manager, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, University of Adelaide

Dr McRae joined the School of Agriculture Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, as the School Business Manager in March this year after successfully managing the final few years of the ARC Graphene Research Hub, a collaborative venture between 5 industry partners and 6 universities. She completed a PhD in Organic Chemistry in 2008 and gained a decade of research experience at the Australian Wine Research Institute as a senior research scientist conducting industry-relevant projects on wine haze and textures.

Leanna Read
Professor Leanna Read, BAgSc(Hons), PhD, FAICD, FTSE

Leanna has broad-ranging research, company executive, board and investment experience in technology-based enterprises, particularly biotechnology, including founding a successful company, TGR BioSciences Pty Ltd. She currently chairs biotech companies, TekCyte Ltd and Carina Biotech Pty Ltd, as well as Health Translation SA and the SA Agtech Advisory Group. Leanna is also a board member of CureCell Ltd (formally CTM CRC), Biosensis Pty Ltd, Uniseed Venture Capital and the Federal Government Biomedical Translation Fund Committee.

Previous roles include SA Chief Scientist (2014-2018), Chair and CEO of the CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (2017-2019) and Member of the Commercialisation Australia Board (2012-2014).  She holds honorary doctorates at the University of Adelaide and the University of SA.

John Rice
Hon Prof John Rice Executive Director ACDS

John Rice is Executive Director of the Australian Council of Deans of Science (ACDS), a role that he took up upon his retirement as Dean of Science at UTS in 2008. John established the ACDS in 1995 while he was Dean of Science and Engineering at Flinders University during 1993-1999. He served as its president from 1995-1999 and 2006-2008.

John has played a key role in the strategic leadership of the ACDS, establishing its annual Teaching and Learning Leadership Conference, its Teaching and Learning Centre, the Australian University Science magazine and overseeing the establishment of its University Science – Industry Forum.

John is a pure mathematician, and holds an honorary professorship in mathematics with the University of Sydney.

Dianne Ruka
Dr Dianne Ruka
Centre Manager, ARC Centre for Cell & Tissue Engineering Technologies

Dianne completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons) at the University of Melbourne. Following roles as a research assistant in a genetics laboratory and as a high school maths/science teacher, she completed a PhD in Materials Engineering at Monash University, investigating biocomposites and bacterial cellulose. Her passion for education and sharing science led to subsequent roles as the Manager of a Science Outreach program at Monash and as Manager of Outreach for the ARC Centre for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies, including working with PhD students during their research training.

She is currently the Centre Manager for the ARC Training Centre in Cell and Tissue Engineering Technologies, where she manages University, Industry and research-student colleagues undertaking research and translation in various areas, including 3D bioprinting, scaffold development and cancer research.

Veena Sahajwalla
Professor Veena Sahajwalla
DIRECTOR, ARC Microrecycling Research Hub
HUB LEADER, Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub, National Environmental Science Program
DIRECTOR, Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology, The University of New South Wales

Professor Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer, and inventor revolutionising recycling science. She is renowned for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials’ at the UNSW Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre, where she is Founding Director. Professor Veena is the inventor of polymer injection technology, known as green steel, an eco-friendly process for using recycled tyres in steel production. In 2018, Veena launched the world’s first e-waste MICROfactorieTM and in 2019 she launched her plastics and Green Ceramics MICROfactoriesTM, a recycling technology breakthrough. Veena is the director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for ‘microrecycling’, a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new recycling science is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits. Professor Veena has also been appointed hub leader of the national NESP Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub. In 2021, Professor Veena featured in the ABC’s Australian Story and named the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year.

Dr Mark Sceats
Dr Mark Sceats
Chief Scientist, CALIX

Mark founded Calix in 2005, was re-elected as a Director in 2014 and is a member of Calix’s Technology Committee. He is a qualified physical chemist with 40 years’ experience.

Mark has previously worked at the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago, and as an Assistant Professor of the University of Rochester NY, USA, where he was awarded the Alfred P Sloan Fellowship for his work. Later he was employed by the University of Sydney as a Reader in the School of Chemistry for his research work on chemical reaction kinetics. Mark was a cofounder and Technical Director of the Optical Fibre Technology Centre at the University of Sydney and Direct of the Australian Photonics CRC from 1991-2003. Mark has published more than 140 academic papers in physical chemistry, and is an inventor of 36 patented inventions

Olga Shimoni
Dr Olga Shimoni
Senior Scientist Alcolizer Technology

Dr Shimoni joined Alcolizer Technology in 2021 to lead the company’s development and translational research of innovative iStrip technology. Before moving to the industry, she held the position of Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where she led a research group focusing on translating innovative nanoparticle technologies into mature healthcare products, such as biosensors and in vitro diagnostics. During her academic career, A/Prof Shimoni has co-authored in high-impact refereed journals, including Light: Science & Applications, Nature Communications, ACS Nano, Advanced Materials, etc.– absolute top journals publishing multi-disciplinary research. She actively engaged with industry partners and MedTech start-up communities to commercialise research and has been involved in establishing a start-up. Additionally, she has successfully attracted over $5 million in funding, including ARC,  NHMRC  and philanthropic organisations. In her current role, she continues to work on the interface of university-industry technology transfer and product development.

Yasmina Sultanbawa
Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa
Director, ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods

Professor Sultanbawa’s research is focused within the agribusiness development framework, specifically in the area of food processing, preservation, food safety and nutrition. Her current research includes the minimisation of post harvest losses through value addition and the search for natural preservatives to replace current synthetic chemicals. In addition, her research area also includes the challenge of nutrition security, in particular micronutrient deficiency (hidden hunger), lack of diet diversity and nutritional losses in the food supply chain, which are addressed by her work with underutilized Australian plant species and potential new crops. Her work on Australian native plant foods is focused on incorporation of these plants in mainstream agriculture and diet diversification Working with indigenous communities to develop nutritious and sustainable value added products from native plants for use in the food, feed, cosmetic and health care industries is a key strategy. The creation of employment, economic and social benefits to these remote communities is an anticipated outcome. She considers it a privilege to engage with these communities and is very passionate that her work will have a positive socio-economic impact.

Dr Hana Shiraz
Dr Hana Shiraz
Manager, Climate and Engineering, Deloitte Consulting Pty Ltd

Hana has a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering with a focus on polymer and surface chemistry. Her PhD was partially funded by Dulux Group where she worked as a polymer research scientist through the course of her study. Hana started her Bachelor of Science (Chemical Engineering) at Texas A&M University and completed her Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Hons) from Monash University.

Hana started her career in Defence at Defence Science and Technology (DST) working as a governance and assurance analyst for the Next Generations Technology Fund (NGTF) office which manages a $760 million government fund. She has since been involved in the maritime domain, focusing on project management and research strategies for the future submarine and future frigate programs. Hana currently works as a manager Deloitte within the Industrial Redesign and Innovation team, part of the consulting offering called Climate and Engineering, where she continues to work in the Defence sector in supply chain strategy and transformation.

Brad Walsh
Dr Brad Walsh
CEO, Minomics

Dr Brad Walsh is Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Minomic International Ltd, a diagnostic company specialising in cancer detection.

He founded Minomic to bring to market an innovative test called MiCheck® Prostate, that gives a risk score for a patient having aggressive prostate cancer.

Dr Walsh has led Minomic’s scientific and business development, raising A$40 million in equity and non-dilutive funding to bring the company to a point at which MiCheck® Prostate has now been launched in the US as an LDT with a marketing team in place to commence the rollout. Additionally, the test has also been launched in Australia. Dr Walsh has also developed a pipeline of potential new diagnostics for bladder and pancreatic cancer. He is co-inventor on 6 patent families and co-author of over 110 peer reviewed papers.