Skip to content

Staff biographies

Share
Share

Dr Heather St John

Heather is the Director of Industry Engagement, and oversees the pipeline of industry engagement activities undertaken by Monash’s team of Business Development Managers, as well as coordinating the establishment of major multidisciplinary strategic alliances. She was formerly the Senior Business Development Manager with the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and developed the strategic plans for the Monash Comprehensive Cancer Consortium and the South-east Melbourne Alliance for Regenerative Therapies.

With a PhD in chemistry (UQ) and specialisation in surface analysis, her research and industry experience over the past 20 years has been primarily in the development of biocompatible coatings and polymers for the medical device industry. At CSIRO she was part of the team that developed the world’s first extended wear contact lens, and later led the Advanced Composites group.

Further commercial experience was gained through roles such as Director of AorTech Biomaterials, and Business Development Manager for CSIRO Biomaterials. Heather has had experience in co-development programs with some of the world’s largest medical device companies, and technologies she has been involved with have now been utilised in long-term life-sustaining devices in millions of patients.

Heather also has experience with all stages of the commercialisation process from the establishment of start-up ventures through to FDA regulatory approval. In 2008 Heather was Monash MBA graduate of the year.

Ms Clare Meeker

Clare is Manager, Partnerships and Development in Industry Engagement and Commercialisation. Clare advises on strategic engagements between the university, government and industry and manages the development of major partnerships, funding proposals and marketing/positioning strategies across faculties.  Clare is a member of the South East Melbourne Innovation Precinct steering committee.

Clare previously worked at the Victorian Department of Business and Innovation in various roles encompassing the development and delivery of science and technology related policies, grants programs and other initiatives. Most recently in DBI, Clare was a Senior Project Manager, preparing discussion and options papers for the Victorian Biotechnology Advisory Council and contributing to the development of new innovation and technology vouchers programs. This role followed periods as Commercialisation Manager, Program Manager for the VSA Investment Fund grants program and Policy Adviser in the area of technology transfer, largely managing funding support for Victorian focused CRC bids.

Prior to DBI, Clare worked as a Research Development Officer in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences providing support to the Associate Deans Research and Commercialisation, and as a Research Assistant/Officer at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

Clare has a Master of Business and Biotechnology from RMIT and a BSc (Hons) from the University of Tasmania.

Sharon Aburn

Sharon is the Project Officer within the Industry Engagement and Commercialisation group of Monash University. She provides project support to the Director of Industry Engagement, Dr Heather St John.

This includes the coordination of cross faculty tender submissions and ARC Linkage Grant Scheme applications and reporting on research opportunities for the university.

Prior to joining Monash, Sharon worked as a Project Coordinator for OPM in London, a public sector consultancy firm. At OPM she coordinated work winning opportunities and managed projects and events for a broad range of clients.

Her experience also includes working as a newspaper Journalist for the Shepparton News and Journalist and Sub-editor for the Northern Newspaper Group in Northern Victoria.

Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) degree from Monash University and is a certified Prince2 Practitioner in project management.

Dr Alastair Hick

Alastair Hick is Director Commercialisation in the Industry Engagement and Commercialisation group at Monash University. Following ten years as a research scientist in the UK he has spent ten years involved in commercialisation of technologies from Universities and Research Institutes around the world.

He spent three years at Plant Bioscience Ltd, an independent technology transfer company managing technologies in plant and microbial science and then four years at Cambridge Enterprise at the University of Cambridge. There he was Head of Life Sciences, responsible for commercialisation of all technologies in the life and medical science areas.

Since arriving in Australia he has worked at Monash University where he has a played a key role in building the Industry Engagement and Commercialisation Group, as well as helping establish the $30M Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund. He had considerable deal making and negotiating experience, and has lectured on aspects of technology transfer for UnicoPraxis in the UK and Australia. In 2009 he was elected as a Vice Chair of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia.

Dr Hick has a BSc in Chemistry with Biochemistry from the University of Southampton, a PhD in Chemical Ecology from the Open University and an MBA from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.

Dr David Lyster

David is the Manager for Research Partnerships in the Industry Engagement and Commercialisation group. After spending more than 6 years as an NHMRC principal researcher in neuropharmacology at Monash, David joined the University’s commercialisation group in 1995 as a technology consultant.

Since then he has been responsible for the identification, protection and commercialisation of selected early stage university research outcomes, the management of university contract research and consulting activities, strategic planning, marketing, and the development and training of support staff.

More recently he has taken on the responsibility of managing Monash’s interests in Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs). David sits on the board of a number of start up companies and CRCs. He has also operated a successful private technology consulting business providing services to other Australian universities and the private sector.

David’s experiences have given him an understanding of the issues facing scientists in our major research institutions and the processes needed to take early stage, high-risk technologies from the bench to the market place.

Ms Maria Harrison-Smith

Maria Harrison-Smith is the Patent Manager within the Industry Engagement and Commercialisation Group at Monash University.

Maria is a registered Patent and Trade Marks Attorney. She has been involved in intellectual property (IP) management for a number of years, firstly at the Austin Research Institute in Melbourne, followed by three years as IP Manager at the Burnet Institute. She has also managed the IP portfolios for a number of smaller biotech investment companies, including Xenotrans Ltd, IgAvax Pty Ltd and 4G Vaccines Ltd.

Maria has a BSc from Monash University specialising in biochemistry and immunology. Prior to moving into the field of IP Management, she worked in various research laboratories including Mimotopes Pty Ltd, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, University College London and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre.

She has also taught various biotechnology subjects in the TAFE departments of both RMIT and Swinburne universities. She has a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law from University of Melbourne.

Ms Mariea Georgiou

Mariea Georgiou is the Patent Secretary to the IE&C team and has over 20 years experience in the patent field. She provides administrative, secretarial and office management support to the IP Manager and IP and Contract Associate to enable the office to perform its functions efficiently and effectively.

Mr Sean Meehan

Sean is the Director, Monash Consulting Services within the Industry Engagement and Commercialisation Group at Monash University. In this role, Sean is responsible for the establishment of dedicated resources within the University to promote and manage consulting activity with external clients. Prior to joining Monash University, Sean worked at the Australian Stem Cell Centre as Senior Manger, Infrastructure & Research Services and Director, Business Development. Additionally, Sean has 12 years experience in working in a corporate environment in international business development and marketing with Millipore Corporation and Chemicon International.

Ms Natasha Elford

Natasha Elford is the Administrative Assistant to Monash Consulting Services, a unit within Industry Engagement and Commercialisation. Natasha assists with the administration requirements of the unit, including managing the work flow of confidentiality and materials transfer agreements.

Ms Lyn McCully

Lyn McCully provides executive support services to Industry Engagement and Commercialisation.

Ms Beverley Baugh

Bev manages the business and community engagement portfolio of the Faculty of Arts. Bev works across disciplinary boundaries within Arts, and across the University, to engage staff in the development of competitive research grants and contracts, including ARC Linkage Projects, where she assists in the identification of suitable external partners.

She is responsible for the commercialisation of the Faculty's intellectual property and has oversight of all its commercial activities and is responsible for supporting staff to work with business, government and the wider community. Newly appointed to Monash, Bev has over 20 years management and business development experience in previous roles in higher education in the UK. She has extensive social research expertise and experience, and considerable success in bidding for, and facilitating, regional, national and international projects and partnerships.

Bev holds an MBA from the University of Nottingham in the UK.

Ms Bronwyn Smith

Ms Bronwyn Smith

Bronwyn manages the Faculty Development Portfolio in the Faculty of Education at Monash. The Development Office is responsible for overseeing and managing the strategic engagement, partnership and commercially focused academic activities of the faculty. The portfolio has a dedicated Associate Dean of Development, and also works closely with the Associate Dean of Research in its research activities.

The Development team provides support for relationship management, contract/commercial research and education development and contract and project management, international strategic engagement and research and education partnerships, including cross-faculty and external partnerships. A key part of the Development activities are supporting ARC Linkage partnerships.

Bronwyn has been in this role since 2007. Previous to working at Monash she held academic positions in the School of Psychology at Deakin University, the Epidemiology unit at Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, and the School of Psychology at James Cook University. She is currently undertaking her PhD in Psychology.

Dr Rod Thomas

Rod is Senior Business Development Manager for the Engineering Faculty. In that role, he manages a small business development team with two main responsibilities:

  • processing new Engineering inventions and establishing patent positions for these to support future commercialisation activities, and
  • facilitating high levels of engagement between faculty research staff and relevant external organisations to support the faculty's research programmes and to establish routes to market for research outcomes.

Rod has extensive industry experience, having held senior management positions in the plastics (Orica and Australian Vinyls), printing (SEP Sprint) and surface coatings (PPG Industries) industries. He has experience that spans large multi-nationals as well as smaller private companies and has a clear understanding of the needs of business and what it takes to build successful, profitable businesses. He has been directly responsible for sales and marketing, manufacturing, financial, planning, environmental, OH&S and human resource functions.

Rod has a B.App.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry and has utilised his technical skills and knowledge during separate engagements with the CSIRO.

He was employed as a Post Doctoral Fellow within the Division of Applied Organic Chemistry where he worked on the polymer banknote project and on the development of engineered polymers.

In the later role of Senior Business Development Manager, he had corporate responsibilities that included strategic planning at both corporate and divisional level, commercial practice improvement, key account management and training. In that role, he assisted in the development of improved commercial practices within the Indonesian Institute of Sciences as part of a World Bank funded project managed by the CSIRO.

Mr Michael Wade

Mick is a Business Development Manager with the Faculty of Engineering. He has over 20 years industry experience working in R&D to carry out new product development and end-to-end commercialisation of research. With a mechanical engineering background he has worked in the automotive, communications and marine industries in Europe, USA and Australia.

In recent years he has managed design engineering project teams, company IP portfolios, and has worked with government bodies to successfully apply for & manage multi-million dollar State and Federal grants. He is the co-inventor on a number of patents, and in 2007 was the recipient of an Australian International Design Award.

Since September 2008 he has worked in the Faculty of Engineering coordinating research funding, industry engagement and commercialisation activities for the many diverse capabilities and requirements within all the Faculty departments.

Dr Ina Sambor

Ina has a diverse background that includes both business development (Remsys Tech Inc, USA) and lecturing (Gilbert Chandler Campus, Uni. of Melb., Chemistry). She was a member of the team that created the successful start-up company YabbiFarm with the aim to develop and commercialise an innovative injection training system. Prior to joining the IE&C team at Monash she spent one year with a venture capital Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund which is an AUD $30 million joint initiative between Westscheme superannuation fund in Western Australian and 5 universities in Australia and NZ.

She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biomolecular Institute and a Graduate Certificate of Commercialisation for Research Students from the Melbourne Business School. She is currently completing her MBA at the Melbourne Business School.

Dr Robin Stanley

Dr Robin Stanley has a background in Materials Science and spent the early part of his career as a metallurgist in the Zambian Copper industry followed by 10 years of research into the development of advanced precious metal alloys for demanding applications. For the next 25 years he held senior consulting roles with a variety of international organisations in Europe and Australia including PA Consulting, Arthur D Little, Price Waterhouse Technology and Michael Johnson & Associates.

Dr Stanley has many years technology management experience ranging from assisting large, complex organisations with technology acquisitions and divestments through to advising start-up enterprises on commercialisation strategy. More recently, he spent six years with NewSouth Innovations, the commercialisation arm of UNSW, where he was a Senior Business Development Manager with responsibility for the Faculties of Science and Engineering.

Dr John Morrison

Dr John Morrison is currently a Senior Business Development Manager at Monash University within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

John recently headed Business Development at Benitec Ltd, a biotech company listed on the ASX. Prior to Benitec, John was a business development consultant at Biocomm Services where he oversaw licensing, commercial intelligence and strategic planning for new ventures. Dr Morrison completed his PhD in protein chemistry with a focus on heart disease. Post-doctoral studies in the UK and USA included work on heart disease, lipid chemistry, molecular biology, mouse genetics and genomics. While in the USA he was associated with a number of commercial R&D projects with companies such as Life Technologies, COR Pharmaceuticals and Amgen.

Returning to Australia he established a research group focused on androgen receptor biology at Monash University. In 2001, he was founder and Chief Scientist Officer of CopyRat Pty Ltd. As CSO he successfully raised two rounds of private equity was awarded a variety of commercial grants as well as managing the science and intellectual property of the company.

Dr Rocco Iannello

Rocco is the Director, Business Development – Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, working with the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He was awarded his Ph.D. from the Faculty of Medicine, Sydney University followed by post-doc work at UCSF in the USA.

Further research was carried out at the Murdoch Institute, Children's Hospital and then at the Monash Institute of Medical Research where he was Senior Scientist and Associate Director of the Functional Genomics and Human Disease Group at the Institute. Rocco’s research interests included gene regulatory mechanisms and cell differentiation in the areas of myogenesis, spermatogenesis and neurogenesis as well as the role of oxidative stress in neurological disease.

Since 2002, Rocco has pursued commercially related interests in the biomedical field at Monash University where he has been responsible for commercialisation of projects, development of networks and links to industry and other external stakeholders. He has been involved in the formation of a number of spin-out companies, establishing license agreements and ensuring the adequate protection of appropriate intellectual property.

Rocco is currently a Director of the CRC Biomedical Imaging Development, a member of the Clinical Trials and Commercialization Committee, a Director of ITFP Pty Ltd, a Director Paranta Biosciences and previously was Chair of the Victorian Branch of AusBiotech.

Dr Michael Bettess

Michael has over 20 years of experience in both life science research and technology commercialisation. His commercial roles have been predominantly focused on the identification, development, project management and commercialisation of academically derived opportunities.

Prior to joining Monash, Michael was an Investment Manager and CEO at Trans-Tasman Fund Management Pty Ltd (TTFM), a $30 million seed and venture capital fund management company that specialised in investments from the academic sector in Australia and New Zealand. At TTFM Michael managed the Life Science portfolio and led due diligence on numerous opportunities, including Ruga Corporation (US), Nexvet Biopharma Pty. Ltd. (AU) and Heart Metabolics (UK) - where Michael was appointed as a Director.

Prior to joining TTFM, Michael was a 'Roche Research Foundation' Post-Doctoral fellow at the Swiss Experimental Cancer Research Institute (ISREC) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Upon his return to Australia he was appointed Manager of Commercial Development at Flinders Partners Pty. Ltd. (the commercialisation company of Flinders University).

Michael holds a first class honours degree and PhD in developmental and stem cell biology from the University of Adelaide and an MBA from La Trobe University, specialising in technology management.

Ms Katrina Sorocos

Katrina is a Business Development Associate with the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. In her role she supports the Faculty’s researchers through provision of technical due diligence, market research, contract development and industry engagement activities to identify and engage potential partners for either commercialisation of Faculty research or research partnerships for Faculty capabilities.

Previously she completed an internship as an investment analyst with Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund (TTCF). In this role she conducted due diligence on projects, sourced new opportunities from member universities and assisted in building investment proposals and presentations.

Katrina holds a Bachelor of Biotechnology with Honours (1st Class) from Monash University, specialising in Immunology and Developmental Biology. She received the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology top Honours student prize for 2009. Katrina has also completed a Masters of Business (Science and Technology) from Monash University, earning an inclusion on the Dean's Commendation List for 2010 and 2nd place in the National Australia Bank Science in Business Awards for her commercialisation project on Nexpep Pty. Ltd., an early stage biotechnology company. Katrina is also a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Mr Joseph Lawrence

Joseph Lawrence is the Senior Business Development Manager for the Faculty of Science at Monash. He is responsible for business development, partnerships and IP commercialisation across the Faculty.

Previously, he was a Senior Development Manager at Macquarie University in Sydney working across multiple Faculties, including Arts, Science and Human Science. Prior to this, Joseph was the Director of the Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre), which is New Zealand's Centre of Excellence for Power Engineering, hosted within the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. He was with the EPECentre since its inception and produced the business plan for its establishment in 2002, with portfolios focused around education, research and innovation and industry-academia collaboration.

Joseph has a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Management (technical MBA) from the University of Canterbury. He is concurrently working part-time towards a PhD in Engineering Management on the topic of industry-government-academia collaboration and is also a PMP® certified Project Manager, a Member of the NZ Institute of Management (MNZIM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the Project Management Institute (PMI).

His professional interests include Research and Development, technology commercialisation, strategic planning, project management and educational impact.

Mr Julian Vultaggio

Julian is a Business Development Associate within the Faculty of Science at Monash to support IP Commercialisation and Industry Collaboration.

Previously, he was Business Development Assistant in Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) where he focused on technical due diligence, market research and technology promotion. Prior to this, Julian spent more than three years as a Life Sciences Technology Transfer Officer for the University of Liege (Belgium). In this role he assisted academic researchers in the areas of IP and technology commercialisation, industries partnership and collaborative projects in Health Science.

Julian holds a Bachelor in Biology from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg (France) and a Master degree in Biotechnology and Law from the University Francois Rabelais in Tours (France).