The Prader-Willi Research Foundation Australia is a registered charity which seeks to improve the lives of people living with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Our team of people bring together world-class scientists, families living with Prader-Willi Syndrome and outstanding legal and business professionals:
Dr Ian J Watt AO has had a long career as one of Australia's most distinguished public servants, with nearly 20 years at the highest levels of the public service. His most recent and most senior appointment was as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and head of the Australian Public Service, a position he held from 2011 until the end of 2014. Prior to that, he was Secretary of the Departments of Defence; Finance; and Communications, Information Technology and the Arts between 2001 and 2011. Before that, he was Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Dr Watt serves on the Boards of Citigroup Pty Ltd, Smartgroup Corporation, the Grattan Institute (University of Melbourne) and O'Connell Street Associates Pty Ltd, and is a Member of the Male Champions of Change. He is also Chair of the National Innovation and Science Agenda Implementation Committee and Chair of the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships.
CEO & FOUNDER
Kathlene Jones is mother to a beautiful young girl with Prader-Willi Syndrome and is establishing PWRFA to develop breakthrough treatments that will enable people with Prader-Willi Syndrome to live independent lives. She has extensive experience in management and strategy, having previously worked as General Manager, Strategy at Australia Post and a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Prior to this she worked around the world (London, Beijing, Hong Kong, Sydney) in marketing strategy and research, business development and as an economist. She has an MBA (Dean’s Honours List) from Melbourne Business School and Columbia Graduate School of Business and graduated first in class with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Economics) from the University of Queensland. She is now a freelance management consultant and has been working in the health technology area.
Amy Brennan is a barrister and practices extensively in the criminal and employment law jurisdictions, including occupational health and safety work. She completed her articles and initially practiced as an employment lawyer at Maddocks. Amy then took up a position as Associate to Justice Teague at the Supreme Court of Victoria. Immediately prior to signing the Bar Roll, Amy worked at Victoria Legal Aid. In 2012, Amy was chosen by the Victorian Bar Council to represent the Victorian Bar at a nine week internship program in Paris called the Stage Internationale du Barreau de Paris. She is currently the secretary of the Equality & Diversity Committee at the Bar.
Amy has a sister with cerebral palsy giving her a personal understanding of the challenges and needs of families living with disability.
Prof Ian Cooke is CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health, a 19-party consortium that was established in 2011 under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program. The CRC for Mental Health aims to develop biomarker-based clinical decision tools for use in the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, psychoses and mood disorders.
Prof Cooke’s previous roles include appointments as a Professorial Fellow in the Asia Pacific Centre for Science and Wealth Creation at Monash University, CEO of Foursight Associates, a science and technology advisory company based in Melbourne, CEO of CNSBio, a clinical-stage venture capital-backed company spun out of Monash University to commercialise novel therapies for the treatment of severe pain and Associate Director (R&D) of the Burnet Institute in Melbourne. He has held academic and research appointments at Deakin University, Princeton University, Bell Laboratories and the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory.
Prof Cooke holds BSc (Hons), PhD and M IP Law degrees from the University of Melbourne and an MBA degree from Monash University.
Rebecca Cross joined Bupa at the end of February 2016 to undertake a 12 month secondment as Head of Government, Policy and Regulatory Affairs. Her responsibilities include supporting Bupa's interactions with governments, industry stakeholders and regulators on private health insurance and aged care, as well as Bupa's other health and care services.
Rebecca was previously a Deputy Secretary heading up Domestic Policy at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), where she was responsible for social policy (including health, education, social and health services), the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), regulatory reform, and the Office for Women.
Prior to joining PM&C in 2009 Rebecca spent over 16 years in the education, training and employment portfolio in the Commonwealth government. During this time she worked on policy and programs in schools, vocational education and training, youth transitions, international education, and employment, including a period as Senior Advisor to the then Minister for Employment, Education and Training, the Hon. David Kemp MP.
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COUNCIL
SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, ENVIRONMENTAL & GENETIC EPIDEMIOLOGY RESEARCH, MCRI
Associate Professor Craig works in the Environmental and Genetic Epidemiology Research Group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and is an Honorary Associate Professor within the Department of Paediatrics, the University of Melbourne. He leads a team of researchers in the Early Life Epigenetics Group.
CHAIR, SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD, FOUNDATION FOR PRADER-WILLI RESEARCH
Dr Strong received a B.S. from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Medical Genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She performed postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan in the laboratory of Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., studying the molecular basis of the inherited diseases cystic fibrosis and Huntington disease. After completing her postdoctoral work, she returned to the faculty at UAB, where she is currently a Professor in the Department of Medicine. She is also a Scientist in UAB’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, where her laboratory focuses primarily on gene therapy for cancer. She and her husband Jim have four children, including a son with PWS. Theresa is one of the founding members of FPWR and directs FPWR’s Grant Program.
HEAD NEURAL PLASTICITY, THE FLOREY INSTITUTE OF NEUROSCIENCE AND MENTAL HEALTH
Professor Hannan currently holds an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, and is Professorial Fellow at the Florey and the University of Melbourne. His Neural Plasticity Laboratory explores how genes and environment combine via experience-dependent plasticity in the healthy and diseased brain. This research includes models of specific neurological and psychiatric disorders which involve cognitive and affective dysfunction, investigated at behavioural, cellular and molecular levels so as to identify pathogenic mechanisms and novel therapeutic targets
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW MCRI
After receiving a BSc from the University of Melbourne, Dr Howden completed her PhD in the Cell and Gene Therapy lab at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. In 2008, she joined the laboratory of Dr James Thomson (USA) for several years of postdoctoral training. She has recently returned to complete the Australian component of her Overseas Biomedical research fellowship where she will continue to develop and apply the reprogramming and gene targeting methodologies she acquired during her time in the Thomson lab.
CHAIR OF MENTAL HEALTH & SENIOR SCIENTIST AT BRAIN AND MIND RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Professor Stewart Einfeld is a child psychiatrist with a research interest in the gene-to-behaviour pathways in developmental disabilities. His research into Prader-Willi Syndrome has looked at the behavioural phenotype over the course of development, psychosis and depression, oxytocin, temper outbursts, aggression and brain dysfunction. He is the Chair of Mental Health and Senior Scientist at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney.
Dr Diane Webster is a highly skilled science professional, with experience in the management of projects, people and research. She has a detailed understanding of the Australian regulatory landscape and is adept at working within the scope, policies and procedures of academic and government organisations and committees. She holds a PhD in molecular virology and has been a Project Leader at the Burnet Institute and a Laboratory Head at Monash University. In addition to her role as Research Director at the Prader-Willi Research Foundation of Australia, she is the Chair of the Swinburne Biosafety Committee, a member of the Gene Technology Advisory Committee (until Jan 2017), and was the concluding National Convenor of the Women in Science Enquiry Network (which has now merged with Women in STEMM Australia).
Emma Dawson is the Executive Director of Per Capita, a progressive public policy think tank dedicated to building a new vision for Australia based on fairness, shared prosperity and social justice. Prior to joining Per Capita she was a senior advisor on Digital Inclusion at Telstra, where she managed programs and services for customers from vulnerable backgrounds. She was formerly the Executive Director of the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society at the University of Melbourne, and for five years was a senior policy advisor in the Rudd and Gillard governments.
Emma holds a BA with First Class Honours from LaTrobe University and an MA with Distinction from Monash. In addition to her positions as Company Secretary on the Prader-Willi Research Foundation of Australia board, Emma sits on the board of Arts Access Australia.