Research advisory committee


Professor Christopher Ward (Chair) 

Senior Staff Specialist and Director of Research
Dept of Haematology, Royal North Shore (RNS) Hospital, St Leonards, NSW
Professor of Medicine, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney

Christopher is a clinical haematologist with special interests in disorders of blood clotting and bleeding. He is based at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and oversees teaching and research programmes, including genetic screening for inherited bleeding disorders. Prof Ward represents Australia on several international societies and was recently appointed to the Council of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH).

Kathryn Mitchell

Director, Fresh Blood Products & Services, National Blood Authority

Kathryn is the Director of the National Blood Authority’s (NBA) Fresh Blood Products & Services Section, which is responsible for managing the Deed of Agreement between the Commonwealth through the NBA and the Australian Red Cross Society on behalf of the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. She represents the NBA as a member of the committee to ensure governments’ priorities are considered and to provide guidance on the requirements of governments.  Kathryn joined the NBA in 2016 and has over 20 years’ experience in the Australian Public Service working in regulatory and governance roles. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in biology, and previously held positions in the private sector in the manufacture and quality assurance of veterinary vaccines.

Associate Professor Robert Andrews 


After graduating with a PhD in Biochemistry (University of Queensland, 1986), Robert’s research has spanned protein chemistry and organic synthesis (metalloenzymes and inhibitors), to biochemical analysis of human platelet receptors, ligands and snake venom proteins. This combination has led him to his current research on mechanisms of human disease involving haematological systems, and analysis of new platelet-specific biomarkers for bleeding and thrombotic risk. This research has resulted in over 200 peer reviewed publications.

Professor John McNeil, AO

MBBS (Adelaide), MSc (London), PhD (Melbourne), FRACP, FAFPHM
Head, School of Applied Clinical & Public Health Science
Head, Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Monash University

John is the past head of the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. His expertise is the application of epidemiological methods to problems in clinical medicine and public health. His work centres on large scale clinical trials, clinical registries and major cohorts.

He is the co-principal investigator of the joint US-Australia NIH-funded ASPREE trial of low-dose aspirin in the elderly, a large primary prevention trial conducted within Australia.  He has also led a program to develop clinical quality registries in areas including trauma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, rare diseases and high-risk drugs and devices. This methodology contributes to improving the safety and quality of medical care. 

Dr Martin MacNamara 

Deputy CEO, The Sax Institute

Martin is the Deputy CEO of the Sax Institute. He is also the Head of Research Assets, responsible for the 45 and Up Study, the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) and the delivery of the Secure Unified Research Environment (SURE). 

Martin has extensive experience in senior leadership roles from strategy and research to policy development and performance.

Professor Dana Devine 

Chief Scientist, Canadian Blood Services and Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia

Dana completed research training at Duke University (USA).  Having published more than 200 papers, her research career has focused on transfusion medicine, platelet biology, complement biochemistry, and coagulation. She was formerly the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Canadian Blood Services, the Editor-in-Chief of the blood transfusion journal Vox Sanguinis and a founding member of the University of British Columbia Centre for Blood Research. She is president-elect of the AABB.

Dr Dirk de Korte

Manager Product and Process Development, Sanquin Blood Bank, Netherlands

Since 2007, Dirk has been the manager of Product and Process Development of Sanquin Blood Bank, in the Netherlands. He has been active within Sanquin Research since 1981.  He is also a Working Party Chair at the European Blood Alliance.

Dirk’s Special interests are in vitro quality parameters for evaluation of blood components, optimal use of blood products, development and improvement of blood components and bacteriological safety of blood components. He is also working on new blood products for topical use, like platelet rich plasma (PRP) for wound healing, fibrin matrix for hemostasis and serum eye drops for patients with severe dry eyes.

Dr Ralph R Vassallo 

EVP / Chief Medical & Scientific Officer, Vitalant, USA

Ralph is the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of Vitalant, based in Scottsdale, Arizona.  

Prior to joining Vitalant in 2014, Ralph was the Chief Medical Officer of the American Red Cross Blood Services’ East Division.  From 1992-2002, he was the Director of Medical Education, an ACGME Program Director, and a hospital administrator for a 3-hospital system in Philadelphia.  

Ralph serves on the committees of several leading international blood transfusion organisations, and is on the editorial boards of Transfusion and Transfusion and Apheresis Science.  He has authored book chapters in Williams' Hematology, Rossi's Principles of Transfusion Medicine, McLeod’s Apheresis Principles and Practice and more than 70 other articles and reviews.  


Although they are not formally part of the Research Advisory committee, the following people have committed to provide independent critical review of our research project proposals:


Associate Professor Eva-Maria Merz

Senior researcher, Sanquin Blood Supply
Associate Professor Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Department of Sociology

Eva-Maria is a sociologist with a background in family studies and demography. She is head of the research line Donor Behaviour at Sanquin and Associate Professor at the Sociology Department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research benefits from her theoretical expertise in social science theories on prosocial behaviour and her fruitful collaborations within the Dutch Blood Bank, the Biomedical Excellence of Safer Transfusion (BEST) Collaborative, and the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT). 


Professor Elizabeth Gardiner 

Deputy Head, ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics
The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University 
Scientific Head of the National Platelet Referral and Research Centre, Australian National University and The Canberra Hospital

Elizabeth has authored over 140 publications in platelet biochemistry and platelet function, particularly relevant to both thrombosis and bleeding in patients. She identified a novel mechanism for shedding of vascular receptors triggered by shear stress, enabling new capabilities in diagnostic and therapeutic reagent development.

She is actively involved in the committees of several local and international scientific bodies, and holds editorial roles at the journals Platelets, Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and Blood. 



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