Meet the IMB Advisory Board

The IMB Advisory Board is chaired by an independent person, and comprises external and university members.  The board provides guidance on the successful operation of the institute as a world class research organisation, with respect to its research, commercialisation and engagement activities. 


Dr Cherrell Hirst AO (Chair)Dr Cherrell Hirst AO

MBBS (Queensland), BEdSt (Queensland), DUniv (Hons) (QUT, GU, SCU), FAICD, FTSE

During the past decade, Cherrell has played a significant role in Queensland’s growing biotechnology sector. From 2007 to 2014 she served as chief executive officer of QIC BioVentures, where she was a director of several investee companies. During this time she also served on several national and state government advisory boards. Cherrell was chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology from 1994 to 2004, and chair of the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2006. 

Cherrell is a qualified medical practitioner, gaining a national reputation in the field
 of breast cancer screening and diagnosis as director of the Wesley Breast Clinic. Cherrell has been awarded three honorary doctorates, an Australian Government Centenary Medal (2003), and the title of Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (1998). She is also a former Queenslander of the Year (1995). 

Cherrell is currently chair of ImpediMed 
and Factor Therapeutics (formerly Tissue Therapies) and a director of Medibank Private, Gold Coast Health and Hospital Service, and RSL Care. She has previously served on the boards of Peplin, Hatchtech, the Avant Group and Suncorp, as well as various not-for-profit entities. 


Mr Bob Christiansen Mr Bob Christiansen

BEcon (Queensland), DipInfmProc (Queensland), DipFinServices (AFMA)

Bob is the founding managing director of Southern Cross Venture Partners, one of Australia’s largest technology venture capital firms. He is also a director of several early- and later-stage technology companies in Australia and the US. Bob has been a member of the former Queensland Government’s Science and Innovation Advisory Council, and its predecessor, The Smart State Council. He is also an advisory board member of the UQ-owned technology incubator, iLab, and in 2015 was selected by the Knowledge Society and the Office of the Australian Chief Scientist as a member of the “Knowledge Nation 100”.

Bob spent over 20 years in the US technology sector, where he founded two start-up companies. Prior to returning to Australia, he spent time as chief technology officer for the advisor services group of Fidelity Investments in Boston.

Previously, Bob was a general partner of venture capital firm Allen & Buckeridge. He brings over 40 years of experience in entrepreneurship and the international technology sector, with an emphasis on commercialisation and financing, business management and operations, and system design and development.


Professor John W Funder ACProfessor John Funder AC

MD (Melbourne), PhD (Melbourne), LLD (Hons) (Monash), DMedSci (Hons) (Melbourne), MD (Hons) (Sydney), FRACP, FRCP

John is professor of medicine (Monash), honorary professor (UQ) and professorial associate (Melbourne). He is also a distinguished scholar at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.

He has more than 40 years of experience working in medical research and has significant leadership experience in the sector, having served as director of the Baker Institute from 1990 to 2001, director of research strategy at Southern Health (now Monash Health) from 2008 to 2011, and president of the Australian Society for Medical Research and the Endocrine Society of Australia.

In 2014, he was awarded the International Society of Hypertension’s Robert Tigerstedt Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also received the Endocrine Society’s Robert H. Williams Award for Distinguished Leadership (2013), Research Australia’s Leadership and Innovation Award (2010), and the American Heart Association’s prestigious Novartis Award (2008). During his career, John has published more than 500 scientific papers, given over 200 international presentations and has been a member of many editorial boards.


Dr Anand GautamDr Anand Gautam

BSc (Meerut), MSc (Brunel), PhD (London)

Anand is director of R&D innovation sourcing at Novo Nordisk with responsibility for setting directions to innovation sourcing strategy to fill the company’s pipeline with novel therapeutics. Anand joins the board with a strong background in scientific and commercial management of research at various academic institutions and biotechnology companies around the world. In addition, he brings direct experience in drug discovery, drug development with late-stage clinical trials, and commercialisation of translatable science from academia.

Anand undertook postdoctoral training in immunology at Stanford University in California, US. He was then appointed as a research fellow, and later a leader, at John Curtin School of Medical Research, The Australian National University. He was also appointed as an associate professor at UQ’s former Diamantina Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research.

Prior to joining Novo Nordisk, Anand formed OmGenix BioSolutions, a consultancy company, and worked as a vice-president of research and development at Progen in Brisbane, where he managed and initiated Phase I to III clinical trials. He has also worked as a senior vice-president at Pharmexa, Denmark, where he headed research and external collaborations. 


Associate Professor Beverley RowbothamDr Bev Rowbotham

MBBS (Hons) (Queensland), MD (Queensland), FRACP, FRCPA, GAICD

Bev is a past president of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) and is the current chairman of the Federal Council of the Australian Medical Association. She serves on National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Committee (NPAAC) and Federal Government committees on matters related to laboratory medicine. She is a director of RCPA Quality Assurance Programs Pty Ltd, the Avant Mutual Group, Avant Insurance Ltd and the Doctors' Health Fund.

Bev is director of haematology at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, part of the Sonic Healthcare group, and associate professor of cellular and molecular pathology at The University of Queensland.

Bev was a board member and chair of the Association for Childhood Language and Related Disorders and is now a director of AEIOU Foundation for children with autism.


Professor Stephen WalkerProfessor Stephen Walker

BSc (Hons) (Sydney), PhD (Tasmania)

Stephen is executive dean of The University of Queensland’s Faculty of Science, where he is responsible for the leadership and governance of one of the largest science groupings in Australia, with approximately 1100 (equivalent full-time) staff, and about 7500 (equivalent full-time) students.

Previously, Stephen was executive dean of the former UQ Faculty of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture. Prior to UQ, he spent five years at the Australian Research Council (ARC) in Canberra, following a number of years as a senior scientist within CSIRO.

Stephen has a BSc (Hons) from The University of Sydney, and a PhD from The University of Tasmania. He has worked in a number of fields such as atmospheric pollution, remote sensing, coastal oceanography and water quality, and medical research (cardiology). He has extensive experience in conducting and overseeing collaborative research, funding schemes and policy, in conjunction with universities, government agencies, utilities, and private industry.


Professor Robyn Ward AMProfessor Robyn Ward AM


Professor Ward is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at The University of Queensland, where she leads the University-wide research portfolio.

Professor Ward graduated from the University of New South Wales with a MBBS (Hons 1) in 1984 and then trained as a physician and a scientist, gaining fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Physicians in 1991 and a PhD in Medicine at UNSW in 1994. She previously held positions at The University of New South Wales as Professor of Medicine, Clinical Associate Dean at the Prince of Wales Clinical School (UNSW) and Head of the Adult Cancer Program at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre. Robyn was also Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

Robyn has demonstrated sustained translational and clinical research performance at the highest level. Her research performance is supported through a consistently strong grant track record, including NHMRC and ARC funding, as well as grants from cancer authorities. She has obtained over $38m in competitive funding to support her research activities and has published over 200 articles, books and chapters including in high impact journals such as British Medical Journal, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Nature Genetics and The New England Journal of Medicine. As Director of the Translational Cancer Research Centre, Robyn has worked with a network of universities and hospitals to pursue the translational cancer research objectives of the Cancer Institute of NSW. Robyn’s contributions to medical research have been acknowledged through a Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research in 2004, the NSW Premier’s Award for Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year in 2007, and membership of the Order of Australia, awarded in 2013.

In addition to her clinical and research leadership experience, Robyn has contributed to the development of Commonwealth and NSW health policy, including through her current roles as Chair of the Commonwealth Medical Services Advisory Committee and member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

She is currently Co-Chair for Global Genomics Medicine Collaborative (G2MC), which is hosted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in Washington, and seeks to foster global collaboration in demonstrating the real world value of medical genomics to government and industry. Robyn is also on the council of the NHMRC.


Dr Jane WilsonDr Jane Wilson

MBBS (Queensland), MBA (Harvard), FAICD

Jane is acting chancellor of The University of Queensland, a guardian of the Future Fund, director of Sonic Healthcare Ltd, finance director of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and a director of the General Sir John Monash Foundation. 

Jane has a background in finance, banking and medicine, with an MBA from Harvard Business School and a medical degree from UQ. Her previous directorships include inaugural chair of Horticulture Australia, chair of IMBcom, and director of BUPA Australia and NZ, Universal Biosensors, Energex, Sun Retail, WorkCover Qld, and other small biotechnology companies. She has also served on several Queensland Government advisory boards, and the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Board. 

Jane was the Queensland president and director of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) from 2002 to 2004, and was named in the inaugural 2012 AFR/Westpac Top 100 Women Awards in the board/management category.