Emerging Researchers (ER) Committee

We are pleased to announce nomination of 16 distinguished ER Committee members representing a broad variety of geographical locations as well as research areas within the Lifespan Research Theme.

Members of the Lifespan ER Committee:

  • Associate Professor Kirsten Black – Chair, Joint Head Discipline of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology, University of Sydney
  • Dr Ainsley Newson – Deputy Chair, Senior Lecturer, Centre of Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health
  • Dr Yuyan Chen – Senior Lecturer, Children’s Cancer Research Unit, CHW
  • Dr Maria Chow – Research Officer, National Centre for Immunisation and Surveillance, CHW
  • Dr Spring Cooper - Senior Lecturer, Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre
  • Dr Adrienne Gordon - Clinical Senior Lecturer, Central Clinical School
  • Dr Donna Hartz – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Dr Jesse Jansen - NHMRC Early Career Fellowship, Research Fellow, Public Health
  • Dr Loretta Lau – Senior Lecturer, Children’s Cancer Research Unit, CHW
  • Dr Laura Lindsay – Lecturer, Anatomy and Histology, School of Medical Sciences
  • Dr Brian Lyons - Post Doctoral Researcher, Save Sight Institute
  • Dr Katie Powell – Research Officer, Perinatal Research, Kolling Institute of Medical Research
  • Dr Ann Quinton - Senior Research Sonographer, Nepean Centre for Perinatal Care
  • Dr Margaret Rolfe - Biostatician, Centre for Rural Health, School of Public Health
  • Dr Pushpa Suriyaarachchi - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Nepean Clinical School
  • Dr Kevin Yin – Research Officer, National Centre for Immunisation and Surveillance, CHW

Kirsten Black

Associate Professor Kirsten Black - Chair
Kirsten is an Associate Professor and Joint Head of the Discipline of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology at the University of Sydney. She is also a clinical academic in the Department of Women’s Health and Neonatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Her research interests focus on women’s sexual and reproductive health. She trained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and specialised in reproductive and sexual health whilst in London. She completed a PhD in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2008 with her research titled: Emergency contraception as a sexual health intervention: access and clinical outcomes through pharmacy and community provision.



Ainsley Newson

Dr Ainsley Newson - Deputy Chair
Ainsley is Senior Lecturer in Bioethics at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM), University of Sydney and is Coordinator of the Sydney Bioethics Masters Program. Her research interests include ethical aspects of clinical and reproductive decision-making in genetics - especially prenatal diagnosis and family communication, genetics and public health, and ethical issues in emerging genetic and reproductive technologies. Ainsley has Bachelor’s degrees in Science (human genetics) and Law and a PhD in Medical Ethics, all gained from the University of Melbourne. She undertook postdoctoral work in the Medical Ethics Unit at Imperial College London and then worked for nearly 7 years at the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol; being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008. Ainsley’s recent research has focussed on non-invasive prenatal diagnosis and she is currently supervising PhD projects concerned with ethical issues in the profession of embryology and ethical and legal issues in birth choice in Australia. She has been funded by the European Union, the Wellcome Trust and the NIHR and has published her work in peer-reviewed scientific and ethics journals and edited books. Ainsley sits on a range of professional committees, including the Ethics and Social Issues Committee of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia and the NSW Clinical Ethics Advisory Committee. She is also an experienced media communicator about ethical issues in genetics and reproduction; and an active participant in public engagement on these topics.



[[anchor||Yuyan Chen

Dr Yuyan Chen
Yuyan graduated from the Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University in China with a Master’s Degree in Medicine in 1996 and then worked in the Shanghai No.1 Maternity and Child Care Hospital as a paediatrician during 1996-2000. Then she moved to Japan and started her research at the Haematology/Oncology Laboratory of the Department of Paediatrics in Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan. Her PhD study focused on investigating candidate genes involved in the pathogenesis of paediatric. In September 2007, Dr Chen was conferred her PhD degree by the University of Tokyo. Dr Chen continued her research in the same laboratory as a research fellow (2007-2008) and successfully identified the target oncogene anaplastic lymphoma kinase, ALK for neuroblastoma. Since April 2009, Dr Chen has joined the Molecular Oncology Group of the Children’s Cancer Research Unit (CCRU) at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Her main project is to investigate Tumor Protein D52 (TPD52) involvement in DNA damage repair. She is currently a Senior Research Officer within CCRU and has been appointed as Conjoint Senior Lecturer within the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney since January 2013. Dr Chen has been awarded an NHMRC Training Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010-2013) and a 2011 Cancer Australia Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Grant co-funded by Cure Cancer. She has published 16 journal articles including 1 first-author and 1 co-author publications published in Nature. She has also contributed to 3 reviews/book chapters. Dr Chen is currently a committee member of Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR).


Maria Chow


Maria obtained her PhD in 2013 through Sydney University, her thesis focused on the psychological and social impact of influenza-like-illness in children on their families. During her PhD candidature, she worked at the National Centre of Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), based at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. Her interests and expertise are in immunisation policies, social science research, and questionnaire development and validation. Prior to joining NCIRS in 2009, she worked at the Health Promotion Unit at the Sydney South West Area Health Service (SSWAHS). Before moving to Australia, Maria obtained a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Biochemistry in Hong Kong. Maria is currently a student in the Sydney University Graduate Medical Program.



Donna Hartz


Donna is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow and Clinical Midwifery Advisor at the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, University of Sydney. She is based in the clinical environment at Midwifery and Women’s Health Research Unit, the Royal Hospital for Women (RHW), Randwick. Donna completed her PhD in 2013 on the NHMRC funded randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery care- the M@NGO project, the primary outcomes paper was published in the Lancet in 2013. She is very active in translational research and is the project midwife on the third revision of the Australian College of Midwives, National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and Referral. Donna remains clinically active and has 27 years experience as a clinician, educator/lecturer, midwife consultant and researcher and has worked at a variety of tertiary and metropolitan maternity services and universities in NSW during this time. She was also a hospital accredited independent and homebirth midwife in Newcastle from 1988-2000. In the last decade she has been involved in maternity service reform including the implementation and evaluation of midwifery models of care in particular caseload midwifery at the midwifery led service, Ryde Midwifery Group and the large caseload midwifery model at the RHW. Her current research projects include the evaluation of an urban Aboriginal community caseload model of care, sterile water injections for back pain in labour, amniotic fluid lactate as a marker of labour dystocia and the caseload midwifery model as an clinical learning environment for midwifery students.



Loretta Lau

Dr Loretta Lau
Loretta is a clinician-scientist and Group Leader of the Neuroblastoma Research Group at the Children's Cancer Research Unit, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. She is also a senior lecturer at the Sydney Medical School. Loretta obtained her medical degree from the University of Sydney, followed by a Master of Medicine in Clinical Epidemiology. She completed her training in paediatric oncology at The Children's Hospital at Westmead and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Loretta then spent 6 years in Canada to pursue further clinical and research training in paediatric oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, during which she completed a PhD focusing on neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer. While in Toronto, she was awarded a Clinical Research Fellowship by the National Cancer Institute of Canada. Loretta returned to Sydney in 2008 to take up the Clinical Research Fellowship awarded by the Cancer Institute of NSW and to establish the Neuroblastoma Research Group at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Her main focus of research is telomere biology in neuroblastoma. Her research has been supported by the Cure Cancer Australia Foundation, Pablove Foundation (US), and Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundation. She is currently an NHMRC Early Career Fellow and holds an NHMRC project grant as chief investigator. Her goal as a clinician-scientist is to bridge the "gap" between scientific progress in the laboratory and better treatment at the bedside.


Dr Laura Lindsay
Laura is a lecturer in Anatomy and Histology (School of Medical Sciences) and works in the Anderson Stuart building in the Cell and Reproductive Biology Laboratory. She works part-time and is involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in this discipline. Her research interest centres around the mechanisms involved in uterine receptivity, that is the ability of the cells lining the uterus to allow a blastocyst to attach at a specific time to initiate implantation and placental formation. Laura’s PhD studied changes in fluid transporters (aqupaporins) in the rat uterus at the time of implantation and in response to ovarian hormones and found that the appearance of specific aquaporins led to a reduction in the amount and composition of fluid in the uterine lumen at the critical time of implantation. This reduction in fluid leads to very close apposition between the uterus and blastocyst which is an essential requirement for implantation. In her post-doctoral studies Laura became interested in the way that drugs used in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (commonly used in IVF) affects the uterine environment; particularly the effects on uterine receptivity and implantation. Using a rat ovarian hyperstimulation (OH) model the team has shown that OH leads to an altered uterine environment compared to normal pregnancy. A better understanding of changes which occur in the uterine epithelial cells in this model would lead to a greater success rates in human IVF clinics, particularly in patients undergoing controlled ovarian hyperstimulation followed by fresh embryo transfer.


Katie Powell


Katie is a research officer in the Perinatal Research Group at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research. She completed her PhD in 2013 from Griffith University, Gold Coast. Her PhD was in the field of cancer immunology and specifically looked at improving the potency of a melanoma vaccine. Katie joined the Perinatal Research Group in 2012 and since then has been investigating the role of a protein in helping us to understand the link between oxidative stress and poor placentation that is associated with pre-eclampsia. Her research interests include trying to understand the molecular mechanisms driving pre-eclampsia and assisting in the development of early diagnostic tests.



Kevin Yin


Kevin is currently working at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and The University of Sydney. His work provides technical support for the development of immunisation policy in Australia, which is done mainly in conjunction with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI, a ministerial advisory group of the Australian Government Department of Health). Kevin has a broad interest in vaccinology, including the aspects of epidemiology, health economics, immunisation policy, vaccine safety. His doctorate evaluated the control measures (mainly vaccines) of infectious diseases through a combination epidemiology and health economics. In 2013, he attended the prestigious Advanced Course of Vaccinology (ADVAC). He was also awarded a Master of Public Health (Hons) in 2008 after his medical qualifications. In addition, he teaches on a regular basis, covering infectious disease control, vaccines, Microbiology, Pharmacology.