The Doherty Institute’s Executive Team comprises of the organisation’s Director, Deputy Directors and Executive Officer. Their role is to devise and lead the implementation of the Doherty Institute’s strategic plan.
The Executive Team
Professor Sharon Lewin – Director
Leading infectious diseases expert Professor Sharon Lewin is the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute. Sharon is an internationally renowned researcher in HIV cure and an infectious diseases physician. She leads a large, multi-disciplinary research team at the Doherty Institute that focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection. She has published over 200 publications and has been continually funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) since 1993. She is an NHMRC Practitioner Fellow and also receives grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the Wellcome Trust. She was local co-chair for the International AIDS Conference that was held in Melbourne in July 2014 (AIDS2014), which was the largest health conference ever hosted in Australia attracting 14,000 participants. She is a founding member of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, a member of the NHMRC Council and Chair of the Health Translation Advisory Committee of the NHMRC. She was named Melburnian of the Year in 2014 and was the recipient of Research Australia's prestigious Peter Wills Medal in 2015.
Dr Mike Catton – Deputy Director and Director and Head of Virology, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory
Dr Mike Catton trained in Microbiology, then Medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and received his Fellowship at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) in Virology in 1992. His professional interests are in viral diagnostics, emerging viruses and laboratory bio-containment. He has served on diverse advisory committees, to government on public health and infectious diseases, and has consulted for the World Health Organisation (WHO) internationally. In 2003, Mike led a collaborative effort to develop Australian laboratory capacity for responsiveness to SARS. In 2007, his group jointly discovered a new arenavirus as the cause of a cluster of deaths among Victorian transplant patients. Between 2007 and 2014, he played a leading role in the creation of the Doherty Institute. In 2011, he received the Victorian Health Minister’s award for an outstanding achievement by an individual or team in healthcare.
Professor Andrew Brooks – Deputy Director and Head Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Professor Andrew Brooks is an immunologist interested in immune recognition strategies, in particular how immune cells discriminate healthy cells from those infected with viruses or tumours. Before establishing a laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Andrew completed a PhD in immunology at Flinders University in South Australia and post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, USA. It was here Andrew developed an interest in the receptors used by lymphocytes called natural killer cells that allow them to target tumours or virus-infected cells. Since returning to the University of Melbourne, Andrew’s research has continued to focus largely on receptors that regulate lymphocyte activation.
Andrea Fischer – Executive Officer
For over 15 years, Andrea Fischer has worked in the development and implementation of public health programs in the Asia-Pacific region. After graduating from the Australian National University in Population Health and Epidemiology, she completed a Masters of Public Health at Monash University. Andrea’s first international assignment was in India working on primary health care activities in Andhra Pradesh. Following this, she specialised in HIV prevention working in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, primarily for the Burnet Institute. Prior to her role at the Doherty Institute, Andrea was the Executive Officer for AIDS 2014 held in Melbourne in July 2014. As Executive Officer at the Doherty Institute, Andrea leads the Directorate team and is responsible for the development of the identity and strategic programs across the organisation.
Professor Jodie McVernon
Professor Jodie McVernon is a physician with subspecialty qualifications in public health and vaccinology. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained at the University of Oxford, Health Protection Agency London and The University of Melbourne. Her work focuses on the application of a range of cross-disciplinary methodological approaches including mathematical and computational models, to synthesise insights from basic biology, epidemiological data and sociological research. These models advance understanding of the observed epidemiology of infectious diseases and inform understanding of optimal interventions for disease control.
Professor Dick Strugnell
Dick Strugnell is a microbiologist who works at the microbiology/immunology interface, and in basic bacterial molecular biology of key microbiological phenomena including bacterial physiology, biofilm development and adaptation to intracellular growth. The research involves two key human pathogens, Salmonella enterica and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The bacteria include organisms responsible for severe human diseases in developed and less-developed healthcare settings. The research leads to new interventions which include antimicrobials targeting key physiological processes e.g. growth, inhibitors of bacterial adhesion and novel strategies to exploit our growing understanding of the microbe/immune system interface such as immunomodulatory drugs and biologicals and new or improved vaccines to prevent disease.