A paediatrician and infectious diseases specialist, Professor Carapetis has been working to reduce the Strep A burden for nearly three decades. During that time, he’s contributed to the prevention, diagnosis and management of Strep A-related diseases across the world and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. He co-founded Reach (Rheumatic heart disease. Evidence. Advocacy. Communication. Hope) and was the Australian lead investigator on CANVAS (Coalition to Advance Vaccines Against Group A Streptococcus). A Professor at the University of Western Australia, Professor Carapetis is Executive Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, Head of the Telethon Kids Institute Strep A and Rheumatic Heart Disease Team and holds a clinical position with Perth Children’s Hospital.
Meet the dedicated ASAVI team determined to save lives and improve the health of our kids by fast-tracking a Strep A vaccine.
Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM
Professor Andrew Steer
Professor Steer is a paediatric infectious diseases physician and researcher. He heads up a research program that aims to prevent and control poverty-related tropical infectious diseases such as scabies and those related to Strep A. Accelerating the development of Strep A vaccines is a top priority for Professor Steer, who also leads a world-first human infection study of Strep A pharyngitis that will soon be used as a platform to test new vaccines. Professor Steer is Co-Chair of the Strep A Global Vaccine Consortium (SAVAC), providing a strong link to international Strep A vaccine efforts. Professor Steer is based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, where he is Director of the Infection and Immunity Theme. He is a paediatric infectious diseases physician at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and a Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne.
Our Management Team
Dr Alma Fulurija
Alma is an immunologist with more than 15 years of experience in the biotech and pharma sectors working at the interface of academia and industry. Before joining the ASAVI team, Alma led research and development projects in Australia and Switzerland and completed postdoctoral training at the WHO Centre for Neonatal Immunology and Vaccinology in Geneva. Alma is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia, where she lectures in immunology and researches vaccine development for infectious diseases such as Streptococcus pyogenes, Helicobacter pylori, otitis media and other infections. Alma has a keen interest in translating evidence-based research into clinical outcomes and brings expertise in product development, clinical trials, regulatory, patents, and project management.
A proud Noongar man, Glenn Pearson is the Director of Aboriginal Health and a member of the Telethon Kids Institute Leadership Team. His projects ensure that the needs of Aboriginal children and their families are included in all operations at the Institute. A trained primary school teacher, Glenn has also spent over 15 years in senior positions in State and Federal government, across health, education and child protection sectors. Glenn is the Chair of the Australian National University’s National Indigenous Genomic Centre, and Inaugural Chair of the WA Primary Health Alliance’s Strategic Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group. In his role with ASAVI, Glenn works closely with the Co-Directors and Advisory Boards to ensure overall cultural security of the project and guide the development of Community Engagement & Capacity Building activities in rural and remote Aboriginal communities.
Lynsey is an experienced business manager with expertise in financial management, governance, human resources management, communication and stakeholder engagement. Before joining the team at Telethon Kids Institute, Lynsey was a Program Manager at The University of Western Australia. Lynsey holds a Master of Arts from Glasgow University. In her current role as the Business Manager of ASAVI, Lynsey provides business management and project management support to the ASAVI team.
Matthew is a Public Health professional with a focus on health for vulnerable populations. He has a Master of Public Health from Charles Darwin University and a Bachelor of Nursing from Griffith University. Matthew has had an operational focus on the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute – Tropical Diseases Group, facilitating and streamlining research projects and programs in Australia and the Pacific Region. Prior to joining Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, he worked in humanitarian action in the Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia, and the former Soviet Union. He has also worked throughout the Northern Territory and Queensland in Aboriginal health, including the Rheumatic Heart Disease and Remote HIV/STI Programs.
Angela joined the ASAVI team in 2021. Angela has a BSc in Pharmacology and Physiology. Before working with ASAVI, Angela worked as a Research Assistant at The University of Western Australia with the Department of Pharmacology, The Lions Eye Institute in Perth, Australia and for a short while with Carag AG in Baar, Switzerland. Angela provides support to Sore Throat Study in Perth.
Elizabeth joined the ASAVI team in 2020 at the Telethon Kids Institute and currently coordinates the implementation of the Sore Throat Study in Perth. Her previous experience includes roles working in the health sector in general and specialist medical practices and in the secondary, vocational and university education sectors. Elizabeth worked as Registered Nurse in public and private hospitals in her early career after graduating from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Science (Nursing).
Michael is a research scientist with 15 years of experience. Originally from the United States, Michael is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked in both academic and biotech settings. With prior experience working on liquid biopsies for cancers and on mechanisms, biomarkers, and therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease, Michael is experienced with a wide array of technologies. Michael is passionate about establishing and developing assays, problem solving, and building systems to enable robust and impactful research. At ASAVI, Michael leads the lab team at Telethon Kids Institute.
Dr Janessa Pickering
Janessa is an early career discovery scientist working to prevent Strep A infection and the progression to Rheumatic Heart Disease. She has 12 years experience in microbiology, molecular diagnostics and host pathogen interactions of upper respiratory tract pathogens that cause disease in children. Her recent expertise is in clinical microbiology research, and she continues to carve out a career in the laboratory science of Strep A infection and carriage. Her work has driven the development of new standards for Strep A detection in surveillance studies, contributing to research studies in the Kimberley, and the Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative. Being embedded in the END RHD Program at the Telethon Kids Institute places her at the forefront of RHD prevention research in Australia.
Tria is a paediatric nurse who has worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute for the past 25 years. Tria has worked as a clinical nurse consultant in both paediatric dermatology and rheumatology and recently completed a Master of Clinical Research at the University of Melbourne. Tria is a member of the MCRI Tropical Diseases and Vaccine Uptake groups and during the 2020/21 pandemic, Tria worked on the COVID Wellbeing and Schools project. Tria leads the Urban Pharyngitis Surveillance Study for the Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative (ASAVI). Tria was awarded the Royal Children’s Hospital Mary Patten Award in 2007 in recognition for her commitment to patient care.
Ciara is a passionate research scientist that has been working as a study co-ordinator and research assistant with the Tropical Diseases group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute since 2011. She has been involved in many Group A Strep research projects. Her work experience encompasses various areas of infectious diseases research and epidemiology, molecular diagnostic laboratory techniques, surveillance studies and clinical studies. Originally from Ireland, Ciara studied as microbiologist at University College Dublin and holds a Bachelor honours degree in Science and a Master of Science in Biomedical Science. She joined ASAVI in 2020 and is a Project Coordinator with the Sore Throat Study in Melbourne.
Dr Hannah Frost
Hannah is a post-doctoral scientific researcher with a career-long focus on Strep A diseases and vaccinology. Hannah’s ongoing research spans both host- and pathogen-related determinants of protective immunity to Strep A infection and implications for vaccine development. Based out of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Hannah has deep ties to the international Strep A research community after studying and working in four dedicated Strep A research laboratories in Australia, New Zealand and Belgium and is a member of the Strep A Global Vaccine Consortium.
Serene works on the laboratory side of the Sore Throat study and the Assay Development workstream. She is passionate about translational biomedical research to bridge laboratory-based research with clinical applications. Serene holds a Bachelor of Biomedicine (Honours) with a research project looking at preclinical models of breast cancer to identify targets for therapeutics. This experience extended to working on a gastritis model to assess efficacy of therapeutic vaccine against Helicobacter pylori. She also has experience in quality control, working for vaccine manufacture in CSL before joining ASAVI.
Jasmyn completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) at Monash University in 2018. She has since been involved in a range of microbiological projects, including plasmid development, bacterial and yeast co-evolution, anti-microbial resistance, and the Victoria-wide wastewater surveillance initiative for COVID-19. In 2022 she joined the ASAVI team, where she works in the lab to help identify Strep A and catalogue its prevalence in the community for the Sore Throat study. Jasmyn’s research interests include Strep A virulence factors and novel diagnostic methods.
Zi Ying Ng
Zi holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor’s degree in Science (Biomedical Science) from Edith Cowan University. Her previous experience includes working at Telethon Kids Institute in the Cancer Centre, Ear Science Institute Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, with a primary focus on Neuroscience. In 2023, she made a career transition to translational research with clinical applications by joining ASAVI, aiming to leverage her skills and experience to benefit the team.
Anna completed her Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) at University of Western Australia in 2022 with a research project on antibacterial activity in Western Australian honey. During her undergrad, Anna gained laboratory assistant experience in Virology and Microbiology laboratories. Anna then worked at Western Diagnostic Pathology as laboratory assistant. In 2023, Anna joined the ASAVI team at the Telethon Kids Institute. As a research assistant with Microbiology background, she cultures and diagnoses throat swab samples contributing to Strep A surveillance studies.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are referred to as Indigenous Australians throughout this website.