Our Team

Meet the dedicated ASAVI team determined to save lives and improve the health of our kids by fast-tracking a Strep A vaccine.

Our Directors

Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM

Co-Director , Telethon Kids Institute
Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM

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. 

Professor Andrew Steer

Co-Director , Murdoch Children's Research Institute
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

Project Lead , Telethon Kids Institute
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. 

Glenn Pearson

Indigenous Lead , Telethon Kids Institute
Glenn Pearson

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 Fitzgerald

Business Manager , Telethon Kids Institute
Lynsey Fitzgerald

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 Parnaby

Group Manager , Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Matthew Parnaby

Matthew Parnaby 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.

Operational Team

Angela D’Aprile

ADMINISTRATION OFFICER , TELETHON KIDS INSTITUTE
Angela D’Aprile

Angela joined the ASAVI team in 2021 as an Administration Officer.   Whilst new to administration, 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 now provides administrative support to all the ASAVI team members.

Angela Taylor

ADMINISTRATION OFFICER , TELETHON KIDS INSTITUTE
Angela Taylor

With an extensive background in office administration and support, Angela was most recently employed for 9 years supporting students and staff in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Her work responsibilities include financial management support, overseeing the running of a busy administration department and providing advice and guidance on organisational processes and guidelines.

Elizabeth Negus

ACTING CLINICAL RESEARCH COORDINATOR/ PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR SORE THROAT STUDY , TELETHON KIDS INSTITUTE
Elizabeth Negus

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 Morici

SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST , TELETHON KIDS INSTITUTE
Michael Morici

Michael Morici 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

Senior Research Officer , 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.

Adriana Messineo

Research Assistant , TELETHON KIDS INSTITUTE
Adriana Messineo

Adriana holds a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biomedical Sciences and an Honours in Pharmacology from UWA. With over 15 years of experience working in academic and clinical research roles, she has a diverse technical skillset and has worked on clinical projects investigating allergies in infants, patient biomarkers that predict response to antiviral therapies in hepatitis and the role of microRNAs in human cancer cell lines. Adriana is passionate about scientific writing and contributing to research that directly translates to improving the health of children. She joined ASAVI in 2022 as a Research Assistant.

Carole Katz

COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST , TELETHON KIDS INSTITUTE
Carole Katz

With over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and communications, Carole has specialised in science and research translation and communications, working for research institutes and universities. Prior to joining ASAVI in May 2022, Carole was a Communications Coordinator for the Future of Work Institute based at Curtin University. At ASAVI, Carole develops and executes communications strategies to raise ASAVI’s brand and ensure successful promotions of ASAVI’s work and activities, both externally and internally.

Tria Williams

SENIOR PROJECT COORDINATOR , MURDOCH CHILDREN’S RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Tria Williams

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 Baker

PROJECT COORDINATOR , MURDOCH CHILDREN’S RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Ciara Baker

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.

Courtney Cheong

RESEARCH NURSE , MURDOCH CHILDREN’S RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Courtney Cheong

Courtney has a background in pathology collection, laboratory work, administration & coordination, encompassed in a personal ethos of trying to create a positive and informed healthcare experience for every person, especially children.

In 2015, Courtney became a Midwife, working in public hospitals including neonatal units, and completing a postgraduate degree from Griffith University in Prescribing and Diagnostics in 2018.  Allowing her to work with an extensive scope of private practice in hospitals and home. In the last year, Courtney turned her focus to contributing to healthcare research, joining the ASAVI Melbourne team as a Research Nurse, collecting samples and data, and communicating with both parents and children participating in our studies.

Dr Hannah Frost

LABORATORY LEAD , MURDOCH CHILDREN'S RESEARCH INSTITUTE
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 Yeow

RESEARCH ASSISTANT , MURDOCH CHILDREN'S RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Serene Yeow

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 Voss

RESEARCH ASSISITANT , MURDOCH CHILDREN’S RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Jasmyn Voss

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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are referred to as Indigenous Australians throughout this website.

We are funded by the Australian Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and our philanthropic partners.

  • Open Philanthropy
  • LEDUCQ