The Science and Ethics Committee is a group of leading Australian stem cell scientists who provide advice to the NSCFA on scientific and ethical issues relating to stem cell research, the needs of researchers in Australia, public education and awareness, and importantly on government and regulatory developments.
Professor Caroline Gargett BApplSci, MApplSci, PhD (Non-Executive Director)
Professor Gargett is currently Deputy Director (Women’s Health) at the Ritchie Centre and is also a National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellow. In 2002 Professor Gargett discovered adult stem cells in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, changing our understanding of how the endometrium regenerates each month. She leads a collaborative project with the CSIRO Future Manufacturing Flagship to investigate the use of endometrial mesenchymal stem cells for a tissue engineering application in pelvic floor prolapse surgery. Her research findings are promising for the development of potential therapeutics. Professor Gargett has served as President of the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research (2013-2014) and Secretary for the Society for Reproductive Biology (2005-2008). She is/has been on the Editorial Boards for Fertility and Sterility (2011-2014), Biology of Reproduction (since 2013), and Reproductive Sciences (since 2009) and is an Associate Editor of Reproductive Sciences (since 2014) and Human Reproduction (2005-2008). She convenes the Human Reproduction Module in the Bachelor of Biomedical Science course at Monash University.
Dr Ngaire Elwood PhD, BSc(Hons), MAICD (Non-Executive Director)
Dr Ngaire Elwood is the Director of the BMDI Cord Blood Bank and Head of the Cord Blood Stem Cell Research Laboratory at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne. Dr Elwood has extensive experience in the field of stem cells, cellular therapy, cancer and cord blood. Her current research is aimed at understanding cord blood stem cell biology, improving cord blood transplant outcome and exploring the use of cord blood for regenerative therapies. Dr Elwood serves as Vice President of the international Board of Directors for the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and sits on various executive committees within FACT. She is the Regional Vice President (2018 – 2020) for the Australia New Zealand Region of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT). Previous roles include the Chair of the AusCord network of public cord blood banks and as member on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry National Ethics Committee.
Professor Geoff Lindeman, BSc(Med) MB BS(Hons) PhD FRACP FAHMS FAA
Geoff Lindeman, a clinician-scientist, is Joint Head of the Cancer Biology and Stem Cells Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (NHMRC Leadership Fellow) and a medical oncologist (breast cancer) at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital. He holds an honorary appointment as Professorial Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne. He leads the Centre for Translational Breast Cancer Research (TransBCR), enabled by a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence grant. His laboratory is studying molecular and cellular regulators of normal mammary gland development and events that go awry that lead to breast cancer. His team identified breast stem cells and has contributed influential discoveries into how stem cells and their descendants are regulated by female hormones and ‘master regulators’ of cell fate. The discovery of the culprit cell that gives rise to breast cancer in women with a faulty BRCA1 gene has led to an international breast cancer prevention study, BRCA-P, currently underway. His group has also generated patient derived xenograft (PDX) models that are being used in ‘proof-of-principle’ pre-clinical studies, to study promising drugs. Several of these have been further investigated in early phase clinical trials for patients with relapsed breast cancer. He has been elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Professor Megan Munsie, BAppSc, MRepSc, PhD (Non-Executive Director)
Professor Megan Munsie is an internationally recognised biologist who has made a significant contribution to policy development and community engagement in stem cell science and regenerative medicine at a domestic and global level. She is Deputy Director of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Stem Cell Systems in the School of Biomedical Sciences. Megan’s research explores the role of policy to support translation of stem cell science and other emerging technologies, and how to more effectively inform community members and professionals about how medical research may impact future healthcare. Megan serves on advisory committees to national and international scientific organisations and is the Chair of Ethics Committee for the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the Policy, Ethics and Translation Committee of the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research. She was awarded the 2018 Public Service Award from ISSCR in recognition of her contribution to public outreach and policy advocacy in stem cell science. Professor Munsie was appointed to the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia board on 25 May 2020.
Professor Alice Pébay, BSc (Psych) PhD
Professor Alice Pébay is a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital. She is also a Member of the ARC College of Experts, a Director of Genetic Cures Australia, Adjunct Associate Professor of the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, a Member of the Australasian Friedreich Ataxia Gene Therapy Clinical Trials Committee, an Affiliate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a Scientific Advisory Board Member of the ASX listed company PYC Therapeutics. She has also worked as the Head of the Neuroregeneration Research Unit at the Centre for Eye Research Australia. Alice’s research aims to use patient specific pluripotent stem cells to model neurodegenerative diseases of the eye and brain. She has a proven track record in generating iPSCs and differentiating them into various cell types for disease modelling including those affecting the central nervous system and the eye. Alice and her collaborators have pioneered the use of automation for human pluripotent stem cell research in Australia, enabling the streamlining generation and maintenance of iPSC-derived cells from hundreds of patients. Alice was awarded a National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career development Fellowship in 2012, subsequently an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship in 2014 and is now a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. Alice is the primary inventor of three granted international patents related to stem cell technology.