Health Futures Institute

Our Researchers

The Health Futures Institute brings together some of the leading minds in health sciences to deliver translational research of global significance.


A driven community of researchers

Our team draws on decades of academic and industry experience to address some of the most pressing health challenges of our time.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson

Professor Nicholson is a Clarivate Highly Cited Scholar who has published more than 800 peer-reviewed papers on molecular aspects of systems medicine with multiple international prizes and honorary chairs in 12 Universities and is an elected Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Elaine Holmes

Professor Holmes is a distinguished computational biologist, a Clarivate Highly Cited Scholar, ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of Phenomics. Professor Holmes’ current work is progressing research on maternal and infant health, liver and gastrointestinal disease and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, and dementia.

Professor Una Ryan

Professor Ryan is one of Australia’s leading Parasitologists, with interests in enteric parasites, such as Cryptosporidium and blood born parasites such as Trypanosomes. Her work has been used as the basis for informing public health policy decisions and as such, she works closely with public bodies across Australia.

Professor Steve Wilton

Professor Wilton, Foundation Professor of Molecular Therapy at Murdoch University, has the dual roles of Director of Murdoch's Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics and Director of the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science. In 1991, he embarked on a research journey that would culminate in the development of life-changing drugs for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, alongside research partner Professor Sue Fletcher.

Professor Rhonda Marriott

Professor Marriott is a descendent of Kimberley Nyikina Aboriginal people and has devoted her adult life to nursing and midwifery in both clinical and academic roles. Professor Marriott’s research focuses on translational Aboriginal Health Research that privileges Indigenist methodologies and co-design approaches.

Associate Professor Hamid Sohrabi

Associate Professor Hamid Sohrabi has spent the last 15 years of his career investigating healthy ageing. As a psychologist and a clinical neuroscientist, he has extensive expertise in coordinating large multi-disciplinary teams and leading roles in national and international studies. Dr Sohrabi’s current research is focused on preclinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and preventive interventions to promote healthy ageing in older adults.

Dr Sohrabi’s current research is focused on preclinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and preventive interventions to promote healthy ageing in older adults.

Associate Professor Mark Watson

Dr Watson is a molecular biologist with a longstanding research interest in the Hepatitis C virus, with a focus on molecular immunology and antivirals. Dr Watson leads a team of postdoctoral scientists, postgraduate laboratory staff, computer scientists and hardware specialists dedicated to genomics research that improves clinical outcomes for patients with immunological and infectious disease ailments.

Associate Professor Abha Chopra

Dr Chopra leads research and development for Murdoch’s Genomics Core Research Facility and has established a world class, state-of-the-art accredited laboratory specialising in molecular genomics. She has an extensive track record in driving the development of novel, leading-edge techniques and analysis tools utilised by academic and industry collaborators throughout the world.

Professor Sue Fletcher

Professor Fletcher is a molecular biologist and Senior Principal Research Fellow who has been integral in pioneering therapeutic antisense oligomer development in partnership with Professor Steve Wilton. Together their group created the first two FDA approved therapeutic treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Professor Fletcher’s research interest area has expanded into inherited blindness and neurodegenerative disease. She is a passionate and involved patient and community advocate, as well as a dedicated volunteer for support organisations.

Associate Professor Rakesh Veedu

Dr Veedu has a dual appointment as Head of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics Research within CMMIT and the Perron Institute. Dr Veedu received his PhD from the University of Queensland after completing his MSc degree from Griffith University. He has over 14 years experience in basic and translational research in the field of oligonucleotide therapeutic development, and published over 90 articles in reputed journals. His research is focused on developing novel oligonucleotide-based drugs and diagnostics for tackling rare inherited and acquired diseases including solid cancers and Psoriasis.

Professor Anthony Akkari

Professor Akkari is a pharmacogeneticist and neuromuscular geneticist with 28 years research experience in Australia and the US. He leads his dually based research group at CMMIT and the Perron Institute in developing new strategic approaches to identifying genetic mechanisms and mutations in neurological diseases, with the aim of developing new and personalised treatments for motor neurone disease.

Professor Sulev Kõks

Joining CMMIT and the Perron Institute from Estonia in 2018, Professor Kõks’ research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. He also researches into, and has vast experience in psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, osteoporosis and osteosarcoma. Professor Kõks is a highly published researcher and is an active member of several international research consortia.

Dr Yvonne Learmonth

Dr Learmonth is an accredited physiotherapist and the Academic Chair for Sport and Exercise Science at Murdoch, specialising in physical activity research in neurological conditions. Her research agenda has examined feasibility and efficacy-based interventions for enhancing adherence to physical activity in MS, influences of exercise on symptom management, outcome measurement in MS, and clinical exercise promotion in MS.

Clinical Professor Allan Kermode

Clinical Professor Kermode is a Consultant Neurologist and Head of the Demyelinating Diseases Research at CMMIT and the Perron Institute. Highly awarded and published, Allan’s broad training incorporates not only clinical neurology, clinical immunology, electrophysiology and neuroradiology, but also several years of virology, cellular immunology and molecular biology bench work.

Clinical Professor Ross Baker

Clinical Professor Baker is a Consultant Haematologist and Head of the Blood Disorder Research group at CCSM and Chairman of the Perth Blood Institute. Highly awarded and published, Professor Baker is a passionate proponent of bench to bedside translational research for the past 30 years. He leads several international and domestic clinical trials and clinical research in blood disorders including thrombosis, leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and haemophilia.

Dr Jim Tiao

Dr Tiao is a molecular and cellular biologist and biochemist with 15 years research experience in Switzerland and Australia. Dr Tiao is the laboratory and scientific lead for the Blood Disorder research group at CCSM and senior molecular biologist at the Perth Blood Institute. His research focuses on identifying high-value nucleic acid biomarkers in rare and difficult to drug disorders in a thrombosis and haemostasis setting. In addition, he is also the clinical trials manager for biobank samples.

Professor Merrilee Needham

Professor Needham is a Consultant Neurologist seeing neuromuscular and myositis patients at Fiona Stanley Hospital, the Perron Institute and IIID at Murdoch University. Professor Needham also leads the dually based Myositis Research Group at CMMIT and the Perron Institute. She is passionate and well versed in all things Inclusion Body Myositis, having a fantastic rapport with her patients and colleagues.

Dr Sarah Rea

Dr Rea is a Senior Research Fellow and mid-career researcher with 10 years postdoctoral experience. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying dementia and neurodegeneration. Dr Rea uses innovative analytical techniques to demonstrate changes to key biochemical, cellular and structural components of neurons in response to genetic risk factors.

Professor Bruce Gardiner

Professor Gardiner has 25 years of computational modelling experience. His expertise is modelling cell-tissue interactions and inter- and intra-cellular communication networks. This requires multidisciplinary expertise beyond biomedical science, and includes material science, mechanics and transport processes (from chemical and mechanical engineering), control systems and applied mathematics.

Associate Professor Tracy Reibel

Dr Reibel is a passionate advocate for the routine provision of woman-centred care in maternity health systems, with over 25 years experience conducting research into maternal and infant health. She also has a long association with women’s consumer advocacy groups across Australia.

Dr Reibel has focused much of her research on Aboriginal women’s access to maternity care which is culturally safe and meets women’s cultural and personal needs.

Jayne Kotz

Ms Kotz is a nurse practitioner, midwife, child health nurse and researcher at Ngangk Yira. Throughout her career, she has worked alongside women in prison and women and their families in their own communities in Australia, Africa, and Vanuatu.

Reflected in her work as lead researcher of the ‘Baby Coming - You Ready?’ project, Ms Kotz strongly values equity and social justice within the Aboriginal community.

Valerie Ah Chee

Ms Ah Chee is a proud Bindjareb woman from Armadale with connections to the Palyku people through her maternal grandfather. Ms Ah Chee is a registered midwife and brings a strong understanding of the health system as a consumer and health practitioner in her role as Senior Aboriginal Project Officer with the "Baby Coming – You Ready?" project. A talented artist, Ms Ah Chee has created artwork for Ngangk Yira and has been commissioned by the Department of Health to produce artwork for the Fiona Stanley Hospital Birth Centre.

Jade Maddox

Ms Maddox is a Bindjareb woman with a strong background working within the Aboriginal health, wellbeing and education sectors. She established the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre at Murdoch University and has previously been CEO of Yorgum Aboriginal Corporation.

Ms Maddox is the Cultural Co-Lead and Research Coordinator for Ngangk Yira and maintains communications and relationships with the Elder’s Advisory Council and Aboriginal community.

Melanie Robinson

Ms Robinson has worked in diverse roles in nursing over the past 30 years, including clinical practice, education, and policy. Her priorities throughout her career include growing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives, ensuring the workforce is strongly supported, engaging with national policy development, and building strong partnerships across government and non-government sectors.

Ms Robinson has cultural connections to the Gidja and Ngarinyin people of the Kimberley in Western Australia and is passionate about supporting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Dr Belinda Brown

Dr Brown’s research is primarily focused on understanding the role of lifestyle in maintaining a healthy ageing brain and preventing cognitive decline and dementia. Her previous work has identified a role of physical activity in reducing toxic brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, enhancing cognitive function, and maintaining brain volume.

Associate Professor Jeremiah Peiffer

Dr Peiffer’s research is focused on understanding the role of exercise in maintaining a healthy brain in older adulthood. He also supervises a number of Honours, Masters and PhD students who are undertaking research in areas ranging from intervals training in elite athletes to the influence of exercise on chronic disease.

Dr Ruey Leng Loo

Dr Loo is the Premier’s Early to Mid-Career Fellow. A qualified pharmacist and emerging research leader, she is spearheading research in personalised nutrition to deliver a new knowledge of dietary influence on human metabolism and the microbiome.

Dr Torben Kimhofer

Dr Kimhofer is Senior Lecturer at the ANPC and specialises in bioinformatics and chemoinformatics. A data enthusiast, he is an expert in the use of multivariate statistics, pattern recognition and machine learning approaches; his research interests are in metabolic phenotyping of microbiomic interactions in autism spectrum disorders.

Dr Luke Whiley

Dr Whiley is Senior Lecturer at the ANPC who is a domain leader in the application of mass spectrometry for metabolic phenotyping. Jointly appointed by the Perron Institute, Dr Whiley’s work is focused on how genetics and lifestyle interactions influence the development of dementia and the maintenance of cognitive health throughout ageing.

Dr Nicola Gray

Dr Gray is Senior Lecturer at the ANPC focused on mass spectrometry based metabolic phenotyping. Dr Gray’s areas of specialisation are diabetes and obesity, where she studies the influence of lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise on health and disease, and the role of the microbiome.


Learn more about our research

See how our team is using some of the most advanced technology in the world to improve health and prevent disease.

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