The HCRA team brings together an experienced group of research professionals with a diverse range of skills to support our mission.
Laureate Professor Rodney Scott
Professor Rodney Scott is the Director of HCRA, Director of Molecular Medicine for NSW Health Pathology and Hunter and Genetics Program Leader in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of Newcastle. Rodney is an internationally recognised leader in cancer genetics. Rodney is interested in understanding the mechanisms of disease so that more appropriate approaches to treatment can be developed to improve outcomes. His research first focused on the molecular aspects of bowel and breast cancer. By studying the molecular basis of these diseases it has served as a springboard to study other diseases such as melanoma, ovarian cancer and multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia.
Rodney has been a co-Deputy Director since HCRA was named as a Translational Cancer Research Centre in 2014 and currently leads a program of over 30 research staff and is supervising over 20 post-graduate students working on multiple aspects of genetic research.
Phone: 02 4921 4974
Professor Chris Paul
Prof Chris Paul is an NHMRC Career Development Fellow with the School of Medicine and Public Health, Priority Research Centre for Cancer Research, Innovation and Translation and Hunter Medical Research Institute. Chris is a behavioural scientist with considerable experience in the development and evaluation of strategies for achieving behavioural change on an individual, system and population level. Her work spans preventive health issues and provision of patient care. Much of her early work was focused on cancer prevention and tobacco control, with an emphasis on the dissemination and adoption of effective behaviour change strategies. She retains a strong interest in cancer prevention and control, with a growing research portfolio relating to each of social disadvantage, chronic disease and health service delivery.
Chris has been a member of the HCRA Executive Committee since 2015 and is the Chair of the Implementation Science and Impact Flagship Program. She has made significant contributions to the operational and strategic direction of HCRA as a translational cancer research centre.
Phone: 02 4042 0693
Associate Professor Nikki Verrills
A/Prof Nikki Verrills research is focused on developing new therapies for treating cancer that target specific changes in cancer cells, but do not affect normal healthy cells. Her work is applicable to all cancer types, but the focus is primarily on two diseases: acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and breast cancer. Because Nikki's group take a basic scientific approach of better understanding the biology of a disease, and then developing drugs to target biological changes, the work is also applicable to other diseases. For example, in collaborative work the targeted drugs are showing great promise in a range of inflammatory diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and emphysema.
Nikki is a long standing member of the HCRA Executive Committee and is the current Chair of the Biomarkers and Targeted Therapies Flagship Program.
Phone: 02 4921 5619
Research Operations Manager
As Research Operations Manager, Ann oversees the tasks of the operations team. Ann is also responsible for handling the financial side of HCRA Operations, managing the finances for all HCRA operational and research budgets. Ann has a diverse background in management and finance across the commercial, not-for-profit and tertiary sectors. Ann holds a B Com (Finance) and an MBA.
Phone: 02 4042 0856
Operations Support Officer
The Operations Support Officer role is to support the core activities and operational functions of HCRA. Belinda is the first point of contact (both internally and externally) for our members across our partnering institutions. In addition to providing operational support, Belinda supports the HCRA Executive team. Belinda has a diverse background and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science.
Belinda is in the HCRA office Monday to Friday, 8.30am - 4.00pm.
Phone: 02 4042 0439
Communications and Events Officer
The Communications and Events Officer role is responsible for developing and delivering HCRA communication initiatives and events and supports the activities of the wider team. Gemma has a background in Marketing and Communications and holds a Bachelor of Communications (University of Newcastle).
Gemma is in the HCRA office Monday to Thursday, 9.00am - 4.30pm.
Phone: 02 4042 0862
Research Operations Coordinator
Sarah contributes to the planning, organisation and delivery of high quality research support services provided by the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance.
Sarah is responsible for coordinating the transactional and budgetary aspects of finances relating to HCRA, contributing to strategic planning, advising committee members and Directors on operational, governance and strategic matters.
Sarah has over 20 years' experience working in diagnostic and research pathology laboratories and holds a Bachelor Degree in Science (Biology). She enjoys working to support the incredible efforts of the local cancer research community.
Phone: 02 4042 0775
Program Support Officer
Siobhan provides support to the members of HCRA, ensuring the effective and efficient coordination of research programs within the HCRA strategic plan. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the HCRA Research programs.
Siobhan is in the HCRA office Monday and Thursday, and every second Tuesday, 8.30am - 4.00pm.
Phone: 02 4042 0857
Community Engagement Coordinator
Sarah is responsible for coordinating and driving consumer involvement in HCRA’s strategy and programs and engaging the community in HCRA initiatives. She takes a lead role in planning and delivering on HCRA community engagement activities and developing a culture of community partnership.
Sarah has been an active member of the HCRA Consumer Advisory Panel since she completed the CCNSW Consumer Involvement in Research training in 2016. Sarah has also done extensive advocacy work with Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Voices.
Sarah is in the HCRA office Monday and Wednesday, 8.30am - 4.00pm.
Phone: 02 4042 0174
Phone: 02 4921 7460
HCRA Executive Committee
HCRA is led by Laureate Professor Rodney Scott (Director), Professor Christine Paul (Co-Deputy Director) and Associate Professor Nikki Verrills (Co-Deputy Director) in conjunction with an Executive Committee comprising of research leaders from across the Hunter New England region.
The HCRA Executive Committee meets on a monthly basis to facilitate the implementation of our research strategy, providing expert leadership and support at a senior management level that is central to the adoption of a translational-orientated research framework and culture embedded in the Hunter New England health system.