Invited Speakers

Invited Speakers for MBSANZ18 include:


Matt Hoffman 
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research


Dr. Matt Hoffman received his BDS from the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry in New Zealand. Dr. Hoffman worked clinically for two years for the Wellington Hospital Board, while doing part-time microbiology research at the Medical Research Council. He received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, and completed a PhD in microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester, N.Y. in 1994. Dr. Hoffman began postdoctoral training at NIH studying extracellular matrix and cell differentiation, and established his lab at NIDCR in 2004. Dr. Hoffman’s laboratory studies salivary gland development, by investigating how stem/progenitor cells are directed along a series of cell fate decisions during organogenesis, aiming to identify targets for gene- and cell-based regenerative therapies. Dr. Hoffman is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was appointed deputy scientific director of NIDCR in 2016, and was named scientific director of NIDCR’s division of intramural research in July 2018.


Larry Sherman
Oregon National Primate Research Center


Dr. Larry Sherman is a Professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology and in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon National Primate Research Center. He is also the President of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. He has over 80 publications related to brain development and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, with a focus on the role of extracellular matrix in regulating neural cell proliferation and differentiation. He serves on a number of US national scientific review panels for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Programs, and others. Dr Sherman has made numerous television appearances, discussing various topics related to neuroscience. He was invited by John Frohnmayer, former head of the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, to serve on a panel discussing the origins of creativity that was filmed for the U.S. Public Broadcasting System. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine recognized Dr. Sherman as one of the most innovative people in the State of Oregon. He was the 2012 Teacher of the Year at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine.

Carl Flannery 

Peter Torzilli
Weill Cornell Medicine

Simo Saarakkala
University of Oulu

Kris Kilian
School of Chemistry, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, School University of New South Wales

Kris Kilian received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from the University of Washington in 1999 and 2003 respectively. He worked for Merck Research Labs in the Methods Development group from 2000-2004 before travelling to Sydney, Australia to do his PhD with Justin Gooding at the University of New South Wales. In 2007, Kris joined the laboratory of Milan Mrksich at the University of Chicago as a NIH postdoctoral fellow to investigate new methods for directing the differentiation of stem cells. He was Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (2011-2017) and Associate Professor of Bioengineering (2017-2018) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before returning to UNSW in 2018 as a Scientia Fellow between the School of Chemistry and the School of Materials Science and Engineering. Kris is a recipient of the Cornforth Medal from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (2008), the NIH Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award (2008), a Kavli Fellow of the 19th German-American Frontiers of Science (2014), the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award (2015), and he is a Young Innovator of Cellular and Molecular Biongineering (2017). His research interests include the design and development of model extracellular matrices for stem cell engineering and fundamental studies in cell biology.

All spiral images featured on MBSANZ18 generously provided by Kris.

Kathryn Stok
Senior Lecturer in Mechanobiology
University of Melbourne

In 2016, Kathryn relocated from Zürich, Switzerland where she was Head of the Integrative Cartilage Research Group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) from 2009 – 2017, and a Senior Scientist for Cartilage & Arthritis Imaging Development at Scanco Medical AG from January 2015 – 2016. She completed her PhD in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich in 2007.

She has authored 40 publications on themes around cartilage imaging, tissue-engineering and exploring osteoarthritis onset and progression. She currently holds an ARC Discovery Grant on “Quantitative micro-computed tomography for cartilage and joint mechanobiological measurement”. She has previous and ongoing collaborations within the academic, business and health sectors in order to support this vision, and actively pursues opportunities to spin research into innovation outcomes.

Cameron Brown




Joanne Tipper
Professor of Medical & Biological Engineering

Visiting Professor Lulea University of Technology, Sweden and University of Leeds, UK

Joanne moved into the multidisciplinary research field of medical engineering in the mid 1990s after completing a PhD in skin microbiology. Over the last 25 years she has developed methodologies for isolating wear particles generated by total joint replacements. With over 80 peer reviewed publications on the isolation of UHMWPE, metal and ceramic particles and the biological responses to wear debris her work has contributed to the understanding of implant failure and the development of longer lasting, more reliable devices. Working alongside engineers Williams, Fisher and Hall in Leeds and Emami (Sweden), Peng (Australia), Kurtz (USA) and partnering with industry (DePuy Synthes, Ionbond, Invibio), projects include isolation, characterisation and determination of the cellular responses to wear particles from new and novel materials including silicon nitride based coating systems, antioxidant polyethylenes e.g. vitamin E UHMWPE, PEEK and CFR-PEEK and carbon nanotube/graphene polyethylene composites. New and expanding areas of interest include investigation of spinal cord cellular responses to wear products from spinal implants and instrumentation alongside projects investigating neural stem cell and primary neural cell responses to matrix stiffness of novel hydrogel scaffolds for central nervous system repair.

Jeremy Turnbull
Johnston Professor of Biochemistry

University of Liverpool


Jeremy Turnbull was born in Wairoa, New Zealand, and brought up in Sydney and Brisbane in Australia but moved to Europe as a teenager. He finished his secondary education in the UK, followed by studying biochemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Wales. He undertook his PhD and postdoctoral studies at Manchester University working with Prof John Gallagher, and subsequently received a Senior Fellowship from the MRC to start his own lab, initially at Birmingham University (1996-2003). He was then appointed the Johnston Professor of Biochemistry  at the University of Liverpool. His research interests have focussed on the development of analytical and chemical biology tools for studying structure-function relationships of heparan sulfates in cell regulation, and their application in various biological mechanisms including growth factor signalling, protease regulation and control of stem cell differentiation. His work in various disease-related systems has led down a translational pathway of development and exploitation of new targets in drug discovery for neurodegeneration, cancer and regenerative medicine.

Nicola Dalbeth
Professor of Medicine

Professor Nicola Dalbeth is a specialist rheumatologist and professor of medicine from Auckland New Zealand.  She is a principal investigator in the Auckland Bone and Joint Research Group.  She leads a research programme focusing on the mechanisms, impact and treatment of inflammation and joint damage in gout.

Her clinical research includes clinical trials, imaging studies (particularly dual energy CT), and validation of outcome measures in gout.  Her laboratory work in the Auckland Bone and Joint Research Laboratory involves investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of joint damage in gout.

She has served as a member of the Core Leadership Team on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Gout Management Guidelines, and as a steering committee member for the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) gout group and the ACR/European League Against Rheumatism gout classification project.

Raewyn Poulsen

Raewyn Poulsen is a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellow at the University of Auckland. Following completion of her PhD in 2008, and 5½ years of postdoctoral training in a musculoskeletal cell signalling laboratory at the University of Oxford, UK, Raewyn returned to New Zealand in 2013. She is interested in the role of tissue-specific circadian clocks in the regulation of cell behaviour. In particular, her research is focussed on the role of disruption to the chondrocyte circadian clock in osteoarthritis pathogenesis.

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