Welcome to our new Scientific Advisory Committee members

This past few weeks, the AGITG Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has undergone a renewal process. Providing opportunities for new members to take an active role in shaping our research direction is crucial to develop the future leaders of the AGITG, and our research in GI cancer.

The AGITG would like to welcome the newest additions to the SAC and convey our thanks for lending their multidisciplinary expertise towards our mission of improved outcomes for GI cancer.

A/Prof Amany Zekry

A/Prof Amany Zekry is a Clinical Academic at St George and Sutherland Clinical School, as well as Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at St George Hospital, NSW. She leads a research group at the UNSW Microbiome Research Centre (MRC), with interests in the microbiome, liver cancer and immune responses. During her presidency of the Australian Liver Association in 2013-2017, the first report on the burden of chronic liver disease in Australia was commissioned and a collaborative group formed that facilitated advocacy for PBS listing of treatment for the hepatitis C virus.

A/Prof Amitesh Roy

A/Prof Amitesh Roy is Senior Medical Oncologist at Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders Medical Centre. At the Centre’s Clinical Trials unit, he is also involved in various clinical and translational research projects. A/Prof Roy is an active member of the AGITG, with involvement across numerous trials including as Study Chair of the international anal cancer trial, InterAACT. He also currently serves as Deputy Chair of the AGITG Upper GI Working Party.

A/Prof Charbel Sandroussi

A/Prof Charbel Sandroussi is a Clinical Associate Professor in Surgery at the University of Sydney and a consultant surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred, Strathfield Private and the Mater Hospitals, as well as being an active member of several multidisciplinary cancer care teams in these institutions. He has an interest in complex upper GI, hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer surgery, including minimally invasive techniques in the management of these disorders.

A/Prof Connie Diakos

A/Prof Connie Diakos is a medical oncologist at GenesisCare and the Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW. Dedicated to the education and training of the next generation of clinicians, she is also a conjoint senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and Co-Director of Training in the Department of Medical Oncology at Royal North Shore Hospital. A/Prof Diakos is an active member of the AGITG, being part of our Lower GI Working Party since 2018. She specialises in GI cancers, as well as breast, gynaecological and neuroendocrine cancers.

Dr Corina Behrenbruch

Dr Cori Behrenbruch is a colorectal surgeon practising in the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, VIC. Dr Behrenbruch has a particular interest in colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease, having published several influential research papers on the topics, and is trained in laparoscopic, robotic and endoscopic procedures. An active member of the AGITG, Dr Behrenbruch served as a Preceptor during the 2022 AGITG Preceptorship in Stage IV Colorectal Cancer.

Prof Jacob George

Prof Jacob George is a renowned hepatologist and liver research scientist who studies the causes of and mechanisms for the development of liver disease and liver cancer. He contributes to investigator-initiated and multicentre international clinical trials on therapeutics for liver diseases, and leads a program of research on viral hepatitis, fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis, host genetics/liver immunology and the epidemiology, prevention and management of liver cancer. His research has a strong translational component, linking laboratory and clinical research.

Dr Lauren Hanna

Dr Lauren Hanna has a background in clinical dietetics and wrote her doctoral thesis on the central role of nutrition in determining quality of life and survival outcomes in people with pancreatic, gastric and oesophageal cancers. She is certified and highly experienced in CT-derived body composition analysis, and is experienced in multi-site randomised controlled trials and observational studies in health service and community settings. She is passionate about optimising patient experience across the cancer journey, and working towards improvement in nutrition care for people with cancer.

A/Prof Liang Qiao

A/Prof Liang Qiao is Principal Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the Storr Liver Centre (SLC), the Westmead Institute of Medical Research. He is currently the Leader of the Cancer Research Group at SLC, with projects funded by the NHMRC and NSW Cancer Council. A/Prof Qiao’s research interests include inflammation-related gastrointestinal and liver cancers, with a particular focus on the role of cancer stem cells in inflammation-related cancer development. He is currently working on several projects, including role of IL-6 and Notch signaling in liver cancer and targeting cancer stem cells as a novel approach in liver cancer therapy.

A/Prof Marina Pajic

A/Prof Marina Pajic has established unique personalised medicine projects for pancreatic cancer, supported by three fellowships from Cancer Institute NSW. Her research focuses on understanding the role of –omic alterations in cancer progression and treatment failure with view to develop novel effective therapeutic approaches. She takes an active role in training emerging scientists (Honours and PhD projects). An active member of the AGITG, she presented on the pancreatic intracellular and immune landscape at the Translational Research Symposium during the 2022 AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting.

Dr Norma Bulamu

Dr Norma B. Bulamu is a senior research fellow in Health Economics whose research interests are in measuring and valuing health and patient-reported outcomes, patient and consumer preferences for health and economic evaluations in health care. She has received over $4 million for projects in which she was lead investigator or co-investigator, and is a recipient of the Cancer Council Beat Cancer’s Early Career Research Fellowship to investigate optimal pathways for the prevention of bowel cancer.

Prof Rachel Neale

Prof Rachel Neale is the Deputy Coordinator of the Population Health Department at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, QLD and holds adjunct appointments at the Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland. In 2020, Professor Neale completed the development of guidelines to support primary care practitioners in determining which patients should undergo investigation for pancreatic cancer. She holds special interest in researching pancreatic cancer, skin cancer and Vitamin D.

A/Prof Tracy Putoczki

A/Prof Tracy Putoczki is Laboratory Head at the Personalised Oncology Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, VIC. Her laboratory focuses on inflammation-associated cancers, particularly how cytokines influence the cells that promote the growth and spread of cancers of the stomach, bowel and pancreas. She has published multiple peer-reviewed articles on the topic.