Peter Mac’s Executive Director Cancer Research, Prof Ricky Johnstone, has announced the appointment of three new Associate Directors covering clinical, translational and health services and implementation science.

The newly appointed Associate Directors for Research are:

Prof Karin Thursky – Associate Director Health Service Research and Implementation Science

A/Prof Jayesh Desai – Associate Director Clinical Research

Prof Mark Dawson – Associate Director Research Translation

Prof Thursky, A/Prof Desai and Prof Dawson will join Prof Johnstone, with Prof Rick Pearson (Associate Director Laboratory Research) and Dr Carol Ginns (Associate Director Research Support and Development), to create the new-look Peter Mac Research Executive team.

The announcements come at a time when strong leadership is paramount, as Peter Mac enables its world-class research activities to continue in innovative ways, including remotely, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘We at Peter Mac firmly believe that the quality of our research and support staff and students means that research discoveries and outputs can and will be maintained through this interim period of changed work practices,’ says Prof Johnstone.

‘Strong leadership will be absolutely critical to this, and our new Associate Directors will be instrumental in guiding our Research workforce through this challenging time.’

Newly appointed Associate Director for Health Service Research and Implementation Science, Prof Thursky, says ‘I am looking forward to working with Ricky, Rick, Carol, Mark and Jayesh to establish an organisation-wide focus on health service research and implementation sciences. This is an incredible opportunity to engage clinicians and researchers from all areas to participate in research that will improve the quality of our cancer care, to improve patient outcomes and experiences, and to scale our programs to the wider community.’

A/Prof Desai, Associate Director for Clinical Research agrees.

‘I am delighted to know that I will be working as part of a great group of Associate Directors! Together as part of the Research Executive Team we will be empowered to drive our collective research goals even further at Peter Mac. Following on from last year’s external research review and the next strategic plan developed through this, we have a tremendous opportunity to more broadly integrate clinical research and clinical trials into much of what we do at Peter Mac in improving outcomes for our patients,’ he says.

Prof Mark Dawson will lead efforts to translate Peter Mac’s leading fundamental research into changes to clinical practice, as Associate Director for Research Translation.

‘It is such an exciting time to be part of Australia’s premier cancer centre. We have an exceptional cohort of world leading clinicians and scientists working at the cutting edge to increase our knowledge about the biology of cancer and using this knowledge to develop innovative approaches to diagnose, monitor and treat cancer,’ says Prof Dawson.

‘It is an extraordinary privilege to be involved in helping to shape and guide the translational research strategy and landscape at Peter Mac. I look forward to working together with Ricky and the other associate directors to further establish our cancer research leadership globally.’

The new Research Executive Team builds on strong foundations laid by the outgoing Associate Director Clinical Research, Prof John Seymour, and outgoing Associate Director Cancer Experiences Research Steve Allen, who have shown immense commitment to growing Peter Mac’s research capabilities.

‘I sincerely thank John and Steve for everything they have done to enhance research at Peter Mac and for their outstanding leadership,’ says Prof Johnstone.

In the short-term, the new Research Executive Team will be instrumental in driving and coordinating the development and implementation of new ways of working through the current COVID-19 situation to ensure support for all research activities, staff and students across the entire Peter Mac Research portfolio.

Longer-term, the Research Executive Team will finalise and prosecute the 2020-25 Research Strategic plan that will involve enhancing Peter Mac’s research portfolio, defining areas for strategic investment and harmonising national and international funding opportunities through strategic partnerships.

‘I am proud to say that our Research Associate Directors are absolutely world's best. I am excited at the prospect of working with the new look Research Executive Team to strengthen Peter Mac’s entire Research portfolio,’ says Prof Johnstone.