The Doherty Institute’s Executive Team comprises of the organisation’s Director, Deputy Directors and Executive Officer. Their role is to devise and lead the implementation of the Doherty Institute’s strategic plan.
The Executive Team
Professor Sharon Lewin – Director
Leading infectious diseases expert Professor Sharon Lewin is the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute. Sharon is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow and President of the International AIDS Society (IAS). As an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist, her laboratory focuses on basic, translational and clinical research aimed at finding a cure for HIV and understanding the interaction between HIV and hepatitis B virus. She has published over 260 publications and is funded by the NHMRC, the National Institutes of Health, The Wellcome Trust, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and multiple commercial partnerships. Sharon was local co-chair for the International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne in 2014. She is chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Infections, the peak advisory committee to the Federal Minister for Health; a member of the NHMRC Council; an elected member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society representing the Asia-Pacific region; and was a foundation council member of the Australian Academy for Health and Medical Research. She was named Melburnian of the Year in 2014, awarded the Peter Wills Medal by Research Australia in 2015 and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) Outstanding Female Researcher Medal in 2022.
Professor Deb Williamson – Deputy Director and Director and Head of Virology, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory
Professor Deborah Williamson is a Clinical Microbiologist and Director of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL). She is also a Professor of Public Health Microbiology and Laboratory Head in the Department of Infectious Diseases. Deborah is a clinician-scientist involved in the delivery of specialist public health laboratory services, and in the diagnosis and surveillance of communicable diseases. Her laboratory focuses on the translation of diagnostic technologies, including genomics, to infectious diseases.
Professor Andrew Brooks – Deputy Director and Head Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Professor Andrew Brooks is an immunologist interested in immune recognition strategies, in particular how immune cells discriminate healthy cells from those infected with viruses or tumours. Before establishing a laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Andrew completed a PhD in immunology at Flinders University in South Australia and post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, USA. It was here Andrew developed an interest in the receptors used by lymphocytes called natural killer cells that allow them to target tumours or virus-infected cells. Since returning to the University of Melbourne, Andrew’s research has continued to focus largely on receptors that regulate lymphocyte activation.
Andrea Fischer – Chief Operating Officer
For over 15 years, Andrea Fischer has worked in the development and implementation of public health programs in the Asia-Pacific region. After graduating from the Australian National University in Population Health and Epidemiology, she completed a Masters of Public Health at Monash University. Andrea’s first international assignment was in India working on primary health care activities in Andhra Pradesh. Following this, she specialised in HIV prevention working in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, primarily for the Burnet Institute. Prior to her role at the Doherty Institute, Andrea was the Executive Officer for AIDS 2014 held in Melbourne in July 2014. As Chief Operating Officer at the Doherty Institute, Andrea leads the Directorate team and is responsible for the development of the identity and strategic programs across the organisation.
Professor Jodie McVernon - Director of Doherty Epidemiology
Professor Jodie McVernon is a physician with subspecialty qualifications in public health and vaccinology. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained at the University of Oxford, Health Protection Agency London and The University of Melbourne. Her work focuses on the application of a range of cross-disciplinary methodological approaches including mathematical and computational models, to synthesise insights from basic biology, epidemiological data and sociological research. These models advance understanding of the observed epidemiology of infectious diseases and inform understanding of optimal interventions for disease control.
Professor Dick Strugnell
Dick Strugnell is a microbiologist who works at the microbiology/immunology interface, and in basic bacterial molecular biology of key microbiological phenomena including bacterial physiology, biofilm development and adaptation to intracellular growth. The research involves two key human pathogens, Salmonella enterica and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The bacteria include organisms responsible for severe human diseases in developed and less-developed healthcare settings. The research leads to new interventions which include antimicrobials targeting key physiological processes e.g. growth, inhibitors of bacterial adhesion and novel strategies to exploit our growing understanding of the microbe/immune system interface such as immunomodulatory drugs and biologicals and new or improved vaccines to prevent disease.
Professor James McCarthy - Director of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service
Professor James McCarthy is Director of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at the Doherty Institute. His research has focussed on the diagnosis and treatment of parasitic diseases, with a major recent focus on the development and application of clinical trial systems that entail deliberate infection of human volunteers with malaria and other pathogenic organisms. This has enabled study of the host-pathogen interaction, development of diagnostic biomarkers and the evaluation of investigational drugs and vaccines.
Professor Kirsty Buising - Deputy Director of the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship
Professor Kirsty Buising is an infectious diseases physician who is Deputy Director of the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship and chief investigator for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded Centre for Research Excellence in Antimicrobial Stewardship. Kirsty also holds an appointment as a clinician at VIDS and co-leads the antimicrobial resistance theme at the Doherty institute. She serves on advisory groups at state, national and international levels in the areas of antimicrobial stewardship, guideline development and healthcare associated infection.