Our Board

Mr Bruce Neill (Chairman)

Professor Alison Venn (Director)

Professor Alison Venn has been the Director of Menzies since January 2016 and prior to that was the Institute's Deputy Director, Associate Director (Research) and leader of the Public Health and Primary Care research theme. She began her career as a biomedical scientist specialising in immunology and biochemistry,   but an interest in public health and the social factors affecting health drew her into epidemiology, where she has focused on cardiovascular disease through the life course and cancer. She has more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles published, including in The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  She has been awarded more than $35 million in research funding over her career. Professor Venn leads the NHMRC-funded Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study, is the Director of the Tasmanian Cancer Registry and the Tasmanian Data Linkage Unit and contributes to numerous partnerships with the Tasmanian Government. As Director of Menzies Professor Venn is a member of the University's College of Health and Medicine Management Team.

Professor Moira Clay

Professor Moira Clay PhD is regarded as one of Australia’s foremost experts in the niche area of health and medical research strategic management.  She has been a vigorous advocate for researchers for close to 20 years, with extensive senior executive experience in funding bodies and medical research institutes in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.  She was President of two peak bodies – the Australian Society for Medical Research (2003) and the Australasian Research Management Society (2013) – leading significant public, political and scientific advocacy initiatives.  She has worked closely with Federal and State Governments for more than 20 years.  She holds an Adjunct Position as Professor with the University of Western Australia.

Moira established her research management consultancy, Moira Clay Consulting, in 2013 and has had a wide range of clients including universities, medical research institutes, professional bodies, funding bodies, and charities.  Her work focuses on empowering organisations to unlock their potential, realise opportunities and overcome challenges presented by a diverse, complex and dynamic sector.

Moira combines her experiences from a successful 10-year research career in laboratory-based cardiovascular research, her achievements in research management and her extensive experience sector-wide to build bridges between organisations and find bold and innovative solutions to achieve research impact, sustainability and benefit.

Professor Denise Fassett

Professor Fassett is the Dean of the Faculty of Health at the University of Tasmania. She is a Registered Nurse with a PhD and was Head of Nursing and Midwifery from 2006 until 2011. Denise was appointed a Governing Council Member to the Tasmanian Health Organisation (THO) North from its inception in 2012. Denise has a background in health regulation and she was Chair of the Nursing Board of Tasmania from 2006 until July 2010. She was appointed a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia in 2009, a position she currently still holds. She was appointed Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Wicking Dementia, Research and Education Centre, in 2009.

Brigid Heywood

Professor Brigid Heywood

Professor Brigid Heywood (BSc) (PhD) is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at theUniversity of Tasmania. Professor Heywood has responsibility for the research and innovation strategy of the University, the University research institutes, research students, research infrastructure and commercialisation services. Prior to taking up this position, Professor Heywood was the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Research, Academic and Enterprise at Massey University in New Zealand, where she led the development and implementation of strategies, policies and standards that underpin its research and teaching effort. Preceding this position Professor Heywood held the office of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at England's Open University. Professor Heywood holds a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from Manchester University (UK) and received her PhD from Liverpool University (UK) where she specialised in studies of biomineralisation. Her subsequent research career developed out of the discipline transition from applied biological sciences to materials chemistry. A trail blazer in many respects, she the first woman in the United Kingdom to hold an established Chair in Inorganic Chemistry - a notable achievement given her founding disciplinary background.

Pip Leedham

Ms Pip Leedham

Pip is an experienced health service executive who has held policy development, purchasing and operational management roles.  She has  keen interest in health system reform particularly in the broader primary health arena and its interface with the acute and aged care sectors.  Prior to ceasing full-time employment with the Department of Health and Human Services she was a deputy secretary and had more than five years as the Director Community Planning and Strategy and 10 years as the CEO Primary Health.  Pip is currently a member of the University of Tasmania Council and its finance sub-committee, a Director of Tennis Tasmania and independent member of the Department of Health Audit Committee.  She is a former member of the Tasmanian Institute of Sport Board and National Council of the Australian Hospitals and Healthcare Association.  Pip has a Bachelor of Economics,  Master of Business Administration and a graduation of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Stephen Tong

Professor Stephen Tong

Professor Stephen Tong is a clinician-scientist (specialist obstetrician) at the Mercy Hospital for Women and the University of Melbourne. He leads the Translational Obstetrics Group, a team of 15-20 scientists and clinician-scientists. He is also co-director of Mercy Perinatal, an entity that aims to be a leading regional centre for research, education and clinical care. He is strongly focussed on translational research - developing new diagnostics and treatments to tackle major complications that threaten the lives of mothers and babies. His team has taken several laboratory discoveries to international clinical trials running in United Kingdom, New Zealand and across Australia. These include drug treatments to cure ectopic pregnancy and preeclampsia. He is also developing new blood tests to help women avoid stillbirth.  His current network of collaborations for major prospective studies and clinical trials for which he has a lead role spans South Africa, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom (60+ hospitals), New Zealand, Chile, Solomon Islands, Pakistan, and across Australia.He has been awarded three NHMRC Achievement awards (Top ranked Fellowships in 2007, 2012 and 2017 (Practitioners Fellowship), has received 11 NHMRC project grants since 2011 (currently holds six), and has published over 140 papers

Professor Bob Williamson

Professor Williamson became Professor of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at St Mary's Hospital Medical School, University of London, in 1976, where he remained until 1995 when he moved to Melbourne as Director of the Murdoch Institute and Professor of Medical Genetics. He retired in October 2004 and now is an Honorary Senior Principal Fellow (Professor) of the Murdoch Institute, the University of Melbourne and Monash University. Bob has over 400 refereed career publications, including about 40 in Nature, Nature Genetics, Cell and Lancet. He was involved in the identification and cloning of genes for thalassaemia, cystic fibrosis, craniofacial abnormalities, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. More recently he has taken a major interest in national science policy and medical and scientific ethics, and has advised several Premiers, Health Ministers and Ministers for Innovation. Although he has retired, he still works with a small research group trying to coax cord blood stem cells to help treat cystic fibrosis in children. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (where he is Secretary, Science Policy), a Fellow of the Royal Society, and an Officer of the Order of Australia.