Our People

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Doctor Alisa Pedrana

Project Coordinator, EC

Dr Alisa Pedrana is recognised as one of Australia’s emerging public health researchers, with a significant track record in HIV and sexual health research and epidemiology, and the application of information communication technology for health promotion. <br> Her research interests focus on undertaking innovative epidemiological and public health research, and blood-borne virus epidemiology and health promotion with particular interests in mHealth and exploring how to adapt and apply new technologies for health communication and health system strengthening.

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Professor Margaret Hellard

Chief Investigator, EC

Margaret is a Chief Investigator of the EC Partnership. She is the Deputy Director of Programs at the Burnet Institute. For almost two decades Margaret’s work has centred around infectious diseases, preventing their transmission and identifying the impact of these infections in vulnerable populations. A researcher and clinician, her principal research interests are in the epidemiology of blood-borne viruses (BBVs) HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections, and improving the management of individuals who already have the infection.

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Associate Professor Joseph Doyle

Research & Evaluation Working Group Head

Joseph is a physician and researcher with a particular interest in the epidemiology, management and prevention of blood borne viruses (HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B). With a background in clinical medicine, Joseph specialised in infectious diseases at the Alfred where he works as a consultant physician. He completed his MPH at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his public health fellowship was undertaken at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and Burnet Institute. His PhD at Burnet and Monash School of Population Health was focused on the effectiveness of early hepatitis C treatment.

Burnet Institute Staff Profile

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Doctor Judy Gold

Health Promotion Working Group Head

Judy Gold has over 10 years’ experience in research, public health and international development. Her PhD involved developing and evaluating new approaches for sexual health promotion to young people using SMS and social networking sites. After completing her PhD, Judy moved to London where she worked for several international NGOs focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and as a freelance consultant. Judy returned to the Burnet Institute in May 2016, where she is currently working part time to coordinate health promotion activities to increase the number of people who inject drugs accessing Hepatitis C treatment.

Burnet Institute Staff Profile

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Professor Alex Thompson

Clinical Pathways Working Group Head

Alex is the Director of the Department of Gastroenterology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne. He is a NHMRC Research Fellow of the University of Melbourne (St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne), Senior Research Fellow at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Department of Gastroenterology, Duke University Medical Centre. Prof. Thompson was involved in the discovery of IL28B polymorphism as a predictor of treatment outcome in HCV. His major research interest is the identification of host and viral determinants of the natural history and treatment outcomes of hepatitis B and C viruses.

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Professor Mark Stoové

Chief Investigator, EC

Professor Stoové has researched the transmission and impact of sexually transmitted infections and blood borne viruses among key risk populations, primarily people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men, for more than 12 years. His research interests focus on undertaking innovative epidemiological and public health research and disease surveillance, with particular interests in prospective observational studies and the application of record linkage and bio-behavioural data collection to these study designs.

Burnet Institute Profile

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Professor Paul Dietze

Chief Investigator, EC

Paul is one of Australia’s leading alcohol and other drug epidemiologists with a significant national, and emerging international profile. He is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and a past ARC Future Fellow and VicHealth Public Health Research Fellow. With more than 20 years’ experience and an outstanding track record, his work has established internationally innovative surveillance systems and applied research designs that break new ground in the public health research into alcohol and other drug use and related harms in Australia.

Burnet Institute Profile

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Associate Professor Peter Higgs

Chief Investigator, EC

Peter has a background in community development and has worked with marginalised populations for over 20 years in Melbourne, Sydney, Vietnam, Indonesia and China. His field based research has been focused on risk and people who inject drugs. Peter is teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students in Public Health at La Trobe University. He maintains involvement in various studies of cohorts of injecting drug users in Melbourne.

Burnet Institute Staff Profile


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Mellissa Bryant

Site Manager

Mellissa has a clinical nursing background as a senior research coordinator in infectious diseases Alfred Health, clinical trial site management experience via industry held position and investigator initiated projects.

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Kico Chan

EC Nurse

Kico completed her Bachelor of Nursing at La Trobe University in 2012. Kico is a registered nurse and has spent a number of years working in the community, including GP clinics, community health centres, NSPs, and 24 hour Supercare pharmacies.

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Bridget Draper

Research Assistant

Bridget is a Research Assistant working on the EC Partnership project. In 2015, Bridget completed her honours project on the acceptability of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among gay men and transgender women in Myanmar. In 2016, Bridget started working at the Burnet Institute coordinating an evaluation of HIV and STI health promotion campaigns, an evaluation of rapid HIV testing in Adelaide and working on data management for the Prime Study.

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Doctor Imogen Elsum

Research Manager

Imogen has a diverse background in program management and research with experience across public health, international health and biomedical research. Since the completion of a PhD in cancer biology, Imogen has focused on international and public health working in a range of settings. She’s interested in innovative solutions that facilitate access and provision of health care services to improve health outcomes.

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Jack Gunn

Research Assistant

Jack joined the Burnet Institute in 2019 to work on multiple projects in the Eliminate Hepatitis C Partnership Project and Behaviour and Health Risks Program. Jack has interests in both qualitative and quantitative research, AOD harm reduction, mental health, and blood-borne viruses.

Burnet Institute Profile

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Chloe Layton

EC Nurse co-ordinator

Chloe has worked in community health including AOD and harm reduction for most of her nursing career, as well as some time doing clinical hepatology. She’s interested in working with marginalised populations, health equity, and disease elimination.

Burnet Institute Profile

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Doctor Daniel O'Keefe

Research Officer

Dr. Daniel O’Keefe began his research career as an in-field researcher of people who inject drugs, conducting many hundreds of interviews in drug and alcohol services and in active, street-based drug markets. With a particular focus on blood-borne virus infection epidemiology among people who inject drugs, Dr. O’Keefe completed his PhD on new methods of measuring needle and syringe coverage for harm reduction program evaluation. Dr. O’Keefe has collaborated on research projects at the Australian national level, on population-level HCV treatment programs in Cambodia, and has led research projects in Myanmar and Australia. Dr. O’Keefe has published world first research on harm reduction evaluation methods and has recently had his work recognized by the World Health Organisation, thereby broadening the discourse on appropriate evaluation methodology.

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Michael Traeger

Research Assistant

Michael joins Burnet as a research assistant for the ACCESS (Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance of STIs and BBVs) project. He has a particular interest in STI and blood-borne virus epidemiology among disadvantaged and high-risk populations, including gay and bisexual men, people who inject drugs and young people.

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Doctor Anna Wilkinson

Research Fellow

Ms. Anna Wilkinson is an early career public health researcher, with interests in epidemiology, biostatistics, maximising the use of data, and evaluating public health policy. Ms. Wilkinson has an extensive clinical background including working as a research nurse at the Alfred Hospital and Burnet Institute. Previously Anna has worked in diverse clinical settings, including in rural and remote Australia and in the UK. This breadth of clinical work has provided an important foundation for her public health research career.

Burnet Institute Profile