2022-23 Board of Directors

The Association of Biosafety for Australia and New Zealand (ABSANZ) is governed by the Board of Directors.

Michelle McConnell

ABSANZ President

Michelle has a PhD in Microbiology and until May 2021, when she retired, held dual roles at the University of Otago, as a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and also as the Biological Compliance Officer for the University.

Michelle managed the university’s containment and transitional facility at the Dunedin campus and maintains oversight of the facilities at the Wellington and Christchurch campuses. The Dunedin campus houses the largest containment and transitional facility in New Zealand for microorganisms, GM animals , GM plants, GM invertebrates and organisms that are new to NZ such as Antarctic starfish and Xenopus as well as imported uncleared biological risk products.  


Richard Spence

ABSANZ Vice President

Chair Governance, Finance and Risk Committee

Richard is the manager of the Assurance, Biosafety and Containment team at the Ministry for Primary Industries Animal Health Laboratory in New Zealand and has responsibility for managing the systems that ensure safe and secure laboratory operations. 

Richard has a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Nottingham and has an extensive background in diagnostic microbiology both in clinical microbiology laboratories as a State Registered Clinical Scientist (UK) and in veterinary laboratories having worked at MPI’s Animal Health Laboratory for the last 13 years.

He has broad experience in working with and managing the risks associated with both animal and human pathogens, including high risk zoonotic agents. 

Richard was involved in the design and construction of MPI’s recently completed National Biocontainment Laboratory as a senior user representative from the start to the end of the project.  

Richard is passionate about improving risk management and understanding around biosafety and biocontainment in laboratories working with high consequence pathogens and the development of appropriately qualified and experienced biosafety professionals to support this. 

Bernadette Bradley

Chair - Membership Development Committee

Dr Bernadette Bradley has been the Biosafety Partner for Curtin University in WA for the last ten years.

She has developed and implemented a comprehensive bespoke biorisk management system for the business, and advised about the design of several physical containment facilities concurrently with the development of the facilities’ management strategies.  She is also interested in change management, incident investigation, and biosafety training.

After her PhD studies in agricultural genetics, Bernadette worked for four years as a Medical Genetics Research Scientist and three years as the Biological Compliance Officer at the University of Western Australia.   

Richard Sale

Conference Committee

Richard is a Queensland-registered Senior Architect with leading national architectural practice Conrad Gargett. After his architectural studies at the University of Queensland and post-graduate study overseas, including working in the UK, his interest in the field of technical facility design and construction aligned with his earlier concerns in the relationship between energy and buildings.

In a career spanning nearly forty years he has focussed on the design and documentation of a range of laboratories, not least biocontainment facilities. He has been involved in a laboratory specialist role in the design of such facilities across most Australian states, New Zealand and the Pacific. Like Stephen Coulter, our immediate past President, he is a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources accredited third party Approved Arrangement Assessor.



June Freeland

Chair - Education & Training Committee

June, a professionally Chartered OHS Advisor, Biosafety Professional  and Chartered Biologist, has over 30 years experience authoring a range of scientific papers, university policy documents, and regulatory guidelines.

June’s collaboration with government agencies, nationally and internationally, and her wide knowledge of global biosafety has led to her creating several biological and general safety online training courses.  

In addition, she helped create an accredited Professional Biosafety Practitioner course which was subsequently adopted throughout the UK and introduced to the European biosafety community through the European Biosafety Association (EBSA) in which June was an active member. She also audited and reviewed EBSA training courses.



Amanda has a PhD, Medicine – Neuroimmunology as well as a Bachelor of Science Honors – Biochemistry; Bachelor of Science, major – biochemistry/biomedical science from the University of Queensland. Amanda is an experienced senior manager with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. With over 15 years' experience in occupational health and safety, risk governance and compliance management in biological teaching and research settings, Amanda brings a pragmatic approach to achieving success in these areas. Her knowledge and expertise in regulatory compliance means she has the capability to support leaders at all levels of an organisation in areas such as management systems, governance, due diligence and engaging with Regulator


Nenad holds a PhD in Microbiology and has over 25 years experience in the Life Sciences sector, he was a past president of ISPE Australasia. 







Sam completed his PhD at the University of Tasmania in 2011, specialising in analytical chemistry hardware optimisation, and applications for separating and identifying compounds in complex substances. He has worked for the Australian Antarctic Division analysing ice cores from Antarctic and Greenland for chemical and isotopic markers of volcanism and past climate events. He visited Antarctica in 2013, working at Casey Station for a summer session. 




Gregor holds a Bachelor of Science from Macquarie University, he has also completed a Master of Science (UQ) and a Masters of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology (ECU).  Gregor has experience working for across several State and Federal Government Agencies including; SafeWork Australia, NSW Workcover and NSW EPA. Gregor also has several years governance experience as a Company Secretary.