Key dates

Registration 
Now open

Registration Closes
23 November 2020

ABSANZ Summit 2020
24 - 26 November 2020    (11:00 - 15:00 AEDT)

Available On-Demand Until
31 March 2021

Enquiries

Association Professionals

Conference Managers

PO Box 7345
Beaumaris VIC 3193
conference@absanz.org.au
P: +61 3 9586 6033

Invited speakers

Dr Norman Swan 
Health Journalist, Broadcaster and Commentator (Australia)

Plenary Session: Community Biosafety-Challenges and Triumphs
Tuesday 24 November, 11:20am
and
Plenary Session: Hypothetical panel discussion 'What’s next?'
Thursday 26 November, 11:10am

Dr Norman Swan has emerged as the go-to health correspondent during the COVID19 pandemic and is regarded as one of the most trusted voices in the country on Coronavirus. He hosts the daily ABC podcast Coronacast which aims to help answer questions about coronavirus or COVID19. The podcast breaks down the latest news and research to help the community understand how the world is living through a pandemic. Dr Norman Swan hosts The Health Report on the ABC’s Radio National, a regular panelist on The Drum and a guest reporter on Four Corners on ABC Television. The Health Report is the world’s longest running health programme in the English-speaking world and Norman has won many awards for his work including Australia’s top prize for journalism, the Gold Walkley. He is also a regular health and COVID commentator on the ABC’s 7.30. Norman trained in medicine in Scotland and paediatrics in London and Sydney before joining the ABC and has hosted many other programmes on radio and television. He was the medical host on Channel Ten’s Biggest Loser for six seasons and two of his recent Four Corners have had a high impact. One of was on waste in the healthcare system and the other changed the debate about doctors’ out of pocket charges. Norman has consulted to the World Health Organisation, co-chaired a global meeting of health ministers in Bamako West Africa and has been the Australian correspondent for both the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Dr Ashley Bloomfield 
Ministry of Health (New Zealand)

Plenary Session: Community Biosafety-Challenges and Triumphs
Tuesday 24 November, 11:20am

Dr Bloomfield qualified in medicine at the University of Auckland in 1990 and after several years of clinical work specialised in public health medicine. His particular area of professional interest is non-communicable disease prevention and control, and he spent 2011 at the World Health Organization in Geneva working on this topic at a global level. Dr Bloomfield was Chief Executive at Hutt Valley District Health Board from 2015 to 2018. Prior to that, he held a number of senior leadership roles within the Ministry of Health.

Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan
International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (Malaysia)

Interactive Session: How ABSANZ can bring biosafety to the community
Tuesday 24 November, 1:00pm

Mahaletchumy Arujanan is the Global Coordinator for the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA). She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Petri Dish – the first science newspaper in Malaysia, an international consultant for UN FAO, Sri Lanka, Biosafety Programme; and Adjunct Lecturer at Monash University Malaysia. She has a PhD in science communication and Master of Biotechnology and a degree in Microbiology. Maha is listed as the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview and in the honorific list of Women in Biotechnology Law and Regulation as part of Biotechnology Law Report published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc in 2015. Maha won the 2010 Third World Academy of Science Regional Prize for Public Understanding of Science for East, Southeast Asia and Pacific Region. 

Dr Heather Bray
University of Western Australia (Australia)

Interactive Session: How ABSANZ can bring biosafety to the community
Tuesday 24 November, 1:00pm

Dr Heather Bray has more than 20 years of experience in science communication. She is currently a Lecturer in Science Communication at the University of Western Australia, where she co-coordinates the Science Communication major and the Master of Science Communication. Dr Bray’s research explores community understandings of, and attitudes to, the role of science and technology in food production, in particular genetically-modified crops and food, and farm animal welfare. Her research focuses on understanding how attitudes and perceptions of scientific and practices are shaped by social and cultural factors, and how communication between different food production stakeholders can be improved. Dr Bray holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Hons) and a PhD in Animal Science both from the University of Sydney and she has worked as a scientist in both Australia and the Netherlands. Before returning to academia, she worked in science centres and for agricultural research centres, developing community engagement programs about complex and controversial technologies, and also holds a Graduate Diploma in Sciences Communication from Central Queensland University.

George Taiaroa 
University of Melbourne (Australia)

Webinar: A day in the life of COVID-19 test swab
Tuesday 24 November, from 2:00pm

George Taiaroa is a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, based at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. His area of research is primarily emerging communicable diseases and global health, with a focus on the application of molecular and genomic methods to address challenges in these fields. In this role, and as an Honorary Staff member at the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory (VIDRL), George has been at the forefront of Victoria’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, involved in the isolation and rapid sharing of cultured SARS-CoV-2, establishing genomics to assist surveillance, and routine diagnostic work.

Dr Heidi Mitchell
Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (Australia)

Plenary Session: Regulating Outbreaks - How can regulation hinder and help in a crisis?
Wednesday 25 November, 11:10am

Heidi Mitchell is the Director of the Contained Dealings Evaluation Section at the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). The Section conducts scientific risk assessments and develops risk management plans for work with GMOs in contained facilities (including maintaining guidelines and certifying contained facilities) and for clinical trials of GM vaccines or gene therapies. Heidi joined the OGTR in 2006 as an evaluator, preparing risk assessments for a range of GMOs. She has also worked in the Regulatory Practice section of the OGTR at the interface between scientific risk assessment and operational regulatory policy. Heidi has been involved in work around the scope of the gene technology legislation. She has represented Australia at OECD and CBD SBSTTA meetings and presented talks at domestic and international conferences on regulation of GMOs in Australia. Heidi has a PhD in plant biochemistry and post-graduate research in plant-fungal interactions and on using bacteria other than Agrobacterium for plant transformation. She has published research papers in peer-reviewed journals including Nature.

Derek Fitzgerald
Medsafe (New Zealand)

Plenary Session: Regulating Outbreaks - How can regulation hinder and help in a crisis?
Wednesday 25 November, 11:10am

Derek Fitzgerald is the Manager of Compliance at Medsafe, the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, located within the Ministry of Health. He is a pharmacist and has experience within community and hospital pharmacies and in the medicines manufacturing industry. At Medsafe for almost 28 years working in the compliance area as a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) auditor and in various roles involving medicine and medical devices quality issues, medicines testing, investigation of regulatory and technical issues and in investigation and prosecution work, he has a wide experience in regulatory processes in relation to therapeutic products.

Luke Johnson
Ministry for Primary Industries (New Zealand) 

Plenary Session: Regulating Outbreaks - How can regulation hinder and help in a crisis?
Wednesday 25 November, 11:10am

Luke Johnson is a Response Manager in the Incident Management Team at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) New Zealand. From late Jan 2020 Luke lead MPI’s COVID-19 response that covered aspects such as border operations, animal welfare, Biosecurity operations and ensuring the health and safety of staff. As the situation evolved with an All of Government approach Luke has ensured that MPI reacted effectively to support the primary sector. Luke has aided part of the regulating functions of MPI to continue to apply its legislative requirements but also how initiatives have been used to lessen the impact on stakeholders. 

Caroline Gibson
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (Australia)

Plenary Session: Regulating Outbreaks - How can regulation hinder and help in a crisis?
Wednesday 25 November, 11:10am

Caroline Gibson is the director of Approved Arrangements for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, a role that she has held for over 8 years. Caroline has held management and leadership positions in both the Australian Public Service and private sector. Caroline enjoys using her extensive industry experience to shape risk-based policy to ensure the safe and efficient movement of items through the more than 3,000 post-entry approved arrangements that she manages nationally. She uses her experience and role to manage biosecurity risk with minimum impact on industry and the department while achieving regulatory objectives.

Prof James Ward
UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health (Australia)  

Webinar: Impacts of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases on indigenous populations
Wednesday 25 November, from 2:00pm

Professor James Ward is a Pitjantjatjara and Narungga man, and a national leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. He is currently the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Professor within the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland. He is a member of the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia COVID-19 Working Group and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander COVID-19 Taskforce

Dr Julie Wang
Whitehorse Medical Clinic (Australia) 

Webinar: Biosafety in the clinical setting
Wednesday 25 November, from 2:00pm

Dr Julie Wang (FRACGP FAFPHM MAppEpid MPhil) graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1998 and has been working in general practice since 2001. She is the Practice Principal of Whitehorse Medical Centre. Julie has special interests in women and children's health, aviation medicine, skin cancers, minor procedures, travel medicine, refugee health and General Practice education. Prior to entering full-time General Practice, Julie was a Researcher at the Burnet Institute, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Monash University. Outside of work, Julie did enjoy travelling, but now has switched her interests to annoying her kids by spending too much time with them, when she is not running, walking or reading.

Dr Rosie Gentle
Whitehorse Medical Clinic (Australia) 

Webinar: Biosafety in the clinical setting
Wednesday 25 November, from 2:00pm

Dr Rosie Gentle (BVSc MBBS CWH SCHP) is an Advanced GP registrar, specialising in women’s health, pregnancy care and children’s health. Rosie graduated from Monash University in 2013 and worked at Eastern Health before beginning her GP training. Rosie has combined her love of social media with her passion for communicating accurate medical information with online videos and posts aimed at the clinic’s patients as well as the wider community.

Dr Amy Wang
Whitehorse Medical Clinic (Australia) 

Webinar: Biosafety in the clinical setting
Wednesday 25 November, from 2:00pm

Dr Amy Wang (BBiomed MD) is a GP registrar at the start of her training. She enjoys all aspects of general practice, however is especially passionate about preventative health and women’s and children’s health. Amy graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2017. Prior to starting general practice training, she worked at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Monash Health. Outside of work, Amy enjoys yoga, tending to her growing collection of indoor plants and is a budding hobby gardener. Her weekends are currently spent tackling backyard weeds in preparation for raised garden bed projects.

June Freeland
VU Research (Australia) 

Webinar: Biosafety in the workplace
Wednesday 25 November, from 2:00pm

June Freeland, a professionally Chartered OHS Advisor (CMIOSH), Biosafety Professional (BSP), and Chartered Biologist, (C Biol) with the Royal Society of Biology has over 35 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, June 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 she was an active member. She has also audited and reviewed EBSA training courses with European colleagues. June was co-chair of the UK Biosafety group and is a fellow of the Institute of Safety and Technology in Research (ISTR).

Dr Julian Druce
Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (Australia)

Plenary Session: Hypothetical panel discussion 'What’s next?'
Thursday 26 November, 11:10am

Dr Julian Druce has worked for >30 years at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory. The major emphasis has been in human virological diagnosis, including serology, virus isolation and nucleic acid detection, but also in public health virology associated with HIV and blood-borne virus surrogates investigating environmental survivability, virus disinfection, re-use of medical devices, harm reduction strategies and medical malpractice investigations. More recently the primary focus has been design, implementation and management of the laboratory for PCR assays for the detection of a broad range of most human viruses including viral haemorrhagic fever viruses and other emerging viruses at BSL-2, BSL-3 and BSL-4 containment. His laboratory was the first laboratory outside of China to isolate and share SARS-CoV-2 in the current COVID pandemic. 

Dr Robert Ellis 
Colorado State University Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, (1978 – June 30, 2020), CSU Biosafety Director Emeritus (1986–1989,1997– June 30, 2020) (United States)

Plenary Session: Hypothetical panel discussion 'What’s next?'
Thursday 26 November, 11:10am

Dr. Ellis was elected to the American Biological Safety Association International (ABSA) Council 2004 -2007, and served as ABSA President 2008 - 2009. He received the 2015 Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award which is awarded to a current ABSA member for “outstanding contributions to the American Biological Safety Association.” He initiated and directs the Biosafety and Biosecurity Training Course (BBTC) in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (2004 – present). He has extensive experience in the design, construction, and operation of BSL–2 and BSL–3 facilities, and is recognized nationally and internationally for his knowledge and practical application of Biosafety and Biosecurity practices and principles. 

Prof Trevor Drew 
Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (Australia)

Plenary Session: Hypothetical panel discussion 'What’s next?'
Thursday 26 November, 11:10am

Prof Trevor Drew is Director of CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, leading this world class high biosecurity diagnostic, investigative and research facility with approximately 300 staff, working with pathogens up to biosafety level 4 in the area of diagnosis of exotic diseases of terrestrial and aquatic animals, including those also affecting man. Born in Cornwall UK, following undergraduate studies in microbiology, he completed his Masters in applied immunology at King's College and Brunel University, PhD in molecular virology, a research collaboration between the UK Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the Central Veterinary Institute, The Netherlands.

Stephen Coulter 
Coulter Advisory (Australia)

Interactive Session: Designing the future of containment
Thursday 26 November, 1:00pm

Stephen is an independent specialist consulting engineer who has spent over 20 years designing and working on complex facilities including pharmaceutical manufacturing, biological containment, advanced manufacturing and specialist laboratories in Australia and Internationally. Stephen undertakes existing and proposed facility independent peer reviews through the entire project lifecycle (planning phases, design documentation, construction, commissioning and operational handover training). Stephen also runs strategic training workshops and presentations aimed at passing on knowledge and improving expertise amongst facility operational & management teams, design teams, and construction and commissioning organisations. Having spent considerable time on site commissioning and qualifying biological containment facilities Stephen has a practical hands on approach to the design and construction of these complex facilities. Stephen can add meaningful value to both microbiological and engineering facets of the design by combining his engineering and biochemistry degrees. Stephen also assesses facilities for the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment (DAWE) as one of the 9 formally appointed TPAs. Stephen is a long-term passionate supporter of ABSANZ currently serving as President of the Association.
 

Richard Sale
Conrad Gargett (Australia)

Interactive Session: Designing the future of containment
Thursday 26 November, 1:00pm

Richard Sale is a practicing architect who has specialised in laboratory briefing, design documentation and procurement for many years. While based in Queensland, he has participated in laboratory projects in most Australian states and in New Zealand. He is the laboratory specialist at Conrad Gargett, a major long-standing national architectural practice with studios in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Townsville. His focus in on understanding the technical specifics of each laboratory and technical facility and ensuring those principles are carried through in the design. His laboratory speciality is endorsed by being accreditted by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) as a third party assessor (3PA) of approved arrangement biosecurity facilities. Richard has been an active member of ABSANZ since its inception, spoken at several Conferences, been a member of several Conference Committees and is currently a member of the ABSANZ Board.

Sean Kaufman 
Safer Behaviors (United States)

Webinar: What's next in terms of changing people's behaviour
Thursday 26 November, from 2:00pm

For over 25 years, Sean Kaufman has worked to minimize human risk factors within workplace environments by controlling for the interactions between human behavior and environmental conditions. Before leading his own organization, Sean has served at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. During his tenure at both organizations, Sean responded to several emergency situations including 9/11, anthrax attacks, Ebola, H1N1, and both SARS CoV‐1 and CoV‐2. He has been awarded two Health and Human Distinguished Service Awards. Sean is a behavioral expert who understands the risk of being human. He has served many organizations and assisted in controlling for apathy, complacency, perceived mastery, and unconscious incompetence – all noted human risk factors regardless of where you are in the world and what industry you serve. Sean is also an expert in personality classifications and has encouraged organizations to hire the right person for the right job. Sean is married and is a father of three. He lives in Woodstock, Georgia, is a new author, and is an avid tennis player.

Prof Erica Donner 
University of South Australia (Australia)

Webinar: Measuring COVID-19 and antibiotic resistant bacteria in sewerage and the implications of finding them
Thursday 26 November, from 2:00pm

Professor Erica Donner is a Research Leader in the Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia. She works across a range of topics in environmental science, with a major emphasis on chemical and microbiological contaminant monitoring, fate, and effects. Erica completed her undergraduate training at the University of New South Wales (Australia) and has a PhD in Environmental Soil Chemistry from The University of Reading (UK). She is currently focused on understanding the One Health dimensions of antimicrobial resistance, such as the role of pollution in promoting its development and spread and the intimate links between human, animal, and environmental health. Erica is also particularly interested in advancing the science of wastewater-based epidemiology for infectious disease surveillance.

Dr Barbara Drigo 
University of South Australia (Australia)

Webinar: Measuring COVID-19 and antibiotic resistant bacteria in sewerage and the implications of finding them
Thursday 26 November, from 2:00pm

Dr Barbara Drigo conducted her doctoral studies at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and was awarded her PhD in 2009 at the University of Leiden (Netherlands). Her PhD research used multiple interrelated methods in molecular microbial ecology. She then became a research fellow at Wageningen University (Netherlands), where she studied the correlation between disease suppression and bio-control agents. Shortly after, she moved to the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, where she developed novel experimental systems to test microbial dynamics and functioning in response to environmental change. In August 2016 she became a lecturer at the Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia, where she is focusing on environmental antimicrobial resistance surveillance. Since 2017, she has been a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee at University of South Australia.

Brett Cole 
BioSafety (Australia)

Webinar: Decontamination of workplaces. Services for biocleaning
Thursday 26 November, from 2:00pm

Brett Cole has been working in contamination control in the High containment, Life Sciences, Healthcare and Food/Beverage Market for over 20 years. His formal qualifications are in Environmental Microbiology & Chemistry and later in Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology. His experience has been in Academic microbiological research, Medical devices for High Level Disinfection, Engineering controls for contamination abatement, materials handling, infectious and contaminated waste and facility microbial testing, decontamination, and remediation. He has worked in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and Asia Pacific on many contamination projects from Beta-lactam site remediation, Animal Facility Infection, Clean-in-Process decontamination, Mould Infestation, Biological Contaminated Site decontamination. Brett works with many Food & Beverage companies, Building and HVAC Managers, Government Departments (DHHS, OGTR, DAWR and DPI), Healthcare Services and Universities on Occupational hygiene and contamination projects. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, he has worked with two Federal Government Task Forces on PPE and Ventilators, IAQA Guidelines for Validation of Virally contaminated buildings as well as being the first International Contributor to the US Governments Technical Working Group on Decontamination for COVID-19.