The Australian Epilepsy Project will change the lives of over 8,000 people with lived experience of seizures by 2025. That’s 8,000 people who will :

 

  • Be having fewer seizures

  • Be at lower risk of an epilepsy related injury or death

  • Have improved mental health

  • Have greater opportunity for workforce participation

  • Have an increased quality of life

THE AEP WILL RESULT IN FEWER SEIZURES, FEWER DEATHS AND BETTER LIVES.

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TEAM

The AEP has an impressive multidisciplinary team of world-leading experts in neuroimaging, genetics and neuropsychology working together to change the professional understanding and lived experience of epilepsy.

Graeme Jackson

Graeme Jackson

Chief Investigator
Professor Graeme Jackson is a Neurologist and a clinician researcher in brain imaging and Epilepsy. His research is based on using innovations in MRI technology to understand brain structure and function. His focus is translating research insights to the treatment of Epilepsy. He is deputy director of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health and a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne.
David Abbott

David Abbott

Informatics Lead
David is a physicist, neuroscientist and informatician whose research has made substantial advances in human brain mapping of Epilepsy. David leads the Epilepsy Neuroinformatics Laboratory at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. He is an Australian National Imaging Facility Informatics Fellow and an Honorary Principal Fellow in the Department of Medicine at The University of Melbourne.
David Vaughan

David Vaughan

Imaging Lead
David is a neurologist who specialises in the management of adult Epilepsy at Austin Health. His clinical research at The Florey uses advanced MRI methods to understand network changes in brain diseases. He jointly leads the ‘AFFECT’ clinical trial, using simultaneous EEG-fMRI for better targeting of Epilepsy surgery. His neurology training was at Austin Health, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and as the ANZAN fellow to NHNN Queen Square, London.
Chris Tailby

Chris Tailby

Neuropsychology Lead
Chris is a clinician-scientist. He works as a Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Epilepsy Program at Austin Health, and leads the Epilepsy Cognition Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. He also has a background in systems neuroscience. His research uses neuropsychological methods, harnessed to MRI techniques, to study cognition and its impairment in health and disease.
Mangor Pedersen

Mangor Pedersen

AI Lead
Mangor is a neuroscientist with a PhD from The University of Melbourne. His early-career research has ridden a wave of rapidly expanding study on functional MRI connectivity and machine learning. In recognition of Mangor’s work, he was one of four recipients of the prestigious American Epilepsy Society Young Investigator Award in 2017, out of 1300 applicants.
Saul Mullen

Saul Mullen

Protocol Development Lead
Saul is an Adult Neurologist specialising in Epilepsy at Austin Health and Eastern Health. His background is in large- and small-scale research in the genetics of human epilepsy, particularly copy number variation in generalised epilepsy. His recent work has focused on translating research findings into clinical care, with trials of precision therapies in genetic disorders.
Karen Oliver

Karen Oliver

Genetics Lead
Karen is a Bioinformatician with 12 years research experience in epilepsy clinical genetics. As a Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne’s Epilepsy Research Centre she also holds an ongoing position at The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research. She is a valued member of a number of multi-disciplinary international projects, including the International League Against Epilepsy Consortium on Complex Epilepsies.
Patrick Kwan

Patrick Kwan

Outcomes Lead
Patrick is a Professor of Neurology who specialises in the management of epilepsy in adults at Alfred Hospital where he heads the epilepsy program. He is also Professor of Neurology at Monash University. He is interested in a broad range of research that aims to better understand and improve the treatment outcomes of epilepsy using a more tailored approach. He has a particular interest in using technologies to facilitate the application of ‘precision medicine’
Olivia Lavalette

Olivia Lavalette

Clinical Trials Coordinator
Olivia is a Clinical Trials Coordinator with experience working in Phase 1-3 trials in Australia and the UK. She has a Neuroscience background and currently specializes in Epilepsy trials at Austin Health.
Marta Taranto

Marta Taranto

Project Manager
Marta has extensive experience in medical device sales and management across a large and diverse portfolio. She has been instrumental in negotiating complex procurement contracts, maintaining stakeholder relationships, coordinating multi-site product launches, and delivering highly technical product training to a wide range of clinical staff. She is also a qualified Occupational Therapist with practical experience in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Paul Lightfoot

Paul Lightfoot

Clinical Trials Manager – Austin
Paul has been conducting clinical trials for 25 years and epilepsy trials for 20 years. He has been involved in the pivotal trials for all new drug treatments for epilepsy in the last 2 decades. From a Nursing and Science background, he has contributed to the design and management processes of many clinical trials and consulted to Industry and government on policy and trial design of Epilepsy treatments. He has particular expertise in the Human Research Ethics approval process in Australia and extensive contacts with other Clinical Trials Centres and industry.
Alana Collins

Alana Collins

Neuropsychology Research Assistant
Alana is a Neuropsychology Research Assistant. She works in the in the Cognition Laboratory within the Epilepsy Imaging Group at the Florey. Alana recently completed training as a Clinical Neuropsychologist (University of Melbourne). She is intrigued by the interaction between brain function, cognition, emotion and behaviour.
Zanfina Ademi

Zanfina Ademi Delaney

Health Economics Lead
Zanfina is a pharmacist, epidemiologist and health economist. She specialises in health services economic evaluations alongside clinical trials and clinical registries, chronic disease modelling, health technology assessments and decision analytic modelling for economic evaluations. She is head of the Monash Outcomes Research and Health Economics (MORE) group at Monash University. She is a trained pharmacist, epidemiologist and health economist. She leads health economic components of a number of NHMRC, MRFF and industry funded studies.
Shawna Farquharson

Shawna Farquharson

Chief Research Radiographer – Florey
Shawna Farquharson is the Chief Radiographer at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. In her current role, she leads a team of MRI clinical-research radiographers responsible for providing MR imaging protocols specifically developed to address the research aims of Scientists & Clinicians within the Australian and International Neuroscience communities. Shawna’s research focussed on the ‘clinical application of advanced diffusion imaging models' aims to translate advances in diffusion MRI techniques to improve our understanding of neurological disorders.
Amanda Anderson

Amanda Anderson

Lived Experience Advocate
Amanda started having complex partial seizures at the age of 23 in 2003 - this was her first encounter with Epilepsy. 7 years later, after being referred to The Austin Hospital, she had neurosurgery. Amanda has had only 3 seizures which she classes as a huge success. Amanda completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) in 2018 and is now the Lived Experience Advocate for the Australian Epilepsy Project at The Florey.
Michelle

Michelle Goldsmith

Head of Enterprise and Innovation – Florey
Michelle has recently joined The Florey in a role with a focus on Business Development and Legal Services. Michelle has extensive experience in the medical device industry having previously held senior roles, including as Global Senior Vice President Business Development and Strategy at Global Kinetics Corporation. Michelle has extensive experience in policy and program design having held executive roles in the Victorian Government. She served for three years in various positions at the Australian Stem Cell Centre including as Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary. Michelle is a qualified lawyer.
Eric Pierre

Eric Pierre

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Advanced MRI Development – Imaging Division – Florey
Eric is a medical physicist and has been developing advanced MRI imaging techniques at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health for the past 6 years. One of his main focus is the continued development of the new Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting technique, in an international collaboration with Nature authors Mark Griswold and Dan Ma, with whom he completed his doctorate.
Carmel Jacobson

Carmel Jacobson

Research Finance Manager – Florey
Carmel is the Research Finance Manager for the Florey Institute. Carmel has had over 20 years’ experience working closely with researchers in the development of budgets, and the management, monitoring and reporting of research funds. Carmel has been instrumental in the AEP formulating a sustainable and feasible budget for both the pilot project and Stage 2 planning.
Donna Parker

Donna Parker

Imaging Research Assistant
Donna has over 8 years of experience with Epilepsy Imaging analysis and patient recruitment. Providing MRI scans for all patients living with epilepsy will be a great leap forward, and not only will it assist with their treatment, it will provide crucial data for research developments and technological advances.
Rob Smith

Rob Smith

Senior Research Officer – Imaging Division – Florey
Robert is a physicist and engineer, with ten years’ experience at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in the development of computational techniques for using MRI to reconstruct and analyse the brain's internal wiring. He is an Australian National Imaging Facility Fellow, and a lead developer of the free open-source neuroimaging software package MRtrix3.
Karin Verspoor

Karin Verspoor

AI Axpert Advisor
Professor Verspoor is the Director of Health Technologies, Melbourne School of Engineering at The University of Melbourne and is the Victorian State Hub lead of the Australian Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Health (AAAiH). She has extensive experience in artificial intelligence applications involving text and structured data in biomedicine, and early in her career spent five years in AI start-ups building natural language processing systems. Her work ranges from literature mining of biological events, analysis of social media for public health purposes, to predictive analytics and machine learning for medical applications.
Mark-J

Mark Jenkinson

AI Expert Advisor
Mark Jenkinson is a Professor of Neuroimaging at both the University of Adelaide and the University of Oxford. He has considerable research experience in medical image analysis, particularly human brain imaging, using AI and statistical methods. Prof Jenkinson has 20 years of experience in developing world-leading image analysis methodology. He is a co-founder and the principal developer of the FSL software package, the most widely used package covering the analysis of structural, diffusion and functional MR images of the brain, utilised in over 2000 laboratories worldwide.
Wally Lewis

Wally Lewis

Wally Lewis is a former professional rugby league footballer and coach. Currently a television commentator of the sport, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest rugby league players of all time. His time as a player and coach was followed by retirement from professional sport and he became a sports commentator across various media platforms. Wally had his first seizure when he was 19 but was not diagnosed with epilepsy for another 7 years. In 2007 he had neurosurgery to have part of his left temporal lobe removed at The Austin and it was a complete success. He is now seizure free and has returned to presenting on television. Wally talks openly about epilepsy to try and raise awareness about the condition. His book “Out of the Shadows: A Champion’s Return to the Spotlight” details his inspirational journey. Wally is Patron of Epilepsy Queensland and ambassador for The Australian Epilepsy Project and part of the Steering Committee.
Rachel Vella

Rachel Vella

Lived Experience Ambassador
Rachel was 15 when she was diagnosed with Epilepsy in 2011. After living with Epilepsy for 3 years, and at the age of 18, she made the decision to have a lesion removed from the left side of her brain. This surgery was a world first and has since provided her with seizure freedom. Rachel recently completed a Bachelor of Education in 2019 and is now a Lived Experience Ambassador for Australian Epilepsy Project at The Florey. Rachel is eager to share her insight and experience with Epilepsy in the hopes of helping many others currently living with Epilepsy.
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Remika Mito

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Epilepsy & Imaging Division – Florey
Remika is a postdoctoral researcher in the Imaging and Epilepsy group at the Florey. Her research utilises cutting-edge neuroimaging techniques to investigate neurological disorders, with a recent focus in epilepsy. She is an early-career neuroscientist, having completed her PhD research in neuroimaging in dementia (University of Melbourne), and Honours degree in neuropathology, for which she received the University Medal (University of Sydney).