Our Board & Staff

Our Board and Staff

The Brain Foundation is governed by a board, a scientific advisory committee (see members below), and a small executive team that help run our day-to-day operations.

Visit the About Us page to learn more about the Brain Foundation.

Executive Staff

  • Trevor Thompson, Chief Executive Officer
  • Beata Roman, National Financial Controller

Board of Directors

Photo of Matthew Kiernan, President of the board

Professor Matthew Kiernan AM MBBS PhD DSc FRACP FAHMS

President

Professor Matthew Kiernan is the Bushell Chair of Neurology at the University of Sydney and Co-Director of the Brain and Mind Centre. He is Chair of the World Federation of Neurology ALS/MND Specialty Group and established the Pan-Asian Consortium for Treatment and Research in ALS (PACTALS). He is Consultant Neurologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Image of board member, Fon Hah

Mr Fon Hah

Director

Fon Hah is the Chief Financial Officer of Acurio Health Group. Prior to this, he was CFO of an unlisted public company delivering unified communications-as-a-service. Having trained at PWC and KPMG, he led corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions at Microsoft, Wesfarmers and Suncorp in Australia. In addition, Fon served the Australian Department of Defence as a special consultant. He is a Chartered Accountant of Australia and New Zealand and holds a Masters of Applied Finance, Macquarie University.

Scientific Committee Member Steve Vucic

Professor Steve Vucic

Director

Professor Vucic is a clinical academic, translational researcher and professor of neurology at the University of Sydney.  Professor Vucic is the Northcott Chair of Neurology and Director of Brain and Nerve Research Center (Concord Clinical School, Concord Hospital, University of Sydney).  Professor Vucic was appointed as staff neurologist to Westmead Hospital and senior lecturer at University of Sydney in 2008.  Having established a highly productive research laboratory, Professor Vucic was promoted to Associate Professor at University of Sydney in 2011, and in 2015 was appointed as Professor of Medicine in 2014, aged 42, just 7 years after obtaining his Doctoral thesis.  He has published 275 manuscripts in highly prestigious international journals, including Lancet, Lancet Neurology, Brain, Nature Genetics, JAMA Neurology. His research has attracted 15,000 citations with a H-index of 55. Professor Vucic has also published a number of book chapters and a textbook titled “Practical Approach to Electromyography” with international collaborators from Harvard Medical School.  

For his research, Professor Vucic has been awarded numerous international and national accolades including the Erica Susman Prize (Awarded by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for outstanding and lasting contribution to the field of internal medicine (neurology) in the areas of research and the Gottschalk medal – Awarded by the Australian Academy of Science (2016). 

Professor Vucic was awarded a Doctor of Science (DSc) by the University of New South Wales in recognition of significant scholarly work in ALS, establishing Professor Vucic as a distinguished international authority in ALS. Additionally, Professor Vucic was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2020, in recognition of outstanding achievements and exceptional contributions to health and medical science in Australia, especially for his contribution to ALS research.

Board Director Tony Grey

Mr Tony Grey AM

Director

Tony Grey is lawyer, mining entrepreneur, businessman, arts patron and author. He graduated with a BA in History (Hons) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto, Canada. After practising law with McCarthy Tetrault in Toronto for seven years, he started working in Australia and founded Pancontinental Mining Ltd. He became an Australian citizen, and remained the Chairman and CEO of Pancontinental, which discovered the Jabiluka uranium orebody and grew into a diversified mining company.

He is presently the Chairman of Gordian Investments Pty Ltd, a widely based investment company. In the past, he has been a member of the Business Council of Australia and the advisory committee of the Benevolent Society. He has also been a director of the International Nuclear Law Association, the National Mutual Royal Bank, Opera Australia, and the Conservatorium of Music. Mr Grey was a founding director of the World Gold Council, the Chairman of the Uranium Institute (now the World Nuclear Association), and a trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW. 

Throughout his diverse career he has published four books and many articles in various magazines and newspapers. He is currently writing a book of essays. Mr Grey was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2016.

Image of treasurer, Bill Kuchta

Mr Bill Kuchta

Treasurer

Bill Kuchta is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. He retired as a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, having spent 37 years in the profession, providing financial services to multinational clients and assisting companies and individuals through the various growth cycles of business. He ultimately specialised in the mobility of a global workforce, consulting and providing services in relation to financial, taxation, immigration issues and relocation policy development and implementation.

Apart from being a board member of Brain Foundation Australia, Bill has been involved in the not for profit (NFP) sector for over 14 years, having been involved in community based early learning centres and in the disability sector. Bill has been on the board of Macarthur Disability Services (MDS), a significant NFP provider of disability services in Sydney’s southwest region. The board has been instrumental in guiding MDS away from block funding into an organisation having to compete for market share under the new NDIS funding model with a limited capital base.

Individuals, by their expertise, commitment and actions contribute to the success of an organisation, especially in the NFP sector and Bill endeavours to champion and support all who are employed in those organisations and the board members who freely give their time and efforts to achieve the aims of the organisation such as BFA and make a positive contribution to our community.

Scientific Advisory Committee

The Scientific Advisory Committee is an independent group of highly regarded neurologists who generously volunteer their time and expertise to review our research grant applications. Every year we receive many more outstanding applications than we can fund, so the committee’s work ensures that we select the highest quality grants. We thank them for their hard work and continual support.

Read more about our funding process here.

Scientific Committee Member Steve Vucic

Professor Steve Vucic

Scientific Advisory Committee Chairman

University of Sydney

Professor Vucic is a clinical academic, translational researcher and professor of neurology at the University of Sydney.  Professor Vucic is the Northcott Chair of Neurology and Director of Brain and Nerve Research Center (Concord Clinical School, Concord Hospital, University of Sydney).  Professor Vucic was appointed as staff neurologist to Westmead Hospital and senior lecturer at University of Sydney in 2008.  Having established a highly productive research laboratory, Professor Vucic was promoted to Associate Professor at University of Sydney in 2011, and in 2015 was appointed as Professor of Medicine in 2014, aged 42, just 7 years after obtaining his Doctoral thesis.  He has published 275 manuscripts in highly prestigious international journals, including Lancet, Lancet Neurology, Brain, Nature Genetics, JAMA Neurology. His research has attracted 15,000 citations with a H-index of 55. Professor Vucic has also published a number of book chapters and a textbook titled “Practical Approach to Electromyography” with international collaborators from Harvard Medical School.  

For his research, Professor Vucic has been awarded numerous international and national accolades including the Erica Susman Prize (Awarded by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for outstanding and lasting contribution to the field of internal medicine (neurology) in the areas of research and the Gottschalk medal – Awarded by the Australian Academy of Science (2016). 

Professor Vucic was awarded a Doctor of Science (DSc) by the University of New South Wales in recognition of significant scholarly work in ALS, establishing Professor Vucic as a distinguished international authority in ALS. Additionally, Professor Vucic was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2020, in recognition of outstanding achievements and exceptional contributions to health and medical science in Australia, especially for his contribution to ALS research.

Scientific Committee Member Terence O'Brien

Professor Terence O’Brien

Scientific Advisory Committee

Monash University

Terence J. O’Brien, MB, BS, MD, FRACP, FRCPE, FAHMS, FAES, is Chair of Medicine (Neurology) and Head, Central Clinical School, Monash University and Program Director, Alfred Brain and Deputy Director of Research, Alfred Health. He was formally The University of Melbourne’s James Stewart Chair of Medicine and Head, The Department of Medicine, The Royal Melbourne Hospitals (2008-17) and Van Cleef Roet Chair of Neuroscience at Monash University and Director of Neurology at Alfred Health (2017-20). He is a specialist in neurology and clinical pharmacology, with particular expertise in epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases, pre-clinical and clinical trials, and in-vivo imaging in animal models and humans. He leads a large translational research team undertaking both basic studies and clinical studies focused on developing improved treatments for people with epilepsy and related brain diseases, including traumatic brain injury, dementias and brain tumours. He has published >570 peer-reviewed original papers in leading scientific and medical journals which have been cited >23,900 times (H-Index 80). He is currently the President of the Epilepsy Society of Australia (since 2018).

Photo of committee member Pamela McCombe

Dr Pamela McCombe

Scientific Advisory Committee

University of Queensland

Dr Pamela McCombe is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland and Neurologist at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. She is also in private practice. She graduated from the University of Queensland in Medicine and trained in Neurology in Sydney. Later she had overseas training at the Cleveland Clinic. She now specialises in neuro-immunological disorders and neuro-muscular disease. She has an interest in both laboratory and clinical research. She has published numerous scientific papers and currently supervises PhD students. She is currently the president of ANZAN.

Photo of Matthew Kiernan, President of the board

Professor Matthew Kiernan AM MBBS PhD DSc FRACP FAHMS

Scientific Advisory Committee

Brain & Mind Centre

Professor Matthew Kiernan is the Bushell Chair of Neurology at the University of Sydney and Co-Director of the Brain and Mind Centre. He is Chair of the World Federation of Neurology ALS/MND Specialty Group and established the Pan-Asian Consortium for Treatment and Research in ALS (PACTALS). He is Consultant Neurologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Photo of committee member Bronwyn Jenkins

Dr Bronwyn Jenkins

Scientific Advisory Committee

Royal North Shore Hospital

Dr Bronwyn Jenkins (BMed FRACP) is a neurologist from Sydney, Australia with a subspecialist interest in headache. She is a clinician in private practice and an Honorary Medical Officer at Royal North Shore Hospital. She has participated in the Headache Master School program and written a postgraduate course in headache for the University of Sydney. She is a member of ARCH, IHS and AHS, having been a member on the International Headache Society Board from 2018 to 2020. She is President Elect and Chair of the Education subcommittee for the Australian and New Zealand Headache Society (ANZHS) which aims to improve management of headache patients in the region.

Image of Scientific Committee Member Victor Fung

Dr Victor Fung

Scientific Advisory Committee

University of Sydney

Dr Victor Fung is Conjoint Associate Professor at Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, and Head of Department and Director of the Movement Disorders Unit, Department of Neurology, Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia. He is President-Elect of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), Chair of the Asia Pacific Affairs Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists, and is a past-President of the Movement Disorder Society of Australia and New Zealand (MDSANZ). He was the founding Chairperson of the MDSANZ Clinical Research and Trials Group. He is a member of the Parkinson’s Australia, Parkinson’s NSW and Dystonia Network Australia Scientific Advisory Boards. He serves on the Editorial Board of Movement Disorders, npj Parkinson’s Disease, the Journal of Clinical Movement Disorders, Movement Disorders Clinical Practice and F1000 Research. He has a clinical and research interest in Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders.

Photo of committee member Steve Robinson

Professor Stephen Robinson

Scientific Advisory Committee

Monash University & RMIT

Professor Stephen Robinson is a neuroscientist with specialisations in neuroanatomy and cognition. He has served as the Head of Psychology at both Monash University and RMIT, and as a director of Brain Foundation (Australia). Stephen is a founding director of NeuroTest PtyLtd and has developed objective tests for mild cognitive impairment and for frailty. His research relates to changes in the brains and cognition of older individuals, particularly those with dementia, cardiac disease, obstructive sleep apnoea and inflammatory bowel disease. His 162 peer-reviewed papers have been cited more than 18,000 times and include first-author papers in Nature and Science. As a member of the Global Burden of Disease consortium, he has 15 papers in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. Stephen has served as an expert reviewer for international research funding agencies including: National Institutes of Health (NIH; USA), Alzheimer’s Association (USA), Canadian Medical Research Council, Israel Science Foundation, Swiss National Science Foundation, Marsden Fund (NZ), Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale ((FRM); France), as well as Australian funding agencies: NHMRC, ARC, Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, Brain Foundation Australia, Australian Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation, Sir Zelman Cowan Trust Fund, Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Photo of committee member Michael Halmagyi

Professor Michael Halmagyi AO

Scientific Advisory Committee

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Professor Halmagyi AO received his BSc (Med) at the University of Sydney in 1968. He continued his studies at the University with a MBBS in 1971 and later his MD in 1995. He was appointed as a Consultant Neurologist at the RPAH in 1979 and continues to hold this position today. In 1998 he was appointed Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Sydney. Today at the RPAH he is the director of the Eye and Ear Research Unit which is the national referral centre for the diagnosis and treatment of patients from all over Australia with difficult balance disorders.

He has received many awards for his work including the Research Achievement Award from the RPAH in 1996 and the Hallpike Nylen Prize from the Barany Society in 1996. With Professor Ian Curthoys he wrote textbook chapters on vestibular compensation and otolithic testing, including one that received the George Davey Howells Prize 2008.

The “Halmagyi-Curthoys head impulse sign” is now known and used around the world as a very quick, simple and effective indicator of the function of semicircular canal. This test is now probably the most widely used clinical indicator of vestibular function today since it costs nothing, is fast, simple and safe and gives such valuable diagnostic information instantly.

Photo of committee member Karl Ng

Associate Professor Karl Ng

Scientific Advisory Committee

University of Sydney

A/Prof Karl Ng is a conjoint associate professor at the Northern and Central Clinical Schools, University of Sydney. He completed his medical degree with first class honours at the University of New South Wales, and attained accreditation in Neurology from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He has undertaken 3 years post-fellowship training in Clinical Neurophysiology at the prestigious National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, University College London culminating in accreditation of a second specialty in the UK in this area. He has completed a doctoral thesis in peripheral axonal excitability in peripheral and central neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and Royal Australasian College of Physicians, a previous board director of the charitable Brain Foundation and councillor of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists, and committee member of the Clinical Neurophysiology interest group. Dr Ng is head of the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology at Royal North Shore Hospital, and has organised specialty training conferences in neurophysiology for the Australian association, and speaks at international meetings. He has over 90 publications in high-end international peer reviewed journals, is an invited reviewer for these learned societies, and is Associate Editor of BMJ Neurology Open and the Internal Medicine Journal. He directs a busy group private practice at Sydney North Neurology and Neurophysiology, has an active interest in peripheral neuromuscular disorders, and treats all neurological indications for botulinum toxin.

Picture of Scientific Committee Member, Roula Ghaoui

Dr Roula Ghaoui

Scientific Advisory Committee

Royal Adelaide Hospital

Dr Roula Ghaoui is an Adult Consultant Neurologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH). She completed her Neurology training in 2012 and was admitted as a Fellow to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. In her final year, she undertook a combined neurophysiology and neuromuscular fellowship at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, NSW. Following completion of her fellowship, she was awarded an NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship to undertake PhD studies through the University of Sydney. Dr Ghaoui completed her PhD in 2017, which focused on using next generation sequencing technologies to improve the diagnosis of families with neuromuscular disorders.

Dr Ghaoui transitioned to South Australia (SA) and has been employed as a staff specialist Neurologist at the RAH since 2017. She has set up a neuromuscular and neurogenetics service receiving referrals from around SA. She is a Chief investigator on 3 clinical trials that commenced in 2021 at the RAH investigating treatments for the mitochondrial and inflammatory myopathies. In addition to her clinical role, Dr Ghaoui was awarded an early career researcher fellowship in 2019 through the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) hospital research fund. In 2020, she was awarded an NHMRC investigator grant (EL1) to pursue newer genetic techniques such as RNA sequencing for the undiagnosed genetic myopathies in collaboration with SA pathology where she is undertaking her research project. In the last 3 years, she received 3 other research awards (Northern Communities Health Foundation Award, The Brain Foundation Award and the CALHN Health Services Charitable Gifts award). Dr Ghaoui has been on several medical advisory board panels for the treatment of rare disorders including spinal muscular atrophy, Pompe disease and Mitochondrial disorders.

Andrew Davidson Scientific Committee Member

Associate Professor Andrew Davidson

Scientific Advisory Committee

Royal Melbourne Hospital

Associate Professor Andrew S Davidson (MB BS, MS, PhD, FRACS) is an academic neurosurgeon at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Melbourne Private Hospital. He is the neurosurgical lead for the Victorian Gamma Knife Centre at Peter Mac. His clinical interests include the multidisciplinary management of brain tumours, pituitary and skull base surgery (including minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery), cerebrovascular surgery, and spine surgery.

A/Prof Davidson is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology at University of Melbourne. His academic and research interests include the functional assessment of brain tumour patients, and Evidence-Based Medicine. He has a strong interest in medical education and is an executive committee member of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Academy of Surgical Educators.

Dr James Dimou

Scientific Advisory Committee

Royal Melbourne Hospital

James Dimou is an early career neurosurgeon-scientist with subspecialty expertise in the clinical management and research of brain tumours. Having graduated from medical school at the University of Melbourne (UoM) in 2003, he trained in Neurosurgery across a number of Australasian centres, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2017. He then spent a further two years in Canada undertaking a Surgical Neuro-Oncology fellowship at the Foothills Medical Centre under the auspices of the University of Calgary, as well as additional observerships in Toronto and Zurich, Switzerland.

James continues to contribute actively to the neurosurgical research community. In 2013, he was awarded a PhD from UoM, for translational research exploring glioma stem cells, receiving accolades from the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) for best research presentation by a Young Neurosurgeon two years earlier. He continues to publish his own research and was recently appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. His appointment at UoM as a Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Surgery (RMH), co-leadership of the Parkville Precinct Brain Tumour Research Group, and active membership in the RMH Surgical Educators’ Group, underline his commitment to medical and neurosurgical education.

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