Board and Committees

Board and Committees

2023 ASCEPT Board

President & AMD Representative (RACP)
Associate Professor Bridin Murnion
St Vincents Hospital Sydney/UNSW

Associate Professor Murnion studied Pharmacology and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She holds 3 fellowships: FRACP in Clinical Pharmacology, FFPMANZCA and FAChAM.

She is currently a Senior Staff Specialist in Clinical Pharmacology at St Vincents Hospital Sydney and Clinical Pharmacology/Addiction Medicine at Northern Sydney Local Health District. She is Conjoint Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Health, University of New South Wales and Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. Her current research interests focus on the clinical pharmacology of opioids and Quality Use of Medicines in vulnerable populations.

Immediate Past President 
Professor Kevin Pfleger
Director Biomedical and Health Innovation, The University of Western Australia

Professor Kevin Pfleger is Director Biomedical and Health Innovation at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and the WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, as well as Head of Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. He is also Chief Scientific Advisor of ASX-listed Dimerix Limited and Scientific Co-Founder of RAGE Biotech, as well as being a member of the International Advisory Group of the British Pharmacological Society, of which he is a Fellow. 

Professor Carl Kirkpatrick
Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University

Carl Kirkpatrick is a Professor of Pharmacy Practice, at the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University. His research expertise is in the area of Pharmacometrics and Model Informed Drug Development and Discovery. He has applied these approaches intensively across the anti-infective area and a number of other therapeutic areas.

Associate Professor Hesham Al-Sallami
School of Pharmacy, University of Otago

Hesh has been a member of ASCEPT since 2007 and has expertise in clinical pharmacy and clinical pharmacology teaching, research, and practice.

Joining the ASCEPT NZ executive committee in 2016 was an important step that enabled Hesh to give back to the Society and subsequently became the chair of ASCEPT NZ, from 2019 to 2022.
Hesh values the importance of effective communication and a collaborative approach to working within diverse teams such as the ASCEPT Board. Hesh has adeptly served as treasurer over a 10-year period for various scientific and professional societies, including ASCEPT NZ, PAGANZ, and the pharmaceutical society of NZ (PSNZ Otago). Within these roles, Hesh created numerous budgets, coordinated financial transactions, and ensured legal and ethical fiscal compliance.

Director and SAC Chair
Associate Professor Nicola J. Smith
Head, Orphan Receptor Laboratory, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Sydney

Nicola is a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow with a longstanding passion for molecular pharmacology and G protein-coupled receptors. She obtained her PhD from the University of Melbourne (pharmacology) for studies conducted at the Baker Heart Research Institute before undertaking a CJ Martin/NHF post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Glasgow and Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. At the end of 2019, Nicola relocated her laboratory to UNSW Sydney where she is a teaching and research academic. Nicola has been an ASCEPT member since 2002, was an ASCEPT Denis Wade New Investigator, has represented ASCEPT at Science Meets Parliament, and has been the NSW representative on both the Drug Discovery and Cardiovascular SIGs. Since election to the ASCEPT Board of Directors, Nicola has been Prize Co-ordinator (2020-2021), Chair of the Student Forum (2020-2021) and Acting SAC Chair for the ASCEPT Virtual ASM 2021, as well as being active in matters of equity, diversity and inclusion. In her latest role as SAC Chair-elect, she has been actively engaging Special Interest Group chairs/co-chairs to ensure that all ASCEPT members are active in the Society. Outside her work with ASCEPT, Nicola has been an inaugural member of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance Emerging Leaders Committee and is a current member of their Basic Sciences Advisory Committee. At UNSW Sydney, she is a member of the Athena SWAN self-assessment team and is a project lead for the UNSW Faculty of Medicine & Health Health25 strategy implementation.

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Director and Education Forum Chair 
Associate Professor Tina Hinton
Sydney School of Pharmacy, University of Sydney

Tina Hinton (BSc Hons, PhD, Grad Dip Sci Psych) is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at The University of Sydney. She teaches pharmacology to Medical Science, Science, Pharmacy and Medicine students and is involved in biomedical sciences learning and teaching leadership and governance. Tina’s primary research area is neuropharmacology. More recently she has also published on pharmacology curriculum, pharmacology learning activities, and influence of learning space on learner activity.

Director and Chair NZ Forum
Dr Katie Burns
Senior Research Fellow, School of Medical Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, NZ.

Katie graduated with a PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Auckland in 2015. Her research is centred around understanding the molecular basis of drug disposition and its impact on the clinical effectiveness and safety of medicines. She has a particular focus on the regulation and activity of drug transporters and metabolic enzymes, and their role in treatment outcomes. Katie has previously served as treasurer of the ASCEPT NZ Forum (2019-2022), and conference convenor for the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting of that forum.

Elly Djouma

Director and EDI Chair
Associate Professor Elly Djouma
Head of Department of Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, La Trobe University

Elly is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at La Trobe University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with over 20 years of experience in research and tertiary education. A Neuropharmacologist by training, Elly’s research focus has been on understanding the neuroscience of addiction. As a teaching-focused academic, she has recently shifted her focus to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Recognised for her sustained dedication to teaching excellence, she has received numerous teaching awards for developing and teaching pharmacology curriculum to diverse student cohorts, including the La Trobe Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in both 2011 and 2019. Elly also currently serves as a Councillor of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology Education Section (IUPHAR-Ed).

Elly comes from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background and was the first in her family to attend university. Elly is dedicated to the promotion of an inclusive and diverse society, where every individual feels supported and empowered to access equal opportunities. She was appointed the position of ASCEPT EDI Chair in 2023.

Director and STC Representative
Professor Arduino Mangoni

Arduino A Mangoni is Strategic Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders University, Senior Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology and General Medicine and Head of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders Medical Centre, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Adelaide, Australia. His academic career has focused on investigating the effects of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions on the cardiovascular system, the identification of new age-related disease biomarkers and drugs targeting arginine metabolic pathways, and the safety and quality use of drugs in older patients. His clinical career has been dedicated to the management of patients with hypertension and cardiovascular risk and the implementation of deprescribing and medication management strategies in older patients. 

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Director and ASCEPT IUPHAR ECR Representative 
Dr Elizabeth Johnstone
School of Biomedical Sciences and Centre for Medical Research, The University of Western Australia 

Liz Johnstone obtained her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2016. Since then she has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research/UWA Centre for Medical Research where she studies the molecular pharmacology of receptors. In 2017, she spent a year working part time as Senior Project Officer for Accelerating Australia, a consortium dedicated to promoting biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2021 she was appointed as a Pharmacology Lecturer in the UWA School of Biomedical Sciences, while she continues her research at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.  Liz has been a member of ASCEPT since 2011, and has been actively involved in the Drug Discovery SIG throughout that time. Liz is also currently a member of the International Union of Pharmacology Early Career Committee and a Council Member of the Endocrine Society of Australia.

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Director and Prize Coordinator
Dr Betty Exintaris
Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University

Dr Exintaris is a senior lecturer and Deputy Pharmacy course director, at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Betty’s discipline research area is urogenital / reproductive physiology and pharmacology. Betty’s education research areas include easing transition burden in 1st year students, building resilience in national and international student cohorts and designing curriculum to enhance teamwork practice. 

Betty has bee an ASCEPT member since 2000 and recipient of the Dennis Wade New Investigator Award (2007), Gillian Shenfield Early Education Award (2017) and ASCEPT Elizabeth Davis Teaching Excellence Award (2022). From 2013-2022, Betty has been the co-chair of the ASCEPT Gastro-urogenital Special Interest Group. She has also previously served on the ASCEPT Board as secretary/company secretary from 2013 to 2018.

Associate Professor Daniel Wright
Sydney Pharmacy School, University of Sydney

Member of ASCEPT since 2005.
Associate Professor Wright graduated with a BSc(Pharm) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada in 1986. He holds an MSc in clinical pharmacology (2007), and a PhD in pharmacometrics (2013) from the University of Otago. Dan is the Past President of the New Zealand Forum of ASCEPT (2013-2015) and served as the SAC chair in 2021 and 2022. He co-chaired the ASCEPT ASM for 3 years from 2020-2022. Dan’s research aims to enhance the quantitative understanding of how drug treatments impact human biology and vice versa. The goal is to optimise the safe and effective use of medicines in the clinical setting and improve patient outcomes. His research focuses primarily on dose optimisation, therapeutic drug monitoring, renal drug dosing, and medication adherence.

Associate Professor Andrew Rowland
College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University

Andrew is a Cancer Council Beat Cancer Mid-Career Research Fellow. He leads a dynamic team of scientists at the forefront of advancing extracellular vesicle isolation and analysis platforms for use with biospecimens. Andrew’s team is world leading in the isolation and characterisation of tissue specific EVs from blood and works closely with industry and clinicians to apply this technology to improve patient outcomes by enhancing drug efficacy and minimising harms.

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Dr Chantal Donovan
Senior Lecturer and co-lead of the ImmunoPharmacology Research Group, University of Technology Sydney

Chantal Donovan is a Senior Lecturer and leader of the ImmunoPharmacology Research Group (IPRG) at the University of Technology Sydney. She has been an ASCEPT member since 2011, is a previous winner of the Garth McQueen Prize (2012) and Denis Wade Young Investigator Award (2016), represented ASCEPT at Science Meets Parliament (2017), was an invited speaker ASCEPT career symposium (2017), and a plenary session chair (2022).
She is also Deputy Chair of the Respiratory and Inflammation SIG. Chantal is committed to creating new opportunities for early and mid-career researchers and educators, and has an ambition to implement new strategies within the society that support emerging leaders.

Dr Chengxue Helena Qin
Laboratory Head, Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Monash University

Dr Chenguxue Helena Qin is a NHF Future Fellow, MRFF-REDI Industry Fellow and Monash Talent Accelerator Fellow. Dr Qin is an emerging translational pharmacologist with a research vision to develop “pro-resolving medicines” to treat cardiopulmonary diseases, by employing multi-disciplinary approaches spanning molecular & integrative pharmacology, rational drug design, supported by NHMRC, NHF, MRFF. Her achievements have been recognized by J&J Science Ignite Award, Monash Future Research Leader Award, Hypertension Australia Jaye Chin-Dusting Mid-Career Award, CSANZ Ralph-Reader Prize, ASCEPT-BPS Outstanding Young Investigator Award, 40-under-40 Asian-Australian. She also actively contributes to the field of pharmacology through her leadership roles, including serving as ASCEPT Cardiovascular SIG Co-Chair, AcVA Emerging Leaders Committee, Global ADDC Director, and organizing committee (e.g. APFP, AIM Cardiovascular Symposium).

Toxicology Representative (Observer)
Slade Matthews

Slade Matthews (BmedSc(Hons), DipEd, GradCertEd(HigherEd), PhD) is a senior lecturer in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Sydney Pharmacy School. He coordinates toxicology within the USYD Pharmacology major and trains his students to use data analysis techniques to learn from toxicological data. His research focuses on computational molecular representation of chemicals including python-based cheminformatic techniques and quantum molecular calculations for developing machine learning models of pharmacological and toxicological structure-activity relationships.  

SAC Chair Elect (Observer)
Dr Luke Grundy
Flinders University and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Luke Grundy (BSc Hons, PhD) is a Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology, and Head of the NeuroUrology research group at Flinders University. His research focusses on understanding the mechanisms of, and identifying novel therapeutic targets for chronic pelvic pain disorders. He is Chair of the ASCEPT Neuropharmacology special interest group, and organised the inaugural ASCEPT Neuropharmacology satellite meeting in 2018. Luke has been actively involved in the ASCEPT ASM as a poster judge since 2016, symposium chair and speaker (2018), and as a member of the ASM organising committee in 2019. He received the CERTARA Young Investigator Award in 2021 for his research identifying novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic pelvic pain.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Each Special Interest Group elects a Chair and/or Co-Chair, who may be contacted through the
ASCEPT Executive Officer.

ASCEPT Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee

The ASCEPT Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) was recently established to fulfil ASCEPT’s EDI Policy and to make EDI a central part of how the society functions in all its activities and interactions. The EDIC aims to foster an environment which actively promotes fairness and equality, strives to eliminate biases and discrimination, and encourages diverse voices to be heard and represented. Through various initiatives, education, and policy recommendations, the EDIC will champion the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion that will help foster and support a culturally competent community of members. 

Elly Djouma (Chair)
Elly is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at La Trobe University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She comes from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background and was the first in her family to attend university. Elly is dedicated to the promotion of an inclusive and diverse society, where every individual feels supported and empowered to access equal opportunities.

Brendan Wilkins (Chair Elect)
Brendan is a final year PhD student in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW Sydney. He is passionate about LGBTQIA+ rights and equality and aims to build more visibility of this community in ASCEPT.

Dr Nilushi Karunaratne (ECR member)
Nilushi or Nel, as many know her, is an Early Career Academic from a CALD background. She has been a member of ASCEPT since being a PhD student. Nel looks forward to representing ECRs on the EDI committee by bringing new ideas to the ASCEPT community.

Xiaodan (Emma) Zhang (Student Forum member)
Xiaodan is looking forward to making some positive contributions on the EDI committee. She’s passionate about championing gender equality for female researchers, recognising the challenges they face in balancing academic research and family responsibilities, and advocating for increased accessibility and convenience for non-native English speakers to engage in international conferences.

Suong Ngo
Suong Ngo has been a member of ASCEPT since 1999 and has a significant interest in ASCEPT’s EDI policy. In her view, it is critically important that this policy is being applied and promoted across all activities of ASCEPT.

Sheila Doggrell
Sheila Doggrell joined ASCEPT in 1978 when she was living in New Zealand. She has participated in most annual meetings since then. She wishes to advocate for lifelong involvement with the society.

Rima Caccetta
Rima is a teaching and research academic at Curtin University (WA) with fundamental research across a broad range of areas spanning laboratory, practice, and teaching. Rima is from a marginalised CALD background and has family members of varied faiths and neuro diversities. Rima is passionate about tearing down barriers and enabling everyone to achieve to their potential. Thus, she hopes to promote true inclusivity by challenging restrictive criteria that may exclude or place individuals in silos.

Betty Exintaris
Betty has been a longstanding member of ASCEPT, having held numerous committee positions during the last decade. Betty is from a CALD background and is passionate about enacting change that promotes equity, diversity and inclusion. She is currently the Associate Dean EDI in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University.

Tina Hinton
As an ASCEPT Board member, Tina led the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion portfolio, working with the Board to develop the ASCEPT Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and to set up the ASCEPT Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. As a potent advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion across all ASCEPT activities and communications, Tina is pleased to continue this work as a member of the ASCEPT Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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