Dr Francis Arhin
Dr Arhin has a PhD in Microbiology/Molecular Biology from Dalhousie University, Halifax. After his PhD, Dr Arhin was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institut Armand-Frappier in Laval, Quebec, Canada where he worked on the characterisation of xylanases from Streptomyces lividans. From 1993 to 1999 he was the Director of the Meningococcal Research Laboratory at the Departments of Paediatrics, and Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University in Montréal. Thereafter he took on a Senior Scientist role and later on, Group Leader at Targanta Therapeutics/Phage Tech Inc working there for the next 10 years working on various Gram-positive and Gram-negative antibacterial programs. From 2009 to 2017 he worked at The Medicines Company as a lead Microbiologist overseeing the microbiological development and eventually the approval of oritavancin by the FDA and EMA.
Dr Corwin Kostrub
Dr Kostrub graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Biochemistry and then went on to do a Masters of Medical Science and then a PhD in Genetics at Harvard University. He worked at Novartis as a Scientist from 1999 to 2000 and then as a Target Manager at Exelixis from 2000 to 2005. For the next 7 years, Dr Kostrub worked at Achaogen as the Director of Developmental Sciences where he saw the development of Plazomicin in Clinical Trials. From 2013 onwards, he has been an Independent Preclinical Consultant at CK Scientific in addition to carrying out his role as Senior Director of Preclinical Safety and Pharmacology at Biotie Therapies Corporation from 2014 to today.
Professor Ross McKinnon
Professor McKinnon is a former Flinders School of Medicine PhD graduate where he joined Flinders as Director of the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer in 2011 after 16 years with UniSA and was appointed as a Beat Cancer Professorial Chair for Flinders in 2012. Professor McKinnon is currently Dean (Research) for the College of Medicine and Public Health. At UniSA he was the inaugural Director of the Sansom Institute (2005-2009) and Associate Head of the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. An academic pharmacist, Professor McKinnon has broad research interests in the pharmacology, pharmaceutical biotechnology and molecular oncology areas. He is the co-inventor of patents relating to cancer chemoprevention (PharmaQest) and the discovery of novel anti-inflammatory compounds. He is a Board Member of Therapeutic Innovation Australia and the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation. Professor McKinnon is currently a Vice-President of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), which represents more than three million pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists globally.
Dr Helmut Thissen
Dr Thissen obtained his PhD in Chemistry from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, where he also started to translate biomedical research into the clinic while working at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research. He moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1998 to join the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), where he is now serving as a Senior Principal Research Scientist and Team Leader in the Manufacturing Business Unit. In addition he serves as a Program Leader in the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Polymers. Apart from frequently serving as an expert evaluator for multiple national and international institutions, ranging from the NHMRC to the European Commission, he is also an Adjunct Professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. Prestigious awards for his interdisciplinary research include the CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement and the Newton Turner Award. He plays a particularly active role in maintaining the profile of Australian biomedical research nationally and internationally, for example as President of the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (ASBTE) and a frequent conference organiser and chair.
Dr Mark Blaskovich
Dr Blaskovich is a Principal Investigator and Program Coordinator for the Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery, and a Senior Research Officer at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland. Since starting at UQ in 2010, Dr Blaskovich has been working on developing new antibiotics to treat drug resistant pathogens and the use of modified antibiotics to detect bacterial infections. He has extensive medicinal chemistry expertise and over 15 years of industrial drug development experience, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of Mimetica where he developed a drug that recently completed Phase 2 human clinical trials. Dr Blaskovich has published over fifty research articles, authored ‘The Handbook on Syntheses of Amino Acids’, and is an inventor on ten patent families with over 100 granted and pending applications.