So that you still get a chance to chat with our amazing Table Mentors, we will be using breakout rooms during the event. We know that some of you were hoping to sit with a particular mentor and we would like to facilitate this as much as possible. If you do have a specific request, please let us know by completing the form below before Sunday 27 June 11.55pm. We will try our best to accommodate on a first-in basis, otherwise we’ll assign you to a breakout room randomly.

Our Table Mentors

TABLE 1: Akanksha Arvind – Research Associate, SpeeDx

Ms Akanksha Arvind works as a Research Associate at the SpeeDx Pty Ltd, which is a molecular diagnostic company developing diagnostics kits for better patient outcomes. Before joining SpeeDx, Ms Arvind worked at the Centenary Research Institute and The University of Sydney as a Research Assistant. She has done MS in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Previously, she has also completed a MS (Pharm) in Pharmacoinformatics from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research.


Twitter: @speedx

TABLE 2: Dr Annie Quan – Market Access Manager, Bayer Pharmaceuticals

My current role is a Market Access Manager at Bayer Australia. After dedicating 18 years to basic research in immunology, neuroscience, drug discovery and managing a research lab, I transitioned to a career in the pharmaceutical industry 3 years ago to manage how new drugs and health technologies reach the market for patient access via the Australian reimbursement system.

I completed my PhD in neuroscience at the Children’s Medical Research Institute and the University of Sydney and was then awarded an NHMRC Fellowship. During this time, I also completed a Master of Commerce at University of NSW.

I was fortunate to participate as a mentee in the Franklin Women Mentoring Program in 2018. The program was pivotal as it created a professional platform for me to critically evaluate the direction of my research career being a working mum with two young kids. Keeping true to the one continuing driver for my career to date has been my passion to making an impact and improving health outcomes, whether through my own research discoveries or witnessing new technologies improve the well-being of patients. So, I decided to combine my extensive scientific and research experience with my commercial and business economics training to make the move into Market Access. Fortuitously, at a similar Franklin Women breakfast event I made the connections and found the network to guide my transition to my current role. Thank you, FW!


TABLE 3: Dr Carole Ford – Research Solutions Specialist ANZ, BD

Dr Carole Ford is a research scientist with interests in stem cell transplantation, cancer and autoimmune diseases. She joined BD in 2018 and is now the Research Solutions Specialist in the Biosciences Unit. She provides technical support for research instruments and reagents and leads the Single Cell Multi-omics portfolio in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Ford undertook her PhD at UNSW and Children’s Cancer Institute and focused on cord blood stem cell transplantation. After her PhD, Dr Ford moved to Sweden to continue her research at Lund Stem Cell Center. Back in Australia she worked at Westmead Millennium Institute and then had a science career break after the arrival of her second daughter. During this time she also pursued a creative career by becoming a pastry chef, teaching, ran her own cake decorating business and contributed to a book in the field. She returned to research in 2016 and joined the team at St Vincent’s Centre for Applied Medical Research for a few years before making the transition to a commercial role.


Twitter: @DrCarole_F

TABLE 4: Dr Colman Taylor – Co-director HT Analysts

Dr Colman Taylor joined Health Technology Analysts (HTAnalysts, formerly Optum) in May 2014 and was part of a management buy-out in July 2016. During his time with HTAnalysts, Colman has provided strategic oversight for over 500 projects in Australia and the Asia Pacific, working with a diverse variety of companies from local start-ups to international pharmaceutical, digital health and medical device companies. During his career, Colman has contributed to over 100 reimbursement submissions and economic modelling projects, respectively, as well as multiple cost and burden of illness studies, clinical guidelines, market access strategy projects and late phase studies.

As part of HTAnalysts role as a member of the Australian Department of Health HTA Panel, Colman has provided guidance and contributed to multiple contracted assessments for Government in diverse areas including genomic screening, investigative technologies such as MRI and therapeutic technologies such as blue-light cystoscopy. In the area of health policy, Colman has worked with industry and not-for-profit organisations contributing to reports in areas such as funding guidelines for rare disease therapies, biosimilars and cancer genomics. Colman is currently President-Elect of the Australian ISPOR Committee and regularly contributes to policy workshops focusing on health technology assessment.

Colman has a strong background in academia and currently holds positions with The George Institute for Global Health (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow) and The University of NSW (Conjoint Senior Lecturer). Colman completed his PhD studies at the George Institute – examining the cost and benefit of helicopter emergency medical services. He has been a lead author or co-author on >40 peer reviewed publications (including The Lancet and NEJM), >45 conference proceedings and has provided several invited speaker presentations. He is also an active reviewer for several international and local journals and has been granted over $15m in peer-reviewed funding through bodies such as the NHMRC.


Twitter: @colmantaylor @georgeinstitute

TABLE 5: Harriet Swearman – Fertility AI Consultant, Harrison AI

Harriet’s background is in Reproductive Biology and Fertility, having started on this path as an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh in 2005. She completed her Masters in Assisted Reproduction (i.e. IVF) in 2011 and found trainee embryologist roles in IVF clinics in the UK almost non-existent, this prompted her first career pivot and transition into global advisory firm, Deloitte, as a management consultant in their technology advisory business. After 2.5years at Deloitte, then a year at KPMG in Sydney, despite a lot of incredible experiences and learning, there was something lacking and this prompted a second career pivot back to science. Harriet began working as a clinical embryologist in a small IVF clinic in Sydney, and enrolled as a PhD candidate at University of Sydney. Towards the end of 6 years of juggling the two, Harriet was approached by upcoming healthtech startup, who had pioneered the first product for embryo selection using artificial intelligence. The opportunity to combine her love of fertility medicine, with technology and business in an exciting and dynamic startup was a perfect fit for her experience over the last decade. Harriet is 10 months into her current role and loving it!


Twitter: @Harrr1et

TABLE 6: Hossai Gul – Implementation Practitioner Agency of Clinical Innovation

Hossai Gul is an implementation scientist and practitioner, specialised in individual, organisational, and system behaviour change to enable the translation and implementation of evidence-based interventions. Hossai has worked within the Australian health and medical sector for over 10 years and in that time has transitioned her career twice. First moving from lab-based science to implementation science and then into a research and practice role within government at the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, applying implementation science to advance implementation practice.

Twitter: @HossaiGul, @nswaci, @aihi_mq

TABLE 7: Dr Louisa King – Director of Aperture Insight

Louisa King is the Director of Aperture Insight, an intellectual property searching firm which provides clients with the IP research and market analysis needed to strategically build their businesses.

Before running her own company, Louisa’s career began in the research lab at the University of Sydney where she completed her BSc and PhD degrees in Organic Chemistry. Upon completion of her studies, she transitioned into the IP industry, working as a Trainee Patent Attorney for 4 years before taking time away to have a family.

Like so many women returning to the workforce, Louisa took a change of direction after having children, when she decided to move into an IP Searcher and Analyst role. In this capacity, Louisa conducts patent, design and trade mark searching and analytics, including complex freedom to operate searches in the life science area, competitor landscape intelligence, and provides litigation support.

Today, with 20 years of experience behind her, Louisa is regarded as a leader in this field. Along with the scientific knowhow, which is essential to do this work, her first-hand experience in the lab provided an understanding of the scientific research environment and the challenges and opportunities this presents, which has been invaluable in building her business.


TABLE 8: Dr Maryam Correa - Head of Operations, George Institute Australia

Dr. Maryam Correa is the Head of Operations at The George Institute for Global Health, Australia. She also holds a Conjoint Senior Lecturer appointment with UNSW, Faculty of Medicine, Executive Committee member of Clinical Trials: Impact & Quality (CT:IQ), Chair of AAMRI, Research Strategy Steering Committee, Member of NSW Health, Community of Practice and Advisory member of PRAXIS Training.

She has over 19 years of experience in clinical research and has previously lead activities within Australia as the Head of Academic Project Operations, Manager of Global Internal Training (Research and Project Operations), Lead Project Manager in Critical Care Medicine, Clinical Trial Specialist in the therapeutic fields of leukaemia, lung cancer, COPD and as a Clinical Trial Coordinator and Research Officer in the therapeutic fields of gastroenterology and hepatic disease. Her career transition has been across Academia, Industry, MRI/NFP and Leadership. Maryam is a lifetime member of Franklin Women (FW) and one of 2019 FW Mentors.


Twitter: @georgeinstitute

TABLE 9: Dr Melanie Zeppel - Data Scientist, Westpac

Dr Melanie Zeppel is a data scientist, who transitioned out of academia into industry early in 2020. She completed her PhD in 2005, in climate change and tree responses to drought, and she has worked in modelling vegetation responses to climate, health economics, and genomic medicine. She has over 62 peer-reviewed publications and an H index of 32, however she decided to move to industry immediately before Covid, for greater career stability and progression, and has since enjoyed the opportunities provided there. She is passionate about supporting women in STEMM, and is the parent of two teenage daughters, an ex-marathon runner, and the owner of a Covid Greyhouse rescue dog called Gracie.


Twitter: @MelanieZeppel

TABLE 10: Dr Sarah Furlong – Neurodegenerative Disease Biobank Manager, Macquarie University

Sarah earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine with a focus on the genetics of Schizophrenia and Autism spectrum disorders, from Trinity College Dublin, in 2013. Following this, she gained a quality control position with an analytical science company. In 2014, Sarah made the decision to move to Brisbane to work as a genomics research officer between the Queensland Institute of Molecular Medicine and the Queensland Brain Institute. This is where her passion for biobanking and research facilitation began.

In 2015, Sarah took on the role of biobank manager at Macquarie University where she oversees clinical and laboratory operations, data management and governance of biobanks and data registries. Sarah primarily manages the Neurodegenerative Disease Biobank, the backbone of the research program at the Centre for Motor Neuron Disease Research.


Twitter: @mnd_mq

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Our monthly e-newsletter keeps you up to date on the news from our sector, shares stories by women on their career journey, and provides updates on our events and initiatives. You will also find bits and pieces on our favourite things – good food, health and wellbeing, and maybe a few cute animals.

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