Meet the AEP team

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

Advisory Committee

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
Advisory Committee

Martin Adams is a technology entrepreneur, investor and company director. He co-founded Lochard in 1990 and as CEO grew it to become a global leader in environmental monitoring solutions, with systems deployed in over 40 countries with a specific focus on the aviation and resources industries. Martin has founded several other companies and invests in early-stage technology companies.  He has held numerous directorships in private, public and not-for-profit organisations, including Chairman of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, Chairman of the University of Melbourne’s MAP Advisory board, Director of Oakton Ltd and co-founder and Director of Skalata Ventures. Martin holds an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Chris Blake
Chris Blake
Advisory Committee

Chris is a proven transformation leader who has designed and led successful enterprise-wide change connecting Strategy, Brand and Culture in different business contexts and industries. After a consulting career as a Partner at PwC (1987 - 2006), he has built and led high performing multi-disciplinary teams to implement strategy and cultural change in Financial Services (NAB 2006 - 2010 and Latitude Financial Services 2018 - current) and also one of the largest organisational transformation programs in Australia at Australia Post (2010 - 2018). Chris has been an active adviser to the Federal Public Sector over many years including by serving on a number of Government reviews and Panels (past member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Group on the Reform of Government Administration, Advisory Board for the APS Centre for Learning and Development, Industry Advisory Committee on Veteran’s Employment, Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel and a current Member of the Deputy Secretaries’ Talent Council). He is also a co-founder of ByMany (previously known as CultureSmith) which is a design company working with both top 100 companies and startups to rethink strategy, culture and leadership. Chris has also been a former Chairman of the Brain Research Institute and a former Director of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue.

Michelle Goldsmith
Michelle Goldsmith
Advisory Committee

Michelle is a Principal at Strategic Project Partners (SPP). A qualified lawyer and translational specialist, she is experienced at tackling complex problems and providing clear and commercial solutions. For over 20 years Michelle has worked to develop commercial markets for cutting edge products in the fields of stem cells, digital health and neuroscience – both in Australia and overseas. She has galvanized and executed multimillion dollar partnerships, and continues to advise executives on the best creative strategies to utilise data, implement change and drive impact. Michelle is inspired by innovation; in Government, not-for-profits and companies.

Executive

Donna Hutchison
Donna Hutchison
Executive Lead

Donna joined the Florey Institute as Executive Lead of the Australian Epilepsy Project. With extensive strategy, business transformation and scale-up experience across the financial services, education and social sectors, Donna is a purpose-led leader who loves helping businesses solve complex problems and deliver great customer outcomes. Donna is passionate about leading the AEP as it has the potential to change thousands of lives and transform the way that brain-related healthcare is diagnosed and delivered in Australia.

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 the deputy director of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health and a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. Scientific Publications – Google Scholar

Academic Leads

David Abbott
David Abbott
Information 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. Scientific Publications – Google Scholar

Zanfina Ademi
Zanfina Ademi
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. Scientific Publications – Google Scholar

Patrick Kwan
Patrick Kwan
Outcomes Lead

Patrick is a Professor of Neurology who specialises in the management of epilepsy in adults at The Alfred 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’. Scientific Publications – Google Scholar

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. Scientific Publications – Google Scholar

Heath Pardoe
Heath Pardoe
Science Operations Lead

Heath is a physicist and Associate Professor at the Florey. He uses MRI-based computational techniques, including artificial intelligence methods, to identify anatomical changes in the human brain. These techniques are used to assist in treatment planning for patients with severe epilepsy by using MRI to identify regions in the brain that cause epileptic seizures. He develops and applies statistical approaches to leverage the benefits of large multi-site neuroimaging studies for identifying brain changes in disease and healthy aging.

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. Scientific Publications – Google Scholar

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. Scientific Publications – Google Scholar

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.

Research

Elliot Brooker
Elliot Brooker
Research Assistant

Elliot is a Research Assistant at the Australian Epilepsy Project as part of the neuropsychology team conducting cognitive assessments. He completed his honours degree in 2020 and is currently completing his doctorate in clinical neuropsychology at Monash University. Elliot is excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the AEP and assist in cognitive difficulties associated with epilepsy. 

Marty Bryant
Marty Bryant
Research Assistant

Marty is a research assistant in the Epilepsy Imaging Group at the Florey. Having retrained in psychology, with honours in neuroscience, his experience in electroencephalography (EEG) and brain imaging is further complemented by his previous experience as a biological scientist, including a strong interest in ecological and network perspectives on brain science. He works on several translational projects, including the ‘AFFECT’ clinical trial, which uses simultaneous EEG and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) for better targeting of epilepsy surgery.

Aaron Capon
Aaron Capon
Software Engineer

Aaron is a software engineer within the Neuroinformatics team at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. He obtained a PhD in physics from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria. For his doctoral research he worked in high-energy particle physics, analysing heavy-ion collision data at CERN, Switzerland. During this time he became passionate about computing and software engineering and is excited to be able to contribute to the Australian Epilepsy Project.

Jodie Chapman
Jodie Chapman
Research Officer

Jodie is a neuropsychologist who works as a research officer in the Epilepsy Cognition Laboratory at The Florey. Jodie completed her doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology at Monash University in 2019. Her research has focused on the use of telehealth in neuropsychology. Jodie joined The Florey in 2021. She also works as a clinician in private practice. She has a particular interest in the use of telehealth methods to assess cognitive function.

Elise Honey
Elise Honey
Clinical Research Assistant

Elise is a research assistant for the Australian Epilepsy Project and part of the team responsible for our online neuropsychological testing, via telehealth. She completed her Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) at La Trobe University in 2022, with keen interest in the interaction of how genetics and the environment can influence psychiatric disorders, neurological disorders, and cognition. Elise is very excited to have the opportunity to work with the AEP to enable positive health outcomes for people living with epilepsy and contribute to research, to better understand the condition.

Molly Ireland
Molly Ireland
Research Assistant

Molly is a research assistant in the Epilepsy Imaging Group at the Florey. Having completed an undergraduate Bachelor of Science majoring in Neuroscience, she later completed an Honours in visual neuroscience. Her project tested the hypotheses of computational models which estimated how the brain uses visual input to guide rapid movements. Molly is interested in understanding how behaviour and sensory processing can reflect the computational approach taken by the brain. Molly is currently working on projects to identify noise during fMRI for epilepsy patients, with a goal to improve the quality of assessments that can be inferred from patient data.

Loren Lindenmayer
Loren Lindenmayer
Research Assistant

Loren is a research assistant in the Epilepsy Imaging Group at the Florey. She has completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in neuroscience, and later went on to complete an Advanced Graduate Diploma in Psychology. She has a broad range of interests, spanning neuroscience, psychology, and statistics, with a particular interest in using advanced methods to better diagnose and treat neurological conditions, such as epilepsy. 

Donna Parker
Donna Parker
Senior Research Assistant

Donna is a Senior Research Assistant with a background in psychology and psychophysiology. With over 10 years’ experience working with the Epilepsy Imaging Group at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, she works across several projects, including image analysis for the Australian Epilepsy Project, simultaneous EEG-fMRI set-up, and pre-surgical fMRI evaluation for clinical studies referred to the Epilepsy Imaging Group. Coordinating a highly skilled team of Research Assistants working across neuropsychology, fMRI, data science and informatics, Donna is responsible for nurturing learning and development through convening discussion groups, clinical case study analysis, and epilepsy related training.

Eric Pierre
Eric Pierre
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Advanced MRI Development – Imaging Division

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 six years. One of his main focuses 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.

Remy Pugh
Remy Pugh
Research Assistant

Remy is a research assistant and PhD candidate in Epilepsy Cognition Group at the Florey Institute. She is currently completing her doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology at Monash University. Her research focuses on screening neuropsychological function in new-onset epilepsy within a First Seizure Clinic.

Robert Smith
Robert Smith
Senior Research Officer – Imaging Division

Robert is a physicist and engineer, with 10 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.

Laura Stevens
Laura Stevens
Research Assistant

Laura is a research assistant in the neuroimaging team within the Epilepsy Research Group at the Florey. She recently completed an honours degree in Psychological Science at La Trobe University. Combining her background in psychology and neuroscience research, she is interested in the mechanisms that underlie neurological conditions such as epilepsy.

Bahman Tahayori
Bahman Tahayori
Senior Research Scientist

Bahman is a senior research scientist with an engineering background working with the Australian Epilepsy Project. His work focuses on Bloch equations and the use of analytical and numerical tools to design optimal excitation patterns for MRI. Bahman also has several years of experience in computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence. In 2018, he was elevated to a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics (IEEE).

Carmen Zheng
Carmen Zheng
PHD Student

Carmen is a PhD student of the Florey whose thesis focuses on cognitive and neuroimaging features of dyslexia in focal epilepsy. Having completed Master’s degree in clinical neuropsychology (University of Melbourne), she worked as a research assistant in the Epilepsy Cognition lab, alongside her training as a neuropsychology registrar at the Cognitive Neuroimmunology Unit (Royal Melbourne Hospital), predominantly working with patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Business | Tech | Product | Operations

Subhaga Amarasekara
Subhaga Amarasekara
Product Lead

Subhaga joins Florey Institute as Product Lead of The Australian Epilepsy Project. A qualified lawyer and entrepreneur, Subhaga founded, raised investment and scaled a marketplace as she could see how an easy to use technology platform could assist individuals better build and run a business. Subhaga is purpose-led and was drawn to the tremendous potential that the AEP has to radically change healthcare in Australia and globally.

Amanda Anderson
Amanda Anderson
Lived Experience Ambassador and Participant Lead

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

Emma Beildeck
Emma Beildeck
Clinical Trials Assistant

Emma joins the Australian Epilepsy Project as a Clinical Trials Assistant. With a background in physiotherapy and years of working within the hospital system, Emma brings with her extensive clinical experience managing patients, including those following epilepsy surgery. Working alongside these patients has fostered a strong understanding of epilepsy, including the physical, social and emotional toll that it can have on one's life. Emma is also in a unique position, having her own history of childhood epilepsy. She hopes that her professional and personal experience will help participants to feel well-supported taking part in this trial. With this in mind, Emma is incredibly passionate about contributing to epilepsy research and driving better patient outcomes.

Seiko Bhungane
Seiko Bhungane
Clinical Trials Assistant

Seiko has joined the team as a Clinical Trials Assistant after previous roles as a Clinical Research Coordinator and as a Database Developer. She completed a Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences, majoring in Neuroscience, while also undertaking computer science topics. She combined both her computer science and medical science knowledge in her role as a Research Database Developer, utilising REDCap to build clinical trial databases and registers. Seiko also has experience in Investigator lead clinical trials, where she worked in coordinating late phase radiation oncology trials. She is passionate about neuroscience and has a strong interest in researching and improving treatments for individuals living with neurological conditions.

Bhushan De Costa
Bhushan De Costa
Data Manager and Software Engineer

Bhushan comes with a background in data, systems and processes with a blend of functional and technical skill sets within large enterprise systems, across industry sectors such as Manufacturing, Services and Consulting. He now enjoys infusing his experience in the data space into Research-Healthcare with fresh eyes. Bhushan is excited by the opportunity to contribute to and work with a great team that is advancing humanity by finding cures for epilepsy.

Anton de Weger
Anton de Weger
AEP Digital and Technology Lead

Anton is an experienced leader, founder and technical director specialising in machine learning strategy and application within enterprise systems. He has established and sold a multinational enterprise systems consulting company, helped pivot a global enterprise software company to a “Machine Learning First” approach, architected and built a machine learning multimedia transcription application and established high performance technical teams across multiple countries.  Anton is excited by machine learning product design and methodology, AI ethics, the combination of machine learning with human decision making and the application of technology using high performance teams.  This perfectly combines with the opportunities the AEP provides around the encoding and distribution of world leading brain analysis expertise and data collection practices for epilepsy.

Christina Fairley
Christina Fairley
Clinical Trials Assistant

Christina qualified as a medical doctor and graduated with honours in neuroscience from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Having recently moved to Melbourne, she is completing her MSc in Public Health and working with the Australian Epilepsy Project (AEP) as a clinical trials assistant. Christina has a particular interest in epidemiology and diagnostic research to improve patient outcomes and prevent ill health. She takes her clinical experience and public health knowledge to join the team at the AEP and improve the lives of people living with epilepsy.  

Chathurini Fernando
Chathurini Fernando
Clinical Trials Assistant

Chathurini was awarded her PhD in Neuroscience from The University of Melbourne and worked in the Florey’s Stem Cell & Neural Development Laboratory before beginning her career in clinical research. She brings with her the experience and knowledge gained from both investigator-initiated and commercially sponsored clinical research in Movement Disorders. Chathurini is very passionate about research that helps better the lives of people living with neurological conditions and is very enthusiastic about being part of the Australian Epilepsy Project.

Jonas Haderlein
Jonas Haderlein
Senior Data Scientist

Jonas Haderlein is a passionate data scientist with a background in engineering and computational neuroscience. He recently finished his PhD work on seizure prediction in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne and the ARC Training Centre for Cognitive Computing in Medical Technologies. Prior to that, he worked in the field of machine learning at the BMW Group in Munich where he also received his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Rachel Hughes
Rachel Hughes
Clinical Research Coordinator

Rachel has a background in Psychology, Mental Health and Interventional Psychiatric research. She has a passion for translational, innovative, best practice research and brings this to the Australian Epilepsy Project in her role as Clinical Research Coordinator. She has extensive clinical trials and research implementation experience, from both the Investigator lead and Commercially Sponsored sectors, where she has previously worked in Transcranial Magnetic Brain Stimulation, Psychopharmacology, and early phase clinical trials for a range of neuropsychiatric conditions.

Sam Jackson
Sam Jackson
Marketing and Communications Manager

Sam has joined the Australian Epilepsy Project after spending the past few years working in marketing and fundraising, in the not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about connecting and building relationships that benefit from what the brand delivers through creating engaging content, that ensures a loyal following of customers and advocates. She is thrilled to be joining the AEP and bring about positive outcomes, not only for participants of the project, but to the global healthcare system.

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.

Hamid Khodakarami
Hamid Khodakarami
Data, Machine Learning and Product Strategy Advisor

Hamid joined the Florey as Strategy Advisor for Australian Epilepsy Project (AEP). He is a scientist and an engineer passionate about helping organisations define and implement data, analytics, and product strategies. Hamid has extensive experience in delivering effective, user focused and future aware solutions for complex business problems.

Katie Liddicoat
Katie Liddicoat
Head of Strategic Partnerships & Engagement

Katie is a stakeholder engagement specialist, with extensive experience in delivering innovative projects and activating partnerships across national and international settings. She has established relationships and networks with current Australian and international leaders across numerous sectors including the innovation and startup ecosystem, government, corporate, academic, social enterprise, and NGOs.  Inspired by leaders and businesses making an impact beyond the bottom line; Katie excels when bringing diverse stakeholders together to solve challenges, invoke change, and create impact.

Paul Lightfoot
Paul Lightfoot
Operations Lead

Paul has been conducting clinical trials for 27 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 two decades. He has recently come to the AEP from a director’s role at Barwon Health with responsibility for clinical trials. Paul has 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 clinical trial design, especially in 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.

Evie Muller
Evie Muller
Clinical Trials Assistant

Evie joined the Australian Epilepsy Project as a Clinical Trials Assistant after completing a Bachelor of Science with a major in Pathology at the University of Melbourne. She is passionate about improving the outcomes and experiences of people living with epilepsy, and is looking forward to contributing to innovative neuroscience research.

Youjin Shrestha
Youjin Shrestha
Product Designer

Youjin is a talented product designer with a passion for creating exceptional user experiences. With a strong background in human-centered design and a keen eye for detail, Youjin excels at turning complex problems into elegant, intuitive solutions. With a focus on empathy and human-centered design, Youjin played a key role in launching Wisr Todays a psychology based financial wellness app. Passionate about creating meaningful value, Youjin's expertise extends beyond the professional realm, with a love for exploring new hobbies like musical instrument and art. With an insatiable curiosity and an eye for detail, Youjin is poised to make a remarkable impact in any organization striving for ambitious goals.

Advisors

Mark Jenkinson
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.

Michelle Kiley
Michelle Kiley
Lead Epileptologist AEP South Australia

Dr Michelle Kiley is the Director of Epilepsy Services at the Central Adelaide Local Health Network and Clinical Lecturer at Adelaide University. She works as a neurologist and epileptologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Dr Kiley has interests in EEG, status epilepticus and women with epilepsy. She has served on the Epilepsy Society of Australia (ESA) Executive since 2007 and was the President from 2015-218. She is currently the Chair of the ESA Education and Training Committee (ETC). Dr Kiley has convened 3 ESA annual scientific meetings in Adelaide. Dr Kiley has also served on the Council of the Australian and New Zealand (ANZAN) from 2010-2016 (serving as the Honorary Treasurer from 2011-2016) and then again from 2019-2022 (during which time she served as the Chair of the ANZAN ETC). She has also served on the ANZAN Scientific Program Committee, and she has served two terms on the Advanced Trainee Committee for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Dr Kiley has been Chief Investigator for clinical trial work, collaborated in a number of Australian multi-centre real-world observational studies in refractory focal and generalised epilepsy syndromes and is the Local Principal Investigator for the South Australian hub for the Australian Epilepsy Project, launched February 2023. In 2022 M Kiley was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Neurology and Professional Associations.

Emilio Perucca
Emilio Perucca
Chair, AEP Steering Committee

Emilio Perucca trained as a clinical pharmacologist and as a neurologist at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London, UK. He spent much of his career as Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Pavia, Italy. He is currently Honorary Clinical Professor at the Department of Medicine (Austin Health), The Universty of Melbourne, and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Neuroscience, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.  He is also Chair of the Steering Committee of the Australian Epilepsy Project. Dr. Perucca served as President of the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE) for the 2013-2017 term. He received several awards, including the ILAE-IBE Ambassador for Epilepsy Award in 1997, the European Epileptology Award in 2018, the Lifetime Achievement in Epilepsy Award from the Georgian League against Epilepsy in 2019, and the Lifetime Accelerator Award from the U.S. Epilepsy Foundation in 2021. Over the last 40 years, his research activities have focused on the clinical pharmacology of antiseizure medications, the treatment of seizure disorders and outcome assessment in people with epilepsy. He has co-edited or contributed to several international textbooks and authored over 500 Pubmed-listed publications, with an H-Index of 103 and a Citation Index over 42,000.

Karin Verspoor
Karin Verspoor
AI Expert Advisor

Professor Karin Verspoor is Executive Dean of the School of Computing Technologies at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. 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 startups 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.

AEP Lived Experience Ambassadors

Wally Lewis
Wally Lewis
Lived Experience Ambassador

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 seven 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.

Carolyn and Ned Travers
Carolyn and Ned Travers
South Australian Lived Experience Ambassadors

Carloyn and Ned Travers joined the AEP as Lived Experience Ambassadors in 2023. Ned’s life changed in an instant when he experienced his first seizure on a school trip at the age of 11, in November 2011.

The seizures started and they didn’t stop, and after only five days and two hospitalisations, Ned was diagnosed with a rare brain malformation, CPBS (​​Perisylvian Syndrome). By the end of that year, the happy, healthy Ned had disappeared; he’d lost his confidence, was lonely and spent a lot of time just lying on the lounge.

That was when his mum, Carolyn, decided to do something different, radically changing their lives. In 2014, the two set out on a 500km walk of the pilgrim’s trail through the heart of Italy to Rome. “My wish for Ned was to realise he could still do great things,” Carolyn says.

On that life changing walk, the seizures started to slow down to just one a day and although Ned continues to experience daily seizures, through his incredible strength and resilience he continues to face his challenges with dignity.

Today Ned is cared for by Michelle Kiley (Lead Epileptologist AEP South Australia) and her team at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. 

Rachel Vella
Rachel Vella
Lived Experience Ambassador

Rachel was 15 when she was diagnosed with Epilepsy in 2011. After living with Epilepsy for three 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.

Our partners and supporters

The Australian Epilepsy Project is made possible through the combined support of The Florey and University of Melbourne.

The Australian Epilepsy Project (AEP) receives funding from the Australian Government under the Medical Research Future Fund.