The IMB Translation Sub-Committee is a joint initiative of IMB and the IMB Advisory Board. It supports and encourages a culture of translation and innovation within the institute.

The sub-committee complements the work and expertise of UniQuest, UQ’s commercialisation company, which has prime responsibility for managing the commercialisation of IMB’s intellectual property portfolio. 

Primarily, the sub-committee advises, supports and encourages the institute’s researchers—particularly early career researchers—who are seeking assistance and motivation to start the process of translating their research.


Mr Bob Christiansen (Chair)

Chair, IMB Translation Sub-Committee
Member, IMB Advisory Board

BEcon (Queensland), DipInfmProc (Queensland), DipFinServices (AFMA)

Bob is the founding managing director of Southern Cross Venture Partners, one of Australia’s largest technology venture capital firms. He is also a director of several early- and later-stage technology companies in Australia and the US. Bob has been a member of the former Queensland Government’s Science and Innovation Advisory Council, and its predecessor, The Smart State Council. He is also an advisory board member of the UQ-owned technology incubator, iLab, and in 2015 was selected by the Knowledge Society and the Office of the Australian Chief Scientist as a member of the “Knowledge Nation 100”.

Bob spent over 20 years in the US technology sector, where he founded two start-up companies. Prior to returning to Australia, he spent time as chief technology officer for the advisor services group of Fidelity Investments in Boston.

Previously, Bob was a general partner of venture capital firm Allen & Buckeridge. He brings over 40 years of experience in entrepreneurship and the international technology sector, with an emphasis on commercialisation and financing, business management and operations, and system design and development.


Mr Andy Jane

Managing Director, Life Sciences, Talu Ventures

BSc (Hons), University of St Andrews, Scotland
Master of Science, Instrumentation, University of Manchester
Post-grad Certificate in Science Media & Journalism, University of Technology, Sydney

Andy is one of the three founders of Talu Ventures which was established as the successor to CM Capital. Andy joined CM Capital in August 2003 and assumed the role of head of the Life Sciences Practice at CM in 2006. Prior to his venture investment roles, Andy has 15 years of experience in biomedical R&D project management, marketing and business development. His primary expertise is in the commercialisation and globalisation of technology based products and brings to Talu an extensive network of industry contacts within the biotechnology, high technology and pharmaceutical industries. Andy has active board roles across the CMVT4 Life Sciences portfolio and adds to those companies the benefit of his international experience in business development, contractual negotiation, strategic relationship building and licensing.

Within Andy’s professional career he spent 5 years at AGEN, where he was responsible for the management of the company’s instrumentation and biosensor program and latterly for the primary business planning and management of the Thromboview Project. More recently he spent 4 years at Lake Technology as Director of Business Development & Licensing, where he was instrumental in the worldwide business development and marketing of Dolby Headphone™ and Dolby Virtual Speaker™ technologies which have since been adopted by leading brand consumer electronics companies, airlines and PC companies.


Dr Brigitte Smith

Co-Founder and Managing Director, GBS Venture Partners Ltd

B Chem Eng, MBA, MALD

Brigitte Smith has twenty years’ experience in venture capital, business strategy and start-up company operations. Brigitte has been investing and managing investments for GBS’s $450m of life science specialised venture capital funds since 1998. Brigitte is on the board of GBS portfolio companies AirXpanders Inc, Neurovance Inc, Elastagen Pty Ltd, ELS Pty Ltd, and Vivive Inc. Brigitte was the founding investor and chair of Pharmaxis Pty Ltd.

Prior to founding GBS Brigitte worked in the US and Australia in operating roles with early stage technology based companies, and at Bain & Company as a strategic management consultant. Ms Smith has a B. Chem Eng (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, and as a Fulbright Scholar completed a MBA (Honours) from the Harvard Business School and a MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, both in Boston, USA. Ms Smith has also taught Entrepreneurial Finance at Melbourne Business School.


Dr Mark Ashton 

Executive Director, Intellectual Property Commercialisation, UniQuest

BSc (Hons) (Bath), PhD (Bath)

Mark is UniQuest’s executive director, intellectual property commercialisation. He leads a team responsible for commercialising UQ’s intellectual property.

Mark completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry, postgraduate studies in medicinal chemistry sponsored by the pharma company Organon (now Merck), and postdoctoral studies in the discovery of novel calcium channel antagonists in the UK.

Mark was previously senior director, commercial engagement – health, and before that manager of innovation and commercial development for IMB. Before joining UniQuest, he held positions as executive vice-president (business development) of the European-based biotech company Evotec, and president of the drug discovery operations division of Evotec, responsible for some 200 scientists.

Mark currently serves as a director of the Australian biotech company, Vaxxas Pty Ltd and was previously a board director of Dimerix Bioscience Pty Ltd and a board observer of Spinifex Inc.


Professor Jenny Stow

Deputy Director (Research), IMB

BSc (Hons) (Monash), PhD (Monash)

Jenny is IMB’s deputy director (research). In this role she manages the scientific and competitive funding performance of the institute, as well as IMB’s postgraduate program.

Jenny completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Monash University in Melbourne, after which she undertook postdoctoral training at Yale University’s School of Medicine as a Fogarty International Fellow. She was soon appointed as assistant professor in Massachusetts General Hospital’s renal unit, where she established an independent research group in cell biology. She returned to Australia in 1994 as a Wellcome Trust Senior International Fellow to join UQ’s Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology (now IMB).

Jenny is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Principal Research Fellow. Her IMB research team studies inflammation and infection at the molecular and cellular levels, to determine the role they play in a range of diseases, and find new ways to combat and control them.


Professor Rob Capon

Group Leader and Director of Postgraduate Studies, IMB

BSc (Hons) PhD (The University of Western Australia)

Rob Capon is a Professorial Research Fellow, Group Leader and Director of Postgraduate Studies in the University of Queensland, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, and an Affiliate Professor with the Queensland Brain Institute and the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience.

An organic chemist, Rob leads a multidisciplinary research group supported by a network of collaborators, to expand its reach into microbiology, ecology, pharmacology and many disciplines of biology, to explore nature for valuable new chemical diversity.

Chemicals discovered by Rob and his team inspire and inform new solutions to important scientific and societal challenges, including new pharmaceuticals to treat infectious and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and pain, new agrochemicals to protect and improve livestock and crop productivity, and new environmentally sustainable solutions to control invasive pest species.

To achieve these goals Rob and his team have a keen eye for, and work closely with industry, to translate new discoveries in the life sciences.


Dr Kate Schroder 

Principal Investigator, Inflammasome Lab
Deputy Director, IMB Centre for Inflammation Research
ARC Future Fellow

BSc (Hons) PhD (Queensland)

Dr Kate Schroder heads the Inflammasome Laboratory as an ARC Future Fellow. Kate received her PhD in 2005 for her research investigating mechanisms of macrophage activation, in the laboratory of David Hume. Her subsequent postdoctoral position with David Hume and Matthew Sweet investigated the transcriptional programs triggered by macrophage differentiation and activation. A key focus of her postdoctoral studies was to define species differences in the innate immune responses of human versus mouse macrophages. During her NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship in Jürg Tschopp's group in Switzerland, Kate gained expertise in inflammasome biology. Her current research interests include the molecular mechanisms governing inflammasome activity and caspase activation, the evolutionary biology of inflammasomes, and the cellular mediators of inflammasome-dependent inflammation.


Dr Cherrell Hirst AO

Chair, IMB Advisory Board

MBBS (Queensland), BEdSt (Queensland), DUniv (Hons) (QUT, GU, SCU), FAICD, FTSE

During the past decade, Cherrell has played a significant role in Queensland’s growing biotechnology sector. From 2007 to 2014 she served as chief executive officer of QIC BioVentures, where she was a director of several investee companies. During this time she also served on several national and state government advisory boards. Cherrell was chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology from 1994 to 2004, and chair of the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2006.

Cherrell is a qualified medical practitioner, gaining a national reputation in the field
 of breast cancer screening and diagnosis as director of the Wesley Breast Clinic. Cherrell has been awarded three honorary doctorates, an Australian Government Centenary Medal (2003), and the title of Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (1998). She is also a former Queenslander of the Year (1995).

Cherrell is currently chair of ImpediMed 
and Factor Therapeutics (formerly Tissue Therapies) and a director of Medibank Private, Gold Coast Health and Hospital Service, and RSL Care. She has previously served on the boards of Peplin, Hatchtech, the Avant Group and Suncorp, as well as various not-for-profit entities.


Professor Brandon Wainwright 

Director, IMB

BSc (Hons) PhD (Adelaide)

As director, Brandon is responsible for advancing the institute’s research initiatives, strengthening the institute’s global connections and leading IMB’s scientists in their work to improve quality of life for all.

Brandon completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies 
at the University of Adelaide, after which he secured a postdoctoral fellowship at St Mary’s Hospital at Imperial College London (ICL). During his six years at ICL, he worked on the first human genome project, and made significant discoveries in the field of human molecular genetics as a Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellow. He returned to Australia in 1990 to join UQ’s Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology (now IMB).

Brandon leads his own IMB laboratory, which focuses on understanding the genetic pathways behind skin cancer and medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumour that occurs predominantly in children.

He serves on the board of Life Sciences Queensland, the Australian Genome Research Facility, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Australia, and a number of national and international scientific review committees. In 2015, Brandon chaired the Queensland Institutes of Health.