Our Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) plays a key role in driving the OCRF towards achieving its mission by providing informed and expert advice in funding the most innovative and promising ovarian cancer research. Our esteemed SAC members are experts in their fields and come from across the globe to support the Committee of Management in awarding grants for maximum impact and innovation in ovarian cancer research.
Professor Iain McNeish
Director, Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, Imperial College London
Professor McNeish is the Director of the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre and Cancer theme lead in the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. Externally, he is Chair of the UK's National Cancer Research Institute Gynaecological Group. His research focuses on ovarian cancer, specifically developing improved therapies through greater understanding of disease biology. With James Brenton in Cambridge, he co-leads the BriTROC translational research collaborative and holds a programme grant from Cancer Research UK investigating copy number alterations in ovarian high grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) as a possible prognostic and predictive biomarker.
Professor Matthias Ernst
Scientific Director, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute
Professor Ernst is the Scientific Director of the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute and Head of the School of Cancer Medicine at La Trobe University. His research focuses on molecular mechanisms that underpin the growth of cancer cells and his laboratory team is exploring novel strategies to target cancer-promoting proteins with a focus on developing new therapeutics for gastrointestinal cancers. Professor Ernst is also an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and a member of Ludwig Cancer Research.
Professor Kenneth P. Nephew, PhD
Professor of Cellular and Integrative Physiology & Obstetrics and Gynecology, Indiana University School of Medicine
Dr. Nephew is a Professor of Cellular and Integrative Physiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Indiana University. He leads the Ovarian Cancer Research Group at the IU Simon Cancer Center (IUSCC), serves as the Assistant Director for Basic Science Research Bloomington, and is a Program Leader of the Walther Cancer Institute. He is the Principal Investigator and co-investigator on numerous grants from National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI), serves on various editorial boards, scientific advisory committees, and review panels for both the NIH, American Cancer Society (ACS), and Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program. He is also a member of our US counterpart the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA). Dr. Nephew’s ovarian cancer research focuses on disease recurrence, and its resistance to chemotherapy. Dr. Nephew has made important contributions defining the characteristics of ovarian cancer stem cells and proposing new strategies to inhibit them.
Professor Sandra Orsulic, PhD
Professor in Residence of Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California
Dr. Orsulic is a Professor-in-Residence of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Previously, Dr. Orsulic was a Director of Women’s Cancer Biology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and prior to that, an Assistant Molecular Pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she also served as Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Her research includes studying the mechanisms by which the microenvironment contributes to cancer initiation and metastatic progression, identifying molecular markers for early cancer detection, and generating suitable pre-clinical models for testing targeted therapies. Professor Orsulic is a member of the US OCRFA Scientific Advisory Committee and serves on several editorial boards and NIH review panels.
Professor Magdalena Plebanski
Enabling Capability Platforms Director Biomedical and Health Innovation, RMIT
Professor Magdalena Plebanksi is an internationally-recognised and award-winning researcher. Her focus is on developing practical and affordable vaccines and treatments for complex diseases like malaria and cancer. She has also pioneered the use of synthetic size-defined non-inflammatory nanoparticles in vaccines. Professor Plebanski has forged a stellar career in medical and health research. She came to Australia from Oxford University in the UK, where she showed new ways in which malaria parasites can trick the human immune system. More recently, her insights have been used to help understand cancer progression across multiple human clinical trials, particularly leukemia and ovarian cancer. Her nanoparticle studies also opened the door to new nanotechnology applications to prevent allergic airways disease. She has more than 50 patents in 10 patent families, which have supported the formation of biotechnology companies.