Research governance

The regular reviews look at scientific excellence, strategic direction and governance. We’re guided by a Research and Development Framework, which we developed together with governments. The framework outlines what we do, who we consult with and how we collaborate with governments and other stakeholders.

As part of the framework, our project proposals are reviewed by an independent Research Advisory Committee consisting of local and international experts in the blood sector, along with Lifeblood executives and senior representatives from the National Blood Authority.

Research Advisory Committee 

The committee provides advice and guidance on how our people can best contribute knowledge to the blood sector in Australia and around the world.  They’re from international blood operators, Australian hospitals, universities and research institutions. 

Professor Christopher Ward (Chair)

Senior Staff Specialist and Director of Research 

Department of Haematology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards 

Professor of Medicine Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney 

Christopher is a clinical haematologist with special interests in disorders of blood clotting and bleeding. He’s based at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and oversees teaching and research programs, including genetic screening for inherited bleeding disorders. Christopher represents Australia in several international societies and was recently appointed to the Council of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH).

Associate Professor Robert Andrews 

After graduating with a PhD in Biochemistry (University of Queensland, 1986), Robert’s research has spanned protein chemistry and organic synthesis (metalloenzymes and inhibitors) to biochemical analysis of human platelet receptors, ligands and snake venom proteins. This combination has led him to his current research on mechanisms of human disease involving haematological systems, and analysis of new platelet-specific biomarkers for bleeding and thrombotic risk. This research has resulted in over 200 peer-reviewed publications. 

Dr Martin MacNamara

Deputy CEO, The Sax Institute 

Martin is the Head of Research Assets as well as the Deputy CEO of the Sax Institute. He’s responsible for the 45 and Up Study, the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) and the delivery of the Secure Unified Research Environment (SURE).  

Martin has extensive experience in senior leadership roles from strategy and research to policy development and performance. 

Martin resigned from the committee in April 2023

Dr Dirk de Korte

Manager, Product and Process Development, Sanquin Blood Bank, Netherlands 

Since 2007, Dirk has been the Manager of Product and Process Development of Sanquin Blood Bank in the Netherlands. He has been active within Sanquin Research since 1981. He is also a Working Party Chair at the European Blood Alliance. 

Dirk’s special interests are in vitro quality parameters for evaluation of blood components, optimal use of blood products, development and improvement of blood components and bacteriological safety of blood components. He is also working on new blood products for topical use, like platelet rich plasma (PRP) for wound healing, fibrin matrix for hemostasis and serum eye drops for patients with severe dry eyes. 

Dirk resigned from the committee in August 2022

Dr Ralph R Vassallo


EVP and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Vitalant, USA

Ralph is the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of Vitalant, based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Prior to joining Vitalant in 2014, Ralph was the Chief Medical Officer of the American Red Cross Blood Services’ East Division. From 1992-2002, he was the Director of Medical Education, an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education  (ACGME)Program Director, and a hospital administrator for a 3-hospital system in Philadelphia.

Ralph serves on the committees of several leading international blood transfusion organisations, and is on the editorial boards of Transfusion and Transfusion and Apheresis Science.  He has authored book chapters in Williams' Hematology, Rossi's Principles of Transfusion Medicine, McLeod’s Apheresis Principles and Practice and more than 80 other articles and reviews.

Professor Eva Maria Merz


Senior researcher, Sanquin Blood Supply

Professor Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Department of Sociology

Eva-Maria is a sociologist with a background in family studies and demography. She is head of the research line Donor Behaviour at Sanquin and Professor in Donor Behaviour at the Sociology Department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research benefits from her theoretical expertise in social science theories on prosocial behaviour and her collaborations within the Dutch Blood Bank, the Biomedical Excellence of Safer Transfusion (BEST) Collaborative, and the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT).

Professor Elizabeth Gardiner


Deputy Director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, Canberra

Scientific Director of the National Platelet Referral and Research Centre, ANU and The Canberra Hospital.

Elizabeth received her PhD in Biochemistry from Monash University (1994) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland OH USA. She has expertise in platelet biochemistry and platelet receptor function, particularly relevant to both thrombosis and bleeding in patients. She is a Trustee of the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Society of Australia and New Zealand (THANZ), Senior Associate Editor of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and on the Editorial Board of Blood. She is co-Editor in Chief of Platelets Journal. She is on the ISTH Membership Committee and the ISTH Basic Science Taskforce.

Professor Doug Joshua AO

BSc, MB BS (Syd), D Phil (Oxon), FRACP, FRCPA, FFSc (RCPA)

Emeritus Professor in Haematology-University of Sydney

Emeritus Consultant Haematologist-Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Doug was previously Head of Clinical Haematology at Sydney Cancer Centre, Head of the Sydney Area Health Service Haematology Service, Alan Ng Professor in Medicine at the University of Sydney, and Director of the Institute of Haematology and Senior Specialist in Haematology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, New South Wales, Australia. He has received many awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Myeloma Society.

He's a founding member of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) and was Chief Examiner in Haematology for the RCPA.

Doug is a scientific advisor and member of the International Myeloma Foundation, a reviewer for many Journals and serves on the editorial board of Clinical and Laboratory Haematology and Clinical Lymphoma and Myeloma.

He’s collaborated on many clinical trials in myeloma research, as well as having a direct involvement in basic science research supported by such organizations as the National Health and Medical Research Council, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and the University of Sydney Cancer Research Fund. He has published extensively in clinical and basic research on myeloma and receives over one thousand citations annually (2014-2021).


Transplant Research Advisory Committee 

The Transplant Research Advisory Committee reviews research in transplantation and immunogenetics, helping our researchers use their expertise in a way that benefits international research as well as local. 

They’re based all around Australia, giving us a range of important perspectives. 

View the Advisory Committee

Dr David O. Irving 

Research Director and Chair 


Dr Jeremy McComish 

Clinical Immunologist 


Ms Rhonda Holdsworth 

National Laboratory Manager 


Dr Robert Flower 

National Research Leader, Product Safety 


Ms Narelle Watson 

Business Laboratory Manager 


Ms Mary Diviney 

Laboratory Services Manager 


Professor James McCluskey 

National Laboratory Manager 


Chris Hogan 

Medical Director Reference Lab Services 


Anthony Montague 

National Executive Officer 


Professor Bruce Pussell 

Department of Nephrology, Prince of Wales Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, University of NSW 


Dr Peter Bardy 

Transplant Haematologist 


Dr Robert Carroll 

Transplant Nephrologist 


Karen Botting 

Victorian State Government Representative 


Rada Kusic 

New South Wales State Government Representative 


A/Prof Angela Webster 

New South Wales State Government Representative 


Kate Wyburn 

New South Wales State Government Representative 


Ethics Committee 

Ethical review helps protect the welfare, rights, dignity and safety of research participants and researchers. Our policy is based on the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (NHMRC 2007), and all of our research is conducted in accordance with this document. 

It’s really important to us that everyone involved in our research is safe at all times. The Lifeblood Ethics Committee is made up of a diverse group of people, including internal and external stakeholders, external researchers and laypeople. 

View the Ethics Committee


Professor Lesley Barclay AO 

Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney 


Ms Jacqui Preston 


Mr Andrew Greaves 


Professor John Gibson 

Head of Department, Institute of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 


Dr Bronwyn Williams 

Haematologist, Pathology Queensland, Royal Brisbane Hospital 

Social Sciences Researcher 

Dr Tari Turner 

Senior Research Fellow, Cochrane Australia 

Health Care Professional 

Dr Susan MacCallum 

Department of Haematology, Prince of Wales Hospital 

Pastoral Care 

Rev Bronwyn Kyngdon 


Mr Stephen Blanks 


Mr David Hyde 


Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry Representative 

Dr John Kwan 

Haematologist and transplant physician, Westmead Hospital 


Lifeblood Representatives 

Ms Marion Hemphill 

General Counsel 

Dr James Daly 

Medical Director, Pathology Services 

Prof David Irving 

Director, Research & Development 

Dr Larissa Aldridge 

Ethics Secretary 


Download the terms of reference

Want to know more?

Reach out to our Ethics Secretary to learn more about ethics (and how we approach it)

Send an email
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