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Project team

A team of experienced professionals is managing the work of Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance.

Professor Clara Gaff

Executive Director

Professor Clara Gaff is the Executive Director for Melbourne Genomics.

Clara has been involved in the use of genetics and genomics in health care for almost 20 years through roles in genetic counselling, management of genetic services, health professional education, and strategic development in Australia and the UK. She has worked in public health, government, academic and not-for-profit sectors.

Clara has a PhD in molecular genetics, certification in genetic counselling and postgraduate qualifications in health service research and evaluation. She is a Member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Human Genetics Advisory Committee and the Ethics and Social Issues Committee of the Human Genetics Society of Australia.

Khay-Lin Teoh

General Manager

Khay-Lin is the Alliance's General Manager.

Since 2006, Khay-Lin has worked for various medical research institutes, in roles including business development, IP and commercialisation, and operations. Prior to this, Khay-Lin worked for an ASX-listed multi-national company, performing business and planning analysis in the areas of corporate strategy and finance.

Khay-Lin has a PhD (Medicine) and an MBA.

Elly Lynch

Clinical Project Manager

Elly Lynch is the Clinical Project Manager for Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance; currently seconded from the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services. Elly is a Senior Genetic Counsellor with more than 15 years' experience.

Elly co-established the Clinical Genetics Service at Austin Health, where she worked as Unit Manager from 2007-2016. Prior to this, Elly worked at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and The Royal Marsden Hospital in the UK.

Elly has extensive clinical experience in seeing patients with cancer genetic syndromes. She has published in medical journals and is involved with clinical supervision of Associate Genetic Counsellors, as well as being a current member of the Board of Censors for Genetic Counselling.

Dr Natalie Thorne

Lead Specialist Clinical Genomics

Dr Natalie Thorne is Melbourne Genomics' Lead Specialist Clinical Genomics.

After a degree majoring in mathematics and statistics and minoring in genetics, Natalie completed her PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Bioinformatics division.

Natalie worked for Cancer Research UK at the Cambridge Research Institute in the computational biology group where she worked on a variety of microarray genomics applications in cancer and analysis of data from emerging genomic technologies. After five years in the UK, she returned to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in a senior postdoctoral position within the statistical genetics lab. Natalie's studies utilised high-throughput sequencing technology to discover disease-causing DNA mutations, focusing on projects to improve the use of whole genome sequencing for disease diagnosis.

Dr Melissa Martyn

Evaluation Project Manager

Dr Melissa Martyn is seconded to the project team from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and is primarily responsible for managing evaluation activity, including collecting patient and clinical feedback. 

Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts/Science and completed a PhD in genetics at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.  Following this, she moved to Birmingham, UK to help translate advances in genetic science into clinically relevant education initiatives for medical professionals at the then NHS (National Health Service) Genetics Education and Development Centre.  Since her return to Australia, Melissa has been employed on a number of research projects exploring psychosocial aspects of genetic testing/screening.

Kate Birch

Head of Data & Technology

Kate manages the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance Data & Technology Program.

Kate’s career has taken a 'bench to bedside' trajectory. She began as a molecular biologist, moving into epidemiological and then clinical research, and then clinical project delivery. She has consulted to the health industry with Deloitte, has executive level experience in a clinical research centre, and has an extensive working knowledge of medical research and hospital-based information management requirements, barriers and opportunities. Kate has worked in complex stakeholder environments to develop information system strategy, design and implement data governance activities, and to curate, manage and integrate large medical research datasets.

Kate has a Bachelor of Science (Honours), a Masters in Information Systems and is a Certified Health Informatician (Australasia).

Karen Meehan

Communication and Engagement Manager

Karen Meehan is the Communication and Engagement Manager for Melbourne Genomics.

Karen has 20 years' experience spanning strategic communications, events management, and online and print journalism. Prior to joining the Melbourne Genomics' team in 2015, Karen worked for 11 years for Museum Victoria, managing media and stakeholder communications for Melbourne's Immigration Museum and the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum, as well as working with museum scientists to communicate specialised research to the media and general public.