Our Biobank experts

Meet the team

Professor Jennifer Byrne

Professor Jennifer Byrne

Director of Biobanking

As the Director of Biobanking, Professor Jennifer Byrne will lead the NSW Health biobanking program, including the NSW Health Statewide Biobank (NSWHSB).

Professor Byrne is also conjoint Professor of Molecular Oncology and Academic Leader within the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health. She has extensive experience in biobanking, from both the perspective of a researcher who has employed biospecimens throughout her research career, and through establishing, overseeing and networking cancer biobanks.

Professor Byrne was the Head of the Children’s Cancer Research Unit at Kids Research, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. She established the Tumour Bank within the Children’s Cancer Research Unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in 1997, and was then appointed as Chair of Biobanking within the Kids Cancer Alliance in 2013.

She has taken paediatric cancer biobank networking to a national level by serving as the founding Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group network of tumour banks.

At a national level, Professor Byrne is also a member of the Steering Committee of Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia. She is also a member of the NSW Health Statewide Biobank Scientific Review Group and the Victoria Cancer Biobank Scientific Advisory Board.

She has led several Cancer Institute NSW-funded projects across all cancer biobanks in NSW, including a collaboration on the adaptation and implementation of the first biobank certification programme to be introduced to Australia.

In addition to a wealth of knowledge, experience and achievement in biobanking and biomedical research, Professor Byrne is bringing her enormous enthusiasm and commitment to the importance of biobanking for research.

Thomas Karagiannis

Acting Chief Operating Officer

Tom brings a wealth of pathology, molecular biology and lab management knowledge, to the role of Acting Chief Operating Officer. He has over 30 years’ experience, including his most recent role as Operations Manager and Microbiology Laboratory Manager at Prince of Wales Hospital Randwick.

Tom has a Master’s Degree Research Thesis from UNSW and a undergraduate Biomedical Science Degree (Majoring in Microbiology) from UTS and has recently completed from Clinical Excellence Commission the Executive Clinical Leadership Program.

Tom is a current member of NSW Health Pathology (NSWHP) Microbiology Clinical Stream and has been a NATA medical testing assessor since 2002.

With these credentials, he is well placed to oversee operations at the NSW Health Statewide Biobank.

For Tom, the NSW Health Statewide Biobank is an exciting place to work, as it creates a centre for researchers to access all the important samples they need to accelerate their research.

“My hopes for the NSW Health Statewide Biobank are that we meet the researchers’ needs and are able to not only source samples, but assist in the facilitation of research to the benefit of the wider community,” Tom said.

Dr Craig Gedye

Clinical Research Director

As the Clinical Research Director of the NSW Health Statewide Biobank, Dr Craig Gedye provides valuable leadership in personalised medicine.

Dr Gedye is a clinical researcher and Medical Oncologist with the University of Newcastle and Calvary Mater Hospital Newcastle. Dr Gedye is adding this role to his current clinical duties and research activities.

“NSW is a hub of excellence for biomedical translational clinical research and NSW Health, Office of Health and Medical Research and NSW Health Pathology are committed to supporting researchers, so we can generate better patient outcomes for the people of NSW.

Dr Gedye is inspired by working with patients who are diagnosed with melanomas, as well as testicular, kidney, prostate, bladder and brain cancers. His research focuses on the complexity of cancer and he is pursuing a tailored approach to patient care.

“Between different patients, cancers that come from the same organ can behave completely differently, and treatments that help one patient fail the next. Why is this? Why does a cancer lie dormant, then come back? Why does treatment not work in some patients, or work for a time, then fail?” said Dr Gedye.

“These questions are incredibly important, as we seek to find the treatments that work best for each individual patient. We will do this by using existing treatments more cleverly, as well as by discovering new treatments,” he said.

Because of the focus of his work, Dr Gedye has become a champion for biobanking.

“When you have a cancer operation, surgeons cut out the tumour and pathologists put it under the microscope to determine its type, aggressiveness and what ought to be done next,” he explains.

“Once this procedure is finished, anything left over is usually discarded”.“But this is a terrible waste; any of these peoples’ cancers might teach us about that kind of cancer and the best treatment.”

“We want to save samples from every patient’s cancer for research, because I believe they’re extremely valuable,” Dr Gedye said.

“Every time we collect a blood test or sample from someone who is unwell, there are unanswered questions that this person, their illness can teach us so that we can deliver better care for people in the future,” he said.

In addition to an extensive record of research achievement including numerous scholarships, fellowships, grants, investigator-initiated clinical trials, publications, conference presentations and prizes, Dr Gedye has an advisory role with several research entities. He is a member of the Editorial Board of JNCI and JNCI Cancer Spectrum and also Chairs the Kidney Cancer Subcommittee of the Australian and New Zealand Urological and Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Group (ANZUP Pty Ltd).

The NSW Health Statewide Biobank is very fortunate to have someone with Dr Gedye’s passion and drive to progress medical research opportunities at the NSW Health Statewide Biobank.

Shane Kirk

Laboratory Manager

As the NSW Health Statewide Biobank Laboratory Manager, Shane is responsible for providing advice on biobanking strategies, developing protocols with clients and managing the day-to-day lab operations.

With a background in genetics, Shane’s career began at Randwick Hospital Pathology (Molecular Genetics), where he specialised in neurodegenerative and muscoloskeletal disorders, hereditary cancer syndromes, molecular haematology and prenatal diagnoses.

He is experienced in tissue typing, pharmacogenomics, DNA relationship testing Molecular Virology and Serology and is a great asset to the NSWHSB team.

Font Resize