The Research Advisory Committee comprises a group of outstanding individuals with significant experience and expertise to oversee the Research Program. With PCFA's National Board input, oversight and approval, the Research Advisory Committee is responsible for:
- Advising on the strategic direction for the program as a whole and reviewing this strategy annually. This includes identifying areas of prostate cancer research which are under-investigated (especially where there are insufficient applications) and developing strategies to correct that imbalance.
- Act as the over-arching governing body for PCFA's three pillars of research
Since 1999, PCFA has been committed to providing a transparent, well-organised and academically rigorous avenue for the funding of worthwhile research projects focused on prostate cancer. Initially the Research Advisory Committee, then known as the Research Committee, was chaired by Professor Roger Reddell (1999 - 2003), followed by Professor Robert Baxter (2003-2006).
Due to the ongoing success of Movember, PCFA was able to establish its annual grant program in 2007 and appointed the first Research Advisory Committee Chairman, Professor John Mills. Professor Mills stepped down as Chair in October, 2013.
In 2015, the PCFA National Board appointed Professor Bruce Armstrong as the chair of RAC.
Emeritus Professor Bruce Armstrong, Chair of RAC
Emeritus Professor Bruce Armstrong is internationally recognised for his research into the causes and prevention of cancer, having published over 600 papers in scientific books and journals. His research has included work into trends in PSA testing in Australia and their effects on prostate cancer incidence and mortality, and the effects of diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer on men’s quality of life. He contributed extensively to the new Australian guidelines for PSA testing and early management of PSA detected prostate cancer developed by Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Cancer Council Australia. Bruce is now retired from full-time employment but continues to contribute actively to research, research translation and aspects of health care as an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney and an Adjunct Professor at the University of WA. He has previously occupied the roles of Commissioner of Health for WA, Deputy Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Director of Research and Registers at Cancer Council NSW and Head of the University of Sydney School of Public Health. Bruce was made a Member of the Order of Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2000. He was the inaugural recipient of the NSW Premier's Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year Award in 2006. In 2015 he was listed by Thomson Reuters as among The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds.
Alan Barlee has been a prostate cancer consumer advocate for over 10 years, following his diagnosis with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. His treatment has included radical prostatectomy, androgen deprivation therapy and abiraterone. After qualifying in Applied Chemistry, Alan embarked on 32-year career that included research, manufacturing, general management and fellowship of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. He later contributed to the solar energy industry, both in business and on the executive of a national industry association. He joined The Australian Greens as a Victorian State Councillor as well as the very active Geelong Sustainability Group’s Executive Committee. Alan is a strong advocate of prostate cancer patient empowerment through expanded knowledge. He regularly mentors other patients and survivors, helping them to frame relevant questions to their respective medical specialists relating to treatment options and side effects. Alan serves on the steering committees of the Advanced Prostate Cancer Support Group in Queensland and the Geelong Prostate Support Group. His advocacy has included representations with others on behalf of advanced prostate cancer patients to Government, the PBAC, drug manufacturers and to PCFA.
Associate Professor Lisa Butler
A/Prof Lisa Butler is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Adelaide and heads the Prostate Cancer Research Group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in cancer biology from the University of Adelaide with postdoctoral training in preclinical drug development at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. A/Prof Butler’s research focuses on novel combinatorial approaches to target androgen signalling therapeutically in prostate cancer and biomarker discovery. She also has a strong interest in the development and utilisation of novel preclinical models of disease, including mouse models and human tumour explants.
Professor Afaf Girgis
Professor Afaf Girgis is the Executive Director of the Translational Cancer Research Unit, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW. She is a Behavioural Scientist in cancer control and psycho-oncology and an internationally regarded authority in this field. Professor Girgis has extensively researched and published in areas including the prevention and early detection of cancer; development and psychometric testing of measures to assess cancer patients', caregivers' and health care professionals' unmet needs, and communication skills training for the oncology workforce.
Adjunct Associate Professor Mary Haines
Adjunct Associate Professor Haines (BA Hons Psych; PhD Epidemiology and Public Health; GAICD) has worked in senior positions across the government, academic, corporate and independent sectors on health research, evaluation and translational initiatives. Mary is a Senior Adviser at the Sax Institute where she focuses on providing evidence to policy agencies and service delivery organisations about increasing uptake of evidence based care. Most recently, Mary has led an NHMRC-funded implementation trial to test ways to increase evidence based prostate cancer care. Mary is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, School of Public Health, Menzies Centre for Health Policy.
Associate Professor Declan Murphy
Associate Professor Declan Murphy is Consultant Urologist and Director of Genitourinary Oncology at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia. He also has appointments as consultant urologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne. Declan has a strong academic background and has published extensively in the field of minimally-invasive urology for the management of prostate, renal and bladder cancer. He is Associate Editor of the British Journal of Urology International, on the Editorial Boards of European Urology and Nature Reviews Urology, and on the board of reviewers for many other journals. Declan is highly active in social media with a large Twitter following. He blogs regularly for the BJUI where he is Associate Editor responsible for social media.
Dr Carmel Pezaro
Dr Carmel Pezaro is a clinician researcher with a particular interest in genitourinary cancers. Following medical oncology and research training in New Zealand and Melbourne, she completed a two-year fellowship with Prof Johann de Bono in the Prostate Cancer Targeted Therapy Group at The Institute of Cancer Research / Royal Marsden, UK. Carmel returned to Melbourne in August 2013 to take up a position at the Monash University Eastern Health Clinical School, where she participates actively in laboratory and clinical research programs.
Professor Pamela J Russell AM
Professor Pamela Russell is a Cancer biologist and immunologist, who is Head of Biomedical Imaging and Prostate Cancer Models Medicine, Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre, Queensland and member of the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation. Professor Russell’s laboratory is known internationally for establishing rare human bladder and prostate cancer cell lines and xenografts and for performing preclinical studies. Major current interests include the use of theranostics (diagnosis, imaging and targeted therapy) for prostate cancer, and in finding biomarkers that predict therapeutic responses in patients with advanced prostate cancer. Professor Russell is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Global Action Plan for Movember.
Professor Mark Smyth
Professor Mark Smyth is the Head of Immunology in Cancer and Infection Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer, is an international leader in tumour immunology/immunotherapy and natural killer (NK) cell biology, a Senior Scientist and NHMRC Australia Fellow. He is a Senior Editor at Cancer Research and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Cancer Research Institute (USA). A number of his discoveries have led to new clinical trials in cancer immunotherapy with novel targets. He has 440 peer-review papers published or in press, which have attracted a total of more than 33,000 citations.
Associate Professor Scott Williams
Associate Professor Scott Williams is a radiation oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia, and is Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He has worked exclusively in uro-oncology his entire career, with a constant focus on prostate cancer research. His research projects include radiation biology, functional imaging, statistical modelling, genetics, supportive care and psycho-oncology, translational research and several basic science projects related to the molecular biology and immunology of radiation therapy. He is the chair of the prostate cancer subcommittee of the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP), which is Australia’s only multidisciplinary collaborative trials group for urological cancers. He is involved in managing research projects with more than $19M in funding, including being Principal Investigator for the ANZUP ENZARAD trial, a global phase III trial of radiation and hormone therapy in high risk prostate cancer. He is a member of several national advisory bodies that have a focus on urogenital malignancies including PCFA, as well as being a long-term member of his institutions’ ethics committee. He serves as a reviewer for many international journals and grant funding bodies, as well as the scientific committee of the Cancer Council of Victoria.
Associate Professor Miranda Xhilaga
The Research Advisory Committee is coordinated by Miranda Xhilaga, Director, Research programs at PCFA since 2009. In addition, she has a honorary adjunct associate professor position at the School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University. Miranda holds an MBBS from Tirana University and a PhD in molecular biology from Monash University. She has an interest in global health and knowledge translation (KT) and has trained as KT Specialist at the University of Toronto. As Director, Research Programs at PCFA, she is responsible for the implementation and development of strategies that increase coordinated prostate cancer research activities nationwide, research evaluation and knowledge transfer. She is a member of the Lead Advisory Group of the Prostate Cancer Survivorship Research Centre and manages the activities of RAC and Pathfinder, the first national prostate cancer register aimed at accelerating the pace of research into prostate cancer via efficient recruitment.
Past serving members of the Research Advisory Committee
Professor John Mills (Chair 2006-2013) is a specialist physician, medical scientist and businessman. Actively involved in patient care since 1966, he retains a clinical practice at the Alfred Hospital as well as professorial appointments at UCSF, Monash University and RMIT. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, has been on the editorial board of several journals and is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards. Since 1992, Prof Mills has been involved in biomedical business. He is currently Director of Research & Development at TissuPath P/L, a specialist histopathology practice, and a non-executive director of GBS Venture Partners Pty Ltd. Prof Mills is also a director of PCFA.
Professor Suzanne Chambers (2007 to 2015) Heads the Department of Preventative Health at Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University. Since 2006 she has been a member of the Griffith Psychology Health Research Centre. Professor Chambers was Director of Research at the Cancer Council Queensland from 2006-2011, and is currently leading two NHMRC-funded trials into psycho-education, decision support and couples-based interventions for men with prostate cancer.
Associate Professor Howard Gurney (2007 to 2015) Director of Clinical Research, Medical Oncology at Westmead Hospital. He has a strong track record in clinical and translational research, particularly in anti-cancer drug disposition, novel methods for dose calculation and new therapies for prostate and genitourinary cancers. He has been an investigator on more than 70 clinical trials and has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications to his name.
Professor Richard Pearson (2010 to 2015) Head of the Protein Chemistry Laboratory and Co-Head of the Cell Growth and Differentiation Program at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He is also an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Principal Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne. His research focuses on the molecular basis of ribosome biogenesis regulation, protein synthesis and cell growth.
Professor Robert 'Frank' Gardiner AM (2008-2014, Interim Chair 2012-2014) is an academic urologist with the University of Queensland and a consultant urologist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. He is Chairman of the Medical and Scientific Committee of the Cancer Council Queensland, the Viertel Centre for Research in Cancer Control, and the Pathology subcommittee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. In addition to his membership of the Board of Directors of the Cancer Council Australia, the Advisory Board of Andrology Australia and the Advisory Board of the Asian Pacific Prostate Society, he has appointments on the editorial boards of five international journals. He is also a Fellow of the Urological Research Society.
Associate Professor Lisa Horvath (2010-2015) Head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Sydney Cancer Centre, a visiting post-doctoral scientist at the Garvan Institute for Medical Research, and a senior lecturer at both the University of Sydney and the University of NSW. She has an active clinical practice and is involved with a large number of clinical trials in prostate, lung and colorectal cancers.
Professor Peter Leedman (2011-2015) Deputy Director and Head of the Laboratory for Cancer Medicine at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research. He is also an endocrinologist and Director of Research at Royal Perth Hospital. His research focuses on the mechanisms of hormone action in breast and prostate cancers, and the development of novel therapeutics.
Dr Ian Roos OAM (Consumer Representative, 2013-2014) was the founding President of Cancer Voices Victoria, an advocacy group for those affected by Cancer and the Chair of Cancer Voices Australia, now CanSpeak Australia. He was a volunteer with Cancer Connect and a consumer advocate. Ian has served in a number of government bodies that address different aspects of cancer such as Victorian Ministerial Task Force on Cancer, North Eastern Metropolitan Integrated Cancer Service, CanNet Victoria and the National Cancer Nursing Education Project, National Research Advisory Group of Cancer Australia, the Radiation Oncology Working Group, the Council of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia and as a director of the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group. Ian was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998 and unfortunately passed away in 2015.
Associate Professor Susan Henshall (Member, 2007-2013) is Director of Three Stories Consulting, a global health consultancy assisting organisations to turn evidence into smart advocacy by creating resources and building strategic capacity for positive impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Prior to this, Sue was Special Advisor to the NCD Child movement, a global multi-stakeholder coalition bringing together leading global non-communicable disease (NCD) experts and development agencies to ensure children, adolescents and young people are meaningfully integrated within the global health and development discourse. She was also Director of Advocacy a Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Head of the Prostate Cancer Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. She has held positions as a Cancer Institute NSW Fellow, with conjoint appointments at the University of NSW and Georgetown University, USA. She was one of PCFA’s first Post-Doctoral Fellows.
Bruce Kynaston (Consumer Representative, 2010-2013) was Director of the Queensland Radium Institute and, as a radiation oncologist, treated many men for prostate cancer. He served on the NHMRC and its Medicine Advisory and Radiation Health Committees, as well as the federal government’s Ionizing Radiation Advisory Committee. Since his diagnosis of prostate cancer in 1985, Bruce has been an active member of several patient support groups, and regularly offers advice on prostate cancer testing and consumer issues.
Professor Robert Newton (Member 2007-2011) is Director of the Vario Health Institute and Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at Edith Cowan University. He leads a research team investigating the impact of exercise, nutrition and psychological interventions on symptom experience, fatigue, body fat, muscle mass, bone density, physical performance, quality of life and psychological wellness of prostate cancer patients. Professor Newton is an accredited exercise physiologist and directs the "Cancer Survivors Program" at the Institute which provides lifestyle support to people with cancer.