Learn about the multidisciplinary group of doctors, nurses, scientists and research staff who all specialise in VIRTU's immunisation research.
Director of Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit
Professor Helen Marshall
Professor Marshall is a medical clinician researcher with specialist training in paediatrics, vaccinology, and public health having completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, Doctorate of Medicine, Master in Public Health and Diploma in Child Health at the University of Adelaide and completed the international Advanced Vaccinology Course at the Pasteur Merieux Institute, France. She holds the position Associate Professor in Vaccinology, School of Medicine and Deputy Director, Robinson Research Institute University of Adelaide and is the Medical Director of VIRTU, the Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit, in the Discipline of Paediatrics at the Women's and Children's Hospital. She has been awarded two NHMRC Career Development Fellowships in 2010 and 2015. In recognition of her research leadership she was awarded the South Australia Science Award for Excellence in Research for the Public Good in 2010 and a national Public Health Association of Australia Fellowship in 2013.
Research Medical Officers
Dr Susan Evans
Susan is a General Practitioner focussing on Women's Health. She has been a Research Medical Officer at VIRTU since 2005, when the HibMenCY study started, and has subsequently been a co-investigator for numerous clinical vaccine trials.
Dr Suja Mary Mathew
Suja is a general paediatrician with 20+ years of experience working both overseas and in Adelaide, Australia. She has been a member of the Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit since 2013 as a research team investigator, being involved in recruiting participants for various studies and conducting study procedures as per protocols, as well as in the analysis of data and in the preparation of manuscripts for publication. She also provides supervisor support to students and paediatric trainees who are involved in research projects in the unit.
Clinical Trials Coordinators
Michelle Clarke has been a research scientist with the Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit since 1999 and has extensive experience in all aspect of clinical trial management from protocol development, preparation of Human Research Ethics applications, study recruitment, conduct, analysis and reporting. Michelle has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Science, a Master of Philosophy in Public Health and is currently undertaking a PhD investigating factors that may influence vaccine responses. Michelle has a keen interest in protecting children from infectious diseases and ensuring vaccine programs are safe and effective.
Dr Natalie Aboustate
Natalie is a postdoctoral researcher who joined the VIRTU in 2020 as a study coordinator. She was awarded her PhD in 2018 for her research on innate immune regulation in placenta and cord blood from preterm births. Natalie is currently coordinating an observational study characterising the long-term impact of meningococcal disease on adolescents and young adults.
Dr Prabha Andraweera
Prabha Andraweera is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit, Department of Paediatrics. Prabha obtained her medical degree (MBBS) from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2001 and worked as a Clinical Academic at the University of Colombo until 2007. She was the recipient of an Australian Leadership Award scholarship and completed her PhD in Medicine at the University of Adelaide in 2012. She was awarded a NHMRC Peter Doherty Biomedical Fellowship (2015-2018) to continue postdoctoral research. She has extensive experience in conducting large cohort studies and her research focuses on maternal and child health.
Dr Salenna Elliott
Salenna Elliott is a Senior Research Fellow who joined VIRTU in 2020. Salenna is a medically trained researcher with a PhD in immunology (University of Adelaide) and Master of Public Health (Monash) with twenty years' experience working in infection and immunity research and public health. She has worked previously at SAHMRI in the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Health Equity theme, as a Public Health Medical Registrar at the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Heart Foundation and Communicable Disease Control Branch (SA Health) and as a postdoctoral researcher on malaria (Queensland Institute of Medical Research, University of Melbourne, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and The Burnet Institute).
Chris joined VIRTU in 2002 after many years nursing experience at the WCH. Since joining the group she has developed her skills as a research nurse, co-ordinated a number of clinical trials and been involved in the preparation of numerous ethics submissions. Chris enjoys working with children and their families and has a keen interest in the promotion of vaccination and preventative health care.
Louise joined the Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit in 2014 as a Clinical Research Nurse to help co-ordinate the Maternal Vaccine Trials for pregnant women being undertaken in the unit. Louise has nearly twenty years' experience in Clinical Trials, these have included large International, Australian Multicentered and Women's and Children's Hospital initiated trials. Louise completed an Evidence Based Clinical Fellowship with The Joanna Briggs Institute in 2016.
Simon joined VITRU in 2020 as the unit's Research Manager where he provides a range of operational, business, management, governance and research support to ensure the group reaches its strategic objectives. Simon completed his PhD in 2002 and has worked in health and medical research as a researcher, academic and administrator in various tertiary education institutions, hospitals and The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.
Mark joined VIRTU in 2014 as a Research Associate and Clinical Research Nurse. In June 2017 Mark commenced a PhD investigating Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) carriage in Australian adolescents.
Kathryn Riley joined the VIRTU team in 2015 as a research coordinator and has enjoyed developing her skills in research and the coordination of clinical trials. She graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Health Science and Arts, and is currently completing her Masters of Public Health. Kathryn has a keen interest in health promotion and how the translation of scientific research to policy can improve community engagement about immunisation and public health.
Dr Bing Wang
Bing was awarded a Master's Degree in 2014 and a PhD in 2019 at the University of Adelaide. Bing received a Bachelor's degree in Medicine from the Capital Medical University in Beijing, China. Before she joined VIRTU, Bing had worked in the clinical research area for more than ten years in GlaxoSmithKline (Beijing, China), PPD (Melbourne), CMAX (Adelaide) and CPR (Adelaide). She has been working with her supervisor, Prof Helen Marshall, on clinical trials and projects focusing on vaccine evaluation, costing analysis and disease burden. Her research interests are infectious diseases, vaccine impact and effectiveness, and health economic evaluation.
Mary is a Registered Nurse and Midwife who has worked for VIRTU since 2008 as a Research Nurse involved in recruitment, clinical appointments, data management and trials administration. Mary completed a Professional Certificate in Allergies, Accreditation Programme for Immunisation Providers, Post Graduate Certificate in Child Adolescent and Family Health Nursing and a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Counselling.