• Level 3, 88 Jephson Street, Toowong, QLD 4066, Australia
  • +61 7 3331 3999

The Life Sciences Queensland Globally Engaging Networking Event (GENE) will be held on the Friday 20th October 2017, following The Australasian Bioenergy and Bioproducts Symposium (TABBS) at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia.

GENE is a prestigious event attended by many in the industry - bringing together a number of key Australian, North American, European, Asian and Canadian Life Sciences Leaders, for an evening of networking and entertainment. The event has enjoyed growing success since its inception in 2009, and promises to be an engaging celebration of the life sciences industry, locally and abroad, in 2017.
GENE will feature the presentation of three key industry Awards - the McCullough Robertson LSQ Industry Excellence Award, the LSQ Elected Official Award and the LSQ Trade Commissioner Award. 

The event will also feature the presentation of the Rose-Anne Kelso Commemorative Award to recognise an individual female’s endeavors and passion and dedication to the health and life sciences industry.

GENE Images


Nominations have now closed

To vote for the McCullough Robertson LSQ Industry Excellence Award

Now in its ninth year, the 2017 McCullough Robertson Industry Excellence Award will be presented to an individual that has made significant contributions to the performance and success of the Queensland Life Sciences Industry and will have demonstrated a breadth of impact across the sector.


Prof Alan Mackay-Sim
Director, National Adult Stem Cell Research Centre, Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University

Professor Mackay-Sim has had a long interest in regeneration and repair of the nervous system. For many years his passion has been to understand the regeneration and repair of the olfactory mucosa, the organ of the sense of smell in the nose, in which new sensory nerve cells are made throughout adult life. This is a fascinating biological question that has many direct applications to understanding human disease and repairing other parts of the nervous system. Olfactory tissue is easily accessible and provides the scientist and clinician with neural cells and the adult stem cells that give rise to them. In essence the nose provides a "window into the brain" to study cellular processes of disease and also provides adult neural stem cells with the potential to repair the nervous system. Professor Mackay-Sim and his research team are using olfactory stem cells to develop cellular models of diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and motor neurone disease. They have already identified differences in nerve cell regeneration in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that help understand how these diseases develop. Professor Mackay-Sim is scientific director of a clinical trial in which cells from the nose (called "olfactory ensheathing cells") are taken from the nose of people with paraplegia after traumatic spinal cord injury, grown in the lab, and transplanted into their own injured spinal cord. This trial provides a precedent for future trials using adult stem cells.

Dr Cherrell Hirst AO
Chair of ImpediMed and Factor Therapeutics; Director of Medibank Private, Gold Coast Health and Hospital Service, and RSL Care RDNS

During the past decade, Cherrell has played a significant role in Queensland’s growing biotechnology sector. From 2007 to 2014 she served as chief executive officer of QIC BioVentures, where she was a director of several investee companies. During this time she also served on several national and state government advisory boards. Cherrell was chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology from 1994 to 2004, and chair of the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2006. Cherrell is a qualified medical practitioner, gaining a national reputation in the field of breast cancer screening and diagnosis as director of the Wesley Breast Clinic. Cherrell has been awarded three honorary doctorates, an Australian Government Centenary Medal (2003), and the title of Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (1998). She is also a former Queenslander of the Year (1995). Cherrell is currently chair of ImpediMed and Factor Therapeutics (formerly Tissue Therapies) and a director of Medibank Private, Gold Coast Health and Hospital Service, and RSL Care RDNS. She has previously served on the boards of Peplin, Hatchtech, the Avant Group and Suncorp, as well as various not-for-profit entities. Cherrell is an Adjunct Professor at UQ IMB.

Mr David Hughes
Biopharmaceuticals Australia (BPA) CEO     

David Hughes led a major project over seven years to establish a world-class facility for the contract manufacture of biologic drugs. Unique in Australia, the $65M facility is co-located with the Translational Research Institute (TRI) and provides for drug developers to scale-up and produce commercial quantities of new medicines via BPA’s commercial partner, DSM Biologics (DSMB).

The facility will employ over 150 highly-skilled staff, and positions Queensland as a global destination for new bio-drug development. Client deals with US-based DecImmune and Melbourne-based Paranta Bioscience have already been announced.

Beyond physical infrastructure, extended impacts include DSMB’s relationship with the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), resulting in staff exchanges, cell line development and process development projects. BPA is also working with TRI and others to enhance the commercial translation pipeline.

Under David’s leadership, BPA has leveraged $7M seed funding to over $65M, and adapted continuously to the challenges presented in this complex, multi-stakeholder deal.

Distinguished Prof James Dale AO
Professor, Institute for Future Environments, IFE Centres, CTCB Centre Office - QUT

Distinguished Professor James Dale is the inaugural Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (CTCB) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) which incorporates Tropical Crop Biotechnology, the Syngenta Centre for Sugarcane Biofuels Development and Sugar Research and Innovation (SRI). The CTCB consists of around 50 researchers as well as more than 25 postgraduate students. It is a horizontally integrated, multidisciplinary centre focusing on tropical crops with expertise from gene discovery and genetic modification through to biomass fractionation, processing and value adding. Its facilities range from state-of-the-art molecular biology laboratories through small scale biomass processing labs, PC2 plant growth facilities and glasshouses to a major biomass pilot plant. The CTCB has collaborative projects in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America.

Prof Frank Gannon
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute CEO

Professor Frank Gannon is QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute’s seventh Director and CEO, joining the Institute in January 2011. Previously, he was Director-General at the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) from 2007.

From 1994 until 2007, Professor Gannon was the Executive Director of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and Senior Scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), based in Germany. He was Director of the National Diagnostic Centre and Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at University College Galway, Ireland between 1981 and 1994.

He obtained a Bachelor of Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 1970; a PhD from the University of Leicester, England in 1973; was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Madison Wisconsin, USA from 1973 until 1975; and Chargé de Recherche in INSERM at the University of Strasbourg, France from 1975 until 1981. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Jozsef Attila, Szeged (Hungary), The University of Queensland (Australia) and Queens University Belfast (Northern Ireland).

His major research interest is the regulation of gene expression by the oestrogen receptor, which plays a major role in breast and endometrial cancer. These studies have provided leads to novel treatments or therapeutic approaches to these and other cancers.

Professor Gannon has authored more than 200 research articles published in international journals. In addition, between 2000 and 2008, he contributed to a monthly editorial on topics that connect science and society in EMBO Reports, of which he was founding senior editor.

Professor Gannon has seven patent applications, four of which are active at present, and he was the founder of both Bimini Ltd (1990) and Elara Pharmaceuticals (2006). He was a member of the interim Board of Science Foundation Ireland from 2002 until 2004 and was elected as a Member of EMBO in 1989, Academia Europea in 2004, the Royal Irish Academy in 2007, the Mexican Academy of Medicine in 2008 and The European Academy of Cancer Sciences in 2009. In 2012, Professor Gannon was appointed as a Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

He has served on a range of high-level scientific advisory boards at institutes throughout the world and was co-founder of the European Life Sciences Forum (ELSF) and the Initiative for Science Europe (ISE), which played significant roles in the establishment of the European Research Council (ERC). He was Vice President of the European Heads of Research Council and an advisor to the European Union Commissioner for Research and Innovation prior to his move to Brisbane. Currently, he is a board member of the Australian Association of Medical Research Institutes and member of the Advance Queensland Expert Panel.


The Rose-Anne Kelso Commemorative Award

In memory of Rose-Anne Kelso, this award was created by Life Sciences Queensland Limited (LSQ) to recognise an individual female’s endeavours and passion and dedication to the health and life sciences industry. The Award will assist an individual with enhancing their objectives, outcomes and opportunities within the health and life sciences industry, through the provision of AU$3000 towards flights and travel expenses to attend an appropriate international meeting (as mutually agreed), and recognition among the media, domestic and international business leaders, investors and the broader community.

The LSQ Elected Officials Award

The Life Sciences Queensland Limited (LSQ) Elected Officials Award (EOA) will be given to an elected Government Official (Local, State or Federal Government) who has made significant contributions to promoting and serving the Queensland Life Sciences Industry.

The LSQ Trade Commissioners Award

The Life Sciences Queensland Limited (LSQ) Trade Commissioners Award (TCA) will be awarded to a Trade and Investment Queensland Commissioner, or their staff, who - as determined by LSQ Members - has made significant contributions to promoting and serving the Queensland Life Sciences Industry.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on 20th October to celebrate GENE 2016, and c
ongratulations to all of the Award winners and nominees.

McCullough Robertson LSQ Industry Excellence Award
Winner: Prof Sagadevan Mundree - QUT

Rose-Anne Kelso Commemorative Award
Winner: Dr Joanne MacDonald - USC    

LSQ Trade Commissioners Award      
Winner: David Camerlengo - Trade & Investment Commissioner for North America
LSQ Elected Officials Award
Winner: Hon Dr Anthony Lynham MP - Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines