Our People

Professor Mike Calford
Professor Mike Calford
Institute Director

Professor Mike Calford graduated with a PhD in physiology from Monash University in 1982 before holding several postdoctoral appointments at the University of Melbourne, City University of New York and Oxford, England.  

After returning to Australia in 1984 he received a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship at the University of Queensland working with the newly appointed Chair of Physiology – Jack Pettigrew.  

Professor Calford’s career in research began looking at the sensory representations with a particular interest in adaptations of Australian endemic animals, a topic which has remained a life-long interest. Subsequently he set up a laboratory examining the cellular and physiological basis of the brain’s response to trauma in animal models.  

Professor Calford was successful in obtaining major funding from the Australian research council (Including a centre of excellence) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (Including a program grant and a principal research fellowship). He counts as a major achievement his 28 years of continuous NHMRC funding, before giving way and fully joining the “dark-side” of research through university administration in 2012.  

Professor Calford has had a long interest in research ethics and standards and has chaired the Animal Welfare Committee of the NHMRC, the Universities Australia Pro and Deputy Vice-Chancellors Research Committee, and the 2018 revision of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.  

Professor Calford moved from the Australian National University (ANU) to the University of Newcastle in 2000 as Chair of Physiology. He points to the excellent relationships between clinicians in Hunter New England Health and the academic staff of the University as the main motivation for his move. These relationships led to the formation of HMRI and Mike joined the Board of HMRI in his role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health) in 2006 and then as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), until he left Newcastle in early 2013.  

After appointments as Provost at the University of Tasmania and the ANU, Mike briefly retired in February 2020 with plans to spend some quality time sorting through the thousands of research slides he has kept in his garage in case he missed something. Unfortunately, the slides will have to wait as the opportunity to come back to HMRI as Director presented too good an opportunity to pass up. 

Professor Calford also holds the positions of Chair of Intersect Ltd and advisor to the Australian Education Management Group, and to Wells Advisory. 

Professor Calford has a deep connection to HMRI, the work that it supports, and its great value proposition of linking two excellent institutions, the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health through the support of the Hunter community. 

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HMRI Leadership Team

Professor Mike Calford
Institute Director
Claire Drelincourt
Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary
Chris Oldmeadow
Associate Director: Data Sciences
Andrew Searles
Associate Director: Health Research Economics
Emma Konik
Executive Officer
Dr Craig Gedye
Director HMRI Clinical Trials
Head of Marketing
Dominic Bailey HMRI
Business Development Manager
Dr Giavanna Angeli
Philanthropy Lead
Senior Executive Assistant to HMRI CEO, COO and HMRI Chair
Executive Assistant to Andrew Searles, Chris Oldmeadow and Penny Reeves

Finance, People & Culture

Tim Smith
Head of Finance
Melanie Price | HMRI
Head of People & Culture
Kathryn Skennar | HMRI
Finance Business Partner - Corporate
Trisha D’Accione
Grants Compliance Officer
Sally Robertson
Funding and Analysis Lead
Michele Biles
Finance Officer
Payroll and HR Officer
Melissa Heaford
Business Support Officer

Projects & Research Funding

Sonya Murray | HMRI
Grants Writer
Janine Curtis | HMRI
Grants Writer
Sally Gordon
Grants Coordinator


Giavanna Angeli
Philanthropy Lead
Karen Baker
Senior Philanthropy Manager
Julia Berry
Direct Marketing & Bequests Manager
Libby Rodgers-McPhee
Senior Philanthropy Manager
Jodi Thompson
Donor Stewardship Coordinator
Rebekah Wilson HMRI
Senior Philanthropy Manager


Caroline Raper
Head of Marketing
Brand and Content Specialist
Natalie Edwick
Digital Marketing Specialist
Media and PR Specialist
Events Specialist

Data Sciences

Chris Oldmeadow
Associate Director: Clinical Research Design and Statistical Services
Michelle Gillam - HMRI
Professional Services Operations Manager
Peter Mastello
Research Data Lead
Lucy Leigh
Senior Statistician
Kerrin Palazzi
Senior Statistician
Simon Chiu
Jean Ball
Matthew Clapham
Jack Faulkner
Erin Nolan
Erdahl Teber | HMRI
Carlos Riveros - HMRI
Health Informatician and Bioinformatician
Ryan Tuckerman
Data Manager

Health Research Economics (HRE)

Andrew Searles
Associate Director: Health Research Economics
Michelle Gillam - HMRI
Professional Services Operations Manager
Penny Reeves
Acting Associate Director Health Research Economics
Dr Shanthi Ramanathan | HMRI
Health Research Economics Impact Assessment Specialist
Simon Deeming
Health Research Economist
Rod Ling
Health Research Economist
Zoe Szewczyk
Health Research Economist
Shefi Dsilva
Health Research Economist
Health Research Economist
Felicity Robb
Health Research Economics - Research Assistant

Clinical Trials Unit

Dr Craig Gedye
Director HMRI Clinical Trials
Naomi Knoblauch | HMRI
Program Manager, Clinical Trials Unit
Rochelle Thornton
Clinical Trials Coordinator
Catherine Johnson HMRI
Clinical Trials Network Officer

Infrastructure & Scientific Services

Cameron Morton
Head of Infrastructure
Fiona Richards
Head of Scientific Services
Rory Withers
Maintenance Manager
WHS Officer
Ruth Buxton
Technical Officer


Margaret Cremona

Information Technology Services (ITS)

Greg Garland - HMRI
Head of Information Technology
Matthew Richards | HMRI
Information Technology Administrator


Jemma Darling
Café Catering Attendant & Barista
Danniell Berrigan
Café Catering Attendant & Barista
Angela Barwick
Café Catering Attendant & Barista
Cherie Heaney
Café Catering Attendant & Barista
Kristin Jones
Café Catering Attendant & Barista