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Genomics WA is governed by an Executive Board who oversee our strategy, policy and finances.

Adjunct Associate Alka Saxena

Director, Genomics WA

Professor Alka Saxena is a research scientist with clinical qualifications and expertise in genomics and bioinformatics. She has experience in a vast range of manual and automated library preparations, data generation on NGS and microarray platforms and bioinformatics data analysis for Illumina, Helicos and Oxford Nanopore sequencers. In her previous role, Professor Saxena was Head of the Genomics Research Platform at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital and senior research fellow at Kings College London since 2013, where she established and led the MRC funded Single Cell laboratory since 2016 and NIHR funded BRC Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) Genomics lab since 2018. Professor Saxena is the director of Genomics WA since 2019.

Nick Wood

Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Telethon Kids Institute (TKI)

Nick is responsible for leading the Finance, Procurement, People and Culture, ICT and Facilities Management teams at the Telethon Kids Institute.

His previous leadership roles include Chair of Gowrie Western Australia, a Fellow of Leadership WA, a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Graduate Member of Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.

Professor Alistair Forrest

Laboratory Head-Systems Biology and Genomics

UWA Centre for Medical Research (affiliated with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)

Professor Forrest’s research focuses on using cutting-edge genomic techniques, in particular next generation DNA sequencing and computational approaches (bioinformatics) to understand how cells work at a system level. He has extensive experience in next generation sequencing (NGS) and has published using a variety of platforms (Roche, SOLiD, Illumina and Helicos) and protocols (RNA-seq, CAGE, small RNA, ChIP-seq).

Professor Ryan Lister

Laboratory Head-Epigenetics and Genomics

UWA Centre for Medical Research (affiliated with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)

Professor Ryan Lister's research uses genomic technologies to investigate the epigenome, the molecular code superimposed upon the genome that can regulate the readout of the underlying genetic information. His laboratory uses a wide range of sequencing technologies and assays to explore the composition and function of the epigenome in diverse systems, including plants, animals, human stem cells, embryo development, and the brain. Professor Lister is an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences in recognition for his outstanding work over many years in the field of epigenomics.

Diana Forsyth

Chief Operating Officer (COO) Perkins

UWA Centre for Medical Research (affiliated with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)

Diana has worked with a diverse range of organisations in the health, education, community service and resources sectors. Her experience has included managerial roles in both commercial and not for profit organisations including with Rio Tinto and St John of God Health Care. Diana has served on boards as a chair and non-executive director and has founded and led management consulting practices since 2000.

Adjunct Professor Paul Watt

Director of Research Services and Innovation

Telethon Kids Institute (TKI)

Professor Watt is the Director of Research Services and Innovation at the Telethon Kids Institute, where he responsible for technology transfer and licensing activities. Professor Watt is also head of TKI’s Drug Discovery Unit which offers contract research services to the pharmaceutical industry. Dr Watt founded Phylogica to commercialise Phylomers, the most structurally diverse source of peptides available. His specialties are drug discovery, peptide therapeutics, intracellular delivery, protein-protein interactions, and commercialisation.

Associate Professor Charlene Kahler

Deputy Director UWA Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training

Head of Division of infection and Immunity, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, UWA

Dr Charlene Kahler is a distinguished researcher in infectious diseases, concentrating on respiratory pathogens. She has recently established the $1.2 million Clinical Microbiology Research Facility at the University of Western Australia which will focus on developing the capability of long-read sequencing protocols for applications in microbiology. The Marshall Center focusses on novel health translational outcomes including fostering the early stage med-tech company, Noisy Guts Pty Ltd, a multi-award winning company (ON Accelerate4 (2018), StartCon’s Pitch for $1 million (2018) and iAwards National Winner (2019)). The Center encourages scientific communication through activities such as The Barry Marshall MicroBlitz Internship program, which develops science activities to complement the community engagement and outreach programs of metropolitan and regional high schools, and the Australia-China Helicobacter Research Fellowship, which supports exceptional Chinese medical scientists to work in Helicobacter research at the Center.