The success, management and growth of WMR is driven by a team of dedicated employees.
This team provides support services to facilitate research projects and clinical trials, engages and communicates with stakeholders and the broader community to raise funds and awareness underpinning the organisation’s research activities, and manages the operations and administration of the organisation.
In addition to this is a diverse team of professional researchers from within the UnitingCare Health group and collaborative partner organisations.
Chief Executive Officer | Director of Research
Professor David Paterson
Professor David Paterson is an Infectious Diseases Physician and Professor of Medicine at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research. He has practiced medicine and conducted clinical research in Australia, the United States and Europe, and has given invited lectures in 30 countries. Prof Paterson is the author of more than 350 peer-reviewed publications with over 20 book chapters. He was recognised as a 2015 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.
As one of 21 Queensland Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, Prof Paterson was recognised in his election as “an internationally renowned researcher, policymaker and advocate for medical research”.
Chief Operations Officer
Aaron Davis provides strategic and operational management to the organisation. He directs and manages the organisation’s operational business functions including finance and administration.
Aaron brings with him 13 years of operational and financial management experience in the Health and IT sectors. Prior engagements include Finance and Administration Manager for Queensland Eye Hospital, and Operations Manager of Heart Care Partners. Preceding this he was the Operations Manager of a London-based software development company. His areas of expertise lie in health management, finance and health IT.
Research Theme Leaders
Dr Kelley Foster
Kelley is the Research Theme Leader for Neuroscience and Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery. She drives investigator-led research initiatives in her two themes to maximise both the opportunity for, and capacity of clinicians to undertake research. Kelley manages most aspects of research at the organisation, including management of the theme-based Research Committees, budgetary and reporting oversight of research projects and staff, and research engagement with clinicians, nurses and allied health staff.
Kelley brings 19 years of experience in medical research to her position. Previous roles have provided Kelley with the opportunity to work in basic research (stroke and schizophrenia) within hospital and academic environments as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Kelley’s prior positions include Research Manager at St Andrew’s Medical Institute (Brisbane), Senior Research Biologist at Merck & Co. (Philadelphia) and post-doctoral appointments at Duke University/Department of Veteran Affairs (North Carolina, USA) and the Perinatal Research Center in Brisbane.
Kelley has substantial experience in the management of clinical trials, clinical audit programs and research projects and has written successful NHMRC, US Veterans Affairs and AusHSI grant applications.
Kelley completed her PhD in pharmacokinetics at the University of Queensland and Bachelor of Science with Honours (first class) at the University of Tasmania. She also completed a Clinical Research Associate Professional Development Program in 2008.
Emma joined Wesley Medical Research in 2011 as Manager of WMR BioBank, and was the organisation’s Workplace Health & Safety Manager from 2011-2014.
Emma currently manages research support services from WMR for and engages closely with UnitingCare Health doctors across two research themes: Cancer and Women’s & Children’s Health. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Sciences, majoring in Biological Sciences from Griffith University in 2007, and has previously worked for Sullivan and Nicolaides Pathology in the Histology Department as a Supervising Scientist.
Emma has been a speaker and workshop presenter both nationally and internationally at scientific meetings and conferences, including the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) International Conference in 2013 and was a keynote speaker at the National Histopathology Conference in 2012. She was a keynote speaker at the 2015 Australasian Skin Cancer Congress.
Emma is currently undertaking postgraduate studies, studying a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Central Queensland University with a focus on innovation and change management.
Angela is Theme Leader for Surgical & Medical Innovations, and Infections & Critical Illness at Wesley Medical Research.
Angela brings 8 years of experience in clinical trials management and another 3 years of specialised clinical oncology nursing to her position. Previous roles have provided Angela with the opportunity of being a member of the Human Research Ethics Committee over 3 years, whilst gaining a postgraduate diploma in Oncology Nursing.
She is a co-author in 10 publications across a variety of journals, combined with securing multiple research grants for Investigator and Industry Sponsored Research. Angela was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Mercy Award in the category of Clinical Services and received an outstanding award for recruitment to the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC) 2014.
Dr Tamara Street
Dr Tamara Street is the research theme leader for Rural & Remote Health. As a Senior Research Fellow at Wesley Medical Research and the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology, she is passionate about empowering individuals to enhance their wellness and is committed to taking action to reduce the rapidly increasing epidemics of preventable chronic diseases.
Tamara is an experienced applied researcher with numerous peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and books. Her pioneering research has been recognised through presentations at leading international psychology, and health and safety conferences in Australia, America, France, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Poland. In 2014, Tamara was awarded the Wesley Research Institute’s (now Wesley Medical Research) prestigious ‘Scientific Researcher of the Year’ in acknowledging her contributions to health research.
With expertise in areas of behaviour change management, occupational health and safety, training and performance enhancement, Tamara has worked as a consultant for both private business and public sector clients. She has built a reputation for delivering professional health and safety programs that achieve proactive corporate health and safety risk management and enhance individual wellbeing.
Engagement & Philanthropy
Kate Heffernan leads external engagement and philanthropy at Wesley Medical Research. She works with the Wesley Medical Research teams and the broader community to secure funds for research that can improve patients’ lives and health outcomes within the next five years. Kate develops partnerships with donors who want to make a positive impact right now here in Queensland with worldwide implications.
With over a decade of experience supporting medical research at The University of Queensland, Kate understands that real outcomes are what matter to our donors, partners and the broader community. Kate is excited by working with staff who care for patients while undertaking research that ensures future treatment options are brighter.