Leadership Team

Executive Leadership Team

Dr Claudia Giurgiuman

BSc(HonsIA), PhD, GCertPjMan, P3O, MAICD

General Manager

Passionate about the enormous power of medical research and its ability to save and improve lives, Claudia brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained over a 20 year period in the conduct and management of health research.

Having completed a PhD in the field of Medicine (2003), Claudia initially worked as a biomedical researcher in the field of epithelial pathobiology before transitioning to senior management positions in research and philanthropic not-for-profit organisations.

Most notably, Claudia led the development of multi-million dollar research initiatives aimed at making significant advances to the diagnosis, treatment and management of various debilitating illnesses and diseases. These include the establishment of the Centre for Child and Adolescent Brain Cancer Research, where she also contributed to the development of the national brain cancer research strategy convened by the Federal Health Minister, and the Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research at the Children’s Hospital Foundation. 

Having joined Wesley Medical Research as General Manager in July 2019, Claudia’s strategic leadership agility, combined with her collaborative approach, means she can navigate and lead the team through a highly-complex, multi-faceted environment. She works closely with the Board of Wesley Medical Research, and Board subcommittees to achieve the organisation’s vision and mission.

In addition to a BSc (Hons 1A) and PhD, Claudia holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Project Management, is a licensed Portfolio, Program and Project Management Practitioner, has completed a Women in Technology Board Readiness Course and is studying a Master in Business Administration (UQ).

Claudia’s passion for research extends to supporting other organisations in her roles as Chair and Co-President of the Women in Technology Board, Chair of the Sunshine Coast Hospital Foundation (Wishlist) Research Advisory Committee and Member of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes’ Research Strategy Network Steering Committee.

Samantha Birrell

Senior Research Manager

Samantha is committed to delivering innovative treatment options to patients who need them the most.  She has extensive experience in conducting and managing medical research across the entire translational research pathway, gained from industry, research institutes and not-for-profit organisations.

Samantha has expertise in managing comprehensive clinical trial portfolios having worked nationally and internationally for large pharmaceutical, collaborative and biotechnology organisations. Samantha’s expansive knowledge and experience of the clinical trial landscape was further gained while managing research governance, regulatory affairs, ethics and compliance functions at leading research institutes.

The passion Samantha has for establishing, implementing and maintaining quality research frameworks was further enhanced in the not-for-profit sector where she has been instrumental in designing multi-institutional, multi-investigator research and non-research grant schemes, leading high performing teams, managing multi-million dollar research budgets, and liaising closely with fundraising functions to develop proposals, attract funding and manage donors.

Samantha holds a Bachelor of Biotechnology Innovation degree with first class honours and a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health from QUT.

Samantha is committed to driving Wesley Medical Research forward and building a strong research culture across the UnitingCare network that will impact patients across Queensland and beyond.

Simon Smith

Senior Finance Manager

Simon is a highly experienced executive who has held roles as Chief Finance Officer in health and education across profit and not-for-profit organisations and in both the private and public sector. Simon has also held non-executive director roles. He is highly experienced in philanthropic financial accounting and financial management, has had oversight of the ICT function and Project Management Office in previous roles.

He is a CPA with a Masters in Commerce and a Bachelor of Economics from The University of Queensland.

Wesley Medical Research

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