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Project team

A team of experienced professionals is managing the work of Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance.

Clara Gaff

Executive Director

Clara Gaff is the Executive Director for Melbourne Genomics.

Clara has been involved in the use of genetics and genomics in health care for almost 20 years through roles in genetic counselling, management of genetic services, health professional education, and strategic development in Australia and the UK. She has worked in public health, government, academic and not-for-profit sectors.

Clara has a PhD in molecular genetics, certification in genetic counselling and postgraduate qualifications in health service research and evaluation. She is a Member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Human Genetics Advisory Committee and the Ethics and Social Issues Committee of the Human Genetics Society of Australia.

Image of Elly Lynch

Elly Lynch

Clinical Project Manager

Elly Lynch has been seconded to Melbourne Genomics from the Austin Health Clinical Genetics Service, where she works as a Senior Genetic Counsellor/Unit Manager. Elly has more than 13 years' experience as a Genetic Counsellor. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling from the University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia. Prior to joining Austin Health in 2007, Elly worked at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and The Royal Marsden Hospital in the UK. Elly has extensive clinical experience in seeing patients with cancer genetic syndromes. She has published in medical journals in the area of cancer genetics and is involved with clinical supervision of Associate Genetic Counsellors.

Melissa Martyn

Evaluation Project Manager

Melissa Martyn is seconded to the project team from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and is primarily responsible for managing evaluation activity, including collecting patient and clinical feedback. 

Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts/Science and completed a PhD in genetics at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.  Following this, she moved to Birmingham, UK to help translate advances in genetic science into clinically relevant education initiatives for medical professionals at the then NHS (National Health Service) Genetics Education and Development Centre.  Since her return to Australia, Melissa has been employed on a number of research projects exploring psychosocial aspects of genetic testing/screening.

Natalie Thorne

Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics Project Manager

Natalie Thorne is the Project Manager of Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics.

After a degree majoring in mathematics and statistics and minoring in genetics, Natalie completed her PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Bioinformatics division.

Natalie worked for Cancer Research UK at the Cambridge Research Institute in the computational biology group where she worked on a variety of microarray genomics applications in cancer and analysis of data from emerging genomic technologies. After five years in the UK, she returned to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in a senior postdoctoral position within the statistical genetics lab. Natalie's studies utilised high-throughput sequencing technology to discover disease-causing DNA mutations, focusing on projects to improve the use of whole genome sequencing for disease diagnosis.

Tim Bakker

Senior Project Manager - Information Management and ICT

Tim Bakker is the Project Manager of Information Management and ICT at Melbourne Genomics.

Tim has worked in the IT industry for more than 10 years, most recently working as a Project Manager at The University of Melbourne, in which he led a number of infrastructure and application projects within the central IT unit. Tim's previous experience has included roles in service desk, system administration and IT management.

Karen Meehan

Communication and Engagement Manager

Karen Meehan is the Communication and Enagement Manager for Melbourne Genomics.

Karen has 20 years' experience spanning strategic communications, events management, and online and print journalism. Prior to joining the Melbourne Genomics' team in 2015, Karen worked for 11 years for Museum Victoria, managing media and stakeholder communications for Melbourne's Immigration Museum and the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum, as well as working with museum scientists to communicate specialised research to the media and general public.