Our Team

Professor Michael Findlay, MBChB, MD, FRACP
Director

Michael Findlay completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Otago. He was awarded his Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1990 after training in Wellington and Sydney. His post-fellowship research in the treatment of gastro-intestinal cancers at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London resulted in the awarding of the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1995. After appointments at Sydney Cancer Centre and Wellington Cancer Centre between 1994 and 2002, he was appointed as the foundation Professor in Oncology at The University of Auckland. With his appointment he established Cancer Trials New Zealand, a clinical trials coordinating centre engaged in the design and conduct of clinical and translational trials in a wide range of cancer types – trials that are considered to be of particular significance to New Zealanders. Other current activities related to cancer and cancer research include: board director and deputy–chairman of the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group and its Scientific Advisory Committee, board member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Institute, board member of the Auckland Division of the New Zealand Cancer Society, and member of the National Ethics Advisory Committee. Michael is an advocate of research-driven cancer care.

Associate Professor Katrina Sharples, PhD
Senior Biostatistician

Katrina is based at the University of Otago in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. She was instrumental in developing CTNZ. She gained her initial experience in clinical trials at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, while undertaking a PhD in Biostatistics at the University of Washington. Since returning to New Zealand she has worked as a statistician for trials in variety of areas, predominantly cancer and cardiovascular disease, and has gained wide expertise through serving on Data Monitoring Committees. She is currently the Chair of the Health Research Council of New Zealand Data Monitoring Core Committee.

Dr. Christopher Jackson, MBChB FRACP
CTNZ Clinical Advisor | Concept Development

Chris Jackson is a Consultant Medical Oncologist with the Southern Blood and Cancer Service (Southern DHB) and Senior Lecturer in Medicine with the University of Otago. He was awarded the Graham Aitken Nuffield travelling Scholarship to complete his Fellowship in the United Kingdom. He initially took up a position as Clinical Research Fellow in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Unit of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and was later appointed to Locum Consultant at the Trust. Over this time, he oversaw the development and opening of a satellite Royal Marsden treatment service imbedded in a local hospital environment. Returning to New Zealand for family and lifestyle reasons, he commenced his present post in 2008. He is currently lead for Cancer Trials at the Southern Blood and Cancer Centre, an active investigator in several collaborative clinical studies, Principal Investigator in the Cancer Immunology Therapeutics Research Group at the University of Otago, and Scientific Advisor to Cancer Trials NZ and the Centre for Translational Cancer Research. Chris is currently Chair of the South Island Bowel Cancer Working Group and a member of the National Bowel Cancer Work Group. Current projects include Genetics of Chemotherapy Toxicity, Immunotherapies in Colorectal Cancer, and he is the Clinical Lead for the PIPER colorectal cancer outcomes project. His clinical interests are gastrointestinal cancer and lymphoma.

Dr. Ben Lawrence, MBChB MSc FRACP
Senior Clinical Research Fellow

Dr Lawrence is an Auckland-trained Medical Oncologist who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers. He recently completed a 2 year research Fellowship at Yale University, as the Murray Jackson Clinical Fellow (Genesis Oncology Trust) studying the molecular biology of Neuroendocrine Tumors, with a focus on developing alternative biomarkers related to tumor proliferation. He was previously a Drug Development Scholar at TGen in Scottsdale Arizona, with support from the Gavin and Ann Kellaway Medical Research Fellowship (Auckland Medical Research Foundation). He returned to Auckland in August 2012 to take up concurrent faculty positions at the University of Auckland and Auckland City Hospital. He aims to establish a nationwide translational project involving national tumor collection (clinically annotated retrospective and prospective) and foster development of a new virtual multi-centre tumor board for Neuroendocrine Tumours. Working with A/Prof Cris Print as a translational partner, Ben will undertake multi-level genomic profiling of a large number of NETs with the ultimate aim to develop a real time predictive model based in the genomic constituents of each tumour.

Michelle Wilson, MBChb, FRACP
Senior Clinical Research Fellow

Michelle is an Auckland-trained medical oncologist with an interest in gynaecological malignancies. She recently returned to Auckland after completing a Clinical Research Fellowship in the Drug Development Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Her research focus is geared towards early phase translational studies and clinical trials endpoints; in particular, their utility and evolution in an era of precision oncology practice. To this end, she has been involved in the design and development of several novel international trial concepts evaluating PARP inhibitors and immunotherapy. She is currently completing an MD focusing on the challenges to clinical trial design in medical oncology.

Sarah Benge, PhD
Research Operations Manager

Sarah joined CTNZ in November 2011 from Hampshire in the UK. She has over 16 years’ experience of managing multi-centre, national clinical trials. In her previous role as Senior Clinical Trials Manager at the University of Southampton Clinical Trials Unit she was involved in the development and/or management of over 10 trials across a variety of disciplines. Prior to that she was at the University of Oxford where she was responsible for setting up and getting national registration status for the Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit of which she was the Deputy Director.

Victoria Hinder, BSc (Hons) Applied Statistics
Research Fellow | Biostatistician

Vicki has a degree in Applied Statistics from the University of Reading in the UK. Her initial experience in clinical trials was with AstraZeneca in Sweden and at the Statistical Services Centre at the University of Reading. After taking time out to have a family, her initial roles were in data management and then as a statistician in the field of analysis of sensory and consumer data. She returned to the field of clinical trials when she joined CTNZ in February 2008.

Jade Scott, MSc Chemistry
Clinical Trials Monitor

Jade graduated from The University of Auckland with a Master of Science in Chemistry. Following a stint at the London Fire Brigade HQ, she joined the Auckland Breast Cancer Study Group as a Data Manager and then worked as a Clinical Trial Coordinator at ADHB Oncology Research before joining CTNZ in 2007.  Jade is the clinical trials monitor for CTNZ working across a number of trials.

Lindsey Wylde, MSc(Res) Exercise Physiology
Clinical Trials Manager (KISS and PROSPER)

Lindsey graduated from the University of Leeds in 2011 with a Master of Science by Research in Exercise Physiology.  Prior to moving to New Zealand from the UK, she was employed as a Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge’s MRC Epidemiology Unit working on the EPIC-Norfolk Study.  She has also worked on various exercise nutrition studies for the University of Glasgow.  In addition to her research roles, Lindsey has worked in clerical positions in the health and legal sectors in both the UK and Australia.  She joined CTNZ in October 2014.

Jerome Macapagal, Diploma in ICT
Database Developer

Jerome joined CTNZ in May 2011 as the Database Developer. He has a diploma in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and extensive experience in databases development, implementation and management. Jerome is involved with a number of CTNZ trials databases including their development and maintenance.

Melissa Firth (née Murray), MHSc Molecular Medicine and Pathology
PIPER Project Manager (PIPER Study) (on maternity leave)

Melissa graduated from The University of Auckland with a Master of Health Sciences in Molecular Medicine and Pathology undertaken at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. She first joined CTNZ in 2006 as a Data Manager and progressed to Trial Coordination. She then spent a year on her OE in London, working at the Institute of Cancer Research Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit as the Quality of Life Coordinator for the Urology team. She returned to CTNZ in late 2008 and also sits on the operations group for the Auckland Cancer Research Network. Melissa is the Project Manager for the PIPER colorectal cancer outcomes project.

Ying Huang, MSc Medical Statistics
Biostatistician

Ying graduated from the University of Auckland with a Master of Science in Medical Statistics. She joined the Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2014 as a consulting biostatistician. Prior to that she worked as a Registered Nurse at CMDHB. Ying has been working for CTNZ since late 2016. She is the biostatistician working across a number of trials.

Rebecca Hu, PhD
Clinical Trials Manager (MELVAC and THYMINE)

Rebecca graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor in Biomedical Science and Ph.D in Vision Science. After spending 3 years as a researcher and senior teaching fellow in the university, she joined CoDa Therapeutics Inc. to support their clinical trials and research portfolio in wound healing. She was also involved in market evaluation and supported regulatory applications, patent, and fundraising. From there she moved to Singapore and worked at the LKC School of Medicine jointly established with Imperial College London. After returning to New Zealand in 2015, she took up the role as Study Coordinator at Auckland Clinical Studies where she managed over 20 clinical trials in healthy volunteers and hepatitis patients. She joined CTNZ since Aug 2017.