Our Team

Professor Michael Findlay, MBChB, MD, FRACP

Michael Findlay completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Otago in 1983. 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. Until 2016 he was Deputy Chairman of the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group and remains on its Scientific Advisory Committee and Upper GI Cancer Working Party. Michael is a board member of the Gut Cancer Foundation, a charitable organisation established in New Zealand to raise awareness and funding for research into GI cancers. He is also a board member of the Auckland Division of the New Zealand Cancer Society. Michael is an advocate of research-driven cancer care.

Associate Professor Katrina Sharples, PhD
Senior Biostatistician

Katrina was instrumental in developing CTNZ and is based at the University of Otago, dividing her time between the Department of Medicine and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (where she is currently Head of the Statistics Group). 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 a variety of areas, with a primary focus on cancer, 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. Katrina has broad interests in statistical methods for epidemiology and clinical research, and in addition to her role with CTNZ, she is the lead statistician for two research groups based at Otago, the Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network and the Centre for International Health.

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 UK. He took up a position as Clinical Research Fellow in the Gastrointestinal Cancer Unit of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and later became Locum Consultant at the Trust. On returning to New Zealand, he commenced his current post in 2008. In 2015 Chris was appointed as the Medical Director of Cancer Society New Zealand. He currently chairs the Colorectal Cancer Standards working group and is a member of the National Bowel Cancer Work Group.  Chris is the 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.

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.

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.

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.

Ying Huang, MSc Medical Statistics

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 THYMINE2)

Rebecca graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor in Biomedical Science and PhD 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 in August 2017.

Kate Gorton, BN, MPH
Clinical Trials Manager (KISS)

Kate has several years of experience working in cancer research, coordinating epidemiological studies and randomised controlled trials. Prior to joining CTNZ in May 2018, Kate was employed as a Research Officer at the Cancer Council Queensland in Australia. Kate has also worked as a Registered Nurse, in both Australia and the United Kingdom, within a range of specialties including oncology.

Louise Clement, MA
Clinical Trials Manager

Louise graduated from King’s College London with a degree in Human Biology and then studied for a Postgraduate Diploma in Developmental Biology at University of Sussex. She has worked in clinical trials since 2007, beginning in oncology at the Medical Research Council, Clinical Trials Unit in London and continuing in academic research, within a range of specialities. Most recently, she worked for the National Institute for Health Research in England as a regional Research Facilitator in primary care. Louise joined CTNZ in September 2018.

Lusiane Belaus, MBA (BioMed)
Clinical Trials Data Manager

Lusiane joined CTNZ in September 2018 from Teva Pharmaceuticals, Israel. She has over 9 years experience in global clinical trials, including a variety of therapeutic areas. She has led Clinical Data Management activities in the Biometrics Department for over 20 studies, as a line manager and CRO manager. More recently, as a Clinical Project Manager at the Global Clinical Operations Department, Lusiane worked in the development and execution of 3 anti-CGRP phase III studies with ePRO and Digital Wearable endpoints. Lusiane holds an MBA in Biomedical Management focused on Clinical Trials from The College of Management Academic Studies in Israel and Medicine Studies from Barceló Foundation in Argentina.

Robert Cartwright MSc
SAS Programmer

Robert graduated from The University of Auckland in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science, and has recently completed a Master of Biomedical Science at The Liggins Institute. In his Masters, Robert investigated the influence of fetal growth restriction on the effects of repeat antenatal corticosteroid therapy for preterm birth. Robert is also an active Volunteer Ambulance Officer with St. John Ambulance.  As our SAS programmer, Robert will be working alongside our Data Manager writing and running SAS programmes to compliment our ALEA electronic data capture system.