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.
Dr Nicky Lawrence, MBChB, FRACP
Deputy Director and Medical Oncologist
Nicky completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Auckland. She is a Medical Oncologist at Auckland City Hospital with an interest in genitourinary cancers and clinical trial methodology. She was awarded her Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2015. Nicky worked as a research fellow at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney from 2015 to 2017 where she gained experience working in a co-ordinating centre for cancer clinical trials. She was awarded an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship, NZ Goldman Sachs scholarship, and Sydney Catalyst Top-Up scholarship to undertake a PhD evaluating the design of cancer clinical trials in the era of targeted and immunological therapies (2015 to 2018). She convened the inaugural NZ concept development workshop, and is a faculty member of the ACORD protocol writing workshop. Nicky joined CTNZ in February 2019.
Professor Katrina Sharples, PhD
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.
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
Quality Manager and 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.
Kate Gorton, BN, MPH
Clinical Trials Manager
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.
Kelly Fredell, Clinical Trials Manager
Kelly has seven years’ experience cooordinating clinical research at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. Kelly is a former paediatric and public health nurse who has also worked within research and workforce development. She joined CTNZ in April 2020.
Bobbi Laing, PhD
Clinical Trials Manager
Bobbi joined CTNZ in July 2021 as a Clinical Trials Manager for the Kōwhai study – the Feasibility Trial on the Younger Women’s Wellness Program for the Younger Women after Breast Cancer. This includes the sub-study ‘Māreikura tū Kōwhai’ which is an adaptation of the study for Māori women. Prior to working in CTNZ she had a position as a research fellow in the School of Nursing and continues in this position as an honorary research fellow. She has a PhD in Biomedical Science and her topic was ‘Key Genotypes and the Response to Nutrient Supplementation in Crohn’s Disease’. She has registrations in Nursing and Nutrition and prior to being in Auckland worked in these roles in a variety of rural and urban health settings in the South Island. Bobbi currently leads the Women’s Wellness Program for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome study (NZ). She is a Co-Investigator on both the Women’s Wellness Program After Stroke consultation project and an HRC Activation grant ‘Investigating registered nurses antimicrobial stewardship: their clinical engagement and leadership’.
Robert Cartwright MSc
Clinical Trials Data Manager/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. Robert has been our SAS programmer for six months but from April 2019 he took on all the Data Manager tasks (including the SAS programming) to work full time for CTNZ in the Data Management team.
Shani Peleg, Information System Engineer
Clinical Trials Data Manager
Shani joined CTNZ in November 2019. She is an IT Project Manager with over eight years’ experience in a large Health Maintenance Organization. She is experienced in leading and implementing high-volume IT projects including, clinical research development platform, database maintenance, software development, communication and infrastructure. Shani is also an experienced Data Analyst and BI Developer.
Twarita Dhorje, MSc
Clinical Trials Data Manager
Twarita joined CTNZ in July 2021 with her 10+ years of experience in clinical research. She has primarily worked in the field of pharmacovigilance, drugs and clinical trials profiling, clinical and healthcare data management, eHealth, and pharmaceutical business intelligence services. In 2016, Twarita graduated from the University of Canterbury with a post graduate diploma in Business, while she also holds a Master of Science in Bioinformatics and a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology.