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.

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 Nicky Lawrence, MBChB, FRACP
Senior Research Fellow 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.

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
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 (on parental leave)

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.

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.

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.