Scientific Advisory Board

The Scientific Advisory Board has an independent mentoring and advisory role to the Scientific Management Group, providing strategic insight and commercial direction to the Centre. The SAB plays a key role in advising the Centre on the development of the strategic and commercialisation plans. In addition to the core members of the SAB, there are temporary international and local members, including the CBNS Visiting Professor


Professor Alan Rowan (Chair)

Professor Alan Rowan has performed his research at the interface of chemistry and biology with seminal and pioneering work on processive catalysis and functional self-assembly. His latest scientific achievement has been the development of the first truly biomimetic hydrogel which mimics the mechanic and functional properties of the extracellular membrane. This scientific breakthrough is already now being developed commercial for wound dressing, drug therapeutic and cell growth, and has further established Professor Rowan as a truly innovative scientist, working toward understanding at the molecular level the functional of hierarchical materials and catalysis.

Professor Rowan’s considerable scientific curiosity has resulted in him working in many areas, ranging from magnetic materials, single enzyme catalysis, supramolecular catalysis through to nanometer-sized solar cells and photonic materials. In the last ten years he developed the concept of processive catalysis, mimicking the natural exo- and endonucleases and demonstrated that a macrocyclic catalyst can thread onto and move along a polymer substrate in a highly efficient process.

In January 2016 Professor Rowan Professor joined the University of Queensland as the Director of the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. He previously led a research group at Radboud University’s Institute of Molecules and Materials, one of Europe’s leading research centres for the nanosciences. He was awarded an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship to continue his work on novel biomimetic and dynamic materials.




Dr Peter French BSc MSc MBA PhD FRSM

Dr French is a cell and molecular biologist who has extensive experience in both basic and clinical medical research and biotechnology. His research areas of expertise include cell biology, immunology, infectious disease, neurobiology, oncology and gene therapy. He was awarded a PhD for elucidating the molecular composition of keratin proteins in the developing hair follicle. Following a postdoctoral position studying neuronal development he was appointed Principal Scientific Officer in the Centre for Immunology, St Vincent's Hospital Sydney. Whilst at St Vincent’s, he completed a MBA in Technology Management.

Dr French is a Past President of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology and served as a member of the Board of the International Society of Differentiation from 1998-2014. He served as CEO and Managing Director of ASX- and NASDAQ-listed gene therapy company Benitec Biopharma Limited from June 2010 to December 2015. He is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at UNSW and an Honorary Fellow at Macquarie University. He is currently an Executive Director of BCAL Diagnostics, an Australian company developing a novel blood-based screening test for breast cancer.






Dr Sridhar Iyengar PhD

Dr Iyengar is a founder and director of Misfit Wearables, makers of highly wearable computing products, including the award-winning Shine, an elegant activity monitor. Dr Iyengar also founded and served as CTO of AgaMatrix, a blood glucose monitoring company that made the world’s first hardware medical device to connect directly to the iPhone, winning both the Red Dot and the GOOD Design Awards. He built AgaMatrix from a two-person start-up to shipping 15+ FDA-cleared medical device products, 3B+ biosensors, 3M+ glucose meters for diabetics, with partnerships with Apple, Sanofi, and Walgreens. Dr Iyengar holds over 20 US and international patents and received his PhD from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar. 








Dr David Owen BSc (Hons) PhD

Dr Owen is the Vice President of Research at Starpharma and has extensive experience in medicinal chemistry and biochemistry, and in managing teams focused on commercially directed drug discovery. He has held several positions in the biotech industry including Mimotopes, Cerylid and Glykoz and gathered extensive international experience in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research and development. Since joining Starpharma Dr Owen has driven the drug delivery programs by developing and executing a number of successful proof-of-concept studies. The results from these studies have led to a number of commercial partnerships such as Stiefel a GSK company, Lilly and AstraZeneca, as well as driving Starpharma's own internal drug delivery program focused on an improved dendrimer-docetaxel formulation.








Dr Leanna Read FTSE FAICD

Dr Leanna Read is the Chief Scientist for South Australia and chairs the South Australian Science Council.  She is a renowned biotechnology expert and brings a wealth of executive, board and investment experience in technology-based businesses.  In addition to her role as Chief Scientist, Leanna chairs the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing and is a member of the SA Economic Development Board and the Council for the University of South Australia.  Prior roles included CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Tissue Growth and Repair and the founding managing director of Adelaide biotechnology company, TGR BioSciences Pty Ltd.   She has received a number of awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia, the 2006 South Australian of the Year (Science and Technology) and the 2011 Central Region winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Technology Category.