Section Menu

Our Steering Committee

Our Steering Committee consists of a consortium of congenital heart disease researchers from Australia and New Zealand and includes the following clinical experts:

 Professor David Celermajer

Dr Thomas Gentles

Dr Rachael Cordina

 Dr James Ramsey

Dr Andrew Bullock

Dr Gavin Wheaton

 Dr Patrick Disney

A/Prof Michael Cheung

Prof Yves d'Udekem

 A/Prof Christian Brizard

A/Prof Robert Weintraub

A/Prof Leeanne Grigg

 Dr Clare O'Donnell

A/Prof Gary Sholler

A/Prof Julian Ayer

 A/Prof Nadine Kasparian

Dr Mugur Nicolae

A/Prof Robert Justo 

 A/Prof Nelson Alphonso

Prof Simon Stewart

Dr Lisa Selbie

 Mr Rob Lutter

Prof Geoff Strange

Professor David Celermajer AO MBBS MSc PhD DSc FRACP FAHA FCSANZ FHKCC FAA David Celermajer sm

Professor Celermajer is the Scandrett Professor of Cardiology at The University of Sydney and Director of Echocardiography, Director of Adult Congenital Heart Services and Co-Director of Pulmonary Hypertension Services in the Cardiology Department at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, as well as Staff Cardiologist at the Children's Hospital in Westmead. He has been Group Leader of the Clinical Research Group of the the Heart Research Institute since 1994, and in 2003 was appointed as Clinical Director of the Heart Research Institute. He sits on the National Heart Foundation of Australia's Cardiovascular Health Advisory Committee and is currently also a Board Member of the Menzies School of Health Research in the Northern Territory. Since 2006 he has been a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Dux of Sydney Grammar School Rhodes Scholar for NSW 1983 University Medallist, USyd Medicine, 1984 World Debating and Public Speaking Champion 1984 Winner of RT Hall Prize and Eric Susman Medal for Research, 1998 Winner of Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Health Research 2002 Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science 2006 Sir Kempson Maddox Lecturer, Cardiac Society of ANZ 2008.

Dr Tom Gentles MBChB DCH FRACP FCSANZ Tom Gentles

Dr Gentles is the Director of the Green Lane Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Service at Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand and Chair of the Paediatric and Congenital Council of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. He trained at Green Lane Hospital, New Zealand and Children’s Hospital, Boston. His subspecialty interests are in echocardiography and fetal cardiology and research interests are in the area of ventricular function in congenital and rheumatic heart disease, and long-term outcome following cardiac surgery.




Dr Rachael Cordina MBBS (Hons) PhD FRACPDr Rachael Cordina sm

Dr Rachael Cordina is an Adult Cardiologist who specialises in Congenital Heart Disease, Pulmonary Hypertension, Maternal Cardiology and Exercise Physiology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and University of Sydney. Rachael's earlier PhD and ongoing research is focused on the pathophysiology that affects adults with complex congenital heart disease. She was based in the United Kingdom for 2 years whilst undertaking clinical and echocardiography fellowships at UCLH and Royal Brompton Hospital and has European Accreditation in Congenital Heart Disease Echocardiography. She is Vice-Chair of the Australia and New Zealand Fontan Registry.




Dr Gavin Wheaton, MBBS, FRACP, FCSANZG Wheaton

Dr Gavin Wheaton is a paediatric cardiologist at Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide and visiting cardiologist to the Northern Territory. He undertook his training at the University of Adelaide and has a special interest in rheumatic heart disease. Dr Wheaton is also a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University.

Dr Wheaton has had a long association with HeartKids and served as Patron of HeartKids SA.






Patrick graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1996. He completed his internship, physician training and advanced cardiology training at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He then pursued his interest in echocardiography by moving to Toronto, Canada for a 2 year clinical fellowship.

Following his time in Canada he pursued his other interest in adult congenital heart disease by spending 2004 at the Birmingham Grown Up Congenital Heart Unit. On returning to Adelaide, Patrick has taken a central role in running the echocardiography laboratory at Adelaide Cardiology. He has established an adult congenital heart disease clinic at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and has also worked closely with the Cardiology Department at the Women's and Children's Hospital to set up a transition clinic for adolescent patients. Patrick divides his time between the Women's and Children's and Royal Adelaide Hospitals, as well as private practice with Adelaide Cardiology.

A/Professor Michael Cheung BSc MBChB MRCP

Michael Cheung is Director of Paediatric Cardiology at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne (Australia) and Leader of the Heart Research Group at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia). He trained in paediatric cardiology at Grantham Hospital (Hong Kong), Great Ormond Street Hospital (London, UK), Royal Brompton Hospital (London, UK), and the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, Canada). He has co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed papers and nine book chapters. His research includes assessment techniques for blood flow, vascular function in congenital and acquired heart disease, functional outcomes following treatment of congenital heart disease, novel indices of ventricular function, and ischaemic preconditioning for induction of organ protection. He is also a Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Yves d'Udekem MD PhD FRACSYves d’Udekem

Prof d’Udekem moved to Australia to work as a consultant Cardiac Surgeon at the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2003 and acquired Professorship of the University of Melbourne in 2016. He is also the Deputy Director of Cardiac Surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital and a Senior Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. He has currently 2 research focuses: the outcomes late after Fontan surgery and after aortic arch repair. Yves has founded the Australian and New Zealand Fontan Registry, the largest of its kind in the world. He has published 226 articles in international peer-reviewed journals. In the last five years he published 141 articles, obtained 7 NHMRC grants (3 as CIA, 3 as CI and 1 as AI) and 8 grants from other sources.



A/Professor Christian Brizard MS MDDr Brizard sm

Born in France and trained in Paris, Boston and Melbourne, Dr Brizard is the Director of the Cardiac Surgery Department at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne since 2000, the largest paediatric cardiac centre in Australia.  The department has 2 Nationally Funded Centres (Paediatric Heart Transplant and HLHS).  An Honorary Research Fellow at Murdoch Children's Research Institute, his research interests include Fontan Physiology, Stem Cells, Pericardial Cross-linking and DCD Donors. Dr Brizard is an Associate Professor of the University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics and is associated with Cardiac Centres in Vietnam, Lebanon and Hong Kong.  Dr Brizard has published 13 Book chapters, 156 articles in international journals with 70 in the past 5 years. 



A/Professor Robert Weintraub MBBS FRACPRob Weintraub sm

Dr Robert Weintraub is a paediatric cardiologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.  He gained his medical degree at the University of Sydney and after completing a fellowship at RCH, he trained in heart transplantation at Harefield Hospital in the UK and in echocardiography at the UCSD Medical Center, San Diego. He is the lead physician for the heart failure, transplant and pulmonary hypertension service at RCH. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, an Associate Professor on the University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics, a visiting specialist at Monash Medical Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital. Dr Weintraub is on the editorial board of Paediatric Cardiology and Progress in Paediatric Cardiology and serves as a reviewer for a number of leading peer review journals. His research interests include cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension and paediatric cardiac registries.

A/Professor Leeanne Grigg MBBS, FRACP, FCSANZLeeanne Grigg sm

A/Prof Leeanne Grigg is the Divisional Director of Cardiovascular, Renal & Endocrine Services, Head of Cardiology, as well as Director of the Adult Congenital Cardiac Service, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria. She is also Head of the Combined Congenital Cardiac Pregnancy service run conjointly with the Royal Women’s Hospital. After initial training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and further training at Toronto Hospital in Ontario Canada, A/Prof Grigg has been involved in the development and expansion of the congenital cardiac service in collaboration with the Cardiology Department at the Royal Children’s Hospital. In addition to providing clinical care to the congenital heart patients, she is involved in teaching and research in this area and in training other cardiologists in the growing subspeciality of Adult Congenital Cardiac Disease.



Dr Clare O’Donnell BSc MBChB FRACP SM FCSANZDr Clare O

Dr Clare O’Donnell is a paediatric and adult congenital cardiologist at the Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Service at Starship Children's and Auckland City Hospitals in New Zealand. She completed her medical and paediatric training in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. She began her paediatric cardiology training at Green Lane Hospital before spending four years in Boston at the Boston Children’s and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. While in Boston she completed a Masters in Science in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Her clinical and research interests are in adult congenital heart disease, intervention for congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension.




A/Professor Gary Sholler MBBS FRACP FCSANZ FACCGary-Sholler sm

A/Prof. Gary Sholler is a paediatric and fetal cardiologist as well as the Director of Cardiac Services at both of the Children's Hospitals in the Sydney Children's Hospital Network.  He has lead and advises several major state, national and international professional bodies, and has expertise In complex programme development and change management. His clinical interests are in fetal echocardiography & counselling, and diagnosis & management of complex congenital cardiac abnormalities. His research interests at present are in complex cardiac disease diagnosis and innovative care, fetal cardiac diagnosis and management, cardiac genetics, semantics and language in medical communication, and the emotional and psychological impact of cardiac diagnosis in the fetus and child on families.

A/Professor Nadine Kasparian PhD, MAPSNadine Kasparian

Nadine Kasparian is an Associate Professor in Medicine at UNSW Sydney, and Head of Psychology at The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Cardiac Service. She holds a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship, and is Co-Chair of the Mindgardens Child and Young People Mental Health Initiative. Nadine has a PhD in Medical Psychology from the University of Sydney, and specialises in the development, trial and implementation of psychological interventions for children and adults with life-threatening illness. In 2010 she established Australasia’s first integrated psychology research program and clinical service dedicated to childhood heart disease, and is recognised as a leader in research investigating psychological and neurobiological aspects of critical and chronic illness.

Dr Mugur Nicolae MD FRACP FRCPC FCSANZDr Mugur Nicolae

Dr Nicolae completed an undergraduate medical degree in Bucharest, Romania in 1990. He completed his Cardiology training in 2006, working at a number of hospitals in South Africa and Brisbane. In 2007 he completed a one year Fellowship in Adult Congenital Heart Disease in Brisbane at The Prince Charles Hospital with Dr Dorothy Radford, and in 2008 he completed his second Fellowship year in ACHD in Vancouver, at the University of British Columbia, St. Paul’s Hospital with Prof. Marla Kiess. Dr Nicolae has been a staff specialist at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane since his return from overseas in 2008. He commenced Private Practice at Holy Spirit Northside Hospital in 2009. In 2016, he joined the Cardiology Department at the Mater Adults Hospital in Brisbane on a part time basis.  Dr Nicolae practices equally in Adult Congenital Heart Disease and General cardiology, with a particular interest in Echocardiography, Pulmonary Hypertension and Obstetric Cardiology. He was the Cardiology Program Education Co-ordinator until recently at The Prince Charles Hospital and is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, School of Medicine.

A/Professor Robert Justo MBBS FRACP FCSANZ

Robert Justo is Director of Paediatric Cardiology at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane and Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Queensland. His general paediatric cardiology and interventional cardiology training was undertaken at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.  He has developed clinical interests in catheter-based interventional cardiology, cardiac  transplanation and indigenous health. His research interests include long-term outcomes, both medical and neuropsychological, for children affected by congenital heart disease.

A/Professor Nelson Alphonso, MBBS, FRCS, FRCSI, FRACSNelson Alphonso

Dr Alphonso is the Director of Paediatric Cardiac Surgery at the Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Service and Director of the Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Research Division at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Queensland. After initial training at the University of Mumbai in India, Dr Alphonso completed his training in New York, Guys and St Thomas Hospital NHS Trust, UK, the Royal Children’s Hospital, Australia and UCSF Children's Hospital, San Francisco. He was the Director of Paediatric Cardiac Surgery at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in the UK before returning to Australia. He has developed clinical interests in congenital cardiac procedures requiring cardiopulmonary bypass, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and the repair of pectus carinatum, pectus excavatum and chest wall deformities. He is also involved in teaching and research in this area and in training other cardiologists in this specialty.

Professor Simon Stewart PhD FESC FAHA 

Professor Stewart is a highly experienced clinician (RN ITUcert) and health services researcher dedicated to understanding the evolving burden of heart disease and developing innovative models of care to improve health outcomes around the globe. In the past decade, Professor Stewart has held senior academic appointments as the Head of Preventative Cardiology at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Inaugural Director of the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research at ACU. Concurrently, as Principal Investigator he has led a number of NHMRC Project Grants, contiguous NHMRC Program of Research Grants and was Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence to Reduce Inequality in Heart Disease; the latter including a major component of Indigenous health research. In recognition of the quality and impact of his research and leadership, he has been awarded numerous international awards and the highest levels of career-support/Fellowships (CDF/SRF/PRF and SPRF) from the NHMRC of Australia. Currently, Professor Stewart continues to lead national and international initiatives focussing on the impact of chronic heart disease and other forms of non-communicable disease. This includes a number of major projects in Africa arising from the now world-renowned Heart of the Soweto Study which was co-designed/led by Professor Stewart and which redefined the nature and burden of emergent heart disease on the continent.


 Dr Lisa Selbie PhD
Lisa Selbie

Dr. Selbie received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from Northwestern University and has experience in cardiovascular research, project management, consulting and teaching. Dr Selbie held research positions at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow studying cardiac neuropeptide receptors, and was involved in consultancy reviews of national research funding processes.  Dr Selbie is a lecturer with Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Biotechnology Programs developing and delivering on-ground and online courses, serves on the NSW AusBiotech Committee, and is a Director of HeartKids and Chair of the Research Advisory Committee.

Mr Rob Lutter

Rob Lutter.pngRob Lutter has recently commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HeartKids Australia after being the CEO of HeartKids New Zealand since 2014. Rob brings extensive leadership experience in the business and not-for-profit sectors, with a strong focus on the delivery of programs and services, fundraising and advocacy.

As a father of a heart kid, Mr Lutter has a deep passion for providing support and services to children with congenital heart disease and their families.





Prof Geoff Strange PhDGS

Geoff is a Professor at the University of Notre Dame, Faculty of Medicine with research interests in Registries, Echocardiography, Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) and Pulmonary Hypertension. Geoff has established the world’s largest registry on Pulmonary Hypertension, registries in CHD and cardiovascular medicine. Geoff is part of the CHD Research team at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Geoff is currently the Co-Principal Investigator for the National Echocardiographic Database of Australia (NEDA) study, the world’s largest Echo database. Geoff is leading the CHAANZ initiative along with Prof Celermajer. He is also the Director of Mozaic Solutions.