Australia’s active vaccine safety system

The Expert Leadership Group provides technical expertise to AusVaxSafety. Click on the names below to find out more about each member.


  • Professor Kristine Macartney MBBS, BMedSci, MD, FRACP

    Kristine Macartney is a paediatrician and infectious disease specialist. She is a medical graduate of the University of NSW and has almost 20 years of experience in vaccinology. She has experience working in the USA at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she was a founding member of the US Vaccine Education Center. Her Doctorate of Medicine was on rotavirus infection, in particular the mucosal immune response to novel vaccine candidates. She is interested in all aspects of vaccine preventable disease research, particularly policy development, vaccine safety and prevention of viral diseases. She is the Senior Editor of The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Kristine has a clinical appointment at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as a Staff Specialist in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and a conjoint academic appointment as Associate Professor in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Sydney.

  • Associate Professor Nicholas Wood MBBS, MPH, FRACP, PhD

    Nicholas Wood is a staff specialist general paediatrician and Associate Professor and Academic Lead (Higher Degree Research) in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health at The University of Sydney. He holds an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship. He leads the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service and coordinates the Immunisation Adverse Events Clinic at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. He is a senior investigator on the Primary Health network immunisation Support program. He is interested in maternal and neonatal immunisation, as well as research into vaccine safety, including genetics and long-term outcomes of adverse events following immunisation.

  • Associate Professor Christopher Blyth MBBS (Hons), DCH, FRACP, FRCPA, PhD

    Dr Chris Blyth is a clinical academic, NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow and Co-Director of Wesfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases (WCVID; Telethon Kids Institute [TKI]). He is Associate Professor of Paediatrics with the School of Medicine, University of Western Australia, a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Physician at Perth Children's Hospital (PCH) and a Clinical Microbiologist with PathWest Laboratory.

    Dr Blyth has nearly two decades experience in conducting clinical paediatric and infectious diseases research focusing on questions relevant to public policy and clinical practice. The majority of his research is in influenza, vaccine-preventable respiratory tract infection, pneumonia and vaccine safety. His PhD (Preventing influenza morbidity in Australian children through vaccination; 2016) evaluated the WA preschool influenza vaccination program and has been instrumental in influencing national and state influenza policy. Dr Blyth has previously held a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2016-2019: Evaluation and optimisation of paediatric vaccination programs in Australia and the region) and more recently was awarded a NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellowship (2020-2024: Paediatric Acute Respiratory Infection Management & Prevention: Platforms for the Future). He an Associate Member of the Australasian Academy of Health and Medical Science and sits on the Scientific Steering Committee of the Human Vaccines Project.

    In 2012 Dr Blyth was appointed as a sitting member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), Australia’s peak immunisation advisory group to Government, and he assumed the role of deputy chair in 2014 and co-chair in 2018.

  • Professor Tom Snelling BMBS, DTM&H, GDipClinEpid, PhD, FRACP

    Tom is director of the Health and Clinical Analytics team in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, and an infectious diseases physician in the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network. He has instigated and is now heading up the network’s new Learning Health Initiative thanks to a major philanthropic commitment from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. He is also newly appointed as the Strategic Platform Chair of Sydney Health Partners initiative in utilising digital health and informatics research to optimise models of care and care delivery. Tom is pioneering in the application of Bayesian approaches to the design, coordination, implementation and analysis of public interest studies, and is successfully leading a suite of multi-institutional collaborative learning health projects across Australia. Working with a range of collaborative research groups across diverse clinical domain areas, these include Bayesian adaptive studies to improve the treatment and prevention of severe gastroenteritis in remote Aboriginal children, the primary prevention of food allergies in children, SMS text messages to improve timeliness of routine immunisation, and the management of cystic fibrosis.

  • Professor Paul Effler MD, MPH, FAFPHM

    Paul Effler received a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of California and a Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii.  Upon completing a residency in Public Health Medicine, Dr Effler served as an Officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In 1994 he became the State Epidemiologist for Hawaii, where he directed the public health response to SARS, dengue fever, measles, and influenza and oversaw Hawaii’s immunisation program.  In 2008 Dr Effler moved to Perth where he works in immunisations and communicable disease control.  Following experience responding to ebola in West Africa, Dr Effler was appointed to the Steering Committee of the Global Outbreak and Response Network at the World Health Organisation (WHO); he also serves on the Technical Advisory Group for the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases at the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, is an adjunct Professor at University of Western Australia, and an Associate Editor for the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases at CDC.

  • Professor David Durrheim MBChB, DTM&H, DrPH, MPH&TM, MBChB, FACTM, FAFPHM, FAAHMS

    Professor David Durrheimis Conjoint Professor of Public Health Medicine, University of Newcastle, and Director - Health Protection, Hunter New England Health.
    He is a Public Health Physician with an established track record in conducting public health research that has an operational focus and is translational in nature. His ability to use operational research findings to assist local public health programs to improve their surveillance and service delivery has resulted in a number of awards and international recognition.
    Professor Durrheim is an outspoken advocate for equitable global access to effective public health measures, particularly immunisation. He has been instrumental in developing novel surveillance systems to detect and facilitate response to emerging infectious disease risks and adverse events following immunisation.
    He has served as an expert adviser and consultant to a number of World Health Organisation (WHO), regional and national health programs in the African and Pacific Regions. He continues to serve on various Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation working groups advising the WHO, along with being Chair of the National Polio Elimination Certification Committee and Western Pacific Regional Measles Elimination Verification Commission.

  • Professor Michael Gold MbChB, DCH, MD, FCP, FRACP

    Professor Michael Gold is a Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist with conjoint positions in the Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide and is former Medical Unit Head, of the Department of Allergy and Immunology at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.  He has a research and clinical interest in the prevention of food allergy and vaccine safety.  He was appointed to the World Health Organisation Global Advisory Committee for Vaccine Safety in 2010 and has been an advisor to the Therapeutic Goods Administration via his appointment to a number of expert advisory groups since 2006.  He has been awarded ARC and NHMRC grants as principle investigator for projects that have researched novel methods of safety surveillance including data linkage and m-Health.  He has contributed to a number of key WHO guidelines which include a global Adverse Event Following Immunisation surveillance manual, the WHO guideline on causality assessment and has recently led a WHO workgroup to develop a guideline for programme managers on Immunisation stress related responses.

  • Dr Alan Leeb DTM&H, DCH, DFM, FRACGP

    Dr Alan Leeb grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa where he received his medical training before migrating to Tasmania, Australia in 1986. From there he moved to Perth, Western Australia which he has called home for the past 25 years.
    He holds qualifications in Tropical Medicine (DTM&H), Paediatrics (DCH) and Family Medicine (DFM). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP). In addition, Alan holds numerous board and advisory positions across a number of organisations.
    Alan is the principal General Practitioner (GP) at Illawarra Medical Centre, having first established the practice in 1994. He is also the developer of SmartVax – a national active adverse event surveillance system for immunisation. Alan won the prestigious Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ Peter Mudge Award in 2014 for his work with SmartVax.
    Alan has particular interests in paediatrics, immunisation, allergies and primary care research.

  • Associate Professor Heather Gidding BAppSc (BIOMED), GradDipEpidBiostats, MAppEpid, PhD

    A/Prof Heather Gidding is an infectious diseases epidemiologist and biostatistician. Her main areas of interest include the use of routinely collected data for epidemiological research, in particular using data linkage methods, to examine the impact of vaccination programs. Heather is an APPRISE Research Fellow, NHMRC Career Development Fellow and Associate Professor at Women and Babies Research, University of Sydney Northern Clinical School, and Senior Research Fellow at The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

  • Professor Allen Cheng MBBS, FRACP, MPH, PhD

    Prof Allen Cheng is an infectious diseases physician. He is Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and is Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health. He has a PhD (Flinders University), a Master of Public Health (Monash University) and a Master of Biostatistics (University of Queensland). He has previously worked as an infectious diseases and general physician in Darwin and Geelong, and has worked in remote communities in the Top End of Australia, and in Papua New Guinea, Thailand, the United States and Finland.

    Professor Cheng’s key interests are in influenza, antibiotic resistance, clinical infectious diseases and hospital-acquired infections. He is involved in influenza surveillance in Australian hospitals as well as clinical trials in infectious diseases, and sits on several state and national government advisory committees for immunisation, surveillance and drug regulation.

    Prof Cheng is current Vice-President of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID); current Chair of the Advisory Committee for Vaccines and a previous member of the Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines (advising the Therapeutic Goods Administration on vaccine and drug regulation issues), and Co-Chair of the Australian Technical Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). He is also a member of the National Influenza Surveillance Committee.