ARCH staff at Alfred Health

The partnership between Alfred Health and La Trobe University combines clinical and qualitative research, with education and training, to create translational outcomes.

Discover the Alfred Health ARCH.

ARCH Director - Alfred Health

Professor Brian Oldenburg is the Director of Academic and Research Collaborative in Health (ARCH) with La Trobe University at the Alfred Hospital and has a joint position as Professor of Public Health and Implementation Science at La Trobe University and the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute. He is also the Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Digital Technology to Transform Chronic Diseases, called Connected Health CRE.

Professor Oldenburg is a behavioural medicine and implementation scientist with an interest in the prevention and management of chronic diseases, with a particular focus on cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Brian’s research has also been instrumental in the development and evaluation of mobile health (M-health) interventions and new and emerging technology platforms for the prevention and self-management of chronic diseases. He is regarded as a global public health expert and he has extensive experience providing evidence-based advice to governmental and non-governmental organisation, both locally and internationally, including the World Health Organisation. He has undertaken trials in policy and healthcare settings, work organisations, schools and other community settings in many different countries, most recently in Africa and Asia.

Academics and Researchers

Image of Alfred ARCH Team

Image: Alfred Team Members (top row left to right) Julia Gilmartin-Thomas, Steve Nelson, Geok Chin Tey, Gayle McKenzie, Brian Oldenburg, Nick Kashyap, Chris Lynch, Getu Demissie, Shannon Fernando, Cathy Dean, and Lu Yang (front row left to right) Saman Pathirana, Sharon Bourke, Quan Huynh, Laurel Weaver, Radhika Arunkumar, and Tigestu Desse

Professor Meg Morris supports the Alfred Health ARCH. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapists. She has a special interest in preventing hospital falls, quality and safety, movement rehabilitation, and exercise for people living with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and stroke.

Professor Peter Meikle is Professor of Cardiovascular Research, Translation and Implementation at La Trobe University.  Professor Meikle’s research focuses on dyslipidemia and altered lipid metabolism associated with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and its relationship to the pathogenesis of these disease states.  This work is leading to new approaches to early diagnosis and risk assessment as well as the development of new lipid modulating therapies for chronic disease.

Professor Chris Sobey is a Professor in Physiology, Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology & Pharmacology at La Trobe University.  His research has examined numerous signaling mechanisms regulating coronary and cerebral circulations, showing that vascular function is substantially altered in a range of diseases including hypertension, subarachnoid haemorrhage, ischemia and hypercholesterolemia, and that gender differences often exist.  His current research examines the oxidative and inflammatory mechanisms occurring in the brain after stroke in order to identify and develop novel approaches to treat clinical stroke patients.

Professor Grant Drummond is Professor and Head of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology (PAM) and Co-director of the Centre for Cardiovascular Biology and Disease Research (CCBDR) at La Trobe University.  His research is in the area of cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease with a specific focus on understanding the roles of oxidative stress and the immune system in promoting the vascular and renal inflammation that contributes to these conditions. His work has provided novel insights into the roles of NADPH oxidase-derived reactive oxygen species as signaling molecules under physiological conditions, and mediators of oxidative damage in vascular disease. His studies have also shed new light on the involvement of inflammasomes and interleukin-18, and B cells and autoantibodies in the development of hypertension and kidney damage.

Professor Leeanne Carey is Professor of Occupational Therapy at La Trobe University and Founding Head of the Neurorehabilitation and Recovery Research Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. Professor Carey’s research program focuses on stroke rehabilitation and recovery. She has developed successful neuroscience and learning-based sensorimotor interventions and evidence-based assessments. An important focus has been to translate these discoveries into clinical practice and better outcomes for stroke survivors. Professor Carey has authored over 160 papers and received numerous grants and awards for her research. She is the lead for the SENSe and Task-AT-Home programs of research.

Professor Natasha Lannin is an experienced neurological occupational therapist and rehabilitation researcher. She is a Professor at the Central Clinical School, Neuroscience Department and Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University. Professor Lannin provides supervision and mentoring to allied health clinicians and students undertaking research projects in neurological rehabilitation.

Associate Professor Julia Gilmartin-Thomas is Associate Professor of Allied Health, a joint position between Alfred Health and La Trobe University.  Julia is an Australian Registered Pharmacist, as well as Adjunct Associate Professor at Victoria University, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, and Honorary Senior Fellow (Research) in the Department of Medicine, Western Health (University of Melbourne).  Julia is an experienced leader of multidisciplinary and translational research in clinical, community and industry contexts, including in areas of public health, healthy ageing, geriatrics, biostatistics, quality use of medicines, pharmacoepidemiology, and healthcare professional education.  Julia was a NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow and has a national and international reputation in Aged Care and Chronic Disease Management research.  She has been awarded >1M in research funding, has >50 scientific publications and has presented at >60 conferences/invited seminars/public engagement events.

Associate Professor Maryam Zoghi is an Associate Professor at Federation University and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in physiotherapy at La Trobe University. She is also a neuroscientist with a long -standing interest in brain function, particularly brain excitability, motor control, sensory-motor integration and neuroplasticity. Dr Zoghi has published many papers and book chapters and has been invited to present at national and international conferences.

Associate Professor Dana Wong is an Associate Professor and Clinical Neuropsychologist in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University. Her research focuses on innovative cognitive and psychological rehabilitation techniques to improve the lives of acquired brain injury (stroke, traumatic brain injury) survivors, and enhancing clinician competence and clinical implementation of these evidence-based intervention techniques. She is an experienced supervisor of clinicians and students

Dr Sharon Bourke is the Coordinator of the Alfred Clinical School and a Senior Lecturer in Nursing in the School of Nursing and Midwifery.  She began her career as a registered nurse and has experience as a clinical nurse, manager and educator in emergency and acute care. Sharon has research interests in the teaching and learning of deterioration, cultural safety, communication, teamwork and the patient and family experience.  She is particularly interested in simulation and new technology as modalities for teaching and learning.  She is a passionate and devoted advocate of the student voice in co-creating programs for learning with the aim of building a knowledgeable, prepared and resilient future health care workforce.

Dr Burcu Ozkul is a Lecturer and Subject Coordinator of Mental Healthcare in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University.  Burcu began her career as a registered nurse in Turkey with experience working in paediatric hematology/oncology, cardiovascular surgery intensive care, and paediatric intensive care.  Her research interests include depression prevention, psycho-oncology, neuroimaging, adolscents with cancer and their families, and mental health nursing.

Gayle McKenzie is a Lecturer at La Trobe University and has a strong affinity with La Trobe University, both as a long-term staff member and student, as well as Alfred Health where she worked in nursing for more than a decade. Gayle is a professional doctoral student, and her research involves the nursing workforce, in particular what leads a person to choose nursing as a career. Her other research interests include teaching and learning, evidence-based practice, and the use of complementary therapies as an adjunct to Western medicine.

Olivia Sonneborn is the Perioperative Practices & Medical Imaging Subject Coordinator at the La Trobe/Alfred Nursing Clinical School. Olivia is an experienced peri-anaesthesia nurse and clinical nurse consultant in pain management, with a breadth of leadership experience within the Perioperative field. Olivia's research area of interest relates to the Perioperative Medicine sphere, with a focus on the role of nurses in advanced practice.

Laurel Weaver is the Graduate Diploma of Nursing Course Coordinator at La Trobe University and the Critical Care and Intensive Care Subject Coordinator at the La Trobe/Alfred Nursing Clinical School.  Laurel is an experienced intensive care nurse with a breadth of clinical and clinical teaching experience within the critical care environments. Laurel is also an experienced academic with experience in teaching and learning across interdisciplinary education in the health professions, including medicine and nursing, and in simulation education.  Laurel's research areas of interest include reflective learning, interdisciplinary education and student remediation.

Dr Chris Lynch is a Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Public Health, and Graduate Research Coordinator for the Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation, and Implementation at La Trobe University. His research centres on the intersection of digital health and chronic disease management, understanding how recovery and survivorship can be enhanced using eHealth technologies to better ‘self-manage'; that is, how individuals can use technology to monitor their symptoms, adhere to medication regimes, engage in positive diet and exercise behaviours, and better manage symptoms by either changing behaviours or seeking appropriate assistance.

Dr Lu Yang is a visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Baker Department of Cardiovascular Research, Translation, and Implementation and an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University.  Additionally, Dr. Yang is an Associate Professor in Social Science at the Faculty of Sociology and Population Studies, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China.  Lu's research area primarily focuses on public health, specifically chronic disease care and management, cardiovascular care, and healthy aging, among other significant national and global health challenges.

Dr Tilahun Haregu is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University and Research Fellow in the NCD and Implementation Science laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.  He manages global health projects with a focus on cardiometabolic diseases and is involved in the supervision of La Trobe University students.  Tilahun has advanced skills in global health research, implementation research, and statistical analysis.  His research interests include the implementation of interventions for the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases, mental health research, and the translation of research knowledge to healthcare practice.

Dr Quan Huynh is a Senior Research Officer and Group Leader at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University.  His research interests include the prediction and prevention of cardiovascular disease.  Dr Huynh has expertise in conducting multi-site RCTs and large cohort studies and performing risk evaluation and complex statistical analysis.  He is experience in designing and deliverying disease management programs.  He has previously developed a heart failure risk score and disease management program for preventing heart failure readmission that has been translated into practice.  Over the past 5 years, Dr Huynh has been named chief investigator on 13 project grants (3 as pricinpal investigator) worth >$6M.  He is currently leading an NHMRC-funded RCT testing a disease management program for high-risk patients with heart failure and cognitive impairment.  He has won >10 awards and prizes including the Emering Health Researcher of the Year 2018 Award (BUPA Health Foundation) and the Ralph Reader Prize for best clinical research (Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand), the most prestigious accolade for early to mid-career cardiovascular researchers in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Marilyn Clarke is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University.  She has over two decades of clinical experience as an obstetrician and gynaecologist.  As a proud Worimi woman, she is passionate about Aboriginal women's health.  Her research interests include smoking cessation care in pregnancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, in particular investigating the implementation of iSISTAQUIT, which is an evidence based program for health care providers.  Her latest project will be examining Birthing on Country models of maternity care.

Dr Mahesh Kumbukage is a medical doctor, Public Health Specialist (Consultant in Community Medicine) at the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka.  He is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University and Visiting Academic at the NCD and Implementation Science Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne.  He has more than ten years of teaching experience, teaching public health to medical postgraduate and undergraduate students at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo.  Dr Kumbukage's research interests include public health, the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, implementation science, health systems, and maternal and child health.

Dr Saman Pathirana is a medical doctor, public health specialist (Consultant in Community Medicine), and medical administrator at the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka.  He is an Adjunct Research Fellow at La Trobe University, School of Psychology and Public Health and a Visiting Academic with the NCD and Implementation Science Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.  Dr Pathirana's research interests include public health, especially the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, implementation science, mhealth, epidemiology, and maternal and child health.

Nick Kashyap is a research assistant and PhD student in the NCD and Implementation Science Laboratory at the Baker Institute.  He collaborates with domestic and international colleagues, typically playing a role in developing innovative digital interventions for heart failure (HF) management.  His PhD aims to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of a novel Outcome Optimization Team approach for designing and implementing digital health interventions.

Getu D. Demissie is a PhD student at La Trobe University and a research team member in the NCD and Implementation Science laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.  His PhD focuses on the long-term effectiveness of structured lifestyle interventions in reducing cardiometabolic risks in low-and middle-income countries.

Dr Abha Shrestha is a PhD student at La Trobe University in the School of Psychology and Public Health under the supervision of Prof. Brian Oldenburg.  Her PhD is focused on the scalability of structured interventions in low-and middle-income countries.  She will focus on identifying the gaps in the implementation of interventions and scale up processes, describe the process of implementation and identifying the barriers to scaling up and the sustainability of implementation of a community-based structured lifestyle intervention in India.

Dr Josephine Birungi is a medical doctor and a PhD student at La Trobe University in the School of Psychology and Public Health.  Her PhD research involves using implementation science research methods to promote translation of evidence into practice with special focus on models of prevention and care for chronic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.  She will be supervised by Professor Brian Oldenburg and Dr. Tilahun Haregu.


For enquiries please contact:

Professor Brian Oldenburg
Brian Oldenburg, BSc, MPsychol, PhD
Professor of Public Health & Implementation Science
Director, NHMRC CRE in Digital Technology to Transform Chronic Disease Outcomes
Director, Academic Research Collaboration in Health (ARCH), Alfred Hospital
Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute and LaTrobe University