Board of Directors

The last few years have seen the expansion of the Institute’s research effort. With an increase in scientific staff and students, and a strong focus on a governance structure whose primary aim to ensure that the Institute’s major goal to carry out high quality research is achieved.

The membership of the Institute’s Board of Management is drawn from community leaders who bring wide-ranging expertise in governance, finance, science and human resources. The purpose of the Board is to ensure the proper governance and sustainability of the Institute. This provides our community of donors and volunteers with the confidence that their most generous support is managed responsibly and put to best use.

Graeme Dixon


Chair of the Board

Graeme Dixon is a retired business executive who has over 47 years of corporate finance/accounting/treasury and company secretarial experience. For the last 10 years he was the General Manager of the FMP Group of companies. He has held directorships in a number of Australian and Asian group related companies and was a director of Ballart Health Services for six years. He is a Board Nominee of the Finance, Audit and Risk Sub-Committee of the Committee for Ballarat and is a Board member of UFS Dispensaries Limited. Graeme holds a degree in Finance from the Federation University. He is a fellow of the Australian Society of Accountants (FCPA), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries (FCIS), and a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.

Professor George Kannourakis


Honorary Director

George is the Honorary Research Director of the Institute and oversees all research. He has a wealth of experience in cancer cell biology and is passionate about his role at the Institute. He brings to the Board a thorough knowledge of research and a deep understanding of the role the Institute has to play in international cancer research. George is Adjunct Prof of Cancer Biology at Federation University and has been a practising oncologist and clinician haematologist in the Ballarat community since 1992. George has worked at Dana Faber Cancer Institute in Boston and as a Research Fellow at Harvard University, and he headed the Cancer Research Unit at Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

David Fisken


Deputy Chair of the Board

David brings a strong interest in and understanding of the development of rural and regional communities. He has had over 30 years experience in agriculture in the Ballarat region and more recently has been involved with the promotion and support of plantation and farm forestry across Victoria. David brings to the Institute board wide experience as a past and present member of various regional statutory and community based organisations. He has qualifications in agricultural science and business administration. David is currently Chair of the Central Highlands Agribusiness Forum and national President of Australian Forest Growers.

Robert Tommasini


Company Secretary

Robert joins the Institute’s Board with a strong background in corporate law and governance. He has previously been the Principal and Partner of his own legal practice, and brings extensive experience in senior Legal and Governance roles in local government, utilities and statutory authorities. Robert assists the Board in the fields of Internal Audit, Legal, Risk Management, and Compliance functions. Robert holds other Board appointments as Director/Company Secretary of Western BACE Ltd, Director of Ballarat General Cemeteries Trust, Director of Ballarat Business Centre Inc., and is an independent member of the Melton City Council Audit Committee and Central Goldfields Shire Council Audit & Risk

Lisa Hayden

BAppSci (Speech Path)

Board Member

Lisa is the co-owner of a local Real Estate business and has worked previously as a Speech Pathologist in health and education. She currently owns a communication effectiveness consultancy delivering staff training, behavioural profiling and strategic planning. Lisa brings to the Board skills in communication and human resources, as well as her own experience of cancer and is the grateful beneficiary of the work done by Professor Kannourakis. She is passionate about assisting those with cancer and the promotion of the Institute as a world class facility achieving real outcomes in cancer research.

Rob Glass

BEc, Dip Ag Sci, FCA


Rob is a consultant and former principal of Crowe Horwath, (formerly known as WHK and HMG Accounting Pty Ltd Chartered Accountants) with over 30 years in public accountancy. He fulfils the role of Honorary Accountant on the Institute Board and is Chairman of the Finance Committee with responsibility for all financial reporting of the Institute. Rob is also a director of VicWest Community Telco Ltd and is a member and past president of Rotary Club of Ballarat with a strong commitment to the community. In addition to being a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, his involvement with the Club extends to acting as SpringFest Director and Chair of the Ballarat Swap Meet run annually by the combined Rotary Clubs of Ballarat.

Kerryn Shade


Board Member

Kerryn joined the Institute Board in 2014 following the tragic loss in 2013 of his wife to Ovarian Cancer, so he understands and has experienced what personal devastation and effects cancer can have on the individual patient and their families. Kerryn is a former Chief Executive Officer of the Horsham Rural City Council for 16 years, with 45 years’ experience in six Victorian municipalities including 32 years in Wimmera Region municipalities. Kerryn is particularly interested in fund raising and promoting the Institute in the Wimmera/Mallee region from which many scores of cancer patients are caringly treated by Professor George Kannourakis and his competent staff. Kerryn is a fellow of Local Government Professionals and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, as well as being an active Justice of the Peace and Bail Justice. Kerryn has been a member of Lions International for 41 years and is a past Secretary and President of several Wimmera Regions Lions Clubs.

Georgia Yanner


Board Member

Georgia is principal and director of local law firm Yanner Mann Dobson Law. She brings to the Board legal, communication and risk management skills, and family experience of cancer. Georgia is encouraged by the positive results of research conducted by the Institute and the promise that it holds for the future of cancer treatment, particularly immune therapies. She is inspired to promote the Institute’s vision to the community and proud that world leading research is being undertaken in regional Victoria.

Craig Lightfoot

Dip App Sc, Grad Dip App Sc. DMU (Cardiac), GAICD

Board Member

Craig joined the Board in 2017 with has extensive experience in the health care sector, beginning his working life as a Radiographer and Sonographer, before becoming one of the founding partners of the Radiology group, Lake Imaging; now listed on the ASX as part of the Integral Diagnostics group. At Lake Imaging, Craig held various roles including the Director of Special Projects, Director of Corporate & Business Development and General Manager. Craig completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Company Directors course in 2014. Craig also sits as the Chair of the Deakin Universities Medical Radiations advisory board and Ballarat Football and Netball Club. He has previously held positions with Sonographer professional bodies and accrediting organisations.

Professor Leigh Sullivan


Board Member

Currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at Federation University Australia. Prior to this Leigh held appointments at Southern Cross University and has an international reputation for research in acid sulfate soils and carbon biosequestration. He has published over 300 articles, books and chapters as well as securing several international patents and is the Director of two R&D companies involved in the development and commercialisation of these discoveries. Professor Sullivan has been Deputy Chair of the Physics, Chemistry and Environment Panel for the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts for the Discovery and Linkage programs and has served on other advisory panel and research evaluation committees for the Australian Research Council. Professor Sullivan has contributed to the development of commonwealth and state policy both as chair and member of advisory committees for numerous state and Commonwealth government environmental agencies. He is currently Chair of the Acid Sulfate Soil Commission of the International Union of Soil Sciences, a group that seeks to enhance understanding and foster solutions for this pressing global environmental issue.

Dr David Deutscher


Board Member

Previous partner with Ballarat Surgical Clinic providing specialist general surgical services to Grampians region. Previous Senior Surgical Lecturer Universities of Melbourne, Deakin & Notre Dame & Chair of Medical Staff Groups at Ballarat Health Services & St John of God hospitals. Previous Visiting Medical Officer at Ballarat Health Service and Head Upper GI surgery, involving teaching of Medical students , interns and surgical trainees. Currently is the Visiting Medical Officer, responsible for training advanced surgical registrars. Additionally David is the current Clinical Director of Grampians Integrated Cancer Services responsible for articulating Victorian Cancer Action Plan to health carers and providers, and analysing regional performance data. International surgical volunteer service in PNG, East Timor, Fiji.