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.

Paula Nicholson


Chair of the Board

Paula returned to live in Ballarat over 25 years ago, and has been active in the Not for Profit sector in Fundraising, Events, Community Engagement and Governance for over 15 years across a range of local organisations. Having a long-term connection with Ballarat, she attended Ballarat College as a Boarder for the final two years of her secondary education, then completed a Science Degree at Melbourne University majoring in Psychology. Paula went on to subsequently work as a Business Analysis, Human Resources, Customer Service and Management, in Melbourne and Singapore for multi-national Dunn and Bradstreet. In 1996 she returned to Ballarat where, with her husband, they purchased the generational family business, Nicholson Construction. Having grown up in the small regional community of Nhill, Paula has an understanding of the way smaller communities can work together to create opportunities for advancement, investment and growth. She believes that Ballarat is a wonderful and unique place to live and one where those who wish to, can make a real difference to the future of this prosperous regional centre by getting involved and making and leveraging connections of their own. To this end, she sees herself as a Community Builder and is committed to utilising her experience and large network to encourage the broader community to be involved with the locally based but internationally recognized cancer research facility.

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.

Gavin Morrow

Deputy Chair

Gavin Morrow is the Dealer Principal of Morrow Motors, a family owned and run Motor vehicle dealership with Nissan, Mazda & Hyunadi franchises in Horsham. Gavin is a long term supporter of the cancer research program and brings to the Board his long term experience in local communicaty engagement. He is now in the role of Chair of the Institutes Fundraising Committee. In 2015, along with his brothers Wade and Shannon, Gavin raised $25,000 for the Institute with an epic ride on old postie bikes the length of the mighty Murray River and with regular events in Horsham. He is heavily connected across the Wimmera community. He is a current Commissioner of the Wimmera Football League and part of the Horsham Healthy Minds group, working on reducing the stigma of and education relating to mental health.

Matt McLean

BComm, BMan


Matt is an accountant with Mulcahy and Co in Ballarat and became involved with the Institute through his work with Mulcahy’s. Prior to joining the board in July 2022, Matt assisted the Institute with their bookkeeping over a 6-month period. Matt moved to Ballarat for university in February 2013, and never left. Matt is heavily involved in sport, playing cricket with Ballarat-Redan, and assisting as the runner for the Reserves at Rokewood-Corindhap. Matt decided to join to board to further assist their financial governance moving forward, and to give back to the community. Matt is excited by the work that the Institute does, and its regional focus.

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

Graeme Dixon



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.

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.

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.

Belinda Gleeson

Board Member

Belinda Gleeson is Director, People and Culture at Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and joined the Board in 2019. Belinda brings to the Board extensive HR experience across the telecommunications, engineering, consulting and public sector industries. This experience has incorporated executive level HR business partnering across sales, marketing, operations, technical and corporate functions coupled with the leadership of key HR projects in employee engagement, employee relations and talent management. As an active volunteer in her children’s sport and school community groups Belinda has a passion to continue the promotion of the Institute throughout the community.

Toby Permezel

Board Member