Investigator and Staff Profiles

The NISPAC team is multidisciplinary and draws on expertise from epidemiology, pharmacy, microbiology and aged care.

Chief Investigator

Associate Professor Noleen Bennett

A/Prof Noleen Bennett is a Senior Infection Prevention and Control Consultant at the VICNISS Coordinating Centre and National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS), both located at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. At VICNISS, Noleen is the State Coordinator of the Aged Care Infection Indicator Program for the 180 Victorian public sector residential aged care services (PSRACS). At NCAS, Noleen is the inaugural Project Officer for the Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey. Noleen obtained her Doctor of Philosophy (‘The development and evaluation of the Victorian hospital acquired infection surveillance program for smaller public acute care hospitals’) in 2011.


Associate Professor Leon Worth

A/Prof Leon Worth is an infectious diseases physician with post-graduate training in epidemiology, biostatistics and public health, Associate Professor Leon Worth is an infectious diseases physician and clinical researcher. His research interests include the monitoring and prevention of device-related bloodstream infections, novel interventions and bundle approaches for infection prevention, infection surveillance in aged-care, and emerging trends in infections due to multi-resistant organisms. He provides medical lead to infection prevention departments in two major teaching hospitals. He actively implements and validates healthcare infection surveillance strategies across Victorian hospitals, and as a national leader in infection prevention, he is engaged in establishing standardised frameworks for equitable reporting of key healthcare associated infections.

Professor Karin Thursky

Professor Karin Thursky is the Director of the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship, the Deputy Head of Infectious Diseases at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and the Director of the Guidance Group at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. She leads the implementation stream of the Centre of Research Excellence – National Centre for Infections in Cancer based at Peter Mac. Karin is an infectious diseases physician and clinician-researcher whose research spans paediatric and adult medicine, immunocompromised patients, primary and secondary healthcare, and veterinary antimicrobial stewardship. She is a national leader and recognised international expert on the design and implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs, with expertise in the use of information technology for antimicrobial stewardship and more broadly in healthcare. Karin has active roles with the Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Healthcare as an expert advisor for the Antimicrobial Usage and Resistance in Australia program, and the antimicrobial stewardship advisory group.

Professor Maria Inacio

Prof Maria Inacio is an epidemiologist with expertise in population health surveillance systems and utilisation of existing data and informatics to enhance these systems. She is the Director of the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) at SAHMRI, a Hospital Research Foundation Mid-Career and NHMRC Emerging Leadership 2 Fellow. ROSA is a SA-based Clinical Quality Registry developed to support the monitoring and evaluation of the quality of ageing and aged care services provided to older Australians. Maria’s work has the goal of identifying good models of care, areas in need of improvement, risk factors for poor health outcomes, and opportunities to improve health and wellbeing of older Australians accessing aged care services.

Dr Janet Sluggett

Dr Janet Sluggett is a Senior Research Fellow at UniSA Allied Health & Human Performance, University of South Australia. She is an Affiliate Post-doctoral Researcher at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University. She is undertaking an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (2019-22) which focuses on using big data to maximise the benefits and reduce the risks relating to medicines use among older people receiving community and residential aged care services. This involves close collaboration with the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) at SAHMRI and aged care provider organisations.

Ms Megan Corlis

Megan Corlis is the Associate Director of Aged Care, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch). Megan has worked in aged care and acute care for many years. A registered nurse with significant experience with the ageing population. Megan also works with the University of South Australia and has undertaken considerable research over a number of years related to medication management in aged care environments.

Dr Malcolm Clark

Malcolm is a fulltime equivalent GP and has a special interest in aged care medicine and chronic disease management. He is the Medical Director for the 26 IPN medical centres in Victoria and Consultant Clinical Director of Sonic Clinical Trials. Malcolm is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of General Practice and teacher at Melbourne Medical School since 2000. He conducts research into in translation of primary care cancer research into general practice, as well as data driven quality improvement for GPs, and has a special interest in aged care medicine.

Emeritus Professor David Dunt

Emeritus Professor David Dunt is Founding Director of the Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics, Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne. He is a medically-trained public health specialist and epidemiologist with major interests in health services research and health program evaluation. He has a particular interest in the evaluation of health care programs in aged care and has led evaluations of a number of community-based aged care.

Dr Ann Bull

Dr Ann Bull is an epidemiologist and the Operations Director at VICNISS, where she has been since if formed in 2002. Ann completed a PhD in molecular biology before working for 8 years with the Commonwealth Environment Department in Canberra and then in Kakadu National Park. She has since completed a Masters in Applied Epidemiology. Ann is particularly interested in surgical antibiotic prophylaxis and other process indicators for infection prevention.

Associate Professor Solomon Yu

Associate Professor Yu is Deputy Director of Aged and Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Central Adelaide Local Health Network. He has held a clinical title appointment with the University of Adelaide since 2005 and was promoted to Associate Professor following award of his PhD in 2016. He has extensive experience in training program accreditation including leading the accreditation of the advanced training program in Geriatric Medicine at Royal Australasian of College of Physicians (RACP) from 2010-2018. He is an invited member of the RACP accreditation renewal working group and committee member of the accreditation subcommittee for the basic physician training program at RACP.

Associate Investigators and Project Team

Dr Arjun Rajkhowa
Dr Lyn-li Lim
Simon Burrell
Dr Michael Malloy
Dr Rodney James
Brett Morris
Sue Atkins
Professor Eugenia Pedagogos
Dr Leslie Dawson
Olivia Ryan (ROSA Research Officer)

Staff Profiles

Amanda Appathurai

Amanda is the NISPAC Communication and Education Officer. Amanda has completed Honours in Human Nutrition and a Graduate Certificate in Public Health. Previously, Amanda worked as a Research Assistant on various research projects in the Department of Cancer Experiences Research and the Department of Infectious Diseases at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, as well as the Nutrition Department at the Austin Hospital.

Dr Peter Lekkas

Dr Peter Lekkas is a Research Fellow at UniSA Allied Health & Human Performance, University of South Australia. Peter has a PhD in Public Health and Epidemiology, with research interests that include latent variable, longitudinal and spatial modelling centered on the conditions in which people live and work. In his role Peter will be working on the NISPAC project alongside colleagues from the Victorian Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance System (VICNISS), the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS) and the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA).

Atal Malavde

Atal is a NISPAC Net Developer at the VICNISS Coordinating Centre. A passionate software engineer, he has experience in designing, implementing and testing robust solutions for high-capacity organizations. Having obtained his Bachelor of Software Engineering degree in 2018, Atal continues to learn and work in the IT space. His software interests include Jamstack architecture, application development and machine learning.

About Us

NISPAC is a multi-institute research project developing an infection surveillance program for Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities

NISPAC acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.