The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

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The VCCC Team

Executive Director - Prof Grant McArthur


Professor Grant McArthur is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and holds a PhD in Medical Biology. He is the inaugural Lorenzo Galli Chair of Melanoma and Skin Cancers at the University of Melbourne. Prior to his appointment as Executive Director in April 2017, Prof McArthur was Associate Director of Research Translation and Head of the Cancer Therapeutics Program at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. His awards include the inaugural winner of the Translational Research Award of the Foundation Nelia et Amadeo Barletta, the Sir Edward Dunlop Clinical Cancer Research Fellowship of the Cancer Council of Victoria and the inaugural Martin Lackmann medal for translational research. He is national and international study Co-Chair of a number of clinical trials of targeted therapies. His research interests include discovery of novel drug targets in cancer, targeting oncogenes, clinical trials of targeted therapeutics, personalised medicine, melanoma, cell cycle control, metabolism and protein synthesis in cancer, and functional imaging.  Professor McArthur is on the Editorial Boards of Annals of Oncology, Anti-Cancer Drugs, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the Open Clinical Cancer Journal, Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology and the Journal of Personalised Medicine. He has published over 200 papers including senior or first author publications in the following journals: New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Oncology, Cancer Discovery, Cancer Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Blood and EMBO.

Executive Assistant to the Executive Director - Catherine Ringin


Catherine holds a Bachelor of Health Science from Deakin University, majoring in Nutrition and Psychology. Since graduating she has been employed continuously in medical sector administration working for a number of hospitals and institutions including the Royal Melbourne Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and most recently within the Melanoma and Skin Tumour Stream at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Catherine's role as Executive Assistant to Prof McArthur also involves managing his ongoing clinical, research and academic commitments with Peter Mac and the University of Melbourne.

Chief Operating Officer & Company Secretary - Craig Zanker CA    


Craig Zanker is the Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary for the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. A Chartered Accountant with extensive experience of the not-for-profit sector in accounting, financial systems, business support and the implementation of policies and procedures both in Australia and abroad. Craig also has strong corporate consulting experience for private enterprises, for the Federal Government and has experience in high-level financial reporting and analysis for global organisations including Aviva and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the implementation of strategic business planning, the provision of sound financial management and reporting as well as ‘day-to –day’ operations to ensure that VCCC meets corporate governance, funding obligations and reporting  and legal compliance and in consultation with the Executive Director; supports delivery of the VCCC strategic plan. 

The role also supports the VCCC Board and the VCCC Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.

Head of Research Development - Dr Meredith Layton


Dr Meredith Layton manages the Research Development portfolio at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Dr Layton’s role is to develop enablers for research and processes that assist VCCC researchers to tackle the most important questions in cancer research. Current areas of activity include development, retention and recruitment of research talent through the VCCC “Leaders in Cancer” program and development of data platforms for research.

Meredith has a PhD in protein chemistry from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and has over 28 years of experience at all levels in biomedical research, including 18 years postdoctoral experience in London and Melbourne. Prior to joining the VCCC, Dr Layton was a research scientist at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Department of Biochemistry at Monash University, and a program manager at General Practice Victoria and the Victorian Department of Health.

Program Manager - Dr Elizabeth Johnson


Elizabeth's role is to support the activities of the VCCC Research and Education Leads in the Tumour Streams.  The goal is to develop a framework for the successful implementation of the research and education aspects of tumour streams, as well as a number of important cross-cutting themes, and adopt measures to enhance and harmonise these across all VCCC member organisations.  The ultimate aim is to optimally integrate cancer research and education into routine patient care.

Prior to joining the VCCC in July 2015, Dr Johnson spent 10 years as Projects Manager at BioMedical Research Victoria, where she implemented the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), among other roles.  She has a PhD from the University of Melbourne and over 17 years’ experience in biomedical research in various fields, including cellular signalling in cardiovascular disease and diabetes complications. In a volunteer capacity, Dr Johnson convenes the Medical and Scientific Advisory Group for Myeloma Australia.

Program Manager - Mary Stewart


Mary’s role as a Program Manager at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) is to help plan and develop some of the initiatives under the VCCC’s Strategic Research Plan.

Mary has over 15 years’ experience working in public health prevention programs at local, state and national levels. She has worked across a broad range of content areas including mentoring for health professionals, childhood obesity and oral health, smoking cessation, and occupational sedentariness.

Mary has a BAppSc (Hons) degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Public Health.

Program Manager – Hannah Cross

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Hannah Cross is a Program Manager – Research and Education Lead Program, at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC). The Research and Education Leads program provides leadership and strategic direction for research and education within particular tumour streams. Hannah’s role is to support and inform the work of the Primary Care, Haematology, and Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research and Education Leads. Her role comprises the identification of evidence and data to ensure evidence-based decision making, the development of a framework for the successful implementation of the strategic plan to progress research and education within each of the tumour streams, as well program evaluation.

Hannah worked as a Research Assistant for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne for a number of years before coming across to the VCCC.

Hannah has a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Public Health. Hannah is also a PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner.

Head of Education & Training - Michelle Barrett

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Michelle Barrett manages the Education and Training Development portfolio at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Her role is to curate and manage complementary programming that supports knowledge and skills development of the clinical and research cancer workforce across the ten member organisations. The major pieces of work include an audit of current programming, a needs analysis and development of a corresponding education and training framework for the cancer research, healthcare and teaching workforce.

Current programming includes the Masters in Cancer Sciences Program, VCCC Leadership program and Research Leaders Development Program in line with the VCCC Funding Agreement and Strategic Research Plan.

Michelle has a Masters in Professional Education and Training and over 15 years of experience in curriculum writing and educational development and delivery in the medical undergraduate and professional education and training arena. Prior to joining the VCCC, Michelle was the Manager of Professional Development at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Manager of Curriculum and Training Development at the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and Lecturer, Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education at Monash University.

Manager Educational Development - Kyleigh Smith

Kyleigh Smith is the Manager, Education Development at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Her role is to develop and manage programming that supports knowledge and skills development of the clinical and research cancer workforce across the ten member organisations. The major pieces of work include the development of education and training for the cancer research, healthcare and teaching workforce.

Kyleigh has a Bachelor in Education and over 15 years of experience in curriculum writing and educational development and delivery in professional education and training arena. Prior to joining the VCCC, Kyleigh was in the Professional Development team at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Project Officer - Mari Shibaoka


Mari’s role is to support the implementation of major pieces of work and current programming in the VCCC's Education and Training area, supporting knowledge and skill development for the clinical and research cancer workforce across the alliance.

Mari has previously worked in both not for profit and government settings, including youth mental health, childhood obesity and cancer. Most recently she worked for Cancer Australia as a Project Officer in their Breast and Gynaecological Cancer team. Mari holds a Bachelor of Education (Human Movement and Health Education) and Master of Public Health.

Head of Communications - Avalee Weir

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As Head of Communications, Avalee is responsible for internal communications, public relations and corporate communications for the VCCC, including management of newsletter, website, publications, events, social media and related PR activities.

Avalee is a senior communications practitioner with 25 years’ experience in consumer, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She has worked both in-house and with PR agencies in Australia and the UK, including eight years heading up communications for leading philanthropic organisation The Ian Potter Foundation; over 10 years as account director for high profile consumer brand agencies in London, Melbourne and Sydney, and six years in corporate communications for The Body Shop in Australia and England.  

Human Resources Manager - Chris Morton

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As the Human Resources Manager, Chris is responsible for providing quality support to the VCCC team in the areas of performance & leadership development, remuneration & reward, change management, job design, workforce planning & recruitment and well-being.

Chris has 16+ years’ experience as a HR management generalist, with the 3 years prior to working for the VCCC spent as a senior HR consultant to a wide variety of client organisations. She has worked across multiple sectors including not-for-profit, publishing and retail for such organisations as Lonely Planet, Penguin Random House, Cancer Council Victoria, Sands Australia, Myer, and Australia Pacific Airports Corporation.

Chris holds a Masters of Industrial Relations & HR Management and is an accredited facilitator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI II), Human Synergistics Life Styles Inventory (LSI 1 & 2), and is certified in the Mercer CED job evaluation system.

Office Manager - Linda Valentino


Linda is responsible for providing administrative support to the VCCC office team, assisting day-to day activities and managing the office to facilitate the smooth-running of of our programs. Linda also supports managers in specific functions through contacts and database management, event assistance, supporting the induction of new staff members in conjunction with the Human Resources Manager and management of OH&S Reporting in consultation with the Chief Operating Officer.

Linda has worked in the not-for-profit sector for the past 14 years, most recently at Cancer Council Victoria as Office Manager/Executive Assistant in the Fundraising & Communication Division.