Professor John Challis  

Executive Director


Professor John Challis PhD CBiol DSc FRSB FRCOG FCAHS FRSC  is Executive Director of WAHTN, Professor at UWA and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University. John completed his training at the Universities of Cambridge, University of California, San Diego and Harvard Medical School and held a junior research fellowship at Wolfson College, University of Oxford and McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

More recently he served as Chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto, and as Vice President Research and Associate Provost of that University. He was the inaugural Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health and served as President and CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research in Vancouver BC.

John’s areas of research are concerned with the etiology of pre-term birth and the developmental origins of adult disease. He has published more than 425 papers in the peer review literature and has trained more than 100 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Institute of Biology, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. John also holds the title of University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, and Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University. He is Principal of LHC, Life Health Consulting, based in Vancouver BC.

Ms Anne McKenzie AM

Head, Consumer and Community Health Research Network (CCHRN)


Anne McKenzie AM has worked as the Consumer Advocate at The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia since 2004 where she developed and implemented an internationally recognised program to increase consumer and community involvement in health research.

Anne is now the Head of the WA Consumer and Community Health Research Network. Her task is to establish and implement a Strategic Framework and Program of Work for consumer and community involvement across the WA Health Translation Network’s partner organisations.
Anne is a senior consumer representative for Consumers Health Forum of Australia and former Chair of Health Consumers Council WA.

She currently serves on key state and national health committees for: the National Health and Medical Research Council: Department of Health: the National Prescribing Service; Medicines Australia; Silver Chain; and WA Health.

Anne previously worked for WA Health where she established the role of Parent Advocate at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children.
Anne was made an Honorary Life Member of the Health Consumers Council WA in 2012 in recognition of her outstanding service to the organisation. In January 2015, she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to community health through consumer advocacy roles and strategic policy research and development. 

Professor Peter Thompson AM

Deputy Director, Chair of the WAHTN Clinical Trials Advisory Group

Professor Peter Thompson AM, MBBS, MD, FRACP, FACP, FACC, MBA is an active clinical cardiologist as well as an internationally recognised clinical researcher in coronary heart disease. Peter completed his postgraduate degree in Medicine at the University of Western Australia and trained in cardiology at Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University in Boston. He is currently Consultant Cardiologist and Head of the Heart Research Institute at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UWA. He is also Deputy Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. He has had extensive involvement over 30 years in the National Heart Foundation, and his research has been the basis for national education campaigns on the need for early action on heart attack.

Peter’s research interests are in cardiology clinical trials and atherosclerotic heart disease. He has been involved in the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials for 30 years and has extensive experience in the design and management of significant clinical trials. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and has authored 270 research articles, reviews, book chapters and editorials.

In 2015, he and colleagues were awarded the Marshall and Warren Award for the most highly innovative and potentially transformative grant from among all the NHMRC grant applications for that year. In 2015 he was also awarded the Minister for Health Award for Excellence in Healthcare.

Dr Rashmi Watson 

Head, Research Education and Training Program (RETP) 

Rashmi Watson

Dr. Rashmi Watson EdD., MEd., BEd., leads the Research Education and Training Program (RETP) for the WA Health Translation Network (WAHTN) developing online research training courses available to all health researchers within the WAHTN. Her background in education as an education consultant and academic for more than 20 years has given her a depth of experience working with professionals across many sectors. She continues to provide pedagogical and leadership support to academic staff across the higher education sector and broader education sector. Rashmi has been the recipient of several teaching & research awards and has numerous testimonials which highlight her effective leadership. 


Ms Lauren White

Manager, WAHTN

Lauren White

Lauren is currently the Manager at WAHTN, she is responsible for the business operations and day to day management of the WAHTN office. This includes coordinating the strategic planning process and managing the implementation of activities across WAHTN’s partners and stakeholders. Lauren commenced with WAHTN in October 2015.

Lauren’s broad experience has been gained from previous roles across a range of organisations in which she provided high level executive support. This included not for profit organisations in Sydney; the University of Sydney Law School and within a number of divisions at the University of Western Australia.


Mrs Koshala Shanmugakumar

Administrative Officer, WAHTN 

Koshala Shan

Koshala joined WAHTN in 2015 and is responsible for the administrative functions of the network. She holds a bachelor's degree in Health Sciences from Curtin University.