Research Team 

Assoc. Professor Paul J. McMurrick (Head)
MBBS (Hons), FRACS, FASCRS
Frölich-West Chair of Surgery
Colorectal Surgeon

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Professor McMurrick is a specialist colorectal surgeon who specialises in treatment of colorectal cancer, and benign colorectal conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease, perianal disease and pelvic floor disorders. He is a specialist in laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery, and interventional colonoscopy, having trained in surgery at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.   A Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Professor McMurrick is a member of ASCRS; he completed the Clinical Fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the Mayo Clinic, and is the Colorectal Tumour Stream leader for the MCCC.Professor McMurrick became Head of Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery in 2009 where he leads the bowel cancer research activities at Cabrini, and is a member of the Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer committee.

Other appointments:

  • Colorectal Tumour Stream Leader, Monash Comprehensive Cancer Consortium
  • Member of the Clinical Netwrok Executive of the Cancer Council of Victoria
  • Executive Council, International Society of Digestive Surgeons
  • Executive, Cancer Stream, Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre
  • Medical Advisor, Jodie Lee Foundation
  • Member, Bi-national Audit Committee of Coloretal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand.    
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Mr Stephen Bell
MBBS, FRACS
Colorectal Surgeon

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Mr Bell is a member of the CSSANZ, and Chairman of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee, The Cancer Council; Editor of Gastrointestinal Cancer Update; and a Senior Lecturer in Surgery, Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery. Mr Bells is a colorectal surgeon with an interest in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. He treats colon and rectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis), diverticular disease and functional bowel disorders (incontinence and constipation), anorectal disorders (haemorrhoids, fistulae, and fissures), and hernias.  

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Mr Roger Berry
MBBS, Diploma of Anatomy, FRACS
General Surgeon, Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon 

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Mr Berry is a General and HPB Surgeon specialising in surgery of the liver, gallbladder and biliary tree and pancreas. He performs all forms of liver, pancreatic and biliary surgery, with a major interest in hernia surgery, particularly laparoscopic abdominal wall and laparoscopic groin hernia surgery. Mr Berry also treats patients with acute abdominal pain, acute appendicitis, cholecystitis and obstructive jaundice.    

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Mr Peter Carne
MBBS, FRACS
Colorectal Surgeon

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Mr Carne is a member CSSANZ and International Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. He is a Senior Lecturer, Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery; Member Cancer Council Victoria VCOG Gastointestinal Cancer committee and Member Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group.  Mr Carne is a colorectal surgeon whose practice is limited to management of diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. His training was undertaken on the CSSANZ training program, including a Colorectal Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. Special interests include: colorectal cancer (including recurrent rectal cancer), appendiceal tumours, pelvic tumours (including pre-sacral tumours), inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease, stomas, rectal prolapse, and perianal conditions. Mr Carne's technical areas of expertise include: open, robotic and laparoscopic colorectal surgery, colonoscopy, colonic stents, and transanal endoscopic microsurgery. Mr Carne is a member of the Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer committee.

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Mr Martin Chin
MBBS, FRACS
Colorectal Surgeon 

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Mr Chin is a member of CSSANZ and a colorectal surgeon with an interest in the diagnosis and management of conditions including colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and anorectal disease. Procedures performed include colorectal surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and colonoscopy.

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Mr Chip Farmer
MBBS (Hons), FRACS
Colorectal Surgeon

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Mr Farmer is a specialist colorectal surgeon with extensive experience in the management of colorectal cancer.  He has particular expertise in Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (a minimally invasive technique for the treatment of rectal tumours) and rectal ultrasound, and is actively involved in colorectal cancer research with interests in minimally invasive surgery, staging of colorectal cancer, anal cancers and surgical audit. 

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Mr Pravin Ranchod
BHB, MBChB, FRACS
Colorectal Surgeon, General Surgeon 

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Mr Ranchod is a specialist Colorectal and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgeon who provides consultative discussion and surgical management for all types of colorectal and perianal disorders. His practice focuses on surgery for colorectal cancer laparoscopic surgery, colonoscopy, anal fistula and management of pelvic floor disorders and incontinence, including sacral nerve stimulation. 

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Dr Paul Simpson
Colorectal Surgeon

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*Biography pending*

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Dr Boris Ruggiero
2014 Colorectal Clincial Fellow (12 month position)

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Dr Ruggiero completed his medical school training at the University Hospital in Milan, Italy in 2002, then underwent further training in London (UK), before gathering valuable clinical experience in various departments in the UK.Dr Ruggiero completed his surgical training and passed the General Surgery Specialist exam in Italy (equivalent to the Australian FRACS) in November 2008.  Subsequently he has worked as an advanced surgical registrar in Bristol (UK) in general surgery and advanced laparoscopy.In Australia, Dr Ruggiero has previously worked as the Colorectal Fellow at PeterMac in Melbourne in 2013.

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Emeritus Professor Adrian L. Polglase
MBBS Hons (Mon), MS (Mon), FRACS, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Ed), FACS
Specialist Colorectal Surgeon

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Professor Polglase is a colorectal surgeon specialising in the treatment of benign and malignant bowel conditions, laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery and colonoscopy together with common anorectal conditions including haemorrhoids, fistulae and fissures. He is is a specialist in colorectal surgery, colonoscopy and laparoscopy; and Emeritus Professor of Surgery.  He assumed full time practice at Cabrini Hospital in 1995 and was appointed Clinical Dean the same year.  Adrian is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and is well published.  His surgical treatments and results are regularly published in peer-reviewed journals.In 1998, Adrian was appointed Professor of Surgery and Head of the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery; the appointment was the first of its kind in the private sector in Australia.  He stepped down as in 2009 and appointed Emeritus Professor by Monash University. Professor Polglase is Patron and Founder of Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer.

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Research Scientists

Dr Simon Wilkins
BSc (Hons) PhD
Senior Research Fellow

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Dr Wilkins obtained his PhD in the biology of malaria in the mosquito from Imperial College, London in 1997. Following his first post-doctoral position on breast cancer, he worked on a varied theme of brain-related diseases including cerebral malaria, neurodegenerative eye diseases, and prion diseases. Dr Wilkins emigrated to Australia in 2004 and joined a commercial research team based at the Mental Health Research Institute investigating potential treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. In 2009 he joined the Monash Institute of Medical Research (now Hudson Institute) to investigate a paediatric developmental disorder, as well as studying the biochemical and molecular basis of cancers such as glioblastoma, medulloblastoma and osteosarcoma. In 2012 Dr Wilkins joined Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (DEPM), Monash University at the Alfred Hospital managing of a number of clinical-quality blood disease registries. Dr Wilkins continues to be an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at DEPM. Dr Wilkins joined the Cabrini Monash University Dept. of Surgery in 2013 and his role focuses purely on research - primarily driving  and managing all clinical and translational research projects related to bowel cancer. Dr Wilkins brings to our Cabrini team twenty years of academic training and expertise which adds great value to our research program.

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Dr Rebekah Engel
BSc (Hons) PhD
Research Officer

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Dr Engel graduated with a PhD in Immunology from the University of Queensland in 2012. In her first postdoctoral position, Dr Engel worked as a Research Officer in the Cellular Immunology Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane. Here she investigated the functional influence of naturally occurring polymorphism in T cell receptor genes on protective immunity. Since joining the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery in November 2016, Dr Engel has been working on a collaborative project with A/Prof Helen Abud and her team at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Her primary role is to establish and grow organoid cultures, or “mini-guts”, from colorectal cancer patients, which will be used as a pre-clinical research tool for the development of personalised drug therapy testing.

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Dr Christine Koulis
BSc (Hons) PhD
Research Officer

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Dr Koulis has completed a Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Melbourne, Australia, majoring in Pharmacology and Pathology, after which she completed her Honours Degree in Pharmaceutical Science at the Victorian Collage of Pharmacy (Monash University), specialising in the role of protease-activated receptors in the immune system. In 2004, she was awarded the Victorian Collage of Pharmacy Honour’s prize along with a prestigious Melbourne Research Scholarship to study for a PhD at the University of Melbourne. Her PhD involved investigating the role of protease-activated receptors in tumour growth (colon and melanoma), experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and skin transplantation. 

At the completion of her PhD in 2008, Dr Koulis undertook her first post-doctoral position at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Research Institute (Melbourne). Her role involved research on diabetes-associated atherosclerosis with a focus on advanced glycation end-products and toll-like receptors. Dr Koulis has published her research in a number of high impact medical journals including Circulation, Hypertension and Diabetes Metabolism and is an invited reviewer for a number of journals including Diabetes and Diabetologia.

Her work has allowed her to establish an international profile with a number of invited presentations at major national and international meetings, including Life Sciences Conference, The Australian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT), The Australian Health and Medical Research Congress (AHMRC), International Conference on Coronary Artery Disease, International Diabetes Federation (IDF), The Australian Atherosclerosis Society and The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. In addition, Dr Koulis has also lectured and tutored at The University of Melbourne and Monash University.

In 2016, Dr Koulis joined the Department of Surgery at the Cabrini Hospital as a Research Officer where her focus is on translational research and improving colorectal cancer patient outcomes. Currently, she is assessing the perioperative risk acquired in colorectal cancer surgery patients with insulin requiring type 2 diabetes. In addition, Dr Koulis is also involved in the colorectal tissue micro array project which will allow translation of various biomarkers to clinical outcomes, the Patient Reported Outcome Measures Study (PROMS) and the ADIPOSe clinical trial.

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Karen Oliva
Assoc. Dip App. Biology
Colorectal Database Manager

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Karen is a medical scientist and manager with over 39 years experience in translational research. Her areas of research include colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, early pregnancy, ovarian cancer, labour mechanisms, gestational diabetes and heart failure. Karen has 23 journal publications (2 as first author), has a book contribution and has attended 18 conferences (local, national and international), most with co-author abstract presentations.