Our people

Multidisciplinary collaboration for world-leading impact
The Charles Perkins Centre's members work collaboratively and across disciplines with our leadership comprising globally recognised academics, researchers and educators.

Our leadership

Our leadership comprises a team of pre-eminent researchers and scholars led by Professor Stephen J Simpson.

Academic Director

Professor Stephen J Simpson

Professor Stephen J Simpson AC FRS FAA leads the development of the Charles Perkins Centre's research and education strategies.

He is a world-renowned biologist whose research on nutrition is changing the way we look at diets.

Simpson’s academic journey to date crosses the globe. Having completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Queensland, he then acquired a PhD from the University of London. After 22 years at Oxford, Stephen returned to Australia in 2005 as an Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellow.

In 2007, Stephen was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and in 2008 was awarded the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research. In 2009, he was named NSW Scientist of the Year and was later named the Wigglesworth Medallist by the Royal Entomological Society of London.

In 2013, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Entomological Society.

Director of Educational Development

Professor Marie Carroll

Professor Marie Carroll was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) at the University of Sydney until 2015. Her responsibilities centred on curriculum, graduate studies and higher degrees by research strategy, and teaching and learning.

Marie received her PhD in cognitive psychology from University of Otago in New Zealand. Her research career has focused on experimental psychology in memory and metamemory, applied in particular to formal learning settings. She has worked in eight Australian universities in a variety of senior posts including Foundation Head of Psychology, Chair of the Academic Board, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Canberra, and Director of Quality Enhancement at the Australian National University. 

In her role, Marie oversees all inter and multidisciplinary educational activities associated with the Centre, including HDR and early-career support, award courses, non-award short courses, seminars and workshops, and engagement and outreach.

Susan McColl, Chief Operating Officer, Charles Perkins Centre

Chief Operating Officer

Susan McColl

Susan McColl joined the Charles Perkins Centre in April 2020. Prior to this, she was Director of Operations in the Division of Enterprise at UNSW Sydney a role she took in 2016 specifically to support growth and development, providing a focal point for impact and engagement. 

Susan has a BA in Business Law from the University of Stirling, Scotland, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has had extensive experience across the Higher Education and Hospitality sectors in both the UK and Australia and has gained wide experience in delivering Government support services that facilitate business growth in small and medium enterprises.

Manager, Strategic Initiatives

Varshini Ravi

Varshini joined the Charles Perkins Centre in September 2022 leading the development and implementation of the Centre’s strategic initiatives.

Varshini started her career as a lab-based researcher investigating musculoskeletal disease using animal models before moving on to clinical research in osteoarthritis. Six years later, she transitioned to a research strategy role where she has been supporting academic leaders achieve their vision. She has an Master of Research in Biomedical Science from the University of Newcastle, UK, and a Graduate Diploma in Management from UNSW Sydney.

Professor Luigi Fontana, Academic Scientific Director

Academic Scientific Director CPC RPA Clinic

Professor Luigi Fontana 

Professor Luigi Fontana MD PhD FRACP is an internationally-recognised physician scientist and one of the world’s leaders in the field of nutrition and healthy longevity in humans. His pioneering clinical studies on the effects of dietary restriction have opened a new area of nutrition-related research that holds tremendous promise for the prevention of age-related chronic diseases.

Professor Fontana's research has delivered a paradigm shift in the understanding of how dietary restriction and physical exercise slow the accumulation of metabolic and molecular damage, and influence the initiation, progression, and prognosis of many common clinical conditions, ranging from obesity to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Associate Professor Samantha Hocking, Academic Medical Director

Academic Medical Director            CPC RPA Clinic

Associate Professor Samantha Hocking

Associate Professor Samantha Hocking is an endocrinologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and a clinical academic at the University of Sydney. Associate Professor Hocking graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney in 1999. She undertook her training in endocrinology, diabetes and obestiy at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital under the mentorship of Professors Dennis Yue, Stephen Twigg and Ian Caterson. In 2005 she became a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physcians (Endocrinology) and completed a Masters degree in Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology). 

Associate Professor Hocking joined the Diabetes Research Program at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in 2005 to undertake her PhD under the supervision of Professor David James during which she investigated the metabolic differences between visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue depots, and how the accumulation of the former is related to insulin resistance.

Charles Perkins Centre Administrative Services Unit

Our team of professional staff support the research and education work of the Centre.

Sarah Anthony

Operations Manager

Contact about: finance, HR, operational planning, cross-institutional collaboration


Rebecca Bagnall

Executive Assistant

Contact about: Executive Assistant services for our Academic Director and Chief Operating Officer (shared role)


Sepideh Jannati

Administration Officer

Contact about: invoices, general administration, general operations


Nancy Lee

Senior Project Officer

Contact about: CPC membership, partnerships, CPC Project Nodes, Writer-in-Residence Fellowship, Qantas partnership


Helen Loughlin

Communications Manager

Contact about: All internal and external communications including CPC news stories, newsletters, events promotion, social media, digital screens, and the CPC website


Sasha Meldo

Administration Officer

Contact about: Events, general administration


Khairunnessa Rahman

Project Officer, Nepean

Contact about: Projects, collaborations, and partnerships at CPC Nepean


Rosanna Scaravilli

Executive Assistant/Project Officer

Contact about: University of Glasgow–CPC partnership, University of Bath–CPC partnership, Summer Research Scholarships, CPC Diversity and Inclusion Committee, CPC Equipment Advisory Committee, Executive Assistant services for our Academic Director and Chief Operating Officer (shared role)


Shaz Sazali

Network Node Coordinator

Contact about: Australian Indigenous Genomics Network, CPC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee


Courtney Weston

Project Officer, Westmead

Contact about: Projects, collaborations and partnerships at CPC Westmead, CPC EMCR Initiative