The Mito Foundation Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for the governance of the foundation – establishing and continually monitoring the foundation’s vision, mission and goals, and ensuring all legal and financial obligations are met. Directors also play a key role in supporting the foundation’s fundraising activities and act as advocates for our work to the broader community.
Professor John Christodoulou AM
MB BS PhD FRACP FRCPA FHGSA
John graduated from the University of Sydney, and has formal qualifications in paediatrics, medical genetics and genetic pathology. He undertook his formal genetic training at the Murdoch Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and had further postdoctoral training in genetic metabolic disorders at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. He returned to Sydney and for 18 years was the Director of the Western Sydney Genetics Program at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, one of the largest fully integrated clinical and laboratory diagnostic genetic services in Australia. He relocated to the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne in 2016, is currently the Director of the Genetics Research Theme of the MCRI, and co-leads the Brain and Mitochondrial Research Group with Professor David Thorburn. John is also the Chair of Genomic Medicine, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne.
Apart from mitochondrial disorders, his other major research interests are in Rett syndrome and related neurodevelopmental disorders. He also has a major research interest in the application of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies in rare genetic disorders. He is the Co-Lead of the Australian Genomics Health Alliance, focusing on bringing NGS diagnostics into mainstream clinical practice in Australia, and with David co-leads the Australian Genomics mitochondrial diseases flagship.
He has published over 280 peer reviewed papers and is regularly called upon for lectures on a range of genetics subjects.
John is a former Past President of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (2005 – 2007). In 2010 he became a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) and in 2017 became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health & Medical Sciences.
John is a founding director of the Mito Foundation and a member of the Mito Foundation Scientific & Medical Advisory Panel.
Don Coulthard is MD of Phillips & Cohen Associates (Australia) a leading receivables management and distressed asset purchaser.
Don has lobbied extensively to government in support of medical research funding and assisted Research Australia in the development of its philanthropy initiative.
Fiona is a geologist with oil and gas company, Chevron. She has a PhD in Geology from the University of Melbourne (2005).
Fiona has played a vital role in organising Support Group Meetings in Perth and continues to work with the patient community. She has also been a patient speaker at the Perth Mito Information Day in 2017.
Fiona spearheaded the ‘Dream to Be’ fund and awareness raising events in 2017. These events see children dress as superheroes and fantasy characters and pose in front of a green screen for photos, which are then sold to the parents. The first event in April 2017 raised significant funds for the Mito Foundation and the second event, held during Global Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week, raised significant awareness for the Mito Foundation and the mito community, and was featured in the Channel 10 news bulletin in Perth.
Fiona is a founding member of the Mito Community Advisory Panel and serves as the representative for the Perth mito community.
Professor Aleksandra Filipovska
Aleksandra Filipovska is a Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic biology, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Professor at the University of Western Australia. She received her PhD in 2002 from the University of Otago, New Zealand. From 2003-2005 she was a NZ Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Fellow at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, the United Kingdom. In 2006 she relocated to Australia as a NHMRC Howard Florey Fellow and established her research group at the Perkins Institute of Medical Research at the University of Western Australia.
She was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow until 2014 and since 2014 she has been a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Professor at UWA and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and established a Mitochondrial Disease Therapy group at Telethon Kids Institute in 2019. Her research interests are in the regulation of gene expression by RNA-binding proteins and the use of multi-omic technologies to elucidate their molecular functions in health and disease. Her research group uses genomic technologies and synthetic biology to design new models of mitochondrial diseases and develop treatments for these disorders.
Aleksandra is a member of the Mito Foundation Scientific & Medical Advisory Panel.
Rick Lee AM
BEng (Chem) (Hons), MA (Oxon), FAICD
Dr Doug Lingard AM – President & Chairman
MB ChB FRANZCR
Doug is a Radiologist & Nuclear Physician who has been active in both public and private medicine in Australia for over 30 years. He is a cofounder of the largest Diagnostic Imaging practice in Australia, Pittwater Radiology & Medical Imaging Australasia Ltd. He and his wife Margie are the parents of two children with mitochondrial disease.
Doug is the Mito Foundation Chairman, a member of the Mito Foundation Nominations Committee, a member of the Mito Foundation Scientific & Medical Advisory Panel and a founding director of the Mito Foundation.
Sean Murray was appointed as part time CEO in January 2011 and took up the role full time in April 2012. Sean is responsible for execution of the Mito Foundation strategic plan and all aspects of the Mito Foundation operations.
Sean’s background includes software development, business consulting and general management. His career previously focused on organisational change and project/programme management. Sean has lived and worked in Australia, the UK and the US with broad industry experience in both private and government sectors. Sean holds a degree in Computer Science and Pure Mathematics (BSc) from Sydney University.
With a strong family connection with mitochondrial disease, Sean is deeply motivated to drive the Mito Foundation toward achieving its goal of curing mitochondrial disease.
Sean is a member of the Mito Foundation Nominations Committee and a founding director of the Mito Foundation.
Professor Mike Ryan
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Professor Ryan is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Monash University, where he is responsible for leading and supporting Monash’s current and future research agenda, fostering excellence and collaboration and promoting Monash’s research capabilities, global reputation and profile.
Professor Ryan also heads the Mitochondrial Biology and Disease Laboratory in the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. His research seeks to understand the molecular basis of mitochondrial disease and treatment options to improve cellular energy generation. His work is currently funded by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Medical Research Future Fund, Australian Research Council, and charitable foundations.
Professor Ryan has served on numerous boards and committees including as President of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Australian Academy of Sciences’ National Committee for Biomedical Sciences, and the Research Grant Committee and Selection Grant Committee of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organisation (current Chair). He is a Director of the Mito Foundation and Deputy Chair of its Scientific and Medical Advisory Panel. In 2023, Prof. Ryan was awarded the Lemberg Medal from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for excellence in biochemistry and molecular biology and significant contributions to the scientific community.
Professor David Thorburn
BSc(Hons) PhD FHGSA FFSc(RCPA) FAHMS
Professor David Thorburn received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Sydney in 1987 before completing a Fulbright Fellowship with Prof Ernie Beutler at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla (San Diego), California. David returned to Australia in 1990, and is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, located in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. He holds honorary appointments in the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne and with Victorian Clinical Genetics Services. David is a former President of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia and a former member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (USA).
David’s Brain and Mitochondrial Research Group is primarily involved in research but also acts as the Australasian referral centre for diagnosis of mitochondrial disease in children. His lab has diagnosed more than 700 patients with mitochondrial disease and published over 180 scientific journal articles and reviews. David’s research focuses on the genetic basis of mitochondrial energy generation diseases. He has had a particular interest in understanding how mitochondrial DNA mutations are passed on from mothers to their children, and translating this knowledge into approaches for genetic counselling, prenatal diagnosis and prevention. He also studies the roles of nuclear genes, which are inherited from both parents. His lab has identified over 20 novel “disease” genes using a range of genomic and cell biology approaches. His lab has developed mouse models and human stem cell models of mitochondrial disease that are being used to study the precise disease mechanisms and to trial treatment strategies.
David is a member of the Mito Foundation Nominations Committee, the Chair of the Mito Foundation Scientific & Medical Advisory Panel and a founding director of the Mito Foundation.
Ross is a director of FrontRow one of Australia’s leading specialists in corporate hospitality, events and sponsorship. The company was formed in 2007 with the merging of Off the Wall Events Pty Ltd with Front Row Events Pty Ltd. He has organised many of the major sporting and charity functions held in Sydney over the last thirty years.
Ross has been involved with the Mito Foundation since it began in 2009. He conceived Stay in Bed Day and more recently, the Bloody Long Walk series. It is now the Mito Foundation’s major fundraising activity which has grown from one single event in Sydney in 2013, to a national series consisting of nine events in 2018.
BA(Psy/Soc), AdvDip (Fin Services), MAICD
Ann Whitelock is Chair of the Aspiring Education Foundation and ICMS Scholarships at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS). One of her key passions is building opportunities for students to access higher education and changing lives in so doing.
Ann dedicated herself to ensuring the overall quality and success of ICMS as an higher education institution and has contributed to business strategy and vision, while leading ICMS through several key regulatory projects. In 2018 she started the International Sport College Australia (ISCA) stemming from an extensive entrepreneurial background.
Ann has years of experience operating businesses, start-ups, and business turnarounds. She was winner of the Victorian Small Business Award and nominated for Telstra Businesswoman of the Year. She has occupied senior leadership positions in hospitality and tourism and later in financial services as a specialist in industry superannuation and corporate banking sectors.
Through personal relationship, Ann is a long-term supporter of the Mito Foundation.
Ann holds a Bachelor of Arts – Social Sciences, majoring in Psychology and Sociology from Monash University, an Advanced Diploma Financial Services and is a MAICD. She is Founder of ISCA, a director of the Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA), the Women’s Resilience Centre and Manly Rugby Foundation. She is a member of the Australian Catholic Business Network.
Michael Pilcher – Treasurer
Michael has been Treasurer of the Mito Foundation since 2009. Michael has also been Director and Company Secretary of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation since 2006.
Michael has 25 years experience as a finance executive working in Australasia. General Manager Finance, Crone Partners Architecture 2005-09; General Manager, Holman Webb Lawyers 2003-05; Finance Manager & Company Secretary, Freehills Lawyers 1998-2003. He has worked for Arthur Andersen and PWC in Sydney, London and Africa.
Michael is a member of the Mito Foundation Finance Committee.
Mito Foundation gives special acknowledgement to Board members who have served on the board of directors with distinction and excellence.
The offer of this designation indicates that other directors of the Mito Foundation’s board consider he or she has provided important leadership, made significant contributions or given service to the foundation of lasting value or a combination of these.
Graeme is a Chartered Accountant with farming & agribusiness interests in Northern NSW. He recently retired from PwC after 29 years as a Tax partner including terms on the Management Executive & Board of Partners.
He has extensive professional and commercial experience particularly in buying and selling businesses. Other interests are property & investment. He also enjoys tennis, fishing & travel.
Graeme was a member of the Mito Foundation Finance Committee, a member of the Mito Foundation Nominations Committee and a founding director of the Mito Foundation.
BSc(Hons) MCom(Hons) MBA
Ross Grant is Chairman of Grant Samuel Group, an independent investment banking firm which he established in 1988.
Ross Grant was previously an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank Limited having joined Hill Samuel Australia Limited (the predecessor of Macquarie Bank Limited) in 1975. Ross Grant holds degrees in Mathematics (B.Sc (Hons) – Otago University), Economics (M.Com – Canterbury University) and Business Administration (MBA – University of NSW).
Ross was a member of the Mito Foundation Finance Committee and a founding director of the Mito Foundation.