Mito Foundation is fortunate to work with leading mitochondrial experts who dedicate their time and expertise to help us shape our research funding strategy. 

The Mito Foundation Scientific and Medical Advisory Panel (SMAP) is comprised of Australian experts recognised for their contributions to mitochondrial research and health care for people affected by mitochondrial disease. The role of the panel is to assess the scientific quality and strategic alignment of research funding applications, provide independent advice, and make funding recommendations. The panel is also an expert point of reference for medical and research questions from the mitochondrial disease community, the media, politicians, and other interested parties. 

We are proud to work with such an exceptional group of advisors and we appreciate their guidance as we work towards ending the suffering from mitochondrial disease. 

The Scientific & Medical Advisory Panel members are: 

Mike Ryan

Professor Mike Ryan (Chair)

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Prof Mike Ryan is Pro Vice-Chancellor Research at Monash University. He also heads the Mitochondrial Biology and Disease Laboratory in the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Mike joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2014 and served as Deputy Dean (Research and Research Infrastructure) in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences before becoming Academic Director Research Infrastructure. Before this he was Head of the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University.  

Mike's research focuses on mitochondrial biology and disease. After undertaking his PhD on molecular chaperones with Peter Hoj (La Trobe/Adelaide), Mike joined the group of Klaus Pfanner (University of Freiburg, Germany) as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow (1997-1999) where he studied protein import mechanisms. His group now uses a variety of techniques including gene editing, proteomics and mouse models to investigate and characterise the gene products involved in mitochondrial disease and dynamics. His work is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council, MRFF and the Mito Foundation. In 2023, Mike was awarded the Lemberg Medal from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) for excellence and service. 

Nigel Turner

Professor Nigel Turner (Deputy Chair)

BSc (Hons) PhD

Prof Nigel Turner is head of the Cellular Bioenergetics Laboratory at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI) and a conjoint professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at UNSW. Nigel received a PhD in comparative physiology and biochemistry from the University of Wollongong in 2004. With the support of consecutive NHMRC fellowships, he subsequently conducted postdoctoral studies in mitochondrial metabolism and insulin action in the Diabetes and Metabolism Division at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. In 2012 he was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship and established the Mitochondrial Bioenergetics Laboratory in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW Sydney. In 2022 he established his current research group at VCCRI. Nigel’s research focuses on investigating factors that regulate mitochondrial function and cellular bioenergetics in healthy and diseased states.  

Nigel is Vice President of the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society and former chair of the Metabolism and Molecular Medicine interest group of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has authored more than 160 career publications and has received funding from NHMRC, ARC, Diabetes Australia, PanKind and Tour de Cure. 

John Christodoulou

Professor John Christodoulou AM


Professor John Christodoulou is a medical graduate of the University of Sydney, and has formal qualifications in paediatrics, medical genetics, and genetic pathology, with his main focus of clinical practice being on the diagnosis and management of children with inborn errors of metabolism for over three decades. He has an active laboratory-based research program, with a particular focus on mitochondrial disorders, and application of “multi-omic” technologies for rare disease gene discovery. In 2016 he joined the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and also took up the Chair in Genomic Medicine at the University of Melbourne.  He co-leads the Brain and Mitochondrial Research Group at the MCRI with is long-term collaborator, Professor David Thorburn. John is also the Director of the MCRI's Genomic Medicine Research Theme. 

John was the Director of the Western Sydney Genetics Program at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, and the Head of the Discipline of Genetic Medicine at Sydney University until December 2015. John is a former 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. 

David Thorburn

Professor David Thorburn


Professor David Thorburn is co-Group Leader of Brain & Mitochondrial Research at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. He also leads the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services Mitochondrial Diagnostic Laboratory and is a Director of the Mito Foundation. David’s group studies the genetic basis and mechanisms of mitochondrial disorders using genomic and multi-omic technologies in combination with human stem cell models. His team has identified pathogenic mutations in >700 patients in >100 genes, including 13 mitochondrial DNA genes and >30 novel nuclear disease genes. 

As co-lead of the Australian Genomics Mitochondrial Flagship (2017-20) and Lead of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF)-supported MitoMDT project (2021-25), David has developed national networks seeking to incorporate genomic and multi-omic testing into Australian healthcare. He was the academic/research Lead for the Mito Foundation’s campaign to legalise mitochondrial donation. This culminated in Maeve’s law being legislated in 2022, and he is one of the leads of the MRFF-funded mitoHOPE project, delivering an Australian clinical trial of mito donation. David is also involved more broadly in rare disease research as a member of RDNow, which seeks to enable accurate diagnosis and improved management of children with any rare disease. 

Doug Lingard

Dr Doug Lingard AM


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 and a founding director of the Mito Foundation. 

Prof Mary Herbert

Professor Mary Herbert

PhD FRCPath FMedSci

Professor Mary Herbert joined the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) in 2023, commencing her professorship in reproductive biology at the institute. Mary is a pioneer of mitochondrial donation and reproductive biology. She was at the forefront in the development of technologies and evidence that brought about changes in legislation to introduce mitochondrial donation to the UK. Now in Australia, she is contributing her expertise to the mitoHOPE Program, where she leads the program’s clinical research. 

The mitoHOPE Program, a pilot program and clinical trial hosted by Monash University and supported by the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund, will lead the introduction of mitochondrial donation to Australian clinical settings while building an evidence base to improve the efficacy of mitochondrial donation, monitor safety and establish the feasibility of wider implementation. 

Mary was previously Professor of Reproductive Biology at the Biosciences Institute, Newcastle University and Scientific Director at Newcastle Fertility Centre, where she led a team of clinical and research scientists working side by side in a program of basic, translational, and clinical science.  

Prof David Mackey AO

Professor David Mackey AO


Professor David Mackey AO completed his MD thesis at the University of Melbourne on Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy in 1993. David is a renowned international researcher in the genetics of eye disease and has published over 500 peer reviewed papers since 1989. His research focuses on optic nerve diseases and glaucoma. He is a lead investigator in the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium and the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia. In 1993, David initiated the Glaucoma Inheritance Study in Tasmania, thereby creating one of the largest glaucoma biobanks in the world, with over 5,000 DNA samples and clinical material from familial and sporadic cases of glaucoma. 

David is the former Managing Director of the Lions Eye Institute (2009-19), a councillor of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences as well as the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and current RANZCO representative on the Council of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology APAO. He was elected Vice President of APAO in 2023. He is past president of the International Society for Genetic Eye Disease and Retinoblastoma. 

Previous SMAP members 

We would like to acknowledge the insight and advice provided by the following advisors who have supported Mito Foundation previously: 

Professor Carolyn Sue AM (2009-2024) 

Dr Shanti Balasubramaniam (2017-2024) 

Professor Aleksandra Filipovska (2013-2023) 

Dr Roula Ghaoui (2017-2023) 

Prof David Coman (2019-2022) 

Dr John Duley (2013-2017) 

Dr Phillipa Lamont (2010-2014)