5th fact

1,404 women die (27 every week) from cancer of the ovary, uterus or cervix.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee's role is to review business and discuss issues relating to the Foundation. The committee meets bi-monthly prior to WIRF Board meetings.

The Executive Committee members are listed in WIRF's Organisational Chart

Executive Committee Members

Professor John Newnham AM (Chair)
Executive Director, Women and Infants Research Foundation
Winthrop Professor, Maternal Fetal Medicine
Head, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
The University of Western Australia

Professor Newnham is a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist. He has research interests in the areas of fetal medicine, prevention of pre-term birth, fetal inflammation and maturation, and the developmental origins of childhood and adult diseases.

Professor Dorota Doherty
BSc (Hons) PhD
Head, Biostatistics and Research Design Unit
Deputy Director, Women and Infants Research Foundation

A/Professor Doherty heads up the Biostatistics and Research Design Unit at WIRF. The role of the Unit is to provide biostatistical consultation and collaboration in the design, conduct, analysis, interpretation and reporting of research conducted at King Edward Memorial Hospital and affiliated institutions. She provides a crucial coordination and oversight role for most of the research projects undertaken at the Foundation.

Professor Jeff Keelan
BSc (Hons) MSc PhD MRSNZ
Head, Women and Infants Health Research Laboratories

Professor Keelan is director of the Women and Infants Research Laboratories. His research is focused on the formation and function of the placenta and its role in normal and complicated pregnancies. He has expertise in placental pharmacology, endocrinology, immunology and cell biology. Since his arrival in 2007 from Auckland, New Zealand, he has overseen the installation and inauguration of new cell and tissue culture facilities, the expansion of the laboratory's image analysis facilities, and the recruitment of Honours and PhD students to the laboratories.

Assistant Research Professor Matthew Kemp
BMedLabSc PGDipMedLabSc Otago,
Head, Women and Infants Research Foundation, Lotterywest Perinatal Research Laboratories

Matt’s biomedical research interests fall within the fields of obstetrics and reproductive medicine, with a specific focus on the infectious – inflammatory origins of preterm birth. Matt is presently developing a novel area of fetal biology centred about the role played by the fetal skin in preterm birth and neonatal disease. Matt presently supervises two PhD students and is himself completing a second PhD (Graduate School of Education, UWA) studying the environmental, a priori and social factors responsible for the construction of the postgraduate biomedical learning environment. 

Deb Attard Portughes
Deb Attard Portughes is the inaugural Chief Operations Director with responsibility for implementing the directions of the WIRF Board, providing leadership to staff and effectively managing the Foundation’s day-to-day operations in-line with WIRF’s strategic direction.  

Deb has a strong and successful background in business development, marketing and fundraising and brings with her a wealth of experience in stakeholder management and leadership of both staff and volunteers.  She was previously the Development Executive for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) where she worked for over 13 years.

Andrea Cole
Finance Manager

Andrea commenced in 2003 as the Accountant and is responsible for managing all financial aspects of the Foundation. Andrea has had 20 years of accountancy, administration and HR experience working in a variety of commercial organisations.