PKD Australia Board

Robert Gardos

Robert Gardos (Chair)

Robert’s strong ties with his local community began nearly 40 years ago. An active parent, he has volunteered at three local schools, in P&C leadership positions and managed school and community sport teams. He also volunteers in creative writing workshops as a tutor at Sydney Story Factory.

Modest and unassuming, Robert’s sense of humour is evidenced when he says “I can describe myself as a retired textile chemist and self-funded philosopher”.

It was Robert and his wife, Adriana’s, initiative that planted the seed for the PKD Foundation in 2011. They approached Westmead Hospital Renal Department to see what could be done to find a cure for PKD. Their support of a PhD candidate’s research into PKD galvanised thinking about how research could be extended to multiple locations in all Australian cities. This, in turn, inspired the Foundation’s goals, enabled the development of a national organisation and set its vision in motion.

Ian Cornell

Ian Cornell

After an impressive career in major Australian corporations, Ian is now a non-executive Board member for Myer, Baby Bunting, Inglis Bloodstock and previously Goodman Fielder.

Prior to this, Ian was the Director or Human Resources and Director of Management and Marketing at Westfield. He was also the Chief Executive Officer at Franklins, Division of Dairy Farm International and Chief General Manager at Woolworths.

Ian has a family member with PKD and also has a keen interest in horses and horse racing.

Helen Coolican

Helen Coolican

PKD has been in Helen’s family for five generations and affects all four of her children. Helen’s relationship with PKD began more than 40 years ago when her late husband, Michael, and his father Otto were diagnosed a few weeks apart.

Having long dreamed of the possibility of a cure for PKD, Helen wondered how soon and where the breakthrough to a cure would happen. The powers of creativity and imagination have been an essential part of Helen’s life as an English, History and Creative Writing teacher, mother to Michael junior, Emily, Natalie and Sam and wife to Michael senior. It is Helen’s hope creative and innovative practice combined with scientific knowledge will drive medical researchers and scientists to find a cure for PKD very soon.

Helen is very excited to be part of the founding team of the Australian PKD Foundation and proud to promote and support visionary research projects in Australia and New Zealand.

Scientific Advisory Board

Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) consists of a team of leading specialists from across Australia and New Zealand who will advise on undertaking innovative research, facilitate new therapies and help improve patient management.

The SAB operates independently of the PKD Foundation of Australia Board and management.


1.      Provide expert advice on research projects and clinical trials.

2.      Review and recommend on the awarding of research grants, and monitor progress and research outcomes achieved.

3.      Support Fellowships for young clinicians and scientist

4.      Providing strategic advice on scientific research directions, both within Australia and internationally

5.      Assisting with development and maintenance of leading-edge information on health and social aspects of PKD in Australia.

Introducing the Scientific Advisory Board

Carmel Hawley

Associate Professor Carmel Hawley

Dr. Carmel Hawley (MBBS, M.Med Sci, FRACP) is a full-time nephrologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH), Queensland. She is also currently the Assistant Director, of the Haemodialysis Service at PAH; Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Queensland; inaugural and current Chair of Operations Secretariat of the Australasian Kidney Trials Network.

Carmel has also been a Member of the CARI bone guidelines group; Member of Dialysis Nephrology Transplant Subcommittee of ANZSN; Subject Editor for Nephrology; Chair of the Clinical Practice Improvement Centre in Queensland (Renal Collaborative); Board Member of Kidney Health Australia; Treasurer of the ANZSN; Chair of the Specialist Advisory Committee (Nephrology); Member of the Inaugural Board of Australasian Clinical Trials Alliance; and Inaugural Chair of the Home Dialysis Advisory Committee.

Carmel holds a Masters degree in Biostatistics and has a strong track record in all forms of clinical research. In particular, she plays a key role in the design, conduct and statistical analyses of both clinical trials and complex observational studies conducted at PAH.

Associate Professor Hawley has published over 200 manuscripts of original research in peer-reviewed journals, half of which have been published in the past 5 years. She has authored numerous reviews and book chapters, mostly relating to dialysis.

Mike Eccles

Professor Mike Eccles

Mike Eccles studied at the University of Otago (obtaining a PhD in Biochemistry in 1986), before doing a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Biology at Princeton University. He returned to Otago University as a Research Fellow in 1989.

Mike established a research group to investigate developmental genes in cancer and disrupted growth/development. He was awarded a Royal Society of NZ James Cook Research Fellowship in 2000, and at the same time he began to do research on PKD. In 2006 he was appointed the Zealand Institute for Cancer Research Trust Chair in Cancer Pathology, and currently he heads the Developmental Genetics Laboratory in the Pathology Department, University of Otago, focusing on epigenetic mechanisms in cancer and polycystic kidney disease.


Professor Judith Savige

Professor Judith Savige is a Professor in the University of Melbourne Department of Medicine at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Judith’s research interests include the genetics of inherited renal disease. She was Foundation Professor of Medicine at Northern Health for 10 years from 2003 to 2013 before taking up her position at Royal Melbourne Hospital.


Professor Randall Faull

Professor Randall Faull MBBS, PhD, FRACP, FRCP is a Senior Consultant in Nephrology at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and the Director of the Medical Program and Deputy Dean at the University of Adelaide.

Randall is past President of both the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (ANZSN) and the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), and is currently on the Senior Examination Panel for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He directs the Clinical Trials service in the Renal Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and as part of this role has been an investigator in a number of international trials of treatment of PKD. He has also been a chief investigator and co-investigator in a number of NH&MRC funded studies, and has long standing interest in both clinical and basic medical research.


Associate Professor Sharon Ricardo

Group Leader of the Kidney Regeneration and Stem Cell Laboratory, Monash University. Sharon completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 1994, studying cellular and molecular pathways leading to kidney disease. She continued this theme of research as a US Kidney Foundation Fellow pursuing post-doctoral studies (1994-2000) at Pennsylvania State University in the Division of Nephrology where she was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1998. After returning to Australia as a NHMRC Howard Florey Fellow, Sharon established a research group at Monash University that currently focuses on the development of new therapies for kidney regeneration through stem cells, immune modulation and/or growth factor therapies.

Sharon has published more than 75 papers and received many awards including the Kidney Health Australia Bootle Award; the Judy S. Finkelstein Award (Penn State University); and the Marrion Merrell Dow excellence in Renal Research Award (American Physiological Society). In addition, she is the first named inventor on US granted patents that have emerged from her translational research targeting the development of new therapies for promoting organ growth in premature and growth-restricted babies.

Sharon is an Editor of Kidney International and the Nephrology journal and serves on the Scientific Program and Education Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology. She is actively involved in the promotion and education of science to the broader community by engaging with secondary school students, patient groups and philanthropic societies.

Our Pro-bono Supporters

We could not do what we do with the generous support of our pro-bono supporters. We are incredibly grateful for their continued help, passion and enthusiasm for helping to find a cure for PKD.

Inspiring Apps (dripcreative)

Clayton Utz

BDJ Partners

A A Tateossian & Co