The AIBN Board is an advisory body, established to assist the Director in matters relating to the Institute’s governance, defined strategic goals, progress against goals, and levels of funding required to support ongoing operations and strategic initiatives. Members are high-calibre representatives with broad ranging experience and expertise in the university, industry, community and government sectors.

The Board has a broad ambit, including providing advice on funding opportunities, commercialisation paths, extension activities and growth strategies for the Institute on both a strategic and operational basis. It reviews progress of the Institute in the areas of research, internationalisation, commercialisation, governance and management. It is also charged with providing advice on matters such as raising the international profile of the Institute to maximise the benefits to Queensland and Australia generally, and with assisting to maintain the high visibility and reputation of AIBN in research, industry, government and public domains.

Dr Cathy Foley (Chair)

Dr Cathy Foley, CSIRO Chief Scientist, has made distinguished contributions to the understanding of superconducting materials and to the development of devices using superconductors for a number of applications including to detect magnetic fields and locate valuable deposits of minerals. She is also the Chair of the Australian National Fabrication Facility Victorian Node Collaboration Committee and the ARC Steel Hub Advisory Committee as well as sitting on several other committees and boards. She has made significant contributions to the scientific community as president of several scientific societies and as a member of committees such as PMSEIC giving advice to Government on scientific and technological matters. She was awarded the `Woman of the Year’ by the NSW Government in 2013 and the International IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductivity 2014. In 2015 she was awarded the Clunies Ross Medal of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering and Australian Institute of Physics’ Outstanding Service to Physics Award. As a leader in CSIRO, she is working to help Australia to transform to be globally competitive and sustainable by engaging with Australian researchers, government and industry to assist with the translation of research for a healthy and sustainable Australia that is also economically successful.

Dr Kym Baker

Dr Kym Baker is General Manager of Patheon Biologics Australia.  Patheon is a contract manufacturer of biological parental products produced from mammalian cell lines for both ongoing clinical trials and commercial drug manufacture serving a worldwide market.  Dr Baker has a strong academic and commercial background, holding a variety of positions in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry for >20 years in the UK.  Following Industrial sponsored post-doctoral studies at the University College of London and University of Kent working with Celltech (now UCB), GSK, British Biotech and Lonza, Kym joined the management team in Lonza, UK holding a variety of senior positions across both development, manufacturing and quality.. Returning to Australia, Dr Baker took up the GM role in Patheon.  Dr Baker graduated with 1st class Honours from the first ever intake of University of QLDs Bachelor of Applied Science Biotechnology programme then obtained her PhD from the Australian National University in Canberra based in CSIRO.  Dr Baker is passionate about science education and the development of future scientific and engineering talent to help grow the Biotechnology industry in Australia through improved collaboration between industry and academia. 

Kathy Hirschfeld

Kathy Hirschfeld is a non-executive director of InterOil Corp, Transfield Services Limited, and Toxfree Solutions; and a Senator of The University of Queensland. She is on the board of UN Women in Australia.   A chemical engineer, Ms Hirschfeld’s 20-year career with BP included oil refining, logistics and exploration, located in Australia, the UK and Turkey.   Her last executive role was as Managing Director of BP Bulwer Island Refinery in Brisbane, with responsibility for all aspects of the business. 


Kathy was recognised by Engineers Australia in 2014 as an Honorary Fellow – the 9th woman to be so honoured. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK) and a member of Chief Executive Women.  

Professor Wilhelm Huck

Prof Wilhelm T. S. Huck is Professor of Physical Organic Chemistry. He received his PhD (promoter Prof David Reinhoudt) in 1997 from the University of Twente. After postdoctoral research with Prof. Whitesides at Harvard University, he took up a position in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, where he was promoted to Reader (2003) and Full Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry (2007). He became Director of the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis in 2004. In 2010 he moved to the Radboud University Nijmegen and completely changed research direction. His main interest is in understanding how life works at the molecular level and the ultimate goal of his group is to build a synthetic cell. His groupfocuses on the physical organic chemistry of the cell and aims to elucidate, using model systems, the influence of the special nature of the cellular environment on complex reaction networks in cells. Another important area of research is the synthesis and analysis of complex reaction networks and the incorporation of 'molecular programmes' into synthetic materials. He was elected to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in 2012 and elected to the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has published around 250 papers and supervised ~20 PhD students. For his work in Nijmegen he received an ERC advanced grant (2010), a VICI award (2011), and the Spinoza prize (2016).

Luke McGrath

Luke McGrath has an extensive background and experience in philanthropic strategy with particular expertise in medical research funding and development. He also has significant experience identifying and developing new technology businesses, fostering medical advances, delivering strategic and focused financial advice to ultra-high net worth individuals and family groups and private and public Foundations on their grant giving.

Over the last decades he has been integral in the fostering and development of high technology companies from initial funding through further development periods to listing on stock exchanges globally. He has also negotiated the sale of some of these companies to significant listed purchasers across the globe.

In medical research, Luke has helped to provide seed and development funding to some of Australia’s most significant areas of health research. Some of the areas he has been involved with include drug development, skin cancer, cerebral palsy, artificial intelligence, and big data.

In the past Luke has had trusted roles in investment management most recently with Macquarie Bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a number of other financial services organisations.

Professor Alan Rowan

Professor Alan Rowan was appointed director of AIBN in 2015. He has performed his research at the interface of chemistry and biology with seminal and pioneering work on processive catalysis and functional self-assembly. In the last three years Professor Rowan’s group developed the first truly biomimetic hydrogel, which mimics precisely the mechanical behaviour of the natural fibrous materials. This work has received considerable attention since it is the first step to truly controlling cell behaviour. This scientific breakthrough is already now being developed commercial for wound dressing, drug therapeutic and cell growth. Professor Rowan has published nearly 300 hundred peer-reviewed articles and books which were cited 12,000 times.

Professor Aidan Byrne

Professor Byrne completed a BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Auckland before commencing a PhD degree at the ANU in 1981. Following the completion of his degree at the Department of Nuclear Physics he held positions with the University of Melbourne and spent over two years in Bonn, Germany as a von Humboldt fellow. He returned to the ANU in 1989 as a Research Fellow and in 1991 commenced a joint appointment between the Department of Physics, in the Faculty of Science and the Department of Nuclear Physics, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering. He was Head of the Department of Physics from 2003 to 2007. His research interests involve the use of gamma-rays as probes to determine the structure of heavy nuclei and the examination of the atomic level structure of materials (especially semiconductors). He has published over 200 papers.

Dr Zoe Cahill (Secretary)