Sam Mehr

Dr Sam Mehr

Dr Sam Mehr (MBBS, BMedSci, FRACP, FRCPA) is a Paediatric Allergist/Immunologist and Immunopathologist. His current appointments include Staff Specialist (Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne), Immunopathologist (Dorevitch laboratory), Sub-editor of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, Advisory Board member of AusEE and member of the Allergy Working Party for the RCPA Quality Assurance Program. He has written 30 peer reviewed publications, and is currently involved in a number of research studies. His interests include FPIES, epidemiology of food allergy in Australia, eosinophilic esophagitis and periodic fever syndromes.

Dr Dean Tey

Dr Dean Tey

Dr Dean Tey (MBBS FRACP) is a paediatric allergist and immunologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria. Further to his role as the co-chair of the CFAR Training Committee, he is also a Member of the Care Working Group for the National Allergy Strategy, an Study Doctor for the Probiotic and Peanut Oral Immunotherapy (PPOIT) study and an Honorary Fellow at with the Gastro & Food Allergy Group (HealthNuts) at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. He has interests in food allergy, anaphylaxis and immunotherapy.


Associate Professor Michael Mathai

Appointments: A/Prof. Mathai has worked at the College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria University since 2008. His previous appointment was 15 years as a Senior Research Officer at the Howard Florey Institute. His teaches clinical practice to nutrition students and investigates the translation of research findings in animals into clinical interventions in obesity, diabetes and weight loss.

Research Areas: A/Prof. Mathai’s research focus has been on the regulation of neurophysiological pathways subserving the control of appetite, body weight, temperature, fluid and electrolytes. His research uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes the use of anthropometric, physiological and molecular techniques in humans and animals. He also investigates how micronutrients and other food components interact with human health. And has published ~80 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Funding: He has received funding totalling >$600,000 from the National Health and Medical Research Council Projects scheme, the National Heart Foundation, and Australia Research Council Linkage Scheme, which are all premier research funding agencies in Australia. He has also negotiated funding from commercial sources totalling >$6.3 million.

Professional Contributions and Activities: He is a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia and the American Physiological Society. His work on obesity and metabolic disease has been frequently cited in national and international media.


Giovanni_ZurzoloDr Giovanni Zurzolo

Dr Giovanni Zurzolo gained his bachelor of biomedical science from Victoria University. He then did a year of honours with the University, based at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI). During his honours year he investigated the prevalence of sesame allergy. Giovanni then went on to examine the benefit of precautionary food labels to complete his PhD.

Giovanni is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Victoria University with the following main aims:

  • To examine the proportion of unlabelled products that have used VITAL or a similar risk assessment tool versus those that have not, using an industry questionnaire
  • To examine the allergen content of unlabelled products to assess the safety of food products based on the use of a risk assessment tool such as VITAL, using ELISA-based allergen detection
  • To understand factors that influence industry uptake of VITAL using an industry questionnaire
  • To assess the number of episodes of anaphylaxis that occur each year due to the ingestion of products without mandated allergen warning labelling, using the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit’s Australia-wide monthly questionnaire system.

david bannisterDr David Bannister

Basic qualification (MBBS) at Melbourne University.  Trained in paediatrics at Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne with further training overseas in U.K. and Canada (McMaster University).  Practiced in general paediatrics in Frankston for 28 years then did further training in allergy at the Royal Children’s Hospital and now involved almost exclusively in paediatric allergy.  Interested in paediatric allergy education especially for general paediatricians.

Melanie Neeland PhotoDr Melanie Neeland

Dr Melanie Neeland completed her PhD in 2015 at Monash University. Working closely with several high profile pharmaceutical companies, her thesis investigated the immunological mechanisms of immunisation, with a focus on the safety and efficacy of nanoparticle vaccine delivery systems. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melanie aims to build upon her previous experience in functional immunology to further our understanding of the immune mechanisms and lifestyle exposures underlying the development and resolution of childhood food allergy.

Merryn Netting PhotoDr Merryn Netting

Merryn is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, who specialises in the management of pediatric food allergies and intolerances. Merryn’s PhD program, based at the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute, the University of Adelaide, investigated nutritional strategies for allergy prevention, diagnosis and treatment, with a specific focus on egg allergy. Her main research project “The CAKE Study” was a randomised controlled trial investigating clinical and immunological changes with inclusion of baked egg in the diets of young children with egg allergy. Merryn was supported by the Centre for Food and Allergy Research ‘Top Up’ scholarship.