Clinician PhD Pathway (CPP)

The Clinician PhD Pathway (CPP) is a structured and supported career development opportunity for doctors pursuing a pathway as a future clinician researcher.

The CPP has been designed to support doctors to complete a PhD whilst undertaking their specialist training to build the future leaders of clinical innovation and research.

Within this flexible 5-year supported pathway, participants will receive highly-regarded mentorship, guidance and expert advice from experienced clinical researchers to assist and support them through their PhD.

Year one candidates commenced the pathway in February 2024.

Pathway timeline

Program Structure

Year 1 Pre-PhD: Pathway will support participants with project specific and basic research skills and guide the development of a successful PhD and scholarship application with an identified supervision team.

Years 2-4 PhD scholarship: Full-time enrolment into The University of Adelaide PhD program alongside clinical training.

Year 5 Post-PhD: Participants will receive mentoring and support for PhD thesis write-up and submission and to build successful post-doctoral pathways through fellowship applications.

Support, mentoring and training

The Clinician PhD Pathway provides participants with access to experienced clinical researchers and clinical scientists via a mentoring model.

A panel of mentors will support and guide budding clinical researchers in their specialist training and PhD progress, using the following methods:

  • Support from a panel of mentors, highly experienced clinical researchers and clinical scientists
  • Monthly group meetings with one of the mentors from the panel
  • Opportunity to present research progress to mentors and stakeholders to receive feedback
  • A peer support network with fellow participants of the CPP
  • Targeted training from our member organisations including:
      • Planning research projects
      • Writing grant submissions
      • Research translation
      • Establishing and developing your researcher profile including media training

CPP Chair and mentor

Associate Professor Scott Clark

Associate Professor Scott Clark is the Head of the Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide. He leads Adelaide University’s Psychiatry teaching and research programs and works as an Adult Community Psychiatrist in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

He is Principal Investigator for multiple national and international clinical trials in psychosis, mood, and autism and for the NHMRC PRE-EMPT Centre for Research Excellence in Psychosis Prediction in collaboration with Orygen and Melbourne University.

He is also a Committee Member of the Australian Early Psychosis Collaborative Consortium (AEPCC) Clinical Trials and Translation Network, Member of Executive Committee for the Mental Health Australia General Clinical Trial Network (MAGNET) and Co-chair of the fluid biomarkers working group of the NIMH AMP-Schizophrenia consortium.

CPP mentors

Professor Michael P Brown

Professor Michael Brown is the Director of Cancer Clinical Trials at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and is the Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Adelaide.

Michael’s tumour speciality is in melanoma and lung cancer. His major research interests are in preclinical and clinical development of chimeric antigen receptor technology and therapeutic arming and targeting of monoclonal antibodies.

Michael originally trained as a dual-diploma clinical and laboratory immunologist before becoming a consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre in 1998. His PhD was in gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy.

Associate Professor Lee-anne Chapple

Associate Professor Lee-anne Chapple is a clinical dietitian with experience across the healthcare sector including rehabilitation, acute and critical care, private and public, and regional and metropolitan, and tertiary education experience at the University of Canberra.

Lee-anne has been the Critical Care Dietitian at the Royal Adelaide Hospital for the past 4 years, as well as being the Clinical Researcher and Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide.

Lee-anne’s research interest are Intensive Care, Nutrition & Dietetics and Nutritional Physiology. She successfully leads the Intensive Care Nutrition Program at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Associate Professor Sunita De Sousa

Associate Professor Sunita De Sousa is clinical and academic endocrinologist with expertise in pituitary endocrinology and endocrine genetics. Sunita is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide and a Staff Specialist in Endocrinology and Genetics at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Sunita’s postdoctoral research focuses on monogenic diabetes, hereditary pancreatitis, and endocrine tumours. She is the founding member of EndoGen, a national framework of endocrine genetic centres which has led to Australia’s first national endocrine genetics MDT meeting.

Associate Professor Arthas Flabouris

Associate Professor Arthas Flabouris is a staff specialist for the Intensive Care unit and Clinical Lead for the Medical Emergency Response Service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, with a conjoint appointment with the Faculty of Health Sciences and University of Adelaide as clinical Associate Professor.

Arthas has collaborated with large research groups from the Simpson Centre for Health Service Innovation, University of New South Wales and the Australia and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group.

Professor Catherine Hill

Professor Catherine Hill is a clinical Rheumatologist, Epidemiologist, and an expert in evidence-based healthcare.

Catherine is the head of the Rheumatology unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and holds multiple professional roles, including President of the Australia Rheumatology Association and Medical Director of Arthritis SA. Catherine was awarded the Parr Prize for Outstanding Rheumatology Research by the Australia Rheumatology Association in 2022. 

Associate Professor Adam Nelson

Associate Professor Adam Nelson is a cardiologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, who recently completed clinical cardiology training at Monash University. Adam is an early career clinical academic and Associate Professor across CALHN and the University of Adelaide, with interests in preventive cardiology, personalized medicine and implementation science. 

After completing medical school at the University of Adelaide, Adam then completed his FRACP at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Adam completed a BMedSc honours degree and a PhD evaluating vascular function and risk assessment. Adam then embarked on a combined MBA and MPH through Laureate Universities with major subjects in epidemiology, implementation science and clinical trial methods undertaken at Duke University, while pursuing a 2-year post-doctoral appointment at the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Associate Professor Tarik Sammour

Associate Professor Tarik Sammour is a colorectal surgeon at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and an Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide, as well as an honorary appointment at SAHMRI. For the past 6 years Tarik has been the research lead for the Colorectal Research Group with multiple successful clinical PhD’s in the program.

Tarik’s research interests are cancer therapy/biology & clinical oncology, surgery and patient-centred outcome based clinical trials in colorectal surgery.

Associate Professor Josephine (Jo) Thomas

Associate Professor Jo Thomas is a Specialist General Physician at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, including the Director of Physician Education and Clinical Associate Professor for the University of Adelaide.

Jo completed a PhD in Medical Education in 2020 and is an active clinical educator. Her research interests include Education, Medical and Health Sciences as well as Pharmacology and Pharmacy. Jo was awarded the Excellence in Teaching (level C) by the Executive Dean at the University of Adelaide in 2016, as well as her recognition by the Australian Medical Council in 2018.

Associate Professor David Yeung

Associate Professor David Yeung is a clinical and laboratory haematologist with a special interest in acute and chronic leukaemia. David is a consultant haematologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, a clinical research fellow for SAHMRI and an appointment as a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide Medical School.

David has served as chair on the Disease Group, and on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the ALLG. He has run the Asia Pacific Clinical Training Research Institute, sponsored by the American Society of Haematology whilst in Hanoi.

Meet our CPP candidates

Dr Esrom Learman

Esrom is an anaesthetic trainee with the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. Currently based at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, he will rotate through various hospitals within South Australia and the Northern Territory throughout his clinical training.

Esrom’s PhD, under the guidance of Professor Guy Ludbrook and Professor Mike Grocott, is using advanced modelling techniques to investigate the health economics within the perioperative surgical pathway.

Following the completion of his PhD and specialist training, Esrom intends to continue to balance time in clinical anaesthesia and health economic research.

Dr Damjana Bogatic

Damjana is an early career clinician-researcher with an interest in manipulation of the gastrointestinal microbiome as therapy for human disease. She is currently undertaking training in Gastroenterology at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, taking on the role of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Fellow in 2024.

Under the supervision of Associate Professor Rob Bryant, Damjana is investigating the application of microbial manipulation as therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. As part of this project, she is leading a phase 1 clinical trial evaluating the role of faecal microbiota transplantation in primary sclerosing cholangitis, a devastating orphan liver disease associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

Damjana aspires to a career where she can balance clinical work and research, and hopes to make a significant contribution to advancing microbial therapeutics and treating inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr Tristan Bampton

Tristan is currently in his third year of Psychiatry training with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. He graduated from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 2020, completing an honours degree in the same year, and is currently working at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Tristan’s PhD, under the guidance of both Professor Scott Clark and Professor Lyle Palmer, focusses on utilising machine learning, a subset of Artificial Intelligence, to investigate linkages between structural neuroimaging and clinical outcomes in psychotic disorders.

Following the completion of his PhD and training in Psychiatry, Tristan hopes to continue to pursue a career as a Clinical Academic, with a particular interests in Neuropsychiatry and biomarkers in Psychiatric disorders. 

Dr Zachary Bunjo

Zac is a General Surgery Trainee with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Originally from Adelaide, he is currently working in hospitals across New South Wales.

Zac’s PhD, under the guidance of A/Prof Tarik Sammour, is focusing on the role of total neoadjuvant therapy in early rectal cancer. Aside from his clinical work and research pursuits, Zac also has an interest in education and mentorship for medical students and junior doctors aspiring to a career in surgery.

Following the completion of his PhD and surgical training, Zac intends to complete further fellowship training in Colorectal Surgery, with the hope of eventually practicing as a Colorectal Surgeon and Academic.


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