Meet the Team



Dr Rachel Shparberg
Rachel Shparberg is the current Chairperson of the NSW Stem Cell Network. Rachel completed her PhD at The University of Sydney in 2018; her research focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying mammalian nervous system development using mouse embryonic stem cells. During her PhD, Rachel worked as the part-time Manager of The NSW Stem Cell Network (2015), and following the completion of her PhD, she worked as a Research Scientist at Western Sydney University where she used human pluripotent stem cells to understand lens development, disease and regeneration. Rachel currently works as a Medical Writer in the pharma and medical affairs industry.




Professor Bernie Tuch
Bernie Tuch was the Founding Chairman of the NSW Stem Cell Network in 2002; he is now the immediate Past Chairman. Dr Tuch is a practising endocrinologist in Sydney and a Professor of Medicine at Monash University. He is a Director of the Australian Foundation for Diabetes Research developing a bioengineered cell therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The cells used in this Project are stem cell derived insulin-producing islets produced by collaborators in Israel.






Dr Michael Morris
Michael Morris specialises in research on embryonic stem cells and embryology, with a view to understanding normal and abnormal nervous system development and developing assisted reproduction technologies for use in humans and livestock. He has worked in embryonic stem-cell R&D in the biotech industry and the Australian Stem Cell Centre before moving to an academic position at Sydney University. He is a founding member of the NSW Reproduction Forum and the Sydney Centre for Developmental and Regenerative Medicine.







Dr Margret Schuller
Margret has been immersed in the field of biological science for many years, making significant contributions. She's published numerous research papers in both life science and business, and even took on the role of editor for the collaborative textbook "PCR in Clinical Microbiology: An Australian and International Perspective" (Springer, 2010).

Some time ago, she made a shift to the Diagnostic's IVD industry before venturing out on her own with "Profitable Business Development." Her focus areas include business development, demand marketing, market analysis, corporate image, brand strength, and knowledge management. Interestingly, her company has recently expanded into corporate events photography.

On the academic front, Margret completed her MBA in 2001. Her PhD delved into the world of tacit knowledge transfer, exploring how knowledge flows from globally dispersed subsidiaries to the parent company in a multinational organisation.

Beyond her professional and academic endeavours, Margret has been actively involved in the scientific community. For over 13 years, she was a committee member and chair of Sponsorship and Industry for the Australasian Society of Stem Cell Research (ASSCR). Since 2021, she's serves as a board member for the NSW Stem Cell Network, showcasing her ongoing dedication to advancing stem cell research. Margret's career is a mix of scientific expertise, business savvy, and a commitment to community service.



Dr Sharon Sagnella
Dr Sharon Sagnella joined the Department of Cell & Molecular Therapies (CMT) at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) as the research and development manager in 2021. She joined with 12 years of process development and commercialisation experience in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and industry where she contributed extensively to preclinical development, clinical trials, and the implementation of new therapies, combined with a successful academic research career. She has experience in engaging with investors and pharmaceutical company collaborators and was responsible for facilitating significant investment within industry. She transferred her industry experience to CMT, where she is responsible for overseeing the cell and gene therapy GMP facility at RPAH as well as liaising with clinical departments to enable clinical trials involving cell and gene therapies. She is also involved in facilitating cell therapy process development with academia and industry to translate research from bench to bedside and is a Chief Investigator on a $7 million MRFF grant awarded in 2022 for the development and commercialisation of tissue engineered cartilage. She is on the Board of the NSW Stem Cell Network, a member of Australia’s Cell and Gene Catalyst workforce steering committee, a member of the RPAH institutional biosafety committee, a member of the Sydney Local Health District  Immune Effector Cell and Preparation of Pharmaceutical and Advanced Therapeutic Products steering committees, an associate editor for Frontiers in Drug Delivery, and an Editorial Board member of Cytotherapy.






Chester Bendall

Chester Bendall is an executive managing corporate services for My Voice, a national disability services provider. He is currently engaged in business development strategy, quality and safeguards, and specialised disability accommodation development in the disability sector. He is also a non-executive director of the Centre for Volunteering peak body.

He has worked for universities and at CSIRO in science communication, public affairs and strategic commercialisation projects, and as contributor and director of a publishing company, and producer/presenter of a radio talks show focussing on technology and the community.

Chester thrives despite a spinal cord injury and is passionate about learning and making a difference.



Past Board Members










Dr Kelvin Hopper
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of longtime Board Member, Dr Kelvin Hopper, on 22 December 2021. Kelvin was a member of the Board of the Network since 2008 and his extensive commercial background and involvement in the biotech and medtech industries, was invaluable to the success of the Network.







Dr Daniella Goldberg

Daniella is on the advisory board of the NSW Stem Cell Network and was the initial manager and co-founder of the NSW Stem Cell Network over 15 years ago.

She is passionate about health & life sciences, innovation, commercialisation, business & start-ups. Daniella has been working with start up biotechnology companies specialising in stem cell therapeutics and is currently an MBA candidate. Prior to this, she worked in science communication and marketing, in TV, radio and print media, turning science into a compelling story for a wide range of audiences including executives, investors, scientific peers, school students, Government and the general public. To balance her professional career in life science start-ups, Daniella created her own boutique wellness business that facilitates high performers to de stress through mindfulness & yoga

in nature.







Joanna Knott
Joanna Knott is a co-founder (25 years ago) and the Chair of national research charity, SpinalCure Australia. She has a 30-year career in Communications/PR. Her work was a major contributor to Federal Parliamentarians voting in favour of this research in a conscience vote in 2006. In 2008, she was awarded an OAM for her work in this sector.






Prof Ian Kerridge
Ian Kerridge is Professor of Bioethics and Medicine at Sydney health Ethics in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney and Staff Haematologist/Bone Marrow Transplant physician at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney. He is Chair of the South Eastern Sydney LHD Clinical Ethics Committee and a member of the NSW Health Department's Health Ethics Advisory Panel. In 2005 Ian was a member of the Legislation Review Committee (Lockhart Committee) which reviewed the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002.