6th National Brain Injury Conference

13-14 November 2018

Russell Strong Auditorium   |   Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane


Now in its sixth year, Brain Injury Australia’s National Brain Injury Conference has become one of the premier learning and development events on the disability calendar – driving improvements in services and supports for the over 700,000 Australians living with brain injury.

Held in partnership with Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Division of Rehabilitation and its Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service, Brain Injury Australia’s 6th National Brain Injury Conference features more than 30 international and local experts in brain injury. To be held in the Hospital’s Russell Strong Auditorium on the 13th and 14th November, Keynote Addresses, Panel Discussions and Research Snapshot sessions will cover:

    • research frontiers in neuroplasticity and rehabilitation;
    • best practice cognitive rehabilitation;
    • the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with a brain injury;
    • “unique data from the most detailed brain image ever acquired”;
    • concussion/ mild traumatic brain injury; and
    • innovations in regional/ rural/ remote and culturally secure service delivery

2017 Australian of the Year, Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim from the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery joins Brain Tree Training/ the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in the United Kingdom’s Kit Malia and Anne Brannagan OBE, the University of Sydney’s Professors Leanne Togher and Stuart Grieve, La Trobe University’s Associate Professor Alan Pearce and Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal AO AC.

Thanks to the generosity of the Conference sponsors – Metro South Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Division of Rehabilitation and its Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service, GE Healthcare, Medilink Australia, Maurice Blackburn and Synergistix Allied Health – full registration for the 6th National Brain Injury Conference now costs one third of previous Conferences, and both discounted registration for people with a disability, family members, carers and day-only registrations are available.

Places at the Conference are strictly limited.


International Keynotes

Kit Malia

Anne Brannagan OBE

The Conference is thrilled that the husband and wife team of Kit Malia and Anne Brannagan OBE- from Brain Tree Training in the United Kingdom – will co-deliver the Conference’s International Keynote. Kit was the first Certificated Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapist in the United Kingdom. With a research degree in neuropsychology, Kit initially trained as a teacher for people with learning disabilities and, following 6 years of teaching, has spent over 30 years working as a cognitive rehabilitation therapist at one of the largest brain injury rehabilitation units in the United Kingdom; the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court – the “premier facility for the rehabilitation of injured British Armed Forces personnel, providing world-class levels of care”. Anne qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1988. After a two-year orthopaedic rotation, she began specialising in neurorehabilitation at Headley Court where, as both Neurological Team Manager and Complex Trauma Oversight Manager, she is responsible for two multi-disciplinary teams. In 2010, Anne was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services provided to rehabilitation.

Panel Discussion and Q&A
“Frontiers In Neuroplasticity And Rehabilitation”

Alan Mackay-Sim

2017 Australian of the Yearneuroscientist and stem cell researcher Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, pictured above, from the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery at Griffith University – will lead a Panel Discussion at the Conference on the “Frontiers of Neuroplasticity and Rehabilitation”, featuring Professors David Lloyd, Heidi Zeeman, Harry McConnell and Associate Professor James St. John, all from The Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University.

After graduating with a PhD from Macquarie University in Sydney, Professor Mackay-Sim worked at the Universities of Sydney, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Adelaide before taking up a position at Griffith University in 1987. His research has focussed the human sense of smell and how the olfactory sensory neurons in the nose get regenerated throughout life. Professor Mackay-Sim was named 2017 Australian of the Year in public recognition of his research.

Keynote Speaker

Prof Leanne Togher

Professor Leanne Togher, a Principal Research Fellow at The University of Sydney, will also present at the Conference. Trained as a speech pathologist, Professor Togher will share findings from over 30 years of researching interventions in communication disorders following brain injury. Leading an international network of researchers, Professor Togher’s online communication training tools are now used in over 100 countries and downloaded over 6000 times every year. A recipient of her third Senior Research Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Professor Togher recently received the Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship (Clinical) – from the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, pictured above – at the NHMRC’s annual Research Excellence Awards. Professor Togher also recently received The University of Sydney’s Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research.


Keynote Speakers

Professor Stuart Grieve

Associate Professor Alan Pearce

Professor Stuart Grieve is the Parker Hughes Chair of Radiology at Sydney Medical School. With an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, followed by a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) physics and degrees in medicine and surgery, Professor Grieve leads a research program focused on the use of cutting-edge imaging acquisition techniques, innovative analysis and pragmatic clinical translation to improve the practice of medicine – including the impact of mild traumatic brain injury on mental health and emotion regulation. Alan Pearce is an Associate Professor in the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University. A neurophysiologist with 20 years’ experience in the use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and electrophysiology techniques, Alan’s primary research focus is sports-related concussion. With Professor Grieve, Associate Professor Pearce leads research into the cumulative effects of concussions on a group of Australian Rules football players.


Featured Speaker

  Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal AO AC

Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal AO AC has worked as a General Practitioner in Melbourne’s south west since 1990. In 2008, Dr. Haikerwal sustained a severe traumatic brain injury following an assault.

Formerly Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (and awarded the Association’s highest honour – its Gold Medal – in 2014), Chair of Council of the World Medical Association and Chair of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Mukesh was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011’s Australia Day Honours for “distinguished service to medical administration, to the promotion of public health through leadership roles with professional organisations”. Earlier this year he was also made a Companion of the Order of Australia – Australia’s highest civilian honour – for “eminent service to medical governance, administration, and technology, and to medicine, through leadership roles with a range of organisations, to education and the not-for-profit sector, and to the community of western Melbourne”.


The 6th National Brain Injury Conference will be immediately followed by the second research symposium of The Hopkins Centre – a joint initiative of Griffith University and the Division of Rehabilitation, Metro South Hospital and Health Service in partnership with the Motor Accident Insurance Commission, Synapse, Spinal Life Australia, and Health Consumers Queensland – to be held at the Translational Research Institute, also at Princess Alexandra Hospital, on Thursday November 15th.

I look forward to seeing you in Brisbane in November.


Nick Rushworth
Executive Officer
Brain Injury Australia
Conference Chair