Leadership team

Leading NTA to exceed client expectations: results focused, science minded and quality driven.

Dr Irene Kourtis

Dr Kourtis is a highly regarded leader having built a career within life science and service industries supporting diagnostics, medical research, genomics, and forensic medicine for improved clinical outcomes. Dr Kourtis has board and executive level experience across NFP, government and private sectors. This includes CEO / Managing Director of the Australian Genome Research Facility, member of the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, board member of the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association, COO of the Australian Academy of Science, Technology and Engineering, and Head of Enterprise and Business Development at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine.

With experience in innovation with technology, Irene is successful in building organisational capability to deliver quality, contract services across biomedical, biotechnology, and pharma sectors. Irene has a track record of establishing world class infrastructure and supporting the translation of R&D into clinical application. Having led several ‘growth through transformation strategies’, Irene is skilled in creating and securing business opportunities. Qualified with a PhD in Virology and post-doctoral research in the use of gene therapy applications against glioblastomas at the Department of Surgery, the University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital. This is complemented with a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company directors. Irene looks forwarding to working with NTA’s partners and forging new collaborations into the future. ​

Ellen has a deep knowledge of the healthcare sector spanning early-stage research to public health. She has significant experience in managing broad corporate and operational portfolios including finance, investment, people and culture, IT, property management, risk, governance, and quality. 

Ellen commenced her career in New York as an auditor with Ernst and Young. Over the course of her career, she has worked for companies of all sizes and structures, from major multi-nationals to state based for purpose organisations, in a range of industries. She is well versed in helping companies define and deliver their strategic plans and is an experienced board director. Ellen is driven to help companies realise their goals and has been working to help advance improvements in healthcare through clinical trials for over 20 years.

Ellen is a qualified accountant, and her accounting qualifications are further complimented with several professional memberships.  She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Global Management Accountants, Australian Human Resources Institute, and Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also a graduate of Williamson Community Leadership Program.

Rachelle is an experienced Clinical Research Industry professional with over 19 years of Australian and Global clinical trials experience from Phase I to Phase III.

Her background include Biotechnology, small and large Clinical Research Organisations and Men’s health research in the Not for profit space.  Rachelle has held a number of positions within Clinical Operations, Project Management, Pathology and executive management.

Rachelle has a wealth of experience in complex clinical operations, leading teams through global expansions, underpinned by the implementation of numerous quality initiatives and continuous process improvements.

Business development

Committed partners in your clinical development journey. 

Kathy has worked as a clinical researcher and in numerous senior roles within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for almost 30 years. Kathy is an expert driver of clinical drug development, particularly in the design, management, and implementation of clinical trials.

Her experience encompasses all stages of drug and device development in many geographical regions and therapeutic areas: neurology, infectious diseases, dermatology, oncology, haematology and endocrinology. Kathy brings her extensive experience to the Role of Senior Business Development Manager where she looks forward to working closely with NTA’s client base.

Kathy has a BSc and a MEng. She has co-authored peer-reviewed publications and has presented at international conferences.

Howard has 3 years of experience in the early phase clinical trials space and 9 years in academic research, with interests and experiences in both Business Development and Science.

Previously as an Account Manager in Australia’s largest early-phase clinical trials unit, Howard has the experience and understanding of the requirements of conducting early-phase trials in Australia, providing business solutions to clients and bringing studies into Australia for clinical conduct.

His experiences extend to being part of the clinical operations teams (laboratory), where he managed samples (collection, processing, storage, and shipment), developed study-specific SOPs according to protocols and ensured accurate and timely documentation of study activities.

Howard also has extensive academic research experience, focusing on aberrant tyrosine cancer biology research, with participation and recognition in 9 middle author publications.

As the Business Development Associate role at NTA, Howard’s experiences will provide solutions to help NTA’s clients transition their studies into clinical development in Australia.

Howard holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours).

Rebecca has a unique and diverse career covering roles in clinical research, marketing and communications, and sales and key account management.

Rebecca’s marketing experience includes: generalist marketing and branding activities at CSL; heading up the marketing and communications program behind the iconic Australian Made, Australian Grown logo; and driving awareness of, and lead generation for Blue Ocean Strategy services via traditional and digital marketing efforts at Blue Ocean Strategy Australia.

At NTA, Rebecca combines her marketing and communications experience, together with her extensive clinical research knowledge to increase the reach and impact of NTA’s profile, position and visibility.


Enabling quality drug development at every step. 

Chrys has over 20 years extensive experience in leadership roles in Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs functions in the life sciences and biotechnology sector and has demonstrated strategic leadership to meet commercial goals whilst maintaining and enhancing quality and regulatory compliance across organisations. Chrys’ regulatory experience in the medical device and In-Vitro Diagnostics sector includes implementing regulatory and quality policies to ensure compliance to regulatory standards across multiple jurisdictions.

Chrys has a background in pathology laboratory management and has extensive experience in managing complex quality and regulatory projects, training and development programs, quality management systems, and diverse teams, including the development of systems and processes to secure implementation and accreditation of standards such as ISO15189 and ISO9001. In addition, This is complemented by more recent experience in stakeholder engagement and communications, facilitating the delivery of a national health screening program and register.

Jenny Stephenson has over 30 years of experience working in the life sciences industry across a variety of R&D roles in CRO, BioPharma and Consulting sectors. These roles have included all levels of Clinical Research including inaugural leadership of the ANZ Regional Clinical Operations Hub for a US based Global BioPharma company and Business Operational roles in Medical Affairs across Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets, including responsibility for Medical Operations, Field Medical Operations and Strategic Medical Communications.

Known for working seamlessly with colleagues and Clients to support successful commercialisation of new medicines, Jenny has a broad knowledge of therapeutic areas, with special interests in Oncology, Neuroscience and Infectious Diseases. During her career in “BioPharma” she was instrumental in significant change initiatives such as implementation of a novel clinical operations organization design; outsourcing of non-core Clinical activities such as clinical supply logistics; Clinical R&D office redesign/relocation, introduction of Medical Science Liaisons and supporting medical operational IT systems across Asia and Emerging markets.

At NTA, Jenny brings her deep knowledge of GCP and understanding of Quality standards across the Life Sciences sector to support the Quality function.

Jenny is an active contributor to the Australian LifeSciences Community through membership (past and present) of various Industry and Academic initiatives (eg: Medicines Australia Working Group, Pharmaceutical Industry Action Group, ARCS-UNSW Medicines Course Advisor, RMIT Pharmaceutical Advisory Committee). With undergraduate qualification in Arts and Science (majoring in English and Pharmacology) and post graduate qualifications in Science (Pharmacology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics). Jenny stays at the forefront of the life sciences Industry through continued professional development, honing her Communications skills and just for fun, learning new languages and trying to play the violin. Jenny is a Fellow of the Victorian based Williamson Community Leadership Program and has personal interests in community music.

Bridget has over 8 years experiences working extensively within Australia’s largest Phase I Clinical Trial organisation. Previously in the role of Quality Assurance Manager, Bridget has an extensive comprehensive understanding and application of ICH GCP, Institutional Review Board (IRB) Process and Good Manufacturing Practice. A highly experienced individual, Bridget’s well-developed skill set in Quality Management functions, allows her to provide excellent daily Quality Assurance support of Business Operation Principles within Clinical Operations via activities such as Risk Management, Auditing, Vendor Management, CAPA Management, Investigational Product Management, Change Management and Validation.

Bridget holds a Bachelor in Young People and Youth Studies and works cohesively within the QA team to strengthen compliance to ensure NTA deliver high quality results amongst all study related activities.

Clinical operations

Facilitating world-class clinical trials in neuroscience and beyond. 
Our clinical operations team have extensive clinical research knowledge to drive superior results.

Thinking globally ~ Acting locally