Office Bearers

Professor Wendy Lipworth


Wendy Lipworth (MBBS MSc PhD) is Professor of Bioethics in the Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney. Her research sits at the intersection of ethics and epistemology, with a focus on the ethics of health innovation. She is particularly interested in devising ways to maintain and improve the rigour and integrity of research, policymaking and practice in the face of rapid scientific, commercial and socio-political change.

Wendy has received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council and Medical Research Future Fund. She has published one edited collection (Routledge), more than 150 peer reviewed articles and 17 book chapters.

Wendy is a President of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law, Co-Director of the Macquarie University Ethics and Agency Research Centre, and a member of Committees of Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia and the Australian Ethical Health Alliance. She is currently an Associate Member of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Bioethics Open Research and Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science.

Associate Professor Neil Pickering


Neil Pickering is a Senior Lecturer at the Bioethics Centre at the University of Otago. Neil was on the executive committee of the ABA, has helped organize two ABA conferences, and has been involved in the development of the JBI from its beginnings. He has served on the New Zealand Health Research Council Ethics Committee. His research interests are many and far-flung, but a theme is the intersection of science (particularly medicine) and the human being. He is author of The Metaphor of Mental Illness (OUP, 2006) in which he proves to his own satisfaction that he is right and everyone else is wrong on this topic.

Dr Cynthia Forlini


Dr Cynthia Forlini is a Senior Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism in the School of Medicine (Faculty of Health) at Deakin University. Her research explores the neuroethical issues that arise as we redefine the boundaries between treatment, maintenance, and enhancement of cognitive performance. She has examined these issues conceptually and empirically as they relate to the use of neurotechnology (e.g. neuropharmaceuticals and non-invasive brain stimulation) in different contexts such as competitive academic environments, research, healthy cognitive ageing, and dementia prevention. She co-founded and led the AABHL Student/Early Career Researcher Stream until 2021.

Dr Michaela Okninski

Secretary - [email protected]

08 8313 3041

Michaela Okninski, LLB/LP (Hons), PhD (Law) is an early career researcher and lecturer at Adelaide Law School, University of Adelaide. She recently completed her PhD on Voluntary Assisted Dying in South Australia and was appointed to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce for the Department of Health and Wellbeing, Government of South Australia.
Her research interests include health law and ethics, specifically regulation of voluntary assisted dying, and recently mitochondrial donation.
She is also passionate about law reform and has assisted the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) in drafting the statutory review of the Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995 (SA) (published 2022) and is currently completing the review of the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA), with specific focus on Inpatient Treatment Orders, Electro-Convulsive Therapy and Restrictive Practices and Care and Control Orders (forthcoming in 2023). She is author of over 11 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.
Her current teaching interests are Medical Law and Ethics, End of Life Law: Selected Issues, Adelaide Law Review, Tort Law and Foundations of Law.
She was appointed editor of the Adelaide Law Review Journal in 2023.

General Committee

Professor Tina Cockburn

AABHL Committee

Professor Tina Cockburn TEP, Director, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology

Professor Tina Cockburn TEP, is a Professor of Law in the School of Law, Faculty of Business and Law at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Director of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research (ACHLR), co-lead of the ACHLR Planning for Healthy Ageing program, sessional member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and member of the Queensland Law Society Health and Disability Law Committee. Prior to joining QUT she was employed as a solicitor with Feez Ruthning (now Allens).


Tina’s research focuses on access to justice by vulnerable members of society in three broad contexts: patient safety law; elder and disability law; and the institutional abuse of children. In the area of patient safety law, Tina’s research focuses on medico-legal issues; medical litigation; compensation and redress arising out of adverse medical outcomes; and the communication of information to patients, including patient consent and post treatment open disclosure. In the area of elder and disability law, Tina’s research focuses on estate planning; succession law including wills and estates; equity and trusts; capacity and decision making; elder abuse; and adult safeguarding. In the area of the institutional abuse of children, her research focuses on compensation and redress for child sexual abuse.

Dr Rebekah McWhirter

AABHL Committee

Rebekah McWhirter is Associate Professor in Health Law and Ethics in the School of Medicine at Deakin University, and is affiliated with the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics at the Australian National University and the Centre of Law and Genetics at the University of Tasmania. Her research uses empirical and theoretical methods to address legal and ethical aspects of health, and aims to identify how law can support health. Bek’s work focuses on the regulations of genomics research, particularly in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and research ethics. Her work is supported by funding from the NHMRC, MRFF and ARC. She teaches health law and ethics to medical students, sits on the board of Women’s Health Tasmania, is co-chair of the Education, Ethics and Social Issues committee for the Human Genetics Society of Australasia, and has eight years’ experience on human research ethics committees, including two as deputy chair.

Taryn Knox

AABHL Committee

Taryn Knox (PhD) is a lecturer at the Bioethics Centre, University of Otago. Her PhD (2019) was concerned whether homosexuality could ever correctly be categorised as a mental disorder, but since then her research interests have broadened to include sporting categorisation of trans people, weight bias and stigma and parental consent. She teaches ethics to medical and allied health students and is a member of the Otago University Human Ethics Committee.

Dr Marco Rizzi

AABHL Committee

Dr Marco Rizzi is Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia Law School. His research interests span health law & policy (with a particular focus on therapeutic goods regulation), risk regulation, tort law (with a particular focus on medical negligence), and law & technology. Marco is well versed in doctrinal, interdisciplinary and multi-method research. He is currently CI in two major MRFF projects: LINEAGE (focused on genomic data governance), and MandEval (focused on mandatory vaccination). He is the former lawyer of the UWA HREC.

Samuel Roach

AABHL Committee

Sam Roach is an interdisciplinary researcher and lecturer in the School of Law at QUT. He is a committee member of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law and a Chief Investigator in the Australia Centre of Health Law and Research. Sam’s doctoral thesis examines the role of law in preventing vaccine hesitancy. He adopts a social ecological approach to regulation, drawing on principles taken from public health, philosophy and psychology.

Sam is particularly interested in developing interventions that combat vaccine hesitancy through empowerment, rather than manipulation and coercion. His current research examines how disinformation and misinformation create disadvantage by reducing an individual’s capabilities.

Prior to becoming a lecturer, Sam worked as a lawyer at Minter Ellison and Law Right.

Tamra Lysaght

AABHL Committee

Tamra Lysaght is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests lie broadly in the ethical, regulatory and policy issues around the emerging sciences in healthcare and research. She teaches methods in empirical bioethics and has expertise in applying qualitative and quantitative approaches to address normative and policy-relevant questions of ethics. She is currently working on the ethics and regulation of translational stem cell research, regenerative medicine, genomics, precision medicine, gene editing technologies, and AI in healthcare.

Belinda Bennett

AABHL Committee


Nathan Emmerich

AABHL Committee

Nathan Emmerich is a Senior Lecturer in Bioethics at the ANU Medical School where he is the lead for Professionalism and Leadership in Phase One of the MChD. His primary pedagogic contribution to the MChD concerns medical ethics, he convenes an upper level and interdisciplinary undergraduate course ‘Bioethics and Beyond’ and contributes to bioethics education in the College of Science. His current research interests related to conscientious objection, the regulation of abortion, and conceptions of (bio)ethical expertise.

Simon Walker

AABHL Committee


Nina Roxburgh

AABHL Committee

Nina Roxburgh is an early career researcher currently completing her PhD at Monash Bioethics Centre, Monash University. Her research focuses on digital health ethics and health policy. She is one of the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre’s Emerging Leaders and is also a committee member for University of Melbourne’s Animal Research Ethics. She has previously worked in youth policy and advocacy, with a particular focus in research and
community activation around social determinants of health. Nina holds a Master of Bioethics and a Bachelor of International Relations (with Honours).