Current Directors

Current GESA Board of Directors

Associate Professor Simone Strasser (President)

MBBS (Hons), MD, FRACP, FAASLD               
Clinical Associate Professor Central Clinical School (Medicine) University of Sydney NSW
Senior Staff Specialist AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Simone Strasser is a Senior Staff Specialist in the AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre, and the Australian National Liver Transplant Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney.

She has a major clinical and research interest in primary liver cancer, viral hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, advanced liver disease, and liver transplantation.

Simone is Director of Hepatology Clinical Trials at RPAH, and is site principal investigator on multiple clinical trials of new therapies for patients with liver disease and liver cancer.

She is a regular speaker in national and local educational programmes and sits on multiple educational, advisory, editorial and administrative boards and committees in Australia and internationally.

Her publications include many book chapters and over 120 publications in peer-reviewed journals.


Professor Jane Andrews (Education)

A/Director & Head of IBD Service
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Royal Adelaide Hospital SA
Medical Professor of Medicine – University of Adelaide
Management Committee Member ANZIBDC
Board Member Crohn’s Colitis Cure 


Jane Andrews is Head of IBD Service at Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and currently Acting Director, Gastroenterology and Hepatology at RAH. She is also Clinical Professor University of Adelaide (Health Sciences) and works in private practice (20%). Prior to taking on her current role to initiate IBD Service in 2007, Jane worked in many different settings (Public, Private, VMO, Staff Specialist, Locum) in NSW and SA.

Jane has a PhD in appetite regulation and motility and was trained at Sydney University, RNSH, RGH Concord and Oxford.
She has ongoing research interest in FGID and models of care in addition to IBD focus.

Jane is a past Chair of GESA AIBDA (4 years), a previous GESA DHF member, has Human Research Ethics Committee experience, is a member of the management Committee Member ANZ IBD Consortium, Board Member Crohn’s Colitis Cure charity, RACP examiner (SEP) and previous site visitor.


Associate Professor Jakob Begun (Chair - IBD Faculty)

BSc, MPhil, MD, PhD
President of the Gastroenterology Network of Intestinal Ultrasound (GENIUS)

Jakob Begun is Director of Inflammatory Bowel Disease at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, IBD Group Leader at the Mater Research Institute and Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland. He completed his advanced training in gastroenterology and IBD at Massachusetts General Hospital, before returning to Australia to pursue interests in clinical and translational IBD research and gut health.

Jakob leads a basic and translational laboratory at the Translational Research Institute, investigating the interaction between the innate immune system and the gut microbiome, as well as genetic contributions to disease. He also performs clinical research examining predictors of response to therapy, minimising barriers of care for adolescents and young adults with IBD, improving outcomes in pregnant patients with IBD and the use of intestinal ultrasound in IBD.


Associate Professor William Connell (Advocacy and Govt Relations)

Director IBD Service, St Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy VIC
Honorary Principal Fellow, The University of Melbourne 


Bill Connell is a visiting gastroenterologist at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne where he is Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease service.

He is employed on session basis to attend outpatients, endoscopy and inpatients. He is also a private gastroenterologist with an office at St Vincent's Private Hospital, East Melbourne.


Professor Benedict Devereaux (President-elect)

Associate Professor University of Queensland School of Medicine QLD
Senior Consultant, Gastroenterologist Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
Gastroenterologist, Endosonographer,Therapeutic Endoscopist


Benedict Devereaux completed his undergraduate medical degree at the University of Queensland in 1991.  He undertook his junior training and subsequent Gastroenterology training at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.  This culminated in his obtaining fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1998. 

Ben then completed fellowships in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA between 1999 and 2001.  During this time, he developed a specific interest in the staging and management of pancreatic cancer.  His work in this area formed the basis of a Masters of Philosophy awarded by the University of Queensland in 2006. 

On returning to Australia in 2001, Ben accepted a position at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where he is now a Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist performing and teaching advanced endoscopy, in particular ERCP and EUS. Ben is a frequent invited speaker and demonstrator at national and international scientific meetings and live endoscopy workshops. He has attained fellowships of the American College of Gastroenterology and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. In 2013 he received the academic title of Associate Professor of Medicine from the University of Queensland Medical School. Ben is actively involved in clinical research in the areas of advanced pancreatico-biliary endoscopy, pre-operative weight loss and gastrointestinal mucosal immunity. He is the editor of the Handbook of Clinical Pancreatology. Ben is an executive board member of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, chairing the Finance, Audit and Risk committee and the Infection Control in Endoscopy Committee.


Conjoint Professor Anne Duggan (Chair - Finance, Audit and Risk from Nov 2019)

BA (Hons), Dip. Ed, B. Med, MHP, PhD, FRACP, FRACMA, GAICD
Gastroenterologist John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle NSW

Clinical Director, Healthcare Variation at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
Conjoint Professor School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle

Anne Duggan is a gastroenterologist in private practice and at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle NSW.

She is also a Clinical Director, Healthcare Variation at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and a Conjoint Professor School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle.

Anne has previously served on the GESA Board in a number of roles.

Anne has a strong interest in quality and safety, system improvement and redesign and has previously worked as a medical advisor to the Quality and Safety Branch of NSW Health and as Executive Director of Clinical Governance for Hunter New England Local Health District.

She has published widely and is a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Medical Journal of Australia.


Professor Jacob George (Chair - Liver Faculty)

Professor of Medicine Westmead Institute for Medical Research,
University of Sydney
Head of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology,
Westmead Hospital

Jacob George is Professor of Medicine at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, University of Sydney and Head of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Westmead Hospital. He undertakes basic and clinical research on NASH, hepatitis C, liver cancer and hepatic fibrosis. He has mentored numerous undergraduate and postgraduate students and GE trainees during his career.


Associate Professor Arthur Kaffes (Chair - Endoscopy Faculty)


Arthur Kaffes is a gastroenterologist and therapeutic endoscopist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Clinical School.

He has a keen interest in pancreaticobiliary endoscopy, which has led to new techniques and devices for metallic stenting in benign disease, side-port endoscopic ultrasound fine needle aspiration and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in altered anatomy.

Arthur performed the first balloon enteroscopy procedure in Australia. Colonoscopy quality and maximising polyp detection are a key research interest, including polyp characterisation with zoom colonoscopy and further technologies to improve polyp detection.

Arthur hosts one of the largest national live endoscopy meetings annually at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where these techniques are often presented and discussed. He has published and presented papers and abstracts in both local forums and international meetings.


Professor Paul Pavli (Deputy Chair - Research and Grants Committee)

MB, BS (Hons), PhD, FRACP
Senior Staff Specialist Gastroenterology & Hepatology Canberra Hospital ACT
Researcher – Liver Disease and Gastroenterology Medical School, Australian National University
Board Member Crohn's and Colitis Australia
Chair of Quality of Care Steering Committee

Paul Pavli trained in Gastroenterology at Concord and Royal North Shore Hospitals in Sydney and moved to Canberra to complete a PhD in gastrointestinal immunology at the Australian National University (ANU). He was the inaugural GESA Philip Bushell Senior Research Fellow from 1988 and was appointed senior specialist in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit at Canberra Hospital in 1993.

He has served on various Australian government committees and in other professional roles, including the NHMRC Discipline Panels; the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee of the Therapeutic Goods Administration; the Writing Committees of Therapeutic Guidelines Limited: Gastroenterology and Antibiotics; and the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

He is a director of the Board of the patient support group, Crohn’s and Colitis Australia, and chairs the Quality of Care Steering Committee which recently audited Australian hospitals. 

His research interests are in the clinical and basic scientific aspects of the inflammatory bowel diseases.  The main focus currently is the interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the innate immune system, in particular intestinal macrophages in Crohn’s disease. 

He was recently elected as a director of the Board of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, co-chairs the Research Committee and is the lead in Education.


Associate Professor Stephen Pianko


Stephen Pianko is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Gastroenterology at Monash Health. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in San Diego, Stephen returned to Melbourne and has been instrumental in establishing a robust and dynamic clinical research team at Monash Heath.

He has continued his involvement in clinical research, leading clinical trials in liver disease and developing new strategies in health care delivery. This work has resulted in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. Stephen was involved with writing the initial GESA/ALA hepatitis C guidelines.

He has been invited to present his work at both national and international meetings. Stephen is a passionate advocate for improving patient access to new therapies through longstanding relationships with the pharmaceutical industry and the PBS.

Stephen has also been involved in interventional colonoscopy and teaches colonoscopy at Monash Health and a private facility that provides ambulatory care and endoscopy.


Associate Professor William Tam (Advocacy and Govt Relations)

President, Australian Medical Association (SA)
Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide
Gastroenterologist, Royal Adelaide & Lyell McEwin Hospitals

William Tam is the current chair of the Australian Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Association. He is also the chair of the 2018 Australian Council of Healthcare Standards multi-disciplinary working party which reviewed and updated clinical indicators for gastrointestinal endoscopy. He has previously served as state reference member for the Australian National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Dr Tam is passionate about training and teaching at all levels, from specialist trainees and fellows at university teaching hospitals to medical students at regional health services.  He has contributed to the Australian gastrointestinal endoscopy training curriculum by authoring a section on Endoscopic Imaging. As a faculty member of the National Endoscopy Training Initiative, he is committed to strengthening and promoting safety and quality in endoscopy. 

Dr Tam remains actively involved in clinical research and is a member of the Research Committee of GESA. His current interests include gastrointestinal malignancies, endoscopic imaging and interventional endoscopy. He is on the editorial board of Endoscopic Ultrasound journal. He is frequently involved in educational meetings both nationally and internationally particularly in Asia. Apart from an academic position with the University of Adelaide, he also holds honorary professorships with the Beijing PLA Army General Hospital and the Second Affiliated Hospital of Shanxi Medical University.

Dr Tam is currently President of the Australian Medical Association in South Australia, and past president of the Australasian Council of Chinese Medical Associations (Australia & New Zealand). He is also a member of the volunteer Australia & New Zealand Gastroenterology International Training Association and has contributed to pro bono teaching at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Fiji.


Associate Professor Nina Tirnitz-Parker (Chair - Research and Grants Committee)

MSc, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University
Head, Liver Disease and Regeneration Laboratory, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute
Steering Committee Member, Australian National Liver Cancer Collaborative
Co-Lead, Western Australian Liver Cancer Collaborative

Nina Tirnitz-Parker is a tenured Research Academic at Curtin University in Perth, where she heads the Liver Disease and Regeneration Laboratory in the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute. Her research focusses on cellular crosstalk of hepatic cell types during chronic liver disease and tumour niche formation and has been supported by Project Grants from the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia since 2012.


From 2017-2019, Nina was the national scientific representative on the Australian Liver Association Executive Committee and also served on the GESA Research Committee. She has recently been elected as Board Director and currently chairs the GESA Research and Grants Committee (2019-2021). Nina has been convenor or organising committee member of the GESA Research Workshop in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the Australian National Liver Cancer Collaborative and is the co-lead of the Western Australian Liver Cancer Collaborative.


In November/December 2019, Nina was a member of the largest-ever, all-female expedition to Antarctica, as part of the international leadership program for women scientists ‘Homeward Bound’.