Our leadership

Nadia Badawi

Professor Nadia Badawi AM

CP Alliance Chair of Cerebral Palsy Research, The University of Sydney and Medical Director and Co-Head, Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead 

Professor Badawi is an internationally recognised neonatologist and expert in cerebral palsy and newborn brain conditions. In her role as Chair of Cerebral Palsy, she is responsible for implementing the strategic plan for cerebral palsy research priorities.  

Professor Badawi is renowned for her research on the outcomes of neonatal intensive care, neurodevelopment following surgery, neonatal encephalopathy and cerebral palsy. According to the objective medical expert ranking index, Expertscape, Professor Badawi is the third-ranking expert on cerebral palsy globally.  

With an established reputation as the world’s leading authority on cerebral palsy, Professor Badawi was appointed as Australia’s first Chair of Cerebral Palsy in 2009 to lead and oversee our ambitious research program to:  

  • Propel cerebral palsy research onto the world stage 
  • Develop an international network of researchers committed to the prevention and cure of cerebral palsy 
  • Inspire researchers to join our quest 
  • Target funds towards the most promising areas of research 
  • Promote community education and shape public policy. 
Alistair McEwan

Professor Alistair McEwan

Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation, The University of Sydney 

Professor Alistair McEwan is the Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation at Cerebral Palsy Alliance and University of Sydney, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies. 

He is the Theme Leader for Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation and helps lead the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative Bioengineering. He was appointed as CPA’s first Chair of Technology and Innovation in 2017 to harness advancing technology and innovation to accelerate the search for new and improved treatments and interventions for childhood disabilities. 

Professor McEwan is an acknowledged leader in bioelectronics for solving health issues; in 2011 he was awarded a Microsoft Future Fellowship, the first Australian to be recognised with this award, for his work developing electronic devices to diagnose heart attack and stroke early. With teams in engineering and health, Professor McEwan is developing cognitive assessments for people with CP and investigating improved methods of mobility and communication using bionics, robotics and artificial intelligence to help people with cerebral palsy stay better connected to their communities.

Iona Novak

Professor Iona Novak

Chair of Allied Health, Head of Research Translation, The University of Sydney 

Professor Iona Novak is the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Chair of Allied Health, The University of Sydney, Australia. Iona is a Fulbright Scholar establishing “Xcellerate” – an American-Australian Cerebral Palsy Stem Cell Research Consortium that pools collective efforts to find a cure and invited Chair of the International Clinical Guidelines for Cerebral Palsy. 

Professor Novak is the top published occupational therapist in Australia, winner of the Elsass Foundation Research Award in 2021 and Editor for Evidence to Practice for Physical and Occupational Therapy in Paediatrics journal. According to the objective medical expert ranking index, Expertscape, Professor Novak is recognised as the second highest-ranked cerebral palsy expert globally.  

Driven by an internal belief that research and healthcare have the potential to change lives, Professor Novak has pursued projects and roles with the greatest possible impact on children and families. She is internationally recognised as an expert in rehabilitation and neuroplasticity for children with CP and her work has led to changes in clinical practice in 24 countries, including co-founding the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register, and developing clinical practice guidelines to diagnose CP early, define best practice early intervention and interventions to improve independence for people with CP. 

Rod Hunt

Professor Rod Hunt

Chair in Neonatal Paediatrics, Director of CP Research, Victoria  

CPA’s Chair of Research VIC was established in 2020 to bring together the brightest minds and key stakeholders across Victoria in CP research to accelerate building a research roadmap, providing direction for new discoveries globally.  

Professor Rod Hunt, an accomplished researcher and neonatologist who has dedicated his working life to delivering the best care to some of Australia’s tiniest and most vulnerable babies was appointed to the position. Professor Hunt promotes CP research through collaboration with an outstanding multidisciplinary research team and program currently affiliated with seven major institutions in Victoria. Professor Hunt’s priorities include:  

  • Accelerate research discoveries by facilitating new funding in Victoria to address chronic research funding shortages 
  • Provide a strong, expert voice in the translation and adoption of evidence-based research 
  • Develop and foster collaborations with research groups across a range of disciplines to find causation factors not previously identified 


Research Program Leads

Our Research Institute is structured around four key programs, each led by a global leader in the field of cerebral palsy research.
Cathy Morgan

Dr Cathy Morgan

Program Lead, Early Detection & Intervention

Cathy is a physiotherapist with a PhD in Biomedical Science and 30+ years clinical and research experience in the field of cerebral palsy. Cathy is one of two General Movements Trainers in Australia and coordinates a network of clinicians and researchers focused on improving the early detection of cerebral palsy in high risk infants in NSW. Dr Morgan has led the establishment of the first network of three early diagnostic clinics for cerebral palsy in collaboration with NSW Health and Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Dr Morgan is leading a large early intervention trial in infants with CP as well as an international longitudinal study of 1000 infants with CP.
Dr Sarah McIntyre

Dr Sarah McIntyre

Program Lead, Epidemiology

Sarah is a Senior Research Fellow at Cerebral Palsy Alliance, University of Sydney, and holds an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship with the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Sydney. She is also an honorary researcher at Telethon Kids Institute, Perth and Sydney Children's Hospital Network.
Sarah is a Board member of the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. She is responsible for the day to day running of the NSW/ACT CP Register and is a Policy Group member for the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register. Sarah is the Research Lead of CP Quest: Community and Researchers together.
Petra Karlsson

Dr Petra Karlsson

Program Lead, Technology

Petra is Senior Research Fellow, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute, The University of Sydney. An Occupational Therapist with a PhD (2014) in Assistive Technology and cerebral palsy, Petra's long term research interests involve finding novel access solutions for people with cerebral palsy and complex communication needs. Communication is a human right but many current access solutions such as pressure sensing micro-switches, autonomic nervous system sensors may not meet the needs for those who do not have voluntary control of their movements.
Megan Finch-Edmondson

Dr Megan Finch-Edmondson

Program Lead, Regenerative Medicine

Megan received her PhD from the University of Western Australia for her work on signalling pathways and their contribution to stem cell biology and cancer. Her role is to significantly build capacity for stem cell research for cerebral palsy in Australia, particularly in clinical trials, through identifying and securing funding for stem cell research, facilitating collaboration between researchers, both nationally and internationally, championing consumer engagement activities for the stem cell research program, and identifying novel research directions in the field of stem cell therapy for cerebral palsy.
Read more about our research programs