Our People

Board of Directors

Dr Christian Schwabe (Director)
MD, MPharmMed

Christian Schwabe trained in General Surgery at the University Hospital of Hamburg-Eppendorf. He joined Roche Germany in 1998 as a Medical Manager in the transplantation team and then moved to Roche New Zealand as a Product Specialist in transplantation where he developed business skills and a love for New Zealand. He returned to Europe in 2005 as International Business Leader (Transplantation) with F Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel. Christian and his family immigrated to New Zealand and he joined ACS in September 2008; he brings a unique set of clinical skills and business acumen to the organization. Christian is responsible for ACS clinical operations and has been Principal Investigator and co-investigator on ACS studies.

In 2014 Christian took over as Managing Director of ACS.

Prof Ed Gane (Director)

Ed Gane is Deputy Director and Hepatologist of the New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit at Auckland City Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Auckland School of Medicine. He is the Government Clinical Advisor to the National Hepatitis B Screening Programme. Professor Gane has a vast research experience. He is first author of more than 50-refereed publications. He has been Principal Investigator for many important and ground-breaking hepatitis studies conducted at ACS. Professor Gane was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s 2011 New Year Honours for services to medicine.

David Cranna (Director)
BA (Behav Sc), MBA

David Cranna is Director of Cranna Consulting Ltd, an Auckland business specialising in commercial support for technically-driven companies. Mr Cranna had a successful 18-year career with Swiss pharmaceutical company, F Hoffmann-La Roche, where his positions included Pharmaceutical Director of Roche Australia, Area Manager in Europe and Managing Director of the New Zealand and Greek affiliates of Roche. Along with Drs Robson and Gane, David founded ACS in 2006 and remains active in its day-to-day business operations.

A/Prof Richard Robson (Director)
B Pharm, MB ChB, FRACP, PhD

Richard Robson is a clinical pharmacologist and consultant physician in Nephrology and has served as Associate Professor of Medicine at the Christchurch School of Medicine. He has considerable expertise and extensive experience spanning 30 years in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. In addition to his clinical duties at Christchurch Hospital Richard provides an important consultancy and advisory role in pharmaceutical regulatory matters. He was responsible for initiating the introduction of Good Clinical Practice Guidelines for New Zealand. Richard is actively involved in academic and scientific organisations and is committed to the maintenance of professional standards. He is currently the Chairman of NZ Medicines Advisory and Assessment Committee (MAAC), the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Therapeutic Trials (SCOTT) and is on the NZ Generic sub committee. Richard is the author of many original publications in pharmaceutical and nephrology research and he has wide experience in conducting pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies.

Operations Manager

Mary Ellis-Pegler (Operations Manager)

Mary has worked in early phase clinical research for over 20yrs. Mary previously worked as a Study Coordinator in early phase units in London (UK) and later as a Clinical Research Associate before returning to NZ to join the University of Auckland (NIHI) as a Project Manager.

Mary started at ACS in 2009 as a Project Manager and in 2014 became Operations Manager.

As Operations Manager she oversees the Study Coordination, Laboratory and Nursing teams to ensure timely delivery of projects with subject safety and quality of data at the forefront.

As Operations Manager Mary also works on budgeting, contracting and business development.

Quality Assurance

Janet Patterson (QA Manager)
MSc (Hons) in Pathology, CSci (UK), FRQA (UK), FICR (UK)

Janet Patterson graduated from the University of Auckland, School of Medicine, majoring in haematology. Following a university and hospital-based research career that included several years at the Royal Free Hospital, UK, Janet moved to the pharmaceutical industry where she gained experience as a Clinical Research Associate, Trial Manager and Good Clinical Research Practice Officer. In 1994 she was selected to be a member of the Ciba Geigy GCP Auditors team and led GCRP audits in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Janet remains active as a GCP trainer in New Zealand.

Carolyn Harris (QA Officer)
MSc (Hons), PGDipSci (Disc), BSc

Carolyn graduated from University of Auckland with a BSc, PGDipSci and First Class Honours in her Masters of Science (majoring in Biomedical Science) in 2009. Her research project investigated the mutant protein in Huntington’s Disease and how its distribution in the brain was related to symptoms patients had experienced during life. Carolyn joined ACS in 2007 and developed professionally through Research Assistant, Associate Study Co-ordinator, Study Co-ordinator to Quality Officer. She has successfully organised a number of diverse studies and works to continually improve the company operations.

Katie Lim (Quality/Regulatory Associate)

Katie graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Applied Science in analytical chemistry.  Katie worked for four years as a Quality Control Analyst in the QC Laboratory then eight years as an Analytical Chemist, including Regulatory responsibilities, in the Research and Development Laboratory in the Agrichemical industry in New Zealand.  Her extensive laboratory experience provided a good foundation in both GMP and GLP.

Katie joined the ACS Quality team in July 2016 and was trained in PBMC methodology by Dr William Abbott, Liver Unit, ACH. Katie works closely on Quality and compliance with the ACS Laboratory Manager and team 

Research Physicians

Dr Leanne Barnett

Leanne graduated from Otago University with a BSc in physiology before completing her medical degree in 1992. She subsequently worked in ED and Accident and Medical clinics before spending seven years as a medical writer involved in evidence-based clinical decision support. Her interest in clinical research and evidence-based medicine brought her to ACS where she works as a Research Physician.

Dr Paul Hamilton

Paul Hamilton graduated in Science with majors in physiology and pharmacology before finishing his medical degree at University of Auckland in 2006. He subsequently worked for a number of different District Health Boards furthering his training in general medicine and surgery. His special interest in pharmacology drew him to ACS where he practices as a Research Physician. Paul has acted as a collaborative Investigator in more than 100 early phase clinical trials and Principal Investigator for studies including Entry-In-Human, Bioequivalence and Drug-Drug Interaction across a diverse range of therapeutic indications.

Dr Bridget Maher

Bridget graduated from Otago University with her medical degree in 2002. She subsequently worked as a hospital doctor in NZ for 5 years, before moving into clinical research and public health. Prior to ACS, Bridget completed a Masters in Public Health and worked as a research physician at a clinical trials unit in Australia specializing in Phase III trials. Bridget has authored numerous publications, with a focus on drug surveillance and disease prevention.


Ben Oldfield (Principal Pharmacist)
BPharm Hons, MPS

Ben gained his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree with honours from University of Auckland in 2005. He was President of the University of Auckland Pharmacy Students’ Association and Pharmacy Board of Studies Student Representative. He worked in community pharmacy and was heavily involved in developing and managing robotic dispensing for a Northland group of pharmacies. Ben joined ACS in 2011 as Principal Pharmacist.

Rosemary Langham (Pharmacist)
Dip Pharm, MPS

Rosemary Langham gained her Diploma in Pharmacy from CIT, Wellington in 1975. Since that time she has worked in community pharmacy in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. She owned her own pharmacy in New Zealand for 15 years and tutored at the School of Pharmacy before joining ACS in 2008. She was a Member of National Pharmacy Agreement Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Health and was a member of a Regional Ethics Committee.

Yining Han (Pharmacist)
BPharm Hons, MPS, PG Dip BusAdmin

Yining gained his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree with honours from the University of Auckland in 2005 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business in 2011. He is a Guest Lecturer and Tutor at the School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland; responsible for co-ordinating the Pharmacy Business Module for the BPharm curriculum. He has worked extensively in community pharmacy and owns his own business. Yining joined ACS in 2014.

Jo Campbell (Pharmacist)
BPharm, MPS

Jo graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Pharmacy and began her career at Tauranga Public Hospital. She has worked in community pharmacy, in the Pharmacy Services team at Baxter Healthcare (cytotoxic and nutrition areas of production), at MercyAscot Hospital as a Clinical Pharmacist (primary responsibility to the cardiothoracic ward) and at Douglas Manufacturing where she managed a documentation project. Jo joined ACS in 2015.

Study Coordination

Margaret Joppa


Margaret graduated from Purdue University, USA with a Masters degree in Psychological Sciences (Neuroscience) in 1995. She worked as a Pre-clinical Research Scientist at Neurocrine Biosciences in California before moving to NZ as a Scientist with Neuren Pharmaceuticals in Auckland. From there she moved to the Oncology Research Centre at Auckland DHB ac a Clinical Trials Coordinator and Team Leader before joining ACS as a Study Coordinator in January 2014.

Chin Kuh
PGDipHSci (Disc), BMedSc (Hons)

Chin graduated from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) with a Bachelor in Biomedical Science and began her career in public health as a Medical Affairs Executive at Singapore’s Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, managing visiting consultants and clinical services. Later on, she would diversify into GMP quality assurance and clinical records management. Her interest in clinical research led her to pursue postgraduate studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Auckland, graduating First in Course Awards for both Pharmaceutical Technique and Regulatory Affairs. Chin joined ACS in August 2016 as Research Assistant and progressed to Associate Study Coordinator. Chin is currently Study Coordinator managing Hepatitis B trials.

Roselyn Shah

Born in Fiji, Roselyn graduated from University of Otago with a BSc (majoring in Microbiology) in 2004. She worked in Fiji with Group A Strep project team as research technician and did research with Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin Australia before moving to NZ permanently. She joined ACS in February 2009 and developed professionally through to Laboratory Manager. Following maternity leave, Roselyn returned to ACS and is currently a Study Coordinator.

Shuruthi Balachandran


Shuruthi completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Pharmacology at the University of Auckland. Shortly after graduating in 2016 she joined ACS as a Research Assistant where she was primarily involved with subject recruitment and assisting Study Coordinators to manage multiple clinical trials. In 2017 she moved into an Associate Study Coordinator role and is currently Study Coordinator responsible for a number of clinical trials.

Jessie Kane

Jessie completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biomedical Science at the University of Auckland in 2018. Upon graduating she joined ACS as a research assistant where she was involved in assisting study coordinators with subject recruitment and study management. In 2019 Jessie progressed to Associate Study Coordinator and is involved in managing healthy volunteer clinical trials.


Debbie Cao
BSc, MSc, PGDip BusAdmin (Hons)


Debbie graduated from China Pharmaceutical University with a Master’s Degree in Pharmacognosy and Massey University with a Postgraduate Diploma in Business (Marketing). Before joining ACS, Debbie was in Clinical Data Manager roles with Paraxel and Covance for 4 years reviewing clinical trial data as well as creating documents such as CCG, DVS and DMP, conducting CRA trainings and Data Review Meetings. Familiar with EDC systems such as Medidata Rave and Phaseforward Inform. She also worked as a Marketing Officer for 3 years holding a valid Advanced Google Analytics certificate and familiar with Adobe Design Suits. Debbie joined ACS in April 2019, she is currently managing Hepatitis B trials.

Courtney Rowse


Courtney completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biomedical Science at the University of Auckland in November 2018. Upon completion of her studies she joined the ACS team as a Research Assistant, assisting Study Coordinators with the management of clinical trials and subject recruitment. In November 2019 she moved into an Associate Study Coordinator role and is currently managing healthy volunteer studies.


Holly Cantwell (Clinical Nurse Manager)
BHSc (Nursing), BHSc (Applied Mental Health), PGrad Cert in Health Science (Nursing)

Holly holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Nursing and Applied Mental Health from Auckland University of Technology as well as a PGrad Cert in Health Science from University of Auckland, with a focus on mental health and addiction. Holly has over a decade’s experience in early phase clinical trials and now heads up the large nursing team as the Clinical Nurse Manager.

Revelyn Bahia (Unit Coordinator)

Rev gained her Nursing degree in the Philippines where she worked in one of the largest and most and prestigious hospitals specializing in Medical-Surgical and Cardiology.

She joined ACS as a Nursing Assistant in 2011 and worked her way up to Team Leader and currently oversees the nursing activities ion the unit,  in the role of Unit Coordinator.


Amalini Jesuthasan (Laboratory Manager)
BSc, PgDipSci

Amalini graduated from the National University of Singapore with Bachelor of Science specialising in Biomedical Science. Thereafter she worked as a Research associate at a Biotech company focusing on the clinical development of novel targeted small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer. She completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Auckland, and a Specialist diploma in Clinical Trial Management. Prior to joining ACS, she worked at the Discipline of Nutrition, University of Auckland focusing on Nutrigenomics and Cancer.


Tatiana Elvery (Accounts and Payroll Administrator)

Tatiana holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management and a Bachelor Honours Degree in Finance and Accounting. She has gained over 15 years’ experience in accounting, finance and human resources both in France and in New Zealand.

She is passionate about making an impact on the broader community and is therefore proud to have joined ACS in January 2019 as Accounts and Payroll Administrator. In her role, she provides administrative and HR support to the clinical team so that they can focus on conducting the studies.