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Team Respia

Katherine Kawecki
CEO & Cofounder

I graduated with a Bachelor of Industrial Design from the University of New South Wales. Respia started off as my university honours year project. I dedicated all of 2015 to researching and answering the under explored challenge of creating solutions to problems asthmatics commonly face when trying to manage their asthma and prevent an attack. As an asthmatic myself, I wanted to create a better asthma management experience where you can easily engage and better understand your lung condition. I want Respia to empower people.

  • Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours)
  • Winner of Red Dot Design Concept 2016 Bayfront, Singapore
  • James Dyson Award Global Runner Up 2016
  • Judge at 2017 Australia James Dyson Award
  • Respia Finalist in Tech Crunch Disrupt Battlefield 2017

Christian Reeks
CTO & Cofounder

I graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Nanotechnology. During my engineering degree, I worked on an upper limb robotic exoskeleton to aid patients undergoing rehabilitation. I recently submitted my Research Masters Thesis in Robotic Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney Centre for Autonomous Systems (UTS:CAS). My focus has been on leveraging contact and vision-based sensors to ensure human safety when physically in contact with robots. I have a publication history in the development and implementation of novel sensor technology.

  • Bachelor of Engineering Mechanical and Mechatronic (Hons)
  • Bachelor of Science Nanotechnology
  • Master of Engineering (Research)
  • Presented at IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2016 Stockholm, Sweden
  • Reeks, C. et al. (2016). “Angled sensor configuration capable of measuring tri-axial forces for pHRI”. in: Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Vol. 2016-June. ISBN: 9781467380263. DOI: 10.1109/ICRA.2016.7487475.

Danielle Dal Cortivo
Head of Partnerships

Danielle Dal Cortivo is a C-suite leader and entrepreneur. She is the former CEO of both the Asthma Foundation of ACT and the Asthma Foundation of Victoria. She transformed the Asthma Foundation ACT within three years, and Asthma Foundation Victoria within eight months, across areas of culture, income generation, governance, programs and service design and implementation, financial management, HR and reputation management. She has a Master of Public Health, and is an entrepreneur responsible for translating vision into practice, building a charity house valued at more than $850,000 through engaging more than 400 businesses and individual volunteers.

Danielle has a Bachelor of Communication, Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and a Master of Public Health. In addition she brings to the team more than 10 years of management and leadership experience, developing her own start up and working in a number of health charities. She has a strong background in asthma management, promotion and treatment after working as CEO of two asthma foundations in Australia. She brings a strong ability to fundraise, enroll people into big, bold visions and is able to take a vision and make it happen.

Peter Abrahamson
Advisory Board Chairperson

CEO and Board Member with over twenty years of board level experience across the publicly listed and private for-profit sectors from large multinationals to small start-ups. With over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical, medical device and FMCG sectors both in Australia and across Asia able to demonstrate a genuine passion for the health sector. As the MD of a biotech start-up (IP that will revolutionise the treatment of a common eye disease) developed and implementing the company’s strategy in preparation for out-licensing. Currently also represents the medical device industry on Government Committees making decisions on which technologies to list for reimbursement. Previously held a variety of senior roles for a US based publicly listed pharma and medical device group. Enhanced the competitive position of the organisation facing regulatory and competitive challenges. University degree qualified in Science and Business and accredited as Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Peter Binks
Advisory Board Member

Peter is an experienced CEO with a track record of leading organisations which span the private and public sectors. He has significant experience working with universities and research organisations. He was CEO of the Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) from 2017 to 2019. For the last 12 months Peter has been Director Partnerships at Skalata Ventures in Melbourne; building university and business partnerships to support high-growth startups. Peter was trained as a scientist, and gained a PhD in astrophysics at Oxford University while on a Rhodes Scholarship. He worked at McKinsey & Company, BHP Pty Ltd, Telstra Corporation, and was the inaugural CEO of start-up Nanotechnology Victoria. He was CEO at the John Monash Foundation for 5 years. At NanoVic and the John Monash Foundation he developed strong new propositions, secured external funding and led rapid growth of the companies through his management of government, industry and private sector partnerships. He also had short spells leading the Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship, and the Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation.

  • Director on the Advisory Board of education venture In2science
  • Chairman of medtech startups Smileyscope Pty Ltd and Nucleotrace Ltd
  • Advisor to the Centre for Policy Development, an Australian policy think tank
  • Advising Respia Technologies and RepliMed on a voluntary basis
  • Director on the Board of Engagement Australia (representing Griffith University), and supported the implementation of the Engagement Australia Awards

  • Dee Hopkins
    Advisory Board Member

    A visionary, strategic and commercially savvy career CEO of high profile, member based, not for profit (NFP) peak bodies. NFP expertise complemented with senior, regional executive roles with multinational commercial enterprises in Australia, SE Asia and the Middle East. Consistent record of achieving growth through diversification and expansion.

    A highly effective advocate and policy strategist who has successfully influenced legislative and public policy change to measurably improve the social determinants of health for vulnerable Australians affected by ageing, disability, mental illness and chronic illness. Extensive networks in business, health and community sectors and Australian and ACT Governments. Thought leader and collaborator for greater collective impact.

    Alysia Halloway
    Advisory Board Member

    With over 20 years of experience in all sections of the pharmaceutical industry, I have built superior capabilities leading commercial teams, driving transformational change and integrating new digital channels across many different therapeutic areas and product life stages.

    I am most passionate about embracing change and building an effective culture that inspired both the hearts and the minds to deliver success for the individual, team and company.

    Andrew Kleinert
    Advisory Board Member

    Clinical Investigators and Champions

    Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Physician

    Dr Geshani Jayasuriya is a Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Physician. She is a graduate of The University of Newcastle and completed her fellowship in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW).

    She currently works as a Staff Specialist in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at CHW. She is a clinical lecturer at The University of Sydney and is completing her PhD candidature with the Airways Physiology and Imaging Group at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. Her PhD explores functional and imaging modalities for assessing peripheral airway function in paediatric lung disease. During her PhD she has introduced Pulmonary Magnetic Resonance Imaging, the future of paediatric respiratory imaging, to CHW.

    Dr Jayasuriya’s clinical special interests include severe asthma, the management of persistent cough and the investigation of childhood snoring and sleep disordered breathing.

    Pediatric Respiratory Specialist and Consultant

    Dr Louisa Owens is a at Sydney Children’s Hospital. She is also a Conjoint Lecturer with the School of Women and Children’s Health at the University of New South Wales. Louisa completed her medical degree and paediatric training in Ireland before moving to Perth, Western Australia in 2012 to complete a Fellowship in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine.

    Paediatric Respiratory Consultant

    Professor Adam Jaffé is a Paediatric Respiratory Consultant at Sydney Children’s Hospital and the John Beveridge Professor and Head of Paediatrics at the University of New South Wales. He trained in London and in Sydney and was consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children for 5 years before returning to Sydney. He specializes in children who have chest problems such as cough, asthma, chest infections and rare lung diseases. He has published over 100 research papers on children with lung disease. He is chairman of the NSW Department of Health, Aiming for Asthma Improvement in Children Program. His patients have access to one of the best respiratory diagnostic laboratories in the world at Sydney Children’s Hospital. He is an acknowledged expert in flexible bronchoscopy.