Tara Karnezis

University of Melbourne, Fitzroy, Australia

Dr. Tara Karnezis began her science career as a PhD in the field of carbohydrate chemistry at the Department of Biochemistry (LaTrobe University, Melbourne) following her highly awarded undergraduate Biochemistry degree. After successful completion of her PhD, Tara was offered a post-doctoral position at the prestigious Department of Medicine, Stanford University. She published a key paper demonstrating that the damage to the brain during Multiple Sclerosis can be reversed by targeted therapy against an inhibitor of axonal regeneration, which resulted in a first author publication in Nature Neuroscience and gave rise to key MS clinical trials. Dr Karnezis then returned home to Melbourne, Australia to the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where she spent the next 10 years in research leadership, heading programs with commercial application. Dr Karnezis discovered that lymphatics remodel during cancer spread and that this can be reversed by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory therapeutics which generated a significant publication in Cancer Cell and much media attention. In 2016, Dr Karnezis was offered a Lab Head position at SVI which she co-lab heads with Dr Ramin Shayan, a Melbourne plastic surgeon who surgically treats women with lipedema. It was this collaboration that initiated a keen research interest in lipedema, a progressive, adipose tissue disorder of unknown aetiology, impacting the quality of life of women worldwide. By interrogating lipedema tissue from patients and various stages of disease, Tara is committed to furthering our understanding of what makes lipedema tick; how to diagnose it and most importantly, in developing novel therapies that treat this debilitating disease.
Dr Karnezis has founded a start-up biotech company (Gertrude Biomedical Pty Ltd),, has published over 50 high impact papers in journals such as Nature, Cancer Cell and Nature Reviews and has engaged federal governments at the prime ministerial and ministerial level (Minister for Health and Minister for Science and Innovation) and had been successful in fundraising for fundamental and translational research. In 2019, Dr Karnezis was selected to participate in a global program for leading international biotech entrepreneurs, Springboard Enterprises. Since graduating this program, Dr Karnezis has been involved in key international mentoring and business development programs facilitated through The US consulate and George Town University.

Dr Karnezis continues to deliver high impact, internationally peer reviewed science and translational research and has grass roots experience navigating the biotech set up and pipeline establishment phases in the Victorian setting and is committed to use her science and entrepreneurial experience to make a difference to sufferers of lipedema.

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