Dr Iona Novak

Dr Iona Novak

Dr Iona Novak

Head of Research

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Television changed Iona’s life! In her early childhood Iona watched the film: ‘Annie’s Coming Out’, a true story of an Australian girl with cerebral palsy. Unable to walk or talk, Annie was confined to an institution. The viewer discovers that although Annie was physically disabled, she was not intellectually disabled. It is by this accidental route that Iona grew up to take on the scientific challenge of trying to cure cerebral palsy.

Today Iona is the Head of Research at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute, co-located in the Brain Mind Centre, The University of Sydney. She holds a PhD (2009) and Masters of Science (2006) from Western Sydney University, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy from The University of Sydney (1993). She has co-authored more than 100 publications and been awarded over $27million in competitive grant funding.

She has won The University of Sydney’s award for Professional Achievement (2013) and Australia Day Councils’ local Woman of the Year award (2015). She spearheads a network that accelerates bench-to-beside stem cell research, an initiative she commenced through her Fulbright Scholarship (2013). The network has conducted Australia’s first ever human stem cell clinical trial for cerebral palsy.