Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Institute of Academic Surgery

Our Academic Leads

Sydney Ch'ngSydney Ch'ng
Research Lead for Plastics & Reconstructive Surgery

Associate Professor Sydney Ch'ng is strongly committed to promoting RPA as not just a centre of clinical surgical excellence, but also one of academic surgical excellence. Having completed her laboratory based PhD and undertaken highly sought after fellowship positions at both the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, Texas, and the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, Associate Professor Sydney Ch'ng is in the unique position of having current appointments spanning Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Head & Neck Surgery and Melanoma & Surgical Oncology departments.

As an inaugural academic within the IAS, Associate Professor Sydney Ch'ng will play a critical role in developing a strong academic culture within surgery at RPA including fostering collaborations between her three departments and working with them to enhance their overall academic profile.

Professor Sydney Ch'ng also has a keen interest in surgical education and is involved in a number of activities including the supervision of Masters of Surgery students and as an examiner for the RACS Part 1 Clinical Examinations.

Sanjay WarriorSanjay Warrier
Research Lead for Breast Surgery

Associate Professor Sanjay Warrier is a Breast Surgeon dedicated to advancing academic surgery at RPA. As a researcher and scientist, he has experience in both laboratory and clinical research, and has worked in conjunction with the Sydney Cancer Centre and the Garvan Institute. With a research interest that focuses on specific types of breast cancer that harbour poor prognosis, Associate Professor Sanjay Warrier's collaborative work will be instrumental in improving the survival rate of patient's in this group.

As an inaugural academic within the IAS, Associate Professor Sanjay Warrier will play a critical role in developing a strong academic culture within surgery at RPA including enhancing the overall academic profile of Breast Surgery and in continuing to facilitate beneficial and productive partnerships with other key teams.
Associate Professor Sanjay Warrier is also passionate about surgical teaching and is heavily involved in the provision of weekly tutorials to surgical trainees of all levels on a variety of surgical skills and topics, and takes a multidisciplinary and inclusive approach to providing education.

Cherry KohCherry Koh
Research Lead for Colorectal Surgery

Dr Cherry Koh is a Colorectal Surgeon who underwent subspecialty training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford (UK). Whilst in Sydney, she learnt about laparoscopic surgery and pelvic exenteration for advanced pelvic cancers. In Oxford, she worked on the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and the Oxford Pelvic Floor units which allowed her to consolidate her laparoscopic skills in addition to learning about TEMS (Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery) and the management of complex re-operative surgery for IBD.

Dr Koh is the Research Lead for Colorectal Surgery and has wide academic interests including quality of life after complex pelvic surgery and pelvic floor disorders.


Ben JonkerBen Jonker
Research Lead for Neurosurgery

Dr Ben Jonker is a Neurosurgeon with expertise in both operative neurosurgery and stereotactic radiosurgery. He completed his medical degree at the University of Sydney and travelled to Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Canada and to UCLA in Los Angeles, USA to undertake fellowships in Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery and Stereotactic Radiosurgery respectively. Dr Jonker holds a masters degree in epidemiology.

Dr Jonker is the Research Lead for Neurosurgery and his research interests include Neuro-oncology, Trigeminal Neuralgia and Stereotactic Radiosurgery. Dr Jonker serves on the Research Committee of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia and also teaches and serves on the committee for the College of Surgeons CLEAR course aimed at teaching the principles of Evidence Based Medicine to surgeons.


Payal MukherjeePayal Mukherjee
Research Lead for Ear, Nose & Throat Surgery

Dr Payal Mukherjee is an Adult and Paediatric ENT Surgeon with special skills in advanced ear surgery. Following her ENT training in Sydney, she undertook a Master's of Surgery focusing on Cochlear Implant research. She undertook further subspecialty post fellowship training in Otology, Cochlear Implantation and Lateral Skull Base Surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London. 

She is a Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney and the academic lead for ENT research at the RPA Institute of Academic Surgery. Dr Mukherjee is involved in both basic science and clinical research and has been awarded several prestigious research grants. Her basic science work is based primarily at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney in affiliation with the School of Psychology, Australian Centre of Microscopy and Microanalysis and the Brain and Mind Research Institute. She is a clinical tutor and a research supervisor for medical students at the University of Sydney

She is an executive member of the NSW regional committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and also an executive committee member of a research group called the Meniere's research fund (a fund of the Sydney Medical School).

Anthony MarrenAnthony Marren
Research Lead for Gynaecological Surgery

Anthony obtained his medical degree from the University of Newcastle, where he was awarded the Faculty of Medicine Medal, recognising academic excellence throughout the Medicine program. He subsequently completed a Master of Medicine in Reproductive Health and Human Genetics from the University of Sydney. Anthony is currently undertaking a Master of Philosophy (Medicine) at the University of Sydney.
Anthony trained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He has further sub-specialty training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Anthony offers comprehensive, evidence-based female and male fertility treatments. In addition to IVF, Anthony is a skilled laparoscopic surgeon specialising in complex surgeries such as endometriosis and tubal reversals.  Anthony has a specific interest in the investigation and management of recurrent miscarriage, and pre-implantation genetic testing. He is also experienced in fertility preservation for females and males about to undergo chemotherapy.

Anthony is the Research Lead for Academic Gynaecology. He is currently undertaking projects in: immune causes of recurrent miscarriage and recurrent implantation failure, use of androgens for women classified as poor responders, and endometriosis.

Jerome LaurenceJerome Laurence
Research Lead for Transplantation Surgery

Dr Laurence undertook medical school, internship and junior resident training in Surgery in the United Kingdom. He subsequently came to Australia, as a Northcote Scholar, to complete a PhD focused transplantation immunology at the University of Sydney. This was followed by training in General Surgery in Australia, based at Royal Prince Alfred and Concord Hospitals in Sydney. Dr Laurence was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2011. He then completed a two year post-fellowship training program in Hepatobiliary (HPB) and Upper Gastro-Intestinal (UGI) surgery in Australia. His first year was based at Westmead Hospital with an emphasis on liver, pancreas and oesophageal surgery for malignancy. During his second year, based at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, Dr Laurence received further training with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques applied to liver, biliary and gastro-oesophgeal surgery, including laparoscopic surgery for morbid obesity.

Dr Laurence then relocated to Toronto to undertake a two-year fellowship program in HPB and Transplantation surgery, approved by both the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the Americas Hepatobiliary Association. During this time he gained extensive experience in Transplantation including live donor hepatectomy and laparoscopic living donor nephrectomy, in addition to recipient liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. During his tenure as a fellow at the Toronto General Hospital, Dr Laurence was also trained in Oncological HPB surgery techniques including complex resection and reconstrcutiuon required for advanced cancer involving major blood vessels of the abdomen.

Dr Laurence returned to Australia in 2015 to commence practice as Transplant and Upper GI surgeon based at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He was simultaneously appointed as an Associate Professor at the RPA Institute of Academic Surgery.

Ruban ThanigasalamRuban Thanigasalam
Research Lead for Robotic Surgery

Associate Professor Ruban Thanigasalam is a Urological surgeon based at Sydney Local Health District's Concord Hospital as well as a variety of other hospitals around Sydney.

A/Prof Ruban Thanigasalam received his MBBS from the University of London before completing specialist urological training in Sydney and a Master of Surgery with the University of Sydney and The Garvin Institute. A/Prof Thanigasalam gained his FRACS (Urology) and spent two years in Paris to sub-specialise in robotic and minimally invasive surgery.

A/Prof Thanigasalam was appointed in 2016 as one of the Robotic Surgery Research Leads at the Institute of Academic Surgery and brings a wealth of knowledge, having worked with some of the best robotic surgeons in the world as well as being a da Vinci accredited robotic proctor in his own right.
A/Prof Thanigasalam has a strong research interest with multiple peer reviewed papers in robotic surgery and minimally invasive surgery with a particular focus on urological malignancies and female genital prolapse.


Scott Leslie Scott Leslie
Research Lead for Robotic Surgery

Dr Scott Leslie is a urological robotic & laparoscopic surgeon working at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Dr Leslie has a strong interest in robotic and minimally invasive surgery particularly for prostate, kidney and bladder cancer, and has been involved in over 500 robotic cases.

Dr Leslie graduated from the University of New South Wales with a MBBS Hons before becoming a urological surgeon with FRACS (Urology). Dr Leslie completed his fellowship year at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital working in transplant, laparoscopic urology and urological oncology. Having returned from University of Southern California as a Fellow in robotic urological surgery he now works as a urological surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as well as the Robotic Research Lead at the Institute of Academic Surgery.

Dr Leslie has authored multiple peer reviewed articles and book chapters particularly on the topic of robotic procedures in urology. Dr Leslie was awarded a research scholarship from the Australasian Urology Foundation (AUF).


Payal SaxenaPayal Saxena
Research Lead for Interventional Gastroenterology

Dr Payal Saxena is a Gastroenterologist and Interventional Endoscopist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She completed her specialist Gatroenterology training in Sydney and travelled to the USA where she undertook a 2 year Interventional Endoscopy and Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore USA.

Dr Saxena performs a range of  advanced interventional procedures including POEM (peroral endoscopic myotomy), Interventional EUS and ERCP. She performs ESD (endoscopic submucosal dissection) which is an advanced tissue resection technique for endoscopic removal of early GI cancers. She also has a special interest in pancreatic disease and contributes to the International Cancer of the Pancreas Screening Consortium (CAPS).

Dr Saxena is on the steering committee of the ATEC (Asian Third Space Endoscopy Consortium), GI TAP (GI disease Taskforce Asia Pacific) and a co-founder of WIGNAP (Women in GI Network Asia Pacific), a group promoting gender equality in GI medicine. Dr Saxena has over 100 published works and serves on the Editorial Board of EUS Journal and Video GIE.


Jonathan HongJonathan Hong
Academic Lead, Surgical Education

Associate Professor Jonathan Hong is a Colorectal Surgeon who has a strong commitment to the continuous improvement of training and standards in surgery. He has been an enthusiastic teacher of medical students, trainee surgeons and colleagues throughout his career. He is particularly interested in assessment of technical and non-technical skills within a competence based surgical education framework. He is a member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) Fundamentals of Rectal Cancer assessment subcommittee.

Associate Professor Hong has undertaken extensive training in both Colorectal and General surgery, predominantly at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He also has international experience having spent 2 years completing the Colorectal Surgical Fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto, Canada, as well as a visiting Scholar at The Wilson Center for Medical Education at Toronto General Hospital.

In addition to being the Deputy Director of Surgical Education at the IAS, Jonathan undertook a Masters of Philosophy in 2016 exploring the use of MRI to personalise the surgical approach to rectal cancer treatment, as well as a Masters of Surgical Education. 


Charbel SandroussiCharbel Sandroussi
Research Lead, Clinical Research Transplantation Surgery

Associate Professor Charbel Sandroussi is a Hepatobiliary and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeon with a strong commitment to Clinical Research.

His specific research interests include transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma, technical outcomes in adult to adult live donor liver transplantation, portal haemodynamics following transplant and liver resection, and multivisceral and major vascular resection in oncology.

Associate Professor Charbel Sandroussi has an extensive track record of successful collaborations with both local and overseas research groups and a genuine enjoyment for teaching and working with others.
In addition to being the inaugural Director of Clinical Research of the IAS, Associate Professor Sandroussi is the Head of the Department of Hepatobiliary and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery at RPA, the medical director of TPN at RPA, and a Director of the Surgical Outcomes Resource Centre (SOuRCe).

Carlo PulitanoCarlo Pulitano
Research Lead, Translational Research Transplantation Surgery

Associate Professor Carlo Pulitano is the Research Lead for Translational Research Transplantation Surgery. After completing his clinical fellowship at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) he went on to complete a Phd in transplantation surgery at University of Sydney before undertaking training in complex surgery with a second fellowship in Hepatobiliary and Organ Transplantation surgery at the Toronto General Hospital in Canada.

Dr Pulitano returned to RPA in 2018 were he was appointed as a consultant and working closely with RPA Transplant Institute as part of their organ assessment, repair, and optimization research and the liver transplant oncology program. In July 2019 and he was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Sydney.