Discovering the possibilities of future surgery

We are constantly improving surgical techniques through research, investigation and innovation.

Since The Baird Institute’s inception in 2001 we have funded clinical trials, PhD students, surgeon scientists, laboratory work, surgical training, research into surgical outcomes and digital imaging research.

Through this research, and the partnerships we have forged, The Baird Institute is now a recognised and established international voice in the field of cardiothoracic surgical research.

Ultimately, The Baird Institute facilitates connection.

It is a stellar example of how a small cohort of surgeons working in conjunction with undergraduate and postgraduate Faculties of Medicine, can work to improve surgical techniques, materials and evidence-based care, to enhance the quality of patients’ lives.

We are currently furthering the fields of heart and lung surgery by:

  • Developing innovative techniques for better heart valve surgery
  • Conducting advanced research into the use of robotic technologies in order to speed up diagnosis and improve future treatment possibilities
  • Supporting the use of the Kuka – a new robotic arm to be used in surgery
  • Establishing three robotic databases – Robolung database, Robocab database and Robomitral database – to collect details regarding robotic surgery. Data is collected on the procedure itself as well as patient quality of life after surgery.
  • Supporting the introduction of robotic surgery into the public hospital system
  • Working with others to create innovative techniques for imaging blood flow, to determine the cause of Aortic Aneurysm Disease.
  • Conducting innovative research into how the heart/lung machine affects organ function during open-heart surgery and how to make it more effective and safer
  • Collecting data and analysing both illness patterns and the effectiveness of our work


It is an exciting time for The Baird Institute and we invite you to be a part of our ambitious future.

After laying all the right foundations, we’re now at the point where we can start delving into the possibilities that robotics, nanorobotics and digital imaging can create for research and surgical practice; particularly in the areas of cardiac disease, biological studies and genetic disease.

We believe that these directions in investigation will ensure that The Baird Institute remains an international leader in translational research, the translation of evidence into public health practice and policy; thus enabling cutting edge research to rapidly result in improved cardiothoracic surgical practice.

The Baird Institute does not receive any government funding and relies solely on the generosity of the public and those who have benefited from its work.

Your support will make these world-leading investigations possible.

The Hybrid Theatre - On the Edge of Tomorrow

The cardiothoracic surgeon of the future is a hybrid of surgeon and research scientist while the operating theatre of the future is a hybrid theatre, a facility where high level imaging, robotics and traditional surgical procedures are combined to produce the best outcomes. The equipment at the Hybrid Theatre, in the Charles Perkins Centre (CPC) at the University of Sydney, where much of our research takes place, is the best in the world. It is a facility where researchers, clinicians and industry partners come together to rapidly translate evidence into state-of-the-art clinical practice.

Some of the best researchers in the world reside in Australia and, without a doubt, this is the best place for them to imagine, contemplate and investigate the possibilities of the future. At the CPC, the only limit to what they can achieve is their imagination.

Robotic Surgery

Robotic-Assisted Thoracic Surgery

Dr Tristan Yan, cardiothoracic surgeon and his team have started the public thoracic da Vinci surgical system program at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The sophisticated robotic device gives the surgeon access inside the chest cavity through tiny incisions and provides improved visualisation, better access to mediastinal tissues and improved ability to remove lymph nodes as part of a cancer operation. Compared to surgery performed through a 20cm open-chest incision, robotic thoracic surgery provides several benefits for patients including; faster recovery and return to normal activities, shorter hospital stay, less pain, reduced scarring and minimal blood loss. Professor Tristan Yan, acquired the robotic surgical skills from the United States and is one of the few surgeons who can perform a robotic lobectomy in Australia. Doctor Yan received the inaugural Slater & Gordon Mesothelioma Fellowship in 2008, from The Baird Institute, which enabled him to complete his Master of Surgery in 2010

Minimally Invasive Robotic-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery

Associate Professor Chris Cao
Minimally invasive robotic assisted thoracoscopic surgery has evolved as a safe and efficacious procedure for patients with lung and pleural diseases in the United States and Europe. Through small incisions, surgeons are able to control a variety of instruments to excise lung and mediastinal cancers with three-dimensional magnified vision, seven degrees of freedom of movement and increased precision with reduced tremor. Associate Professor Christopher Cao has led a team of leading international thoracic surgeons and medical lung cancer specialists to establish the largest international database to date to study the safety of robotic surgery for patients with lung cancer. These studies were conducted in “Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center” in the United States, the largest cancer institution in the world. In addition, the studies were published in three top international journals in 2019. With support from The Baird Institute, we are analysing our own surgical results from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital to improve the clinical outcomes of patients who undergo robotic cardiothoracic surgery. Our aim is to deliver cutting edge technology to minimize risks to patients, shorten hospital stay, reduce pain, and improve quality of life

Robotic Mitral Valve Repair

Professor Tristan Yan
There has been tremendous evolution and innovation in cardiac surgery. In the early years of the specialty, innovation focused on decreasing mortality and expanding the pathologies that surgeons could address during heart operations, while in the current era, with operative mortality for routine procedures exceedingly low, the focus has shifted to decreasing perioperative complications, improving perioperative quality of life, and maximizing long-term outcomes. As a result, the onus has fallen on surgeons to shift away from the traditional sternotomy (a type of surgical procedure in which a vertical inline incision is made along the sternum, after which the sternum itself is divided) and offer equally effective operations through less invasive approaches.

In 2019, Professor Tristan Yan was appointed as the clinical lead of the Minimally Invasive and Robotic Cardiothoracic Surgery Program at RPAH. He has performed more than 1000 minimally invasive cardiothoracic procedures with excellent clinical outcomes.

To enhance the RPAH Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgical Program, Professor Martin Misfeld, the co-director of Leipzig Heart Centre (Europe’s largest cardiac centre) was also appointed as a senior cardiac surgeon at RPAH. Together, they performed the first robotic mitral valve repair at RPAH. “Mitral valve surgery is one area that has seen some of the most impressive progress over the last two decades. With the advent of new technology, including peripheral cannulation systems, specially designed instruments, and robotic-assistance, complex valve repair and replacement can now be performed through small access incisions in the right chest without disturbing the skeleton. Minimally invasive surgical approaches offer patients gold standard results with fewer complications and a faster recovery, ensuring that despite the growth of transcatheter technologies, patients and cardiologists will not have to make the choice of trading long-term efficacy for short-term gains”, said Professor Misfeld.

One of the research projects currently under investigation is examining the advantages of minimally invasive surgery including less bleeding, enhanced cosmesis, shorter ICU and hospital length of stay, better respiratory function, less transfusion requirements, less infectious complications and faster return to work. The project also analyses the possible complications and the reasons for the robotic approach not gaining widespread use, which may include the complexity of procedure, and the cost associated with greater initial investment, maintenance, disposable instruments and retrograde cardioplegia catheters. In the study, it has been suggested that this may be compensated for by the overall economic advantages of a robotic approach, specifically shorter hospital stay and faster return to work.

The available literature has clearly shown that the costs associated with robotic-assisted mitral valve surgery are in no way prohibitive. The potentially increased costs relative to traditional approaches are easily offset by the many advantages of the evolving technology. Given the present cost-conscious healthcare climate, the appraisal of the economics of robotic surgery, supported by The Baird Institute will only intensify and, as adoption broadens and more surgeons become facile with the technique, the balance will likely continue to move in favour of this impressive technology. Future robotic mitral operations will be customized for each patient and will be based on their valve pathology, comorbidities, fragility, and age as well as their surgeon’s ability. The less invasive era in cardiac surgery is here, we need to keep an open mind and adapt to change!

More operations done using robotic surgery

Surgeons and robots team up in more hospitals

“What we always do is try to work out some way of doing things better,” says Professor Bannon. “The surgical paradigm right now is minimal invasiveness. Robots are already helping us do that.

Minimal invasiveness means faster recovery for patients with the added benefit of freeing up hospital beds.”

The da Vinci Surgical System is descended from robotic technology developed by the US military in the ’80s and ’90s that was designed to operate on soldiers on the battlefield. It has been used in hospitals in Australia since 2003. There are now six at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and on the University of Sydney campus, including in the Hybrid Theatre, which is the most advanced unit of its kind in the country.

While robotic surgery is fulfilling its immediate potential, Professor Bannon, Associate Professor Thanigasalam and other clinicians working in the area are mapping out the technology’s future, “The next question is whether we can go hands-off so robots operate by themselves,” says Professor Bannon. “Beyond that, can robots actually make decisions? We’re in the process of learning what the machine can learn.”

Professor Thanigasalam commented ; “For the last 100 prostate cancer operations we have performed across the Royal Prince Alfred and Concord Repatriation Campus, we found that robot surgery meant less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and less opioid usage compared to open surgery.”

If robots can one day make clinical decisions, it will be through machine learning which is related to artificial intelligence. Once provided with vast amounts of relevant information – in this case, the performance of countless surgical procedures – the da Vinci system has the capacity to work out how to do the procedures autonomously. This is where humans may have to adjust expectations in being comfortable with a machine making clinical decisions. Though in some ways, this is already happening. Some pacemakers now have a robotic element that monitors blood chemistry and fags when treatment may be needed. People who have diabetes also benefit from semi-autonomous devices assessing glucose levels and making decisions about insulin doses. “Though actually, robotic systems don’t make decisions,” points out Professor Bannon. “They draw conclusions based on vast amounts of data that have been implanted. How far we can take this will be defined by the safety nets we put in place. And the safety nets will always be multi-layered and extensive.”

While fully autonomous robotic surgeons are still some time off, Associate Professor Thanigasalam sees a variation happening sooner, “Robotics could act as a fail-safe by overriding a surgeon in case of error. Then within maybe 20 years, we’ll likely see artificial intelligence within robotics,” he says. Much more imminent is remote proctored robotic surgery. This is where a surgeon new to the technology in say, Wagga Wagga, can be supervised by a robotic surgeon in Sydney, and guided along the robotic surgery learning curve. With the horizons of robotic surgery widening, previously ambitious goals become achievable. As Professor Bannon says, “If you don’t set objectives, you’ll never know what’s possible.” Certainly, the Hybrid Theatre is working towards becoming part of the global development of new technology in surgical robotics.

Extract from the article “More operations done using robotic surgery” . Originally published in the University of Sydney’s SAM (Sydney Alumni Magazine) on 2 April 2019
Written by Gabriel Wilder. Photography by Stefanie Zingsheim

Imaging Technology

Surgeon and Professor Paul Bannon (chair of The Baird Institute), and fellow board member and cardiologist, Richmond Jeremy are working with Professor Grieve (a scientist and Radiologist) at the Charles Perkins Centre to investigate blood flow in the abnormal ascending thoracic aorta, with the assistance of a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant. This research blends with studies made possible due to the establishment of an Aortic Tissue Bank and Database at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; allowing research into cardiac disease processes and surgical care.

An imaging analysis known as Neural Connectivity, is being undertaken by Professor Grieve and colleagues, to explore imaging processes to better understand brain injury after cardiac surgery. New imaging technologies using MRI are now able to identify subtle brain injury not seen using other imaging technology.

This is exciting, ground-breaking work, recently published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, 2017: ‘Neural network imaging to characterize brain injury in cardiac procedures: the emerging utility of connectomics’.

In addition to this form of imaging, the use of computational modelling and augmented reality for surgical planning and teaching is now becoming part of tertiary-level practice. 3-D printing and bio-printing are proving to be important to research as is the understanding and production of biomaterials, currently being explored with our affiliate researcher, Dr Steve Wise.

Studies are investigating coronary artery bypass grafting, and other forms of cardiac surgery, which may be associated with silent brain injury (SBI). Using MRI studies, neuronal connectivity is being explored to better understand and investigate brain injury that is not immediately evident and is sub-clinical in nature. Both on-pump (using cardio-pulmonary bypass oxygenation) and off – pump cardiac surgery techniques will be included in the study design. For those patients who require valve surgery, percutaneous and open techniques will be compared.

Virtual Reality - Vantari VR

The Baird Institute is working with Vantari VR to build a virtual reality tool for surgical planning.  The focus is on improving efficiency and outcomes for patients and is the first of its kind globally to be built for use in aortic surgery.  The potential of this technology is game-changing to the surgical landscape. Vantari VR is developing core technology which takes CT & MRI scan data and converts it into 3D models in the virtual reality (VR) environment, ie. it will be made visible through 3D googles.

Vantari’s aim is to build a system which will not only scan and assess acutely ill patients within minutes on the operating table, but also allow surgeons to take a virtual reality tour inside the patients’ bodies in real time; thus enabling them to plan the surgery required with much greater speed and accuracy. Clinical trials are already showing that VR can reduce surgical planning time by up to 40% and increase surgical accuracy by 10%.

“The work we are doing with Professor Bannon is for surgical planning of aortic dissection surgery,” said Dr Vijay Paul, Co Founder of Vantari VR.

“We take preoperative aortic dissection patients’ scan data which is then manipulated within our software. The software provides the 3D render but also has powerful algorithms, tools, user interface and overlay functions which allows the surgeon to plan the surgery in a way that has never before been done before.”

The software will be used in the pre-op setting but ultimately the vision is for implementation within the Hybrid Theatre setting with the MRI machines. The intra-operative (during the operation itself) imaging done on the MRI machines will also be run through Vantari’s VR software and converted into 3D renders so that a surgeon can then adapt the plan that was done up prior to surgery.

“Patients will have preoperative scans and a surgical plan within our software prior to surgery, but in the Hybrid Theatre they will be able to have on-the-table imaging mid-surgery and review within our software again. This will happen down the line as data is gathered and we go through the regulatory pathway” said Dr Paul.

Where does our focus on innovation come from?

The namesake of The Baird Institute, the late Professor Douglas Baird AM (1940- 1995), was a gifted cardiothoracic surgeon and Head of the Cardiothoracic Surgical Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Professor Baird believed firmly that surgical outcomes needed to be continually measured and improved.

Professor Baird was dedicated not just to improving patients’ survival rates and lives post-surgery; but to providing much needed support for surgeons and education for students.

He was instrumental in creating the first national cardiac surgical database, with the National Heart Foundation, so that lessons from past surgeries can now be implemented into current and future technologies. Though this may seem logical, it had not previously been done at the time.

Professor Baird also pioneered the formerly rare combination of research and surgery; thus bridging the gap between academic innovation and applied cardiothoracic surgical techniques.

With your help The Baird Institute can continue Professor Douglas Baird’s life-saving work and research, driving medical breakthroughs in heart and lung surgery.

To achieve our goals, push the boundaries of today and realise the possibilities for future surgery, The Baird Institute needs to guarantee funding for our team.

Join us and together we can chart the course for the future of cardiothoracic surgery.

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Ms. Jivani Murugan


Jivani is a Policy Officer employed at the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW. She is a Criminal Justice graduate from Macquarie University and is passionate about reducing health inequities for all communities. Jivani was born with a congenital heart condition and has had three open heart surgeries since her first at 10 days old. Her most recent, at age 23, introduced her to The Baird Institute and Professor Bannon.

Jivani campaigned for our 2021 Mid-year Appeal to fundraise and spread awareness of cardiothoracic surgery. She is an advocate for heart health and uses her position as a patient to raise awareness in the community and continues to showcase how surgery has saved her life. Jivani has enrolled in a Master of Public Health at Macquarie University commencing in 2023.

Mr. Ross Saunders

Ross is a business leader based in Sydney and originating from the United Kingdom. He currently runs the Australia & New Zealand operation for a global manufacturer with specialisation in business transformation, governance & compliance, program management, and strategic planning.

With particular interest in organisational transformation, Ross has led business and digital transformation programs across several global and national organisations including RS Group plc, Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety and Essentra plc.

Notably, Ross is also a post-operative recipient of valve-sparing aortic root replacement surgery, provided by Prof. Bannon and his team at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.

Associate Professor Christopher Cao

BSc (Med), MBBS (1st Hon), PhD, FRACS

Associate Professor Christopher Cao is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Macquarie University Hospital, and Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Christopher graduated with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales and scored 99/99 in both steps of the United States Medical Licensing Exam. This was followed by a pre-internship at Yale University, USA. After his cardiothoracic surgical training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Sydney, his specialist Fellowship training was completed at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center. He was then invited to be a Faculty Member in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at New York University Medical Center, where he gained additional experience in minimally invasive cardiac surgery as well as heart and lung transplantation.

Associate Professor Cao has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles in high-impact international scientific journals and textbooks. His PhD with Sydney University was focused on the surgical management of pleural and lung cancers. He is the first author in one of the largest international registries on robotic surgery to date. His clinical interests include minimally invasive and robotic thoracic and cardiac surgery.

Dr Sean Lal

BMedSci(Hons), MBBS(Hons), MPhil(Med), PhD(Med), FRACP

Dr Sean Lal is an Academic in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney and a Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, sub-specialising in heart failure and cardiac MRI. He is also the Chair of the Heart Failure Council for the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Sean completed his undergraduate degree in Medical Science with first class honours at the University of Sydney, receiving full academic scholarship. He pursued his graduate Medical Degree (MBBS) and a Master of Medicine by research (MPhil) at the University of Sydney, where he was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship, the Medical Foundation Scholarship and the University of Sydney Bercovici Medal. As a medical doctor, Sean completed all of his general and specialty clinical training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. During his cardiology training, he was awarded a National Churchill Fellowship to study mechanisms of cardiac regeneration at Harvard Medical School.

Sean has a clinical and research interest in heart failure. For his PhD in this field, he was awarded a combined National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and National Heart Foundation (NHF) Scholarship, as well as the NHMRC and Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) scholarship for research excellence.

He was also awarded a Commonwealth Endeavour Postgraduate Fellowship to Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he undertook proof of concept studies demonstrating the intrinsic regenerative capacity of the human heart following myocardial infarction; whilst also gaining clinical experience in acute heart failure management in the cardiac ICU at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Sean is the Director of the Sydney Heart Bank at the University of Sydney, which is one of the largest biorepositories of cryopreserved human heart tissue in the world. He is the Head of the Cardiac Research Laboratory in the School of Medical Sciences at the Charles Perkins Centre, which focuses on basic science and translational research into human heart failure.

Dr Brian Plunkett

Dr Brian Plunkett is an Australian-trained Cardiothoracic Surgeon with a special interest in transcatheter valve procedures and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.

Following the completion of his Royal Australasian College of Surgeons training, he undertook a Mitral Valve Repair fellowship in Edmonton, Canada, followed by dual Harvard Fellowships in Advanced Cardiac Surgery and Transcatheter Structural Heart Procedures.

He was awarded the inaugural Michael Davidson Structural Heart Fellowship by the American Thoracic Surgery Foundation, making him one of only a handful of surgeons formally trained in Transcatheter Structural Heart procedures.

He is the surgical lead of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital transcatheter valve program, supervisor of cardiothoracic surgical training, and surgical director of the ECMO program. Dr. Plunkett’s areas of specialisation include all transcatheter valve procedures (MitraClip, TriClip, TAVI, TMVI, paravalvular leak closure), aortic valve replacement, mitral and tricuspid valve repair, all-arterial coronary bypass surgery, atrial fibrillation surgery, and pacemaker, cardiac defibrillator and resynchronisation device implantation.

He has been involved in several first-in-man procedures since his return from the USA, and is a champion of novel technologies to improve patient safety in cardiac procedures at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Dr Benjamin Robinson

Mr Benjamin Robinson is an adult cardiothoracic surgeon with a long association with The Baird Institute. Whilst a medical student, he completed honours research with the Baird on outcomes in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer, under the supervision of Professor Brian McCaughan. He was awarded a Baird Institute Fellowship for this work. He subsequently trained in cardiothoracic surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and was the inaugural Baird Institute – Stanford University exchange scholar. Mr Robinson later completed a cardiac surgery clinical fellowship at Bart’s Heart Centre in London. He then worked as a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at St. James’s Hospital in Dublin, before returning to Sydney to take up appointments at Royal Prince Alfred, Concord Repatriation General and Strathfield Private Hospitals.

Mr Robinson has experience in the spectrum of adult cardiac surgery, including coronary, valvular and aortic disease, as well as in general thoracic surgery. He has specific clinical interest in minimal access aortic valve surgery, arterial coronary grafting and aortic surgery. He has completed postgraduate study at Cambridge University and has academic interests in surgical outcomes research and epidemiology.

Professor Tristan Yan

Dr Tristan Yan is the Head of Department of Thoracic Surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Professor Yan graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) with Bachelor of Science (Medicine), Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. He also completed three postgraduate higher degrees, Master of Surgery (USyd), Doctor of Medicine (UNSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (UNSW). He was trained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and then obtained Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Following advanced specialty fellowships in the United States, England, Scotland and Germany, he specializes in minimally invasive cardiovascular surgery, and minimally invasive thoracic surgery.

Professor Tristan Yan is dedicated to surgical innovations. He applies the latest pioneering techniques to minimize surgical trauma and access sites and thus achieves a more rapid and comfortable recovery for his patients. He first completed his general surgical fellowship with Paul Sugarbaker in the United States, one of the most prominent surgeons in the world. He was then closely trained by the pioneer of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery, Mr. William Walker, in Edinburgh, where he mastered the technical expertise of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) to perform complex lung resections, such as lobectomy and segmentectomy.

Associate Professor Chris Cao

After completing his medical degree at the University of New South Wales with First Class Honours, Christopher attended his pre-internship at Yale University, USA. He scored 99/99 for his United States Medical Licensing Exam, and completed his Cardiothoracic surgical training in Sydney. Concurrently, Christopher completed his PhD degree with Sydney University, focusing on the surgical management of lung and pleural diseases.

After completing his surgical training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Christopher was invited to a Fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City, one of the largest cancer centres in the world. This was followed by a Fellowship in New York University, where he was asked to join the Faculty in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. His fellowship was focused on robotic and minimally invasive thoracic surgery, treating lung cancers, mediastinal tumours, mesothelioma, and other lung-related diseases. During his 18-month Fellowship at MSKCC and NYU, Christopher was fortunate to work with some of the leading international surgeons, gaining invaluable clinical and academic experience.

With over 100 publications in international peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, A/Prof Cao has a keen interest in thoracic surgery, particularly the treatment of lung cancers through minimally invasive surgery. He has made more than 50 presentations in international meetings as a Faculty Member in Paris, New York, Edinburgh, Taipei, Sydney, and Guangzhou. Christopher has personally supervised students and residents from Sydney University, University of New South Wales, Cornell University and New York University.

He is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, and works as a Consultant Surgeon at Lifehouse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital, Sydney Adventist Hospital, and Macquarie University Hospital.

Dr Mike Byrom

Dr Michael Byrom is a modern, innovative cardiothoracic surgeon with training and experience in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Particular areas of expertise include:

  • Truly minimally-invasive surgery to the aortic valve that avoids complete division of the breast bone (hemi-sternotomy, right anterior mini-thoracotomy); allowing faster recovery and return to normal activities
  • Mitral valve repair with excellent repair rates and outcomes – resulting from diverse training in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom
  • Avoidance of the need for anticoagulation through valve selection, valve repair, and surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation
  • Minimally-invasive lung resection, avoiding a large thoracotomy wound and enabling faster recovery and return to normal activities with reduced pain and discomfort
  • Sternal and rib titanium plate fixation of chronic non-united fractures
  • Performing these procedures while minimising risk of complications, allowing Dr Byrom to achieve world-class results for his patients

Dr Matthew Bayfield

Dr Matthew Bayfield is an extremely experienced cardiothoracic surgeon with a broad range of skills and special interests within his field. He has performed more than 6000 heart and lung procedures. Dr Bayfield has hospital appointments at Strathfield Private Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Concord Hospital. His surgical interests include:

  • Coronary artery surgery: Dr Bayfield is one of Australia’s busiest coronary surgeons; with particular focus on minimal access incisions, and use of in-situ bilateral internal mammary artery grafts for enhanced longevity of the benefit of coronary revascularization.
  • Aortic root and arch surgery: Dr Bayfield has been performing aortic root and arch surgery since 1995, when he completed a Cardiovascular Fellowship at the University of Virginia in the USA. His focus is on o minimal access incisions, short cardiopulmonary bypass times, and for arch surgery antegrade cerebral perfusion with cerebral oxygen saturation monitoring.
  • Surgery for emphysema / CAL: Dr Bayfield was trained in open lung reduction surgery whilst doing a fellowship at the University of Virginia in 1995. Since that time he has developed thoracoscopic techniques for the procedure, and since 2003 been an implanter of endobronchial valves as a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. With over 100 endobronchial valve case experience, and long term follow-up of these patients, he is one of Australia’s most experienced endobronchial valve proceduralist.
  • Correction of pectus defects: Dr Bayfield has a special interest in correction of both pectus and carinatum defects, with techniques including implantation of Nuss bar under video-assisted control, and open radical sternochondroplasty.Lung cancer surgery: Dr Bayfield has been in surgical partnershio with Professor Brian McCaughan since 1996, and was trained by him as a registrar. Prof McCaughan is Australia’s most experienced and prolific lung cancer surgeon, has published widely on many aspects of its treatment, and has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to health in respect to his work on malignant mesothelioma.
  • Pacemaker and defibrillator implantation: Dr Bayfield was trained in device implantation as a young surgeon in the 1980’s and has developed skills to ensure that a device can be safely and reliably implanted even in the most difficult case with minimal risk. He was trained in cardiac resynchronzation therapy techniques at the introduction of that technology. He has regular pacemaker and defibrillator implantation lists at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Strathfield Private Hospital, and Concord Hospital.
  • Surgical treatment for ischaemic cardiomyopathy: Dr Bayfield trained in heart and lung transplantation whilst at the University of Virginia. With this skill base he has been able to develop a multi-faceted approach to treat patients whose hearts have been damaged by coronary artery disease (heart attack). These therapies include coronary artery bypass, mitral valve repair, and implantation of CRT defibrillators.

Professor Paul Bannon

Professor Paul Bannon is an adult cardiothoracic surgeon of international standing with clinical appointments at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord and Strathfield Private Hospital. At Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Professor Bannon is the Head of Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Co-Chair of the Institute for Academic Surgery, Director of the Robotic Training Institute and the current President of the Medical Officers Association. At the University of Sydney, he holds the inaugural Professorial Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Bosch Chair of Surgery. He is also the current Head of the Discipline of Surgery for the Sydney Medical School and the Academic Director of the newly opened Translational Research Facility or Hybrid Theatre at the Charles Perkins Centre. He is the Chair of The Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research. Professionally he is the Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and in that role serves on the steering Committee for the ANZSCTS National Cardiac Surgical Database, the National TAVI Accreditation Committee and is the Cardiac Surgical Chair of the Medical Benefits Schedule review program. For the Ministry of Health NSW he has been in the role of Co-Chair of the Cardiac Devices Committee for the Agency of Clinical Innovation.

Professor Bannon graduated from the University of Sydney in 1987, completed a PhD from the same institution in 1998 and was awarded a FRACS (CTh) in 1998. He has a particular passion for translational research in the areas of congenital aortic and mitral valve disease, biomaterials and biocompatibility, limitation of blood product usage in cardiac surgery, the inflammatory response to bypass and the development of academic surgical careers. He has authored or co-authored more than 120 scientific papers, published in peer-reviewed journals. He is co-editor-in-chief of the Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery, a Medline listed multimedia journal of cardiothoracic surgery. Professor Bannon has a reputation as the ‘surgeons surgeon’ and has particular expertise in surgery of the aortic root and arch, high-risk re-do surgery, total-arterial coronary artery bypass grafting and surgery for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Professor Richmond W. Jeremy


Professor Richmond Jeremy’s medical and cardiology training were at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

His clinical research career includes a PhD on coronary physiology and a post doctoral research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore before returning to the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

University of Sydney responsibilities have included service as Associate Dean Sydney, Medical School, Head of Central Clinical School and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Campus Infrastructure and Services.

Professional responsibilities have included service as Editor-in-Chief of Heart Lung and Circulation, membership of Boards on National Heart Foundation (NSW), Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Adult Medicine Division) and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Mr. Shaun Clyne

MA LLM (Syd)

Shaun is a corporate lawyer based in Sydney. He is the Australian Head of the Mergers & Acquisitions practice. He regularly advises on a wide range of corporate and securities law issues for public listed companies including takeovers, schemes of arrangement and capital raisings. He advises on Australian Stock Exchange compliance matters and regularly acts for both bidders and targets in connection with takeover bids and schemes of arrangement (hostile and friendly) for ASX-listed companies.

A leading practitioner in equity capital markets, Shaun has also advised numerous companies on their initial public offerings and capital raisings (rights issues, AREO’s, placements, employee share and options plans).

Shaun has presented at a variety of seminars and conferences and published several papers in his areas of specialisation.

His areas of expertise are mergers and acquisitions, corporate advisory and capital markets.

Ms. Joanne Wade


Joanne Wade has been a plaintiff lawyer since her admission to the Supreme Court of NSW in 1996 and has worked in asbestos litigation for well over 18 years. Joanne is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law and prides herself on her communication with her clients and, on many occasions, her clients’ families. She understands the importance and need to handle all her cases with the utmost diligence and compassion. Joanne has acted for hundreds of people suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestos related pleural disease. Her clients are everyday people who have worked hard all their lives and deserve justice. Joanne acted for Steven Dunning in his claim against BHP Billiton Limited in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW (Dunning vBHP Billiton Limited [2014] NSWDDT 3). Mr Dunning suffered from malignant pleural mesothelioma and in a landmark decision; the court awarded Mr Dunning the highest amount for damages for pain and suffering in NSW. Joanne went on to represent Mr Dunning in the Appeal before the NSW Court ofAppeal where BHP’s appeal was unanimously dismissed (BHPBilliton Limited v Dunning [2015] NSWCA 55). Joanne has also successfully acted for the late Bevan McGrath in his claim against Allianz Australia Insurance Limited, for his condition of asbestos related pleural disease and ensured that case was resolved on a provisional damages basis. Mr McGrath went on to develop mesothelioma, one of only a small number of cases where he then brought a second claim for further damages because his first claim was resolved on a provisional basis. Joanne successfully acted for Mr McGrath in both his claims and the late Mr McGrath successfully received further damages in a judgment by the court (McGrath v Allianz AustraliaInsurance Limited [2011] NSWDDT). The judgement was upheld on appeal (Allianz Australia Insurance Limited v McGrath [2011]NSWCA 153).

“It is with great privilege to work with people suffering from asbestos illnesses, and the greatest satisfaction formed is securing a result for those people to help ease their suffering, and to know their families will be looked after.”Joanne takes great pride in the work Slater and Gordon have undertaken in representing victims of asbestos disease, unions and asbestos support groups, including the work of Ken Fowlie in 2004 who acted for the ACTU and asbestos support groups in negotiations with James Hardie to secure an agreement which will ensure current and future victims of asbestos –related diseases would be fully compensated for years to come.Joanne is a passionate advocate and one thing that separatesJoanne from other lawyers is perspective, with her own father being exposed to asbestos working at Cockatoo IslandDockyard, she is in the unique position of seeing it from both angles.“My clients are generally people who have worked hard all their lives, and are lovely people who deserve justice. I am glad to fight for that justice and to make a difference to their lives.”


  • Asbestos Claims
  • Dust Disease Board Appeals
  • Dust Diseases Claims
  • Compensation Claims

Career History

  • Slater and Gordon since 2008 (practice group leader)
  • 2000-2007 Watkins Tapsell (partner)
  • 1996-2000 Watkins Tapsell (lawyer)
  • 1992-1995 NSW Crown Solicitors Office (paralegal clerk)

Professor Clifford F. Hughes


Professor Cliff Hughes is President of the International Society for Quality in Health Care. Until March 2015 he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Clinical Excellence Commission, a statutory health corporation established in 2004 to build capacity and design programs to promote and support improvement in quality and safety for health services across NSW. He has been chairman or member of numerous Australian state and federal committees associated with quality, safety and research in clinical practice for health care services. He has held various positions in the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, including Senior Examiner in Cardiothoracic Surgery and member of the College Council. In November 2015 the College bestowed upon him the highest award given to a Fellow in his lifetime, the Sir Hugh Devine Medal. He has received awards for his national and international work including an Alumni Award from the University of NSW. He has led five medical teams to China and has performed cardiac surgery in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. In 1998, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of his contributions and “service to cardiac surgery, international relationships and the community”. In June 2014, the University of NSW conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Science, its peak academic award.

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite


Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, BA, MIR (Hons), MBA, DipLR, PhD, FIML, FCHSM, FFPHRCP (UK), FAcSS (UK), Hon FRACMA, FAHMS is Founding Director, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director, Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, and Professor of Health Systems Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University. His research examines the changing nature of health systems, attracting funding of more than AUD$131 million (EUR€81.8 million, GBP£70.8 million).

He has contributed over 470 peer-reviewed publications presented at international and national conferences on more than 915 occasions, including 97 keynote addresses. His research appears in journals such as JAMA, British Medical Journal, The Lancet, BMC Medicine, BMJ Quality & Safety, and International Journal for Quality in Health Care. He has received numerous national and international awards for his teaching and research.

He is interested in the Anthropocene and the impact of human activity on human and species’ health, population and climate. He blogs at

Further details are available at his Wikipedia entry:

Ms. Michelle Sloane


Michelle’s background is in psychology and human resources working for many years in senior executive positions at Westpac, IBM and Unilever. Twenty years ago she established a human resources management consulting practice, Diversity Management, and led that organisation for 16 years. Michelle has worked extensively in the areas of change management, organisational analysis and design, human resource management, program management, stakeholder engagement as well as leadership development and training.

Michelle has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Technology, a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales. In addition Michelle is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Michelle has also been a Councillor for the City of Willoughby in Sydney. During her time as Councillor and Deputy Mayor, she has worked tirelessly with the local community advocating across a range of local and state-wide issues. Her interest in local government was developed over many years as a very active volunteer in her local community.

Professor Paul G. Bannon


Professor Paul Bannon is the Chair of The Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research, a not-for-profit medical research institute established in 2001, to improve the outcomes and better the lives of those undergoing heart and lung surgery.

He is Head of Department, Cardiothoracic Surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and holds the Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Bosch Chair of Surgery, University of Sydney. He has performed over 2500 adult cardiac surgical procedures ranging from coronary artery bypass to complex aortic root and arch reconstructions. He is President of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons and is the Society representative to the Cardiac Surgery National Database. He is the Co-Chair of the Institute of Academic Surgery at RPAH where he also oversees the robotic surgical program. He heads the National MBS Taskforce Review for Cardiac Surgery and has held various positions in the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Professor Bannon’s teaching responsibilities are currently to all years of the Graduate Medical Program at Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. He supervises local and international Doctorate, Masters and Honours students as well as international elective students. He is the Co Editor-in-Chief of The Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery and a Director of the CORE Group for International Collaborative Research. Professor Bannon has published widely in books, journals and conference proceedings on cardiothoracic surgery, basic science and evidence based medicine.

He has a particular passion for translational research in the areas of congenital aortic and mitral valve disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, biomaterials and biocompatibility, limitation of blood product usage in cardiac surgery, the inflammatory response to bypass and the development of academic surgical careers. He is a current Chief Investigator on NHMRC and NHF grants for biomaterials and congenital heart disease research as well as a current NHMRC CRE grant on mechanical circulatory support. His role in the CRE is to produce NHMRC Clinical Practice Guidelines and measure their dissemination, adoption and outcomes. He personally oversees more than $500,000 worth of research funding annually. His Department currently runs 16 clinical trials amongst many other laboratory and clinically based projects.