Stefan Poniatowski, Head of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria
Stefan joined VIFM as the Operations Manager for DTBV in 2008 and was appointed Head of the DTBV in July 2012. Stefan is a registered Biomedical Scientist in the UK who trained in the blood transfusion sector. He then transferred to tissue banking in London and after four years became National Tissue Bank Manager for NHS Blood and Transplant in the UK, a position he held for six years.
David Ranson, Medical Director of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria
As Medical Director of the DTBV, David Ranson works with the Head of the DTBV and the medical and scientific staff reviewing the medical history of donors and the test results of retrieved tissue to maximise tissue safety for recipients and their health care providers. Donor tissues processed through accredited tissue banks have never been safer. But it is important that the scientific and medical protocols, and donor selection criteria, are regularly reviewed and subject to operational audit as well as external accreditation so as to maintain and improve this level of safety. David works directly with the DTBV’s scientific and nursing staff and liaises with the forensic pathologists at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients receiving these tissue transplants.
Susan Dickie, Nurse Manager
Susan Dickie manages the team of Tissue Donation Nurse Specialists who work at the DTBV. Their role is to speak with the families of the recently deceased to offer them the opportunity to consider tissue donation. The Tissue Donation Nurse Specialists provide families with information about the tissue donation process, answer any questions they may have and support them in making an informed choice about the possibility of donation. They also explain what tissues can be donated and the difference tissue grafts can make to the health and recovery of patients in need. Since tissue donation is only possible within very short time frames, this initial conversation usually takes place only a few short hours after families have been notified of the death of their loved one. Making a decision about donation at such a tragic time can be extremely difficult but knowing a person’s wishes in relation to donation and having previously discussed donation can help families with their decision making.
Tyra Rees, Senior Microbiologist
Tyra manages the DTBV’s Microbiology Laboratory which screens donated tissue for disease. Staff in this laboratory perform microbiological testing on samples taken during the retrieval and processing of tissue. They are also responsible for performing serological testing on all donors. This critical part of the tissue donation process ensures that the tissues we provide to surgeons are safe for the patients who receive it.
Ben Stewart, Production Manager
Ben manages the highly technical production side of the tissue donation process. The production team is responsible for the retrieval of hearts and the processing of all tissue including heart valves, skin and musculoskeletal tissue, such as bones and tendons. The team is also responsible for ensuring that the environment and equipment that is used to retrieve and process the tissue meets all required standards through the maintenance and cleaning of the DTBV facility and the maintenance, cleaning and sterilisation of the equipment. Finally, the production team liaises with hospitals and organises the despatch of the required tissue for use in surgery.
Kellie Hamilton, Research and Development Scientist
Kellie is the DTBV’s Research and Development Scientist and performs research and development activities, including validating equipment and processes to comply with strict regulatory requirements and quality standards, as well as performing trials using new methodology. A large part of Kellie’s role is finding solutions to problems which are encountered in relation to external service and equipment provision.