About Us

Our People

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Adj. Associate Professor Ross Sharpe MBBS, FRACP
Founder & Chairman - PFO Research Foundation Ltd

Ross Sharpe is an Adjunct Associate Professor and has been a Consultant Cardiologist and Endovascular Interventionalist for over 20 years. He has an academic affiliation with Bond University, Australia.

Ross has worked primarily on the Gold Coast Australia with additional advanced training in Newcastle, NSW, Leipzig Germany and Dallas USA. Associate Professor Sharpe’s particular area of interest lies with the assessment and closure of atrial septal defects (ASD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO) and how they relate to stroke/TIA and severe migraine.

Associate Professor Sharpe established the PFO Research Foundation to increase public and physician awareness of the medical condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO) or “hole in the heart” and its importance to cardiovascular and neurological health.  He has assembled a leadership team of physicians, researchers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who are committed to supporting research and education on PFO and its links to symptoms and diseases ranging from migraines with aura to deadly mid-life strokes.

To find out more about Associate Professor Sharpe and his clinical practice go to his clinical websites sharpecardiology.com.au,  pfoclinics.com and cardioremedy.com.au

Bray Patrick-Lake MFS

United States of America 

Duke CTSA, Director of Patient Engagement, and Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), Director of Stakeholder Engagement

Ms. Patrick-Lake supports efforts to actively engage participant partners in Duke research programs, as well as patient advocacy organizations and other stakeholders in CTTI efforts to improve clinical trials.  She implements strategies to enhance awareness of CTTI’s work, particularly with patient advocates, and extend its impact by working in partnership with the patient advocacy community on research design and conduct, and improvement of the clinical trial enterprise.  Ms. Patrick-Lake also serves as the co-chair for the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director on the Precision Medicine Initiative (A special committee created by President Obama 'to accelerate the pace, President Obama unveiled the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) — a bold new enterprise to revolutionize medicine and generate the scientific evidence needed to move the concept of precision medicine into every day clinical practice')

In 2010, Ms. Patrick-Lake founded the PFO Research Foundation - USA in response to the lack of definitive scientific information regarding the condition of patent foramen ovale (PFO) after being a patient in an aborted clinical trial.  Ms. Patrick-Lake has served as a patient representative at the FDA on a variety of advisory committees and panels, in workgroups for EMA and NIH, as a guest lecturer and an external reviewer for IOM, and as a patient stakeholder or co-investigator for AHRQ and PCORI grants. She is a member of the PCORnet Coordinating Center's Executive Leadership Committee where she develops patient engagement strategies, MDEpiNet’s National Medical Device Registry Task Force, MDIC’s Patient-centered Benefit-Risk Steering Committee, ACC Foundation's Patient-centered Care (PC3) Shared Decision Making Workgroup, DIA's Patient Fellowship Selection Committee, TVT Registry Stakeholder Advisory Committee, and is a board member for the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy.

Associate Professor David Richards


Clinical Researcher & author in Genomic Medicine

Dr David Richards is a General Practitioner and Adjunct Professor at Bond University in the faculty of medicine.

In 2005 Dr Richards published Being Alive, A 21st Century Survival Kit.

The book focuses on cardiovascular disease prevention and patient education within a Darwinian-Existentialist framework. The Being Alive Check and Program was developed at Merridown Family Surgery for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease by focusing on lifestyle intervention within a multi-disciplinary approach. In 2007 trained with Professor Karam Kostner at Mater Private Hospital in Carotid Intima Media Thickness (cIMT) scanning, which is now an established part of the Being Alive Program at Merridown Family Surgery.

Dr Richards collaborated with Griffith and Bond University in constructing a study of lifestyle interventions on epigenetic markers
using cIMT as clinical endpoint. 2012 Developed Genomic testing for CVD, Dementia, melanoma and Type 2 diabetes. www.beingalive.com.au/

Professor Raymond Rodriguez

United States of America

Director, Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics

Global HeathShare - UC Davis

Founder of Global Health Share Initiative

Nutritional genomics specialist

Over 100 publications

Holder of 17 biotech patents


Dr Rodriguez is professor in College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis. 

He has been teaching and researching in the areas of genetics, genomics and biotechnology for more than three decades.  

He is an inventor, entrepreneur and thought leader on future trends in technology that impact human health and wellness.  Dr. Rodriguez has been a life-long advocate for the inclusion andempowerment of underrepresented individuals, particularly women, in the STEM disciplines.  

In recent years, Prof. Rodriguez has expanded his activities to include global health disparities and those complex factors that perpetuate the pernicious cycle of poverty, malnutrition and disease in the developing world.  In his role as executive director for Global HealthShare (GHS), he oversees ag/nutrition/immunity-based programs from South Asia to Africa.  In addition to his university activities Prof. Rodriguez also serves as chairman- CEO of Davis Bioscience Group, a technical and management consulting company serving the needs of bio- entrepreneurs and the biotech industry for more than twenty years.  Some of his clients include major universities in Europe and Asia, Fortune 500 food and beverage companies like Kraft Foods, Coca Cola, and Procter & Gamble.  

He has also provided consulting services to government agencies such as the Japanese Ministry of International Trade, the US National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, US Department of Agriculture, Federal Trade Commission and US Secret Service.  Professor Rodriguez is a regular advisor to the Menlo Park-based Institute for the Future.  As GHS’s executive director, Dr. Rodriguez is dedicated to eliminating global health disparities through the power of sharing knowledge, resources and technology.  Developing new enterprise models for agriculture, food and health technologies in the developing world is central to the mission of GHS. Global Healthshare Initiative

Mr Mark Heanly B Com CA FPS
Finance Consultant
Principal – Hillross Consilium

About Mark

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in Financial Planning and Chartered Accounting. He is a specialist with enormous industry experience. Mark brings a high level of sophistication to the strategies developed for his clients. Mark has been a past board member of other charities including 9.5 years as Chairman of the Scone Grammar School, and was a director if the unlisted Reynolds Wine Company.


Mark has a Bachelor of Commerce, is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Financial Planning Specialist designation through the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and is a Certified Financial Planner CFP


Mark commenced as a junior accountant with Arthur Young in 1988 and worked through the merger with Ernst and Whinney in 1989 and became an employee of the newly formed Ernst & Young. He left Ernst & Young in 1993 to establish his own Chartered Accountancy and Financial Planning firm, KH Financial Group, and sold his interest in that business in 2003.

Mark consulted to a number of business in the years 2003 to 2008 before establishing a new Financial Planning firm, Hillross Consilium. His in now the principal adviser in that business.

Interest outside work

Mark believes strongly in being a positive contributor to the community in which you live, evidenced by his commitment of 9.5 years as chairman of the Scone Grammar School. He was also the driving force behind the Cooktown to Kokoda fund raising adventure, supporting the McGrath Foundation. An adventure that raised more than $75,000 for breast cancer.

Mark has recently accepted a voluntary appointment to the board of the PFO Research Foundation

He enjoys walking, mountain bike riding and reading


PFO Research Foundation

Mission Statement

The mission of the PFO Foundation (the “Foundation”) is to increase public and physician awareness of the medical condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO) or “hole in the heart” and its importance to cardiovascular and neurological health.

To accomplish its mission, the Foundation has assembled a leadership team of physicians, researchers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who are committed to supporting research and education on PFO and its links to symptoms and diseases ranging from migraines with aura to deadly mid-life strokes.

Background on PFO

A PFO, or “hole in the heart”, is a natural consequence of fetal heart development and typically self-closes within a few weeks of birth. PFOs that do not close after birth are linked to a spectrum of symptoms, diseases and disorders such as migraines with aura, sleep apnoea and mid-life strokes.

PFOs may also cause, or be associated with, atherosclerotic disease, atrial fibrillation, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic inflammatory disease, Alzheimer’s, carcinoma, epilepsy and misdiagnosed multiple sclerosis although many individuals with PFOs can be asymptomatic.

PFOs are heritable and show a strong bias in females although the genetics of transmission are not clear.  Treatment involves the minimally invasive surgical closure of the PFO with a small mechanical device although other techniques are available.

Closure of a PFO is strongly correlated with the relief of migraines with aura, reduced risk for stroke and improved quality of life.  To provide individuals with accurate diagnostics, reliable treatments and robust predictions of risk, more research and education is needed.


Find out more about PFO