Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute


A new phase for research… and for Mackay

CSCRI was established in 2018 when Dr. James Daveson saw an opportunity to develop a regional clinical trial site that would allow regional patients to access therapies otherwise not normally available outside of Queensland Metropolitan centres.

By facilitating the introduction of clinical trials that are sponsored by international biopharmaceutical companies to Mackay, a substantial number of his patients will now have an opportunity to access therapies when those otherwise available to them are no longer working, or are otherwise contraindicated in their management.  

One of the major challenges for Bio-Pharmaceutical companies in the successful execution of clinical trial testing on humans, is patient access. The capacity to recruit and retain patients is impacted by a range of factors from meeting the criteria to be accepted into a study, to the level of commitment required by the patient, to the fear of experiencing adverse effects. Therefore bio-pharmaceutical companies are consistently looking for opportunities to expand their access to patients without compromising the quality of the delivery of the clinical trial protocol. Under the leadership of Dr James Daveson, CSCRI is the unique position of being able to ensure the scientific integrity of clinical trials, as well as provide access to a previously untapped clinical trial patient cohort.

With CSCRI successfully participating in three clinical trial studies to date, Dr Daveson has been able to develop a multidisciplinary team who now have a proven track record in executing the rigorous requirements of clinical trial protocols and successfully recruiting patients. The clinical trial opportunities available to CSCRI are further strengthened by the fact that CSCRI is the only private research specific facility currently delivering clinical trial activities within its region, as well as the fact that Dr Daveson delivers gastroenterology services to both the public and private sectors within the region, which further extends CSCRI's access to broader and concentrated patient cohorts.

CSCRI is located in the Mater Misericordiae Hospital Mackay’s medical suites, ensuring access to necessary emergency and clinical care should any adverse reaction take place. This location also enhances the safety of the clinical trial environment.


Meet the CSCRI team

Director & Principal Investigator: DR JAMES DAVESON


Dr Daveson graduated from the University of Queensland in medicine and was accepted into the Royal Australasian College of Physicians as a gastroenterologist in 2008. Since then he has dedicated his time to the provision of high level and innovative gastroenterological services in both metropolitan & regional Queensland. He has held public consultant gastroenterology positions at the Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH), the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee (QEII) Hospital, the Mackay Hospital and Health service, as well as privately at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital & the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Mackay.

Having grown up in Mackay and understanding the at times lack of specialist services in regional Queensland he established a visiting gastroenterology service to Mackay in 2009. In 2013, he collaborated with both the public and private sectors in Mackay to establish a dedicated single “across hospitals” inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) service, which, under his directorship, now cares for over 900 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and is the largest single centre regional IBD clinic in Queensland if not Australia. Coincident with undertaking a now 10-year history of participating in new international research collaborations in Brisbane, Queensland, and again understanding the lack of availability of new trial therapeutics to people in need in parts of regional Queensland, Dr Daveson established the Coral Sea Clinical research Institute in Mackay in 2018.

Dr Daveson is an academic titleholder with the University of Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast and Central Queensland University. He works closely with support groups to promote better awareness and management of coeliac disease and is invited to speak regularly at state and national coeliac conventions and meetings. Dr Daveson has been published internationally in peer-reviewed journals, and is the author of several book chapters. He has been involved in multiple phase I (including two first in human) clinical trials exploring novel therapeutics in the management of Coeliac Disease and has been the principal investigator in multiple international industry sponsored clinical trials. According to UK metrics, one of his investigator initiated first author papers rates in the top 1% in the world within its subject. During his training he received the Blackwell Publishing Clinical Award for excellence as well the Queensland Gastroenterology Society Young Investigator of the Year.

Dr Daveson is currently a member of the national Medical Advisory Committee for Coeliac Australia, The Luminal subcommittee of the Queensland State-wide Gastroenterology Clinical Network, the Wesley Medical Research Surgical and Medical Innovations Research Committee and has served on several committees interested in regional healthcare, including the Queensland Gastroenterological Educational Committee, the Royal Australasian College Physicians Rural Taskforce and the Rural and Remote Advanced Trainee Support Scheme, National Sub-committee. He is a member of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, The Society for the Study of Celiac Disease, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American College of Gastroenterology and the Australian Medical Association.


Sub-investigator: DR SAM O’CONNOR


Dr. Sam O’Connor graduated with Honours from the University of Sydney in 2006 before moving to Brisbane in 2007 where his junior and basic physician training was completed at The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

In 2011, Dr. O’Connor commenced training in gastroenterology in Townsville, before returning to Princess Alexandra hospital in Brisbane for a further two years. His last year of formal advanced training was spent as the Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Motility Fellow.

In 2013, Dr. O’Connor was awarded the ‘Fresenius Kabi Travel Award’ by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia to present his abstract on ‘Polypectomy trends in Australia’ at the United European Gastroenterology Week in Berlin. He was also part of a select group of junior gastroenterologists globally invited to attend the 2014 ‘Advanced Intensive Inflammatory Bowel Disease’ course at the European Crohn’s and Colitis Congress in Copenhagen.

From 2014-15, Dr. O’Connor undertook a fellowship in advanced colonoscopy and complex polypectomy in the United Kingdom with the Gloucestershire NHS Trust and Dr John Anderson.

Dr. O’Connor has been faculty on National Endoscopy Training Initiative ‘Quality Colonoscopy Course’ for the past three years.  He is one of four physicians on the Australian Conjoint Committee for Recognition of Training in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and is the 2019 President of the Gastroenterology Society of Queensland.

Dr. O’Connor has interests in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, as well as quality and advanced colonoscopy and polypectomy. He has presented research at national and international meeting and had several research papers published in International Endoscopy and Gastroenterology journals. In addition to working at ENDOSQ, Mackay he also works as a Staff Specialist at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.


Sub-investigator: DR NADIA MAQBOUL


Dr. Nadia Maqboul completed her medical degree at the Royal Free and University College Medical School, London. During her time in the UK, Dr. Maqboul also gained a BSc with Honours and a Masters Degree in Public Health.  This subsequently led to a research project looking at the role of genetic counselling in genetic diseases associated with consanguineous marriages. The results from this research not only resulted in Dr. Maqboul being awarded a prestigious scholarship prize, but also led to some changes in health-care provision at a local level.

Dr. Maqboul spent time working as a junior doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in London prior to moving to Melbourne.  It was there that she completed her Basic Physician Training and Advanced Training in Gastroenterology. She was selected from her peers to be awarded the ‘Inaugural Neville Yeomans Prize’ for her clinical research during this time.  Her research has been presented at international and local meetings.  In addition to her Gastroenterology training, she was also part of a senior committee responsible for the training and ongoing education of junior doctors. 

Dr. Maqboul moved to Queensland after being offered a two-year Fellowship position in Interventional Endoscopy at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.  She spent this time gaining experience in various advanced endoscopic procedures.  Dr. Maqboul is currently employed as a Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital with a special interest in Interventional Endoscopy. She carries out multiple procedures including upper GI Endoscopy; Colonoscopy (including National Bowel Cancer Screening); EMR of large colonic polyps; Endoscopic Ultrasound and ERCP.  Her role also involves the training and supervision of the Interventional Endoscopy Fellow and other more junior members of staff.  She has also held the role of Acting Director of Endoscopy at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.  Dr. Maqboul provides consultative services at Endos-Q covering all aspects of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, in addition to endoscopic procedures.

Dr. Maqboul is dedicated to the education of the future generation of doctors. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland and regularly teaches medical students at both the Princess Alexandra Hospital and also via Endos-Q.


Sub-investigator: DR CHE-YUNG JEFF CHAO


Dr. Jeff Chao completed his Medical degree at the University of Otago in New Zealand and subsequent physician training at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Dr. Chao then completed his advanced Gastroenterology and Hepatology training initially at Cairns Hospital followed by further two years at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Dr. Chao was awarded the Advanced Fellowship in Inflammatory Bowel Disease by McGill University in Montreal, Canada where he underwent intensive clinical and research training at one of the leading Inflammatory Bowel Disease centre of excellence in Canada.

Following his return from Canada, he was appointed as a Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Princess Alexandra with a focus on Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dr. Chao is also involved in multiple international clinical trials investigating the use of advanced biologic therapy for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He is also the current Clinical lead for the Gastroenterology Integrated Care Clinic for the management of functional GI disorders. Dr. Chao also provides clinical service at EndosQ Mackay encompassing general Gastroenterology and Hepatology as well as gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures.

In addition to his clinical commitments, Dr. Chao has also published original research in multiple international peer-reviewed medical journals mostly in the field of Inflammatory Bowel Disease as well as editorial and book chapter. He has presented his research in multiple international Gastroenterology conferences. Dr. Chao also dedicates his time for the training of undergraduate medical students, junior medical staff and specialists-in-training.


Sub-investigator: Dr PETER BASTABLE


Dr Peter Bastable O.A.M. B.O.A. F.A.C.E.M.

Dr Bastable is a retired emergency physician who is providing investigator services to CSCRI for its clinical trials.

Having graduated from the National University Ireland in 1997, he moved to Mackay and became the Director of the Emergency Department at the Mackay Base Hospital. He also performed the role of Deputy Medical Superintendent for 14 years.

He moved into private practice in 1996 when he founded the Andergrove Medical Centre, and remained there as a partner for 10 years. Dr Bastable then became a partner in the Mater Immediate Medical Services for 10 years, delivering acute care services to private patients in Mackay.

He has been a member of the Mackay Regional Health Authority Board (three years), and chaired the Clinical Review Committee for the Mackay Mater Hospital. He was also a member of the Mater’s Medical Advisory Committee and a Medical Director for ER 24 (paramedic services).

Dr Bastable was the Foundation Board Member for the Central Queensland Helicopter Service for 20 years, holding the position of Chair for 10 years and remains a board member.

Awarded O.A.M. 2009.

Awarded Paul Harris Fellowship 2011.

Citizen of the Year Award, Mackay Regional Council 2015.


Clinical Trial Co-ordinator: AMANDA FLANAGAN


Amanda Flanagan is the Clinical Trial Coordinator at Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute and works in partnership with University of the Sunshine Coast. In this capacity, she works to support Dr James Daveson by providing comprehensive research support and acting as a local point of contact. Amanda was also selected as one of the Queensland candidates for the ARCS CRITERIA program- a federal investment collaboration program between industry peak body ARCS AUSTRALIA and MTP Connect to provide industry-led education, mentoring and internship. Prior to working in the Clinical Trials Industry, Amanda completed a Bachelor of Science (Majoring in Biomedical Science) at the University of Queensland (Brisbane). She relocated to Mackay in 2016 and has worked in the field of epidemiology with Dr James Daveson investigating the incidence rates of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in North Queensland. She has also previously worked in various project roles within Queensland Health. Amanda is currently enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Epidemiology and plans to complete her Masters. Having spent her formative years living in North Queensland, Amanda is passionate about regional outcomes and enabling regional patients to have access to new innovative treatment modalities. Amanda can be contacted by email at: or by telephone on (07) 4965 5707.


Clinical Nurse: ALTA NEETHLING


With over 28-years nursing experience, Alta’s clinical expertise equips her with the necessary skills to support patients participating in clinical trials.

Alta has spent the last 18 years working in busy emergency departments as an Emergency Nurse. Alta completed her Diploma of Nursing (General, Psychiatry, Community Nursing and Midwifery) at the SG Lourens Nursing College (Pretoria, South Africa). She then worked in several hospitals in South Africa in a variety of wards such as Medical, Surgical and Emergency Care. In 2008, Alta and her family relocated to Mackay, Queensland, where she commenced working at the Mackay Base Hospital’s Emergency Department. Alta always strives to provide the best evidence-based care for her patients, and this led her to work as a Facilitator in Medical Education for a number of years, where she taught nursing students. Alta considers herself lucky to live in the beauty and safety of Mackay, and enjoys helping regional patients have access to the best possible care.


Clinical Nurse - SUE ALLSOPP

Sue Allsopp.jpg

Over the last 10 year’s Sue’s specialist Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) nursing skills have been utilized at the endosQ IBD Clinic that serves over 1,000 IBD patients from the private and public sectors. She has delivered these services with the support of the Mackay Hospital and Health Services and Mater Misericordia Hospital, Mackay.

Under the mentorship of Dr James Daveson, Sue has undertaken some valuable research projects, including Pregnancy Outcomes for IBD Patients in a Regional Clinic (S Allsopp & Dr A James Daveson, 2015) which was presented at AGW, and an abstract on Demylination during Infliximab treatment for Crohn’s Disease which was exhibited at AGW- 2016 (Yoon- Kyo An, Sue Allsopp, Dr Kathryn L Daveson, Dr A James Daveson, 2016).

The current research project (not yet published) is an Incidence Study of New Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease in a Regional Centre. The data will be extremely useful for patient education and the planning of essential resources to provide quality care for this chronic disease.

Sue has been a nurse for thirty-five years and has worked in many diverse healthcare settings, including remote, regional and tertiary environments.

She completed her initial nursing Certificate at the Parkes District Hospital and then completed a Bachelor of Nursing degree in 1993 (University of Western Sydney). Her post graduate studies in Aged Care Management and Aged Care Nursing were undertaken at the University of Newcastle, 1997-1998. Other credentials include Operating Theatre Certificate, Concorde Hospital, 1995 and Nurse Immunisation Certificate Tropical Population Public Health, Cairns, 2006.

She is an enthusiastic team member at CSCRI, and has commenced clinical trials in IBD and Coeliac Therapies. The trials are likely to be life changing to IBD patients and those with other diseases in the region.


Commercial Manager: TONIA WILSON

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Tonia Wilson is a recruitment and strategic management professional with 27 years’ work experience, spanning diverse business management roles and industries. 

She was recently contracted as Commercial Manager for the Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute (CSCRI) and is also Festival Manager at the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival.

Prior to that she consulted to a number of organisations in Healthcare Service Delivery, a Regional Council and an NDIS service provider.

Before then she performed the tole of Acting CEO for the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDC). 

She started a recruitment business placing medical professionals in Australia in 2008 and has continued to work in this space since then. 

Prior to that she established and ran a locum agency supplying Anaesthetists to an NHS Trust in the United Kingdom from 2003 to 2012. 

From 2003 to 2007 she was employed as a Management Consultant, working for Computer Sciences Corporation in the United Kingdom, and South Africa before that. Her area of expertise was Customer Relationship Management and Business Architecture.

Her academic training in business science and strategic marketing, and work experience in healthcare service delivery, recruitment, professional services, financial services, healthcare financing, marketing, product and channel management, has positioned her well to assist organisations develop business strategies and processes that optimise their business objectives, and value of their customers. 

MBA in Strategic Marketing (University of Hull), 2000 
Bachelor of Business Science (Marketing Honours), 1990