Our Story « Charlie Teo Foundation

Our story

Precision, Pioneering & Possibilities

Precision, Pioneering & Possibilities

A leading neurosurgeon in demand across the globe, Charlie is famous for offering surgery to brain cancer patients who have been given no hope.

He is a skilled surgeon, a highly awarded teacher and now a philanthropist.

Game changing

Game changing

Charlie has never been satisfied with the status-quo and now wants to shake-up the way funds are raised for brain cancer research.

As such he launched the Charlie Teo Foundation in 2018.

It’s different, it’s GAME CHANGING and it’s pure Charlie.

Radical thinking

Radical thinking

Founded by a maverick, this foundation is all about RADICAL THINKING.

It’s about funding brilliant, original minds to go where no brain cancer researcher has gone before.

Low cost model

Low cost model

The Foundation also has a LOW COST MODEL that’s leaving other charities in the dark ages.

When it comes to our books, we’re an open book.

Everything we do is underpinned by our values

Everything we do is underpinned by our values

Board

We are privileged to have the expertise of our Board of Directors.

Valentina Stojanovska

Chair

Charlie Teo AM

Founder & Director

John Borghetti AO

Director

Kerry-Anne Johnston

Director

Matt Braid

Director

Scientific Advisory Committee

Prof Charlie Teo AM

SAC Chair

For over 30 years Prof Charlie Teo AM has been instrumental in the development, dissemination and acceptance of the concept of keyhole minimally invasive techniques in neurosurgery. Prof Teo runs a fellowship program that attracts over 600 applicants yearly and has trained many of the world’s leading figures in neurosurgery. He trains at distinguished centres such as the Barrow Neurological Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University and Harvard University.

He has been published in over 120 peer reviewed journals, has authored two books on keyhole approaches to brain tumours and featured as a guest editor for several journals. He is the Australian representative on the Tumour Section of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and CNS.

Prof Teo strongly believes that a surgeon’s responsibility to his patients shouldn’t end after surgery. In keeping with his desire to find cures for recurrent brain tumours, he has raised over $20 million that has been used to fund research scientists both in Australia and Internationally.

Prof Teo dedicates 3 months every year to pro bono work in developing countries, for which he has been recognised with awards from Rotary International. This includes the Paul Harris Fellowship for contribution to World Health. He has been a finalist in the NSW Australian of the Year awards in 2003 and 2009.

In 2011 his contribution to the development of minimally invasive neurosurgery was recognised in the Australia Day awards where he was named as a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2012, he was invited to give the Australia Day Address to the Nation and in 2013 was honoured to be the first non-politician Australian to address the US Congress on the need for more funding for brain cancer research.

Charlie is a father to four beautiful daughters and supports the rights of girls and young women in impoverished countries such as Cambodia and India through various charities including his own Teo Family Foundation. He is a Patron for Voiceless, an Australian based charity that is dedicated to reducing cruelty to industry animals.

Dr Peter Nakaji

SAC Member

Peter Nakaji, MD, is an internationally known neurosurgeon, who has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and holds more than two dozen patents.

Dr. Nakaji has received a number of teaching awards and has served for nearly a decade as the program director for the Neurosurgery residency at Barrow Neurological Institute. In his role as department chair at Banner Health, Dr. Nakaji extends neuroscience training for medical students, residents and fellows.

In addition to treating complex diseases of the brain, Dr. Nakaji is a pioneer in the area of neuroendoscopy for “keyhole” treatment of conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia and colloid cysts.

Dr. Nakaji completed his residency at the University of California – San Diego. He received additional fellowship training in endoscopic neurosurgery at the Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery in Sydney, Australia, under the direction of Charles Teo, MD. He completed a second fellowship in cerebrovascular and skull base surgery at Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix under Robert Spetzler, MD, before joining the staff as an attending neurosurgeon in 2004.

A/Prof Peter Fecci

SAC Member

Peter Fecci, MD PhD, is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Pathology, and Immunology at Duke University, where he also serves as the Director for the Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis, as well as the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program (BTIP). 

Peter earned his MD PhD at Duke in 2007, before pursuing his neurosurgical training at MGH. While in Boston, he continued his post-doctoral research training at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Peter returned to Duke in 2014 to join the neurosurgical faculty. 

He was a recipient of the Sontag Distinguished Scientist Award in 2015 and heads an R01-funded laboratory that focuses on integrating strategies for reversing cancer-induced T cell dysfunction with current immune-based platforms.  

His recent work on GBM-induced T cell exhaustion and sequestration has produced high profile publications including in Nature Medicine. Clinically, as a neurosurgeon, he focuses on intrinsic brain tumours and has built one of the country’s largest centers for Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy as a minimally invasive option for brain tumours.

Prof Paul de Souza

SAC Member

Prof Paul de Souza has over 20 years of experience caring for patients with cancer, especially those with brain and genitourinary cancer and has a strong interest in clinical research and trials. 

Prof de Souza is the Dean of Medicine at Wollongong University, a Foundation Professor of Medical Oncology at Western Sydney University, a conjoint Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia, and an Honorary Professor of the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney. 

After completion of his medical oncology training in Sydney, Paul was appointed as a Research Associate and later, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia where he developed his clinical and research interests in cancer drug development. 

Paul works as a medical oncologist at Southside Cancer Care Centre and St George Private Hospital. He runs a research laboratory at the Ingham Institute, Liverpool, dedicated to developing new drugs for cancer patients and innovative methodologies for monitoring cancers, as well as running many clinical trials of experimental new drugs.

Dr Raelene Endersby

SAC Member

Dr Raelene Endersby was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research and undertook postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology and Brain Tumour Program at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, U.S.

She was awarded the John Lillie Childhood Cancer Fellowship in 2011 to return to Australia to establish the Brain Tumour Research Program at the Telethon Kids Institute, which she co-leads with Dr Nick Gottardo. Her team investigates potential therapeutic targets and uses in vivo model systems to evaluate novel treatments for paediatric brain tumours prior to clinical trial. 

Dr Endersby is a passionate advocate for science and actively encourages young scientists to get involved in medical research. She has mentored high school students, undergrads, Honours, Masters and PhD students in her lab, has chaired the Telethon Kids Institute Postdoctoral Council and was on the inaugural executive committee for the Australian Academy of Science Early-Mid Career Researchers Forum.

Prof Charlie Teo AM

SAC Chair

For over 30 years Prof Charlie Teo AM has been instrumental in the development, dissemination and acceptance of the concept of keyhole minimally invasive techniques in neurosurgery. Prof Teo runs a fellowship program that attracts over 600 applicants yearly and has trained many of the world’s leading figures in neurosurgery. He trains at distinguished centres such as the Barrow Neurological Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University and Harvard University.

He has been published in over 120 peer reviewed journals, has authored two books on keyhole approaches to brain tumours and featured as a guest editor for several journals. He is the Australian representative on the Tumour Section of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and CNS.

Prof Teo strongly believes that a surgeon’s responsibility to his patients shouldn’t end after surgery. In keeping with his desire to find cures for recurrent brain tumours, he has raised over $20 million that has been used to fund research scientists both in Australia and Internationally.

Prof Teo dedicates 3 months every year to pro bono work in developing countries, for which he has been recognised with awards from Rotary International. This includes the Paul Harris Fellowship for contribution to World Health. He has been a finalist in the NSW Australian of the Year awards in 2003 and 2009.

In 2011 his contribution to the development of minimally invasive neurosurgery was recognised in the Australia Day awards where he was named as a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2012, he was invited to give the Australia Day Address to the Nation and in 2013 was honoured to be the first non-politician Australian to address the US Congress on the need for more funding for brain cancer research.

Charlie is a father to four beautiful daughters and supports the rights of girls and young women in impoverished countries such as Cambodia and India through various charities including his own Teo Family Foundation. He is a Patron for Voiceless, an Australian based charity that is dedicated to reducing cruelty to industry animals.

Dr Peter Nakaji

SAC Member

Peter Nakaji, MD, is an internationally known neurosurgeon, who has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and holds more than two dozen patents.

Dr. Nakaji has received a number of teaching awards and has served for nearly a decade as the program director for the Neurosurgery residency at Barrow Neurological Institute. In his role as department chair at Banner Health, Dr. Nakaji extends neuroscience training for medical students, residents and fellows.

In addition to treating complex diseases of the brain, Dr. Nakaji is a pioneer in the area of neuroendoscopy for “keyhole” treatment of conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia and colloid cysts.

Dr. Nakaji completed his residency at the University of California – San Diego. He received additional fellowship training in endoscopic neurosurgery at the Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery in Sydney, Australia, under the direction of Charles Teo, MD. He completed a second fellowship in cerebrovascular and skull base surgery at Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix under Robert Spetzler, MD, before joining the staff as an attending neurosurgeon in 2004.

A/Prof Peter Fecci

SAC Member

Peter Fecci, MD PhD, is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Pathology, and Immunology at Duke University, where he also serves as the Director for the Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis, as well as the Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program (BTIP). 

Peter earned his MD PhD at Duke in 2007, before pursuing his neurosurgical training at MGH. While in Boston, he continued his post-doctoral research training at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Peter returned to Duke in 2014 to join the neurosurgical faculty. 

He was a recipient of the Sontag Distinguished Scientist Award in 2015 and heads an R01-funded laboratory that focuses on integrating strategies for reversing cancer-induced T cell dysfunction with current immune-based platforms.  

His recent work on GBM-induced T cell exhaustion and sequestration has produced high profile publications including in Nature Medicine. Clinically, as a neurosurgeon, he focuses on intrinsic brain tumours and has built one of the country’s largest centers for Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy as a minimally invasive option for brain tumours.

Prof Paul de Souza

SAC Member

Prof Paul de Souza has over 20 years of experience caring for patients with cancer, especially those with brain and genitourinary cancer and has a strong interest in clinical research and trials. 

Prof de Souza is the Dean of Medicine at Wollongong University, a Foundation Professor of Medical Oncology at Western Sydney University, a conjoint Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia, and an Honorary Professor of the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney. 

After completion of his medical oncology training in Sydney, Paul was appointed as a Research Associate and later, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia where he developed his clinical and research interests in cancer drug development. 

Paul works as a medical oncologist at Southside Cancer Care Centre, and St George Private Hospitals. He runs a research laboratory at the Ingham Institute, Liverpool, dedicated to developing new drugs for cancer patients and innovative methodologies for monitoring cancers, as well as running many clinical trials of experimental new drugs.

Dr Raelene Endersby

SAC Member

Dr Raelene Endersby was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research, undertook postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, U.S.

She was awarded the John Lillie Childhood Cancer Fellowship in 2011 to return to Australia to establish the Brain Tumour Research Program at the Telethon Kids Institute, which she co-leads with Dr Nick Gottardo. Her team investigates potential therapeutic targets and uses in vivo model systems to evaluate novel treatments for paediatric brain tumours prior to clinical trial. 

Dr Endersby is a passionate advocate for science and actively encourages young scientists to get involved in medical research. She has mentored high school students, undergrads, Honours, Masters and PhD students in her lab, has chaired the Telethon Kids Institute Postdoctoral Council and was on the inaugural executive committee for the Australian Academy of Science Early-Mid Career Researchers Forum.

Team

Charlie Teo Foundation is committed to running a low-cost charity with a lean and dedicated team of only 4.0 full-time equivalent employees.

Alana Phadke

Chief Executive Officer

Nicole Caixeiro, PhD

Head of Research

Mary Bishop

Fundraising & Events Manager

Marcella Zemanek

Community & Ambassador Manager

Shaunagh Scott

Administration Coordinator

We are beyond grateful for the support of our dedicated volunteers who help us all year round.

Sarah Wade

Research Assistant

Robin Berthelsen

Legal Counsel

Dr Michael Sughrue

Scientific Research Fellow

Lyndall Stewart

Assistant Company Secretary

Christine Lazaris

Volunteer Co-ordinator

Bernadette English

Administration Assistant

Ashraf Zaman, PhD

Co-ordinator of Charlie Teo Foundation Brain Tumour Bank

Ambassadors

We are honoured to have the talent and generosity of our ambassadors.

Alex Cullen

Alex Cullen

TV Journalist & Presenter

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Amy Pejkovic

Amy Pejkovic

Athlete & Model

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Ben Fordham

Ben Fordham

Radio & TV Journalist & Presenter

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Byron Webb

Byron Webb

Radio Presenter

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Chris Bath

Chris Bath

Journalist

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Chris Smith

Chris Smith

News & Current Affairs Broadcaster 

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Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

Sports Journalist

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Joanna Collins

Joanna Collins

Businesswoman & Philanthropist 

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Karl Stefanovic

Karl Stefanovic

TV Presenter

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Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater

Surfer

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Leo Sayer

Leo Sayer

Singer-songwriter 

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Luke Mangan

Luke Mangan

Restaurateur and chef

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Marcia Hines

Marcia Hines

Singer

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Maryanne Larkin

Maryanne Larkin

Cancer & Mental Health Advocate

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Michael Goldman

Michael Goldman

Actor/Presenter

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Peter Overton

Peter Overton

TV Journalist & Presenter

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Richard Wilkins

Richard Wilkins

Channel 9 Entertainment Editor 

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Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Australian Test Cricketer

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Tim Webster

Tim Webster

Broadcaster & TV Personality

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