The ECRU Team

Principal Investigators

Prof. Christopher Gilfillan


Director of Endocrinology, Eastern Health since 2008

Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, Eastern Clinical School, Monash University

Director Eastern Clinical Research Unit (ECRU) - Endocrinology

Professor Chris Gilfillan is currently the Director of Endocrinology at Eastern Health and has a private endocrine practice in Box Hill and Frankston. He oversees an active clinical research program and is the Principal Investigator on all the clinical trials within the department. He has clinical interests in all aspects of endocrinology and research interests in type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, thyroid cancer, osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease.

Through the Eastern Health Clinical School, he is a Clinical Professor at both Monash University and Deakin University and is involved in the teaching of medical students, and basic physician trainees in endocrinology and internal medicine.

He was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to diabetes on the Mornington Peninsula.


Vanessa Viola


Vanessa Viola has been a practising Registered Nurse for over 30 years and is a Credentialled Diabetes Educators with 20 years experience in public health. Vanessa has an extensive background in cardiovascular and endocrine disease and has a Masters of Health Science focussing on Health Promotion and Health Education. Vanessa has been working at ECRU since 2001 in the area of clinical trials research.

She enjoys assisting people to achieve their very best health outcomes and being involved in improving treatment options for disease.


Study Coordinators

Kerrie Peacock


Kerrie Peacock is a Credentialed Diabetes Educator and registered nurse having worked in research and private practice since 2006. Kerrie has been involved in many clinical trials with a focus on diabetes and weight loss.

Research has become her passion, the road to better treatments and outcomes for our existing and future generations.

Gabrielle Garner


Gabby Garner is a registered nurse and in 2019 she also completed a Graduate Certificate of Diabetes Education. She has worked in clinical trials since 2009.  Her main interests include endocrinology, particularly diabetes.  She enjoys being involved in the development of new and exciting diabetes treatments and technology.

Carolyn Harris


Carolyn is a Registered Nurse Division 2, who has worked within the ECRU Endocrinology department since 2004. She has worked on numerous trials whose therapeutic areas include sleep apnoea, osteoporosis and diabetes.  She specialises in long term outcome trials which look at the effects of new medications on cardiovascular complications.  She has a keen interest in promoting clinical trial participation and awareness within our community.  

Vanessa James


Vanessa James is a Registered Nurse and Diabetes Nurse Educator, who started her career with Eastern Health in 1998. During her time with Eastern Health, Vanessa worked as a clinical nurse specialist and graduate nurse educator on a medical specialty ward. There Vanessa developed an appreciation of the complexities one may face having an endocrinology disorder, thus enhancing her desire to continue her career in education.

Vanessa believes research is the foundation for improved practice and technology, technology that we discover today will ultimately help someone tomorrow.


Start-Up & Ethics 

Andriana Chronopoulos


Andriana has completed a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Food Science. During her honors year she developed a keen interest in research trials, while being involved in a study researching the benefits of cocoa used in chocolate on the heart - yes it showed that there were health benefits. Over the last 15 years, she has worked in trials primarily focusing on cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


Leanne Auchterlonie 


Leanne has worked with ECRU since 2008. She predominantly works behind the scenes in clinical trial administration. Previously she has worked in hospital and banking administration.

In her spare time she enjoys travelling, when COVID permits. 

Jenny Bennett 


Jenny has been working in the health industry for 15 years, spending the past 10 years at ECRU as part of the Endocrine team in clinical trial administration.