PROF Clara Gaff

PROF Clara Gaff


  • Genetic counselling, Genomics, Program Evaluation, Health Service Research, Implementation Science, Family communication



  • I am the Executive Director of the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance. The Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance is delivering genomic medicine into everyday health care. It brings together the clinical, research and teaching strengths among Victoria’s leading hospitals and research organisations: The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Royal Children’s Hospital, The University of Melbourne, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, the CSIRO, the Australian Genome Research Facility, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Austin Health and Monash Health.

    This role draws on my academic and clinical experience. After completing a PhD in molecular genetics at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Genetics and during postdoctoral research at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, I trained in genetic counselling. During 16 years of clinical practice, I worked in roles that spanned prenatal diagnosis to adult genetics based at the Royal Women's Hospital (1994-97), the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service (1997-99, 2007-10), the Royal Melbourne Hospital (1999-2004) and the University Hospital Wales (2004-7). As Senior Genetic Counsellor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, I played a key role in establishing and managing the Familial Cancer Centre and Adult Genetics service.

    A continuous theme through my career has been is multidisciplinary research and translation. I have collaborated with researchers from many disciplines on qualitative and quantitative studies to investigate the experiences of people with or at risk of a genetic condition, their needs and preferences and the impact of genetic testing and counselling. The findings of these studies have then been applied in genetic counselling practice and the delivery of health care services. I am currently leading research evaluating the process and outcome of genomic sequencing in health care practice, which encompasses patient experiences a   


Member of

  • European Society of Human Genetics. Member 2004 -
  • Human Genetics Society of Australasia. Member 1993 -


Selected publications



Education and training

  • PGCertHlthServRes&Eval, University of Melbourne 2003
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1993
  • BSc(Hons), University of Melbourne 1989

Awards and honors

  • International Award, National Society of Genetic Counsellors (USA), 2008
  • Pied Pipers' Scholarship, 2003
  • Dame Margaret Blackwood Prize in Genetics, 1986