Member Login


The Alpha-1 Organisation Australia management committee (the Board) consists of seven volunteer directors who support and advocate for individuals and their families affected by the genetic disorder known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD).

Gaynor Heading, President

Gaynor has a Ph.D. in Medicine and was an Associate Professor with the University of Sydney. Her commitment to public health is demonstrated by her career in health. She is an experienced senior executive and was Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Health Education and Training Institute, NSW Health. She has publications in several areas including respiratory health and health professional education and has held competitive research grants including an NH&MRC grant. Her extensive consumer experience was gained through roles including community liaison manager and public health researcher. Gaynor has many years of volunteering experience and fundraising for registered health causes.





Ian was diagnosed with A1AD (ZZ) and COPD in 2014. After 40 years helping large and small organisations in several countries around the world manage their investments in IT, he retired for health reasons in 2018 and now focuses on family and community issues. He took part in the Grifols clinical trial in Australia between 2015 and 2019, and is convinced of the benefits of augmentation therapy.

Sandra Baxendell, Director Research and Grants 

Sandra graduated from the University of Queensland with a Veterinary Science degree and was dux of her year, received a University Medal, then undertook doctoral studies and was awarded a PhD from the same university. She has held positions in government, agribusiness and university sectors, where she gained additional qualifications in management, extension and training. As Regional Director of the Department of Primary Industries she managed staff with many grants and research projects, including some of her own. She was given a Public Service Award for this work. Now she works part-time in her own goats-only veterinary practice and consultancy. 

Sandra has years of advocacy work in promoting goat health and is currently the President of the Australia New Zealand College of Veterinary Sciences Small Ruminant chapter.  She has also held voluntary roles in the Australian Veterinary Association and was given a Meritorious Service Award.



Leonie is a practicing visual artist and exhibits regularly around Sydney. She started her working life as an industrial chemist, then taught in various capacities in high schools and TAFE while raising children. She has a BSC degree, a Graduate Diploma in Education, an Advanced Diploma of Fine Arts and a MArt.

Leonie has been involved in voluntary work throughout her adult life, including cofounding Lyrebird Arts Community. Leonie is passionate about health and environmental issues and is committed to improving the lives of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency sufferers.


Mark received a Bachelor in Business Management (Marketing) in 2011 from the University of Cardiff , United Kingdom. Since then he has worked in a variety of marketing roles and currently works as an Account Director for an advertising agency in Sydney. He has extensive experience across Digital Marketing and has joined the Board to help bolster both the fundraising and marketing aspects of the charity.

After seeing the impact Alpha-1 had on his own family, Mark is determined to help the charity where he can, including a fundraising event in 2022, where he will be cycling from Sydney to Melbourne.



Deborah is a Registered Nurse who specialises in Respiratory medicine, she holds a Bachelor of Nursing Science  from James Cook University in Townsville, and Post Graduate Certificate in clinical redesign through the University of Tasmania.  She is currently undertaking the Masters of Nurse Practitioners.  Deborah is a qualified non-medical prescriber in the UK and has over twenty years of experience in cardiac and respiratory nursing across Australia, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.   Her research interests include severe asthma and interstitial lung disease, she currently works in a research role and delivers respiratory care via the virtual health platform.