Associate Professor David Heslop
Associate Professor

Associate Professor David Heslop

  • Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (FAFOEM)
  • Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP)
  • Associate Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (AFRACMA)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (USyd)
  • Master of Public Health (USyd)
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) (USyd)
  • Bachelor of Science (Advanced) Honours 1 (USyd)


Medicine & Health
School of Population Health

I am an Associate Professor at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW.

I am a practicing vocationally registered General Practitioner (FRACGP), an Occupational and Environmental Physician (FAFOEM) with RACP, and a fellowship candidate for the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.

My doctoral research focussed on the central autonomic anatomy and integrative neurophysiology relating to the cardiovascular response to noxious inescapable physiological stimuli such as severe haemorrhage and visceral pain. Utilising my research background and subsequent clinical training, through the Australian Defence Force I have been fortunate to have extensively deployed into a variety of complex and austere combat environments, and have gone on to undertake advanced training in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Medicine and Senior Medical Officer training. Consequently I was appointed as Senior Medical Officer for Special Operations Command for 2014, and was the Officer Commanding and Senior Medical Officer to the ADF CBRNE medical incident response element at Special Operations Engineer Regiment from 2012-2015, Senior Medical Officer CBRNE in Special Operations Headquarters 2016-2019, and now undertake researve work as Staff Officer Grade 1 Public Health and Occupational Medicine at Army Headquarters.

I have extensive experience in the conception, design, planning, delivery and operations of health support systems and capability in remote and austere contexts; incorporating the management of exotic or novel hazards and risks. Extensive experience in planning for and management of major disasters, mass casualty and multiple casualty situations. I also have extensive overseas and domestic operational experience in command, personnel management, force protection, health protection systems, resilient systems design and test and evaluation. Direct responsibility and experience with leading deployable expeditionary medical support.

I am regularly consulted and participate in the development and review of national and international clinical and operational CBRNE policy and doctrine. I am additionally a peer reviewer for the journals Military Medicine (AMSUS) and Journal and Military and Veterans Health (AMMA). I also continue to conduct CBRNE medical, and general medical education and ADF GP Registar training within my military capacity, along with civilian instruction of the Major Incident Medical Management System (MIMMS) framework with MIMMS Australia.

  • Book Chapters | 2021
    Heslop DJ; MacIntyre RC; Gerber B, 2021, 'The adaptability and resilience of cities to major epidemics', in Inoculating Cities, Elsevier, pp. 171 - 199,

  • MRFF Frontiers Grant Stage 1. EPIWATCH - Global Epidemic Intelligence Observatory and Early Warning System. Chief Investigator. $1,000,000. 2021-2022.
  • NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence. BREATHE. Airborne threats to Health. Chief Investigator. $2,500,000 over 5 years. 2022-2027.
  • Defence Strategic Policy Grant Scheme. Boxwood Scenarios. Exploring the impact of climate change and geopolitical change on CBRNE proliferation. $99,000. 2021-2023
  • NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence. Integrated Systems for Epidemic Response (ISER). Chief Investigator. $2,500,000 over 5 years. 2016-2021.
  • Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group). Chimaera Evolution – An experiment by simulation framework to support CBR medical planning, preparedness and operational response. Bioterrorism Stream collaborative research grant. Chief Investigator. $575,000 over 3 years. FY 17-19
  • 2x Industry funded reseatch grants totalling $210,000.

My interests lie in health and medical systems innovation and research. I retain linkages with key national civilian and military education, research and development organisations and retain an active involvement in a wide variety of projects and initiatives supporting national public health preparedness goals.

My current research effort and interests touch on complexity science, agent based and deterministic modelling, emergent complex adaptive systems phenomena, test and evaluation of systems, policy research, epidemic modelling, exotic and emerging infections, disaster preparedness and response, organisational resilience in health care, development of robust socio-technical systems in health care, and the modelling, simulation and investigation of public health interventions and systems.

Methods that I utilise in my research are:

 - Sociotechnical systems modeling and simulation

 - Hybrid Modeling (Agent Based Modeling, Discrete Event Modeling, System Dynamics)

 - Artificial intelligence and autonomous agents

 - Qualitative and mixed methods

 - Epidemiology

 - Geospatial/GIS based approaches

My Research Supervision

Post-Doctoral Researcher:

  • Dr Mitko Alexandrov (Faculty of Built Environment)

Higher Degree (PhD) Candidates:

  • Abigail Trewin (Professional Doctorate in Public Health)
  • Arshpreet Sran (Professional Doctorate in Public Health)
  • Lynelle Hales (Professional Doctorate in Public Health)
  • Sean Casey (Professional Doctorate in Public Health)
  • Nathan George (Professional Doctorate in Public Health)
  • Haley Stone (PhD - Kirby Institute)
  • Mohana Kunasekaran (PhD - Kirby Institute)
  • Shovon Bhattacharjee (PhD - Kirby Institute)

Medical Program Project Supervision:


  • Mr Jordan Zhang (UNSW Clinical AI ILP)


  • Evelyn Wilkins (ILP)


  • Mr Stewart McNamara (ILP)
  • Mark Butorac (ILP)


  • Kaspar Fiebig (ILP)


  • James Niddrie (ILP)
  • Jack Connolly (ILP)
  • Jia Ong (ILP)
  • Zahran Tohid (ILP)
  • John Vassil (ILP)

My Teaching

PHCM9662 - Health Aspects of Crises Emergencies and Disasters - Convenor

PHCM9789 - Bioterrorism and Health Intelligence - Convenor