Our people

Our people

The Executive Committee of the BDRC consists of a diverse range of skilled and experienced researchers, across disciplines, age, gender, career stage, and areas of expertise, led by Director Prof. Anwar Sunna and Deputy Director Dist. Prof. Nicolle Packer. The Executive Committee has an equal gender balance with representatives from Early Career Researchers to Professors, with diverse areas of specific expertise including Medicine, Engineering, Physics, Structural Biology, Genomics, Proteomics, Glycomics, Statistics and Bioinformatics.

Executive committee

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Director, BDRC

Professor Anwar Sunna

Professor Anwar Sunna has been working predominantly in multidisciplinary and industrially-oriented research for the last 15 years, particular in the area of nanobiotechnology and synthetic biology. He is the lead inventor of several innovative techniques with experience in managing transformational research projects. Prof Sunna research is strongly driven by current biotechnological and biomedical challenges, in particular in the area of biomolecule immobilisation and bioconjugation, inorganic materials biofunctionalisation, bioimaging, flow cytometry and pathogen labelling and detection.

Nicki Packer

Deputy Director, BDRC

Dist. Professor Nicki Packer

Distinguished Professor Nicki Packer has had an extensive and varied research career in both Chemistry and Biological Sciences. She has gained national and international recognition for her research in glycomics, using proteomics and bioinformatics approaches and linking it to biological functional research. Her current research is in the structure, function, informatics and application of glycans and their conjugates as molecular markers, focussing on their role in cancer, therapeutics and microbial infection. Nicki has published her research extensively and works closely with industry.

BDRC Executive Committee Members

Ian Paulsen

Dist. Professor Ian Paulsen

Distinguished Professor Ian Paulsen is a world leading researcher in membrane transport, microbial genomics, metagenomics, systems biology
and bioinformatics. Prof Paulsen currently holds an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship, and has an extensive network of international collaborators. He is the Director of the new ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology (CoESB) at Macquarie.

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Professor Gilles Guillemin

Professor Gilles Guillemin has been working in the field of Neuroimmunology for approximately 20 years and has made substantial contributions to the understanding of tryptophan catabolism in multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and motor neuron disease. His team at Australian School of Advanced Medicine (ASAM) is now one of the worlds leading research groups working on neuroactive metabolites (toxic or protective) derived from tryptophan. Prof Guillemin is currently engaged in 33 active national and international collaborations, and has extended his research to other diseases such as depression, autism and brain tumours.

Paul Haynes

Professor Paul Haynes

Professor Paul Haynes is an expert in plant and environmental proteomics and protein mass spectrometry. Research in his lab focuses on how cells from different organisms respond to the imposition of external stresses. Haynes was Director of the recently completed ARC Training Centre for Molecular Technologies in the Food Industry, and is currently the lead investigator on an ARC Discovery Project. He is Departmental Director of Higher Degree Research, vice president of the Asia Oceania Agricultural Proteomics Organisation (AOAPO), and a member of the 2020 ARC College of Experts.


Dr Georgy Sofronov

Dr Georgy Sofronov is Senior Lecturer in Statistics and Director of Research at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He develops novel computationally efficient methods enabling large-scale change-point detection for a wide variety of applications in data-intensive science, industry and engineering. Such changes can be important in understanding and monitoring the behaviour of a system, perhaps indicating the boundaries of a gene or a shift in neurological state. His projects involve intensive international and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Morten Andersen

Dr Morten Thaysen-Andersen

Dr Morten Thaysen-Andersen's research program in Analytical Glycoimmunology, unique in Australia, aims to advance our understanding of the human innate immune system and immune-related diseases including microbial infections, inflammation and cancer. The core expertise of his team is to develop and apply novel glycomics and glycoproteomics technologies using advanced mass spectrometry while also drawing on existing analytical tools in protein and carbohydrate chemistry and methods in immunology, structural biology and molecular biology to unravel basic glycobiological processes of the innate immune system.

Sasha Tetu

Dr Sasha Tetu

Dr Sasha Tetu is Senior Lecturer in Department of Molecular Sciences and has over 10 years of experience in the field of Molecular Microbiology. Her research endeavours are highly integrative, combining expertise in molecular biology, microbial ecology, genomics and bioinformatics to address outstanding biological questions. She has established a global reputation in microbial ecology and toxicogenomics through application and integration of ecological principals, omics analyses and molecular biology.

Ming Li

Dr Ming Li

Dr Ming Li is Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, and an early career researcher with expertise in collaborative and multidisciplinary research in microfluidics, single-cell analysis and plasmonics, towards applications in point-of-care devices, molecular biosensors and cell manipulators. Ming Lee has expertise in industry research partnership and commercialisation, and is keen to ensure the translation of engineering technologies to understand basic bio-molecular science, and expand relationships with external academic and industry partners.

Dr Fleur Ponton

Dr Fleur Ponton is Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences. Her research has aimed to better understand the network of interactions that defines the relationships between nutrition and infection, integrating the roles of the host microbiota and immunity. She has been working with insect models including Drosophila melanogaster and the Queensland fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni, tractable and powerful invertebrate models to describe nutritional immunology and host-parasite relationships. The methods she has established are of broad interest to numerous research disciplines, spanning from nutrition and life-history theory to public and environmental health.

BDRC Members

Dr Mohsen Asadnia

Dr. Mohsen Asadnia is a senior lecturer, ARC DECRA fellow and group leader at the School of Engineering, and Master of Research Director & Deputy Associate Dean, HDR, at Faculty of Science & Engineering. His research interest are auditory and vestibular systems, MEMS/ NEMS bio-inspired sensory systems (flow/pressure/tactile sensors, artificial hair cells of the vertebrate inner ear), chemical sensors (water contamination, explosive gas), and microfluidic devices.

Dr Amy Cain

Dr Amy Cain is a DECRA fellow, who’s research group develops various genomics-based methods to search for new antibiotic targets in nasty hospital pathogens, understand resistance to antibiotic combinations and map molecular responses to environmental stresses in diificult-to-treat bacteria. She also runs the Galleria Facility, an ethical and efficient animal model alternative, useful for testing the toxicity and efficiency of new antibiotics, and assaying the pathogenicity of bacterial strains.

Professor Mark Connor

Professor Mark Connor is a molecular pharmacologist who studies how drugs interact with receptors and signalling pathways to modulate their function. He primarily studies cannabinoids and opioids, both natural products and synthetic drugs. The lab uses high throughput and single cell patch clamp techniques to uncover novel interactions between drugs, G protein coupled receptors and ion channels, especially those involved in the detection and response to noxious environmental stimuli.

Dr Heather Francis

Dr Heather Francis is Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Macquarie University, and Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist at Royal North Shore Hospital. Her research demonstrates a relationship between Western-style diet and hippocampal function, associated with poorer memory function, recall for amount eaten, ability to detect internal signals of food intake, and poorer inhibition of pleasant food memories under conditions of satiety. She has experience in hospital settings conducting neuropsychological assessment of various neurological conditions. This has informed her research interests in first assessment and remediation of cognitive deficits in acquired brain injury.

Dr Alf Garcia-Bennett

Dr Alf Garcia-Bennett 's research centres on the design, synthesis and application of nanoporous silica particles in pharmaceutical science and nanomedicine, with a strong focus on how these novel nanoparticles interact with biological interface. Two strong areas focus areas are understanding the effect of nanoconfinement on pharmaceutical active ingredients, and uncovering the role of the biomolecular corona of nanoparticles on their immune-toxicological properties and potential therapeutic use.

A/Professor David Inglis

David Inglis is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at Macquarie University. His research focusses on micro and nano-fluidics for chemistry, biology, and life science. He is an expert in microfabrication and the movement of particles in micro-scale flows.

Dr Albert Lee

Dr Albert Lee is a senior lecturer in the Centre for MND Research, Department of Biomedical Sciences. His
research uses proteomics to understand the mechanisms of proteostasis dysfunction and the cellular processes that can manifest into neurogenerative diseases.

Professor Benoit Liquet

Benoit Liquet is Professor of Mathematical and Computational Statistics at Macquarie University in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.  Throughout his career he has extensively worked in developing novel statistical models mainly to provide novel tools to analyse clinical, health and biological data arising from epidemiological studies. In 2011, he moved to the field of computational biology and generalised some of these methods so that they scale to high throughput (“omic”) data.

Dr Maciej Maselko

Dr Maciej Maselko is a research group leader and CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science fellow in Applied BioSciences at Macquarie University. He is a synthetic biologist with experience working with viral, microbial, plant, and animal systems. Maciej co-founded a start-up based on a method he invented to engineer speciation events in sexually reproducing organisms for transgene biocontainment and pest control. His lab at Macquarie University is focused on developing new genetic methods for pest management and advancing insects as platforms for sustainable waste management, bioremediation, and production of high-value compounds.

Professor Alison Rodger

Professor Alison Rodger is a biophysical chemist who develops and applies spectroscopic methods to study the structure and function of biomolecules and biomolecular assemblies.

A/Professor Yuling Wang

Associate Professor Yuling Wang is an interdisciplinary scientist, working at the interface of plasmonic nanostructures, surface-enhanced Raman scattering/spectroscopy (SERS), sensor technology, nanobiotechnology and their biomedical applications. Her research focuses on the platform technology that utilizes the rationally designed multifunctional nanomaterials and sensor platform for biomarkers sensing and cancer molecular subtyping, with the aim to enhance the point-of-care and in vitro diagnostics.

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