Alicia Oshlack is the Head of Bioinformatics at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute where she leads a cross-disciplinary team of scientists with a range of backgrounds including molecular biology, computer science, physics and statistics. Alicia started her scientific career with a PhD in astrophysics before turning her data science skills to genomics. She is particularly well known for her contributions to RNA-seq analysis methods and she also works in epigenetics and rare disease genomics. She is currently an NHMRC career development fellow. In 2011 she was awarded the Australian Academy of Science Gani Medal for human genetics and in 2015 the Lorne Genome Millennium science award.
Dr. Melissa Davis
Systems Biology Laboratory; University of Melbourne
Dr Melissa Davis is a computational biologist, with a background in genetics and computational cell biology and expertise in the analysis of genome-scale regulatory networks and knowledge-based modelling. During her PhD, Melissa participated in the ground breaking Functional Annotation of Mouse (FANTOM) projects 2 and 3, which revolutionised understanding of the transcriptional output of the mammalian genome, and she was awarded a Deans Commendation for her PhD thesis arising from this work. Her first post-doctoral appointment was with Prof. Mark Ragan at the University of Queensland (UQ) developing approaches for the use of ontology in modelling molecular interactions and signalling pathways. Melissa moved to Melbourne to take up a National Breast Cancer Foundation research fellowship in 2014, and is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Computational Systems Biology at the University of Melbourne, leading a research group within the Centre for Systems Genomics. Her four year NBCF Fellowship is focused on the study of epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in breast cancer as part of the national EMPathy Breast Cancer Network. Melissa has >40 papers, both in computational biology and bioinformatics journals, as well as in journals such as Science, PNAS, PLOS Genetics, Genome Research and Developmental Cell, and her work has attracted over 2865 citations. Melissa specialises in the integration of genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data with knowledge-based network models to understand the regulatory logic of mammalian systems, in both normal functioning cells and in cancer.
Prof. Alistair Forrest
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, University of Western Australia.
Alistair Forrest is an expert in transcriptomics and is most well-known for his work within the Functional annotation of mammalian genomes projects (FANTOM2-5). He is the scientific coordinator of the FANTOM5 project. This work, which profiled a large collection of primary cell types, cell lines and tissues using cap analysis of gene expression (CAGE), has generated landmark maps of promoters and transcribed enhancers in human and mouse genomes. Prof Forrest is a multidisciplinary researcher with a BSc in Biotechnology from Murdoch University, a Masters in information technology from Queensland University of Technology and a PhD from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland. In 2007, he joined RIKEN in Yokohama Japan on a CJ Martin Fellowship, where he was later promoted to team leader of a large bioinformatics group. He has recently returned to Western Australia to head the newly formed Systems Biology and Genomics group. His current research concentrates on mammalian systems biology with a focus on transcriptional regulatory networks (TRNs) and cell-cell communication networks (CCCNs).
A/Prof. Aaron Darling
Computational Genomics and Bioinformatics; University of Technology Sydney's ithree institute
Darling embarked on his research career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked with members of the UW-Madison Genome Center to sequence and analyze the first genomes of pathogenic E. coli. During this time Darling led the development of some widely used computational methods for analysing genomic data, including the mpiBLAST open source parallel BLAST software at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Mauve software for comparing multiple genome sequences. Following the award of a Ph.D. at UW-Madison, Darling received a fellowship from the US National Science Foundation to pursue postdoctoral studies at The University of Queensland. After two years at UQ he then returned to UC Davis to develop a research program in computational metagenomics -- the study of uncultivated microorganisms from the environment using computational methods. In 2013 Darling moved from the University of California-Davis to start a computational metagenomics group at UTS.
Prof. Sean Grimmond
Chair of Medical Genomics; University of Glasgow, Head of Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre’s Precision and Genomic Medicine laboratory; Co-Director of the Scottish Genome Partnership.
Prof Grimmond holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Queensland and is a Scientific Fellow in The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Previous appointments include Director of the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics and Professor of Genomics at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland.
Over the last 20 years, Professor Grimmond’s research has focused uncovering the underlying genetics controlling key biological processes (organogenesis and pluripotency) and pathological states (tissue repair and cancer) through genomics and transcriptomics. He is internationally recognised as a pioneer of Microarray profiling, Whole-Transcriptome and Whole cancer-genome Sequencing. In 2009, he became the Founding Director of the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics, and since 2010 Prof. Grimmond has led International Cancer Genome Consortium Projects in Pancreatic, Ovarian and Oesophageal cancers. These studies have resolved the mutagenic processes, driver mutations, molecular taxonomies and potential therapeutic vulnerabilities present in these cancers. In 2013, Prof Grimmond moved to the UK to establish genome-directed clinical trials and continue his cancer genome discovery efforts in recalcitrant cancers. In 2014, he co-founded the Scottish Genome Partnership, an ambitious national initiative aimed at population scale, sequencing of cancer, rare genetic diseases and healthy cohorts (goal is 7000 genomes by 2016).
A/Prof Jean Yang
School of Mathematics and Statistics; University of Sydney
Associate Professor Jean Yang is an applied statistician with expertise in translational bioinformatics. She was awarded the 2015 Moran Medal in statistics from the Australian Academy. This is in recognition of her work on developing methods for molecular data arising in cutting edge biological and medical research.
Her research stands at the interface between medicine and methodology development and has centered on the development of statistical methodology and the application of statistics to problems in genomics, proteomics and biomedical research. The overarching goal of her research work is to develop statistical methods for integrating –omics data from multiple platforms and devising models for incorporating related biological information with such data. As a statistician who works in the bioinformatics area, she enjoys research in a collaborative environment, working closely with scientific investigators from diverse backgrounds.