Professional Staff
Meet our team of professional staff who will work with you throughout your project. The team have a comprehensive set of skills and deep technical knowledge gained from years of experience working in research and commercial laboratories.

Service Managers

Dr Angela Chilton

Angela has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2015. She completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of Western Sydney and was awarded her PhD from UNSW on the microbial and molecular diversity of biological soil crusts of Australia in 2018. Angela works as the Service Manager of the Amplicon Service, providing expert technical and project planning assistance to clients including pre- and post-project support.

Dr Jess Gurr

Jessica has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2019. She completed her undergraduate degree in Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at the University of Sydney in 2011. Jessica has a background in conservation genomics, and in 2018 was awarded her PhD from the University of Sydney on developing genomic tools for the management of threatened species. Jessica works as an Illumina NGS service manager, providing a broad range of technical and project planning advice to clients undertaking transcriptomic, epigenomic, and genomic sequencing projects.

Jason Koval

Jason has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2008. He graduated from UNSW in 2008 with a Master of Science in Biotechnology. Jason manages the operations and resourcing for the Centre’s Illumina DNA, metagenome, and targeted DNA sequencing services. He also previously implemented and managed the Roche 454 sequencing service, Sanger sequencing and fragment analysis services. Prior to this, Jason worked at Silliker Inc. Food Science Centre (USA) as an operations supervisor and microbiologist.

Tonia Russell

Tonia has been providing sequencing services to the scientific community for over 18 years. Since starting at the Centre in 2009 she has gained experience in Sanger sequencing, short read NGS sequencing and long-read sequencing. Tonia established the Centre’s long-read sequencing services using PacBio sequencing technology and is currently driving the development of our Oxford Nanopore and HiC services. Tonia’s career in the provision of scientific services also includes three years in London at the National Amyloidosis Centre where she provided genetic testing for the diagnosis of Familial Mediterranean Fever and Amyloidosis.

Matthew Wong

Matthew Wong joined the Ramaciotti Centre in 2022 as a research officer in Sanger services. He received his PhD in 2016 from UNSW where he studied at the Children’s Cancer Institute. His background is in oncology research, specializing in the role of post-transcriptional modifications and super-enhancers in gene expression.

Research Officers

Dr Erika Becker

Erika has been working as a Research Officer in the microarray team at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2012. She has a wealth of experience in genotyping and gene expression array technology. Erika was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the University of Queensland and she has worked in various laboratories and research centres in Queensland and NSW gaining extensive experience in both molecular and cell biology.

Scott Genner

Scott has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018. He graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science (First Class Honours) from the University of Technology in 2014. Scott is a Research Officer within the Next Generation Sequencing Team, performing tasks such as quality control checks, and preparing samples for sequencing. Prior to this, he worked at the Heart Research Institute, performing a wide variety of molecular biology techniques to produce quality data for publication.

Rhys Stark

Rhys has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018. He graduated from the University of Technology with a Bachelor of Biotechnology before working at The Garvan Institute, investigating personalised treatment for pancreatic cancer. Rhys is a Research Officer within the Next Generation Sequencing team, performing tasks such as generating sample quality control reports, preparing samples for sequencing and assisting in the management and troubleshooting of our Robotics platforms.

Dr Christie Foster

Christie has been working in the Microarray team at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2020, providing NATA-accredited genotyping services. She performs all aspects from QC checks to high-throughput processing of samples with liquid-handling instruments, data QC analysis, and liaising with customers. She was awarded her PhD in 2015 from The University of Sydney on the biology of the microalga Chromera velia (focussed on the genetics of flagellar assembly, in vitro growth improvement and novel pigmentation), and has a Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology and Genetics) with First Class Honours. Her career has also encompassed research in the fields of biodiscovery (screening for microbial bioactive compounds), molecular microbiology (generation and phenotypic analysis of bacterial gene knockouts), photobiology and biochemistry, and participation in a range of citizen science projects.

Dr Darshi Ramesh

Darshi has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2015, as a Research Officer in the Next Generation Sequencing team. She was awarded her PhD in 2004 from the University of Sydney on the influence of glucocorticoids on osteoclast formation activity and life span. Darshi has extensive professional expertise and knowledge across a wide spectrum of research techniques including molecular biology, tissue culture and immunology.

Crystal Cui

Crystal has been working as a Research Assistant in the Amplicon Service since 2019. Prior to this, she worked as a research officer at Shandong University, China and a microbiologist technician for Mérieux NutriSciences, Madison, USA. Crystal graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin (USA) in 2017. Crystal’s has extensive technical experience in genomics, microbiology and chemical engineering research.

Dr Kerry Nutt

Kerry has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2020, as a research officer, specialising in sequencing via Illumina platforms. She was awarded her PhD in 2006 at Queensland University of Technology on characterisation of proteinase inhibitors from canegrubs for possible application to genetically engineer pest-derived resistance into sugarcane. She also has a graduate certificate in diagnostic genomics from the Queensland University of Technology.

Research Assistants

Steven Chan
Ani Lack

Ani graduated from UNSW in 1995 with a molecular biology degree and an honours project that helped map genetic diseases in dogs. She then joined the Human Genome Project at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel where she discovered a new family of genes for olfactory receptors in marsupials, which aided in establishing the evolutionary path of mammalian olfaction. Ani then worked at the Children’s Cancer Institute developing prognostic genetic testing for childhood leukaemia, and then continued this testing at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, USA. Prior to joining the Ramaciotti team in 2021, Ani worked as a research assistant at Neuroscience Research Australia investigating the causes and progression of neurodegeneration, and mapping brain regions in humans and rodents.

Jane Au

Jane Au is a Research Assistant working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2021. Prior to this, she was working as a Research Assistant, recruited as part of a national scheme to implement next generation sequencing (NGS) of SARS CoV 2.
She started as a Biochemistry Scientist with Pathology NSW health before undertaking Research roles which included the Development of a Novel Biodosimetry Assay at Radiation Oncology ACT hospital and clinical whole genome sequencing at the Garvin Institute of Medical Research.

Nour Hawchar

Nour is currently working as a research assistant for the NGS team at the Ramaciotti Centre. She previously worked for a statewide genomics service at NSW health pathology performing whole exome sequencing testing for patients with quick turnaround times. She also was involved in triaging genetic request forms and samples, performing DNA extractions from a variety of fresh samples, QC work, troubleshooting and results entry.

Mayank Nair

Mayank Nair has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2022, as a Research Assistant in Next Generation Sequencing. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology in 2018 at the University of Wollongong, and a Bachelor of Research in Medicine the following year. In 2021 he completed a Master of Research in Medicine. Here, he investigated the effect of chronic opioid use on cognition, and the potential mechanisms through which the gut microbiota facilitate this connection. Following this he worked briefly in the Molecular department of 4Cyte Pathology, a clinical diagnostics pathology laboratory, handling COVID, flu and STD samples.

Support Staff

Robin Heron

Robin graduated from UNSW in 2012 with a Masters of Information Technology, and has been providing IT support for the Ramaciotti Centre since 2011. Working within the Research Technology Services group, Robin supports the Centre by managing storage systems and backup solutions, managing HPC systems, and by procuring hardware and infrastructure for projects and advising on purchases. He assists researchers with computing on various platforms including AWS, Azure and the national facility NCI.

Keren Natalia

Keren has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018 as the Centre Quality Manager. She is a quality management system professional with 15 years’ experience specialising in quality system implementation based on ISO9001, ISO13485 and ISO/IEC17025 (NATA). Keren also has a background in medical microbiology and immunology, graduating from UNSW with a Bachelor of Science in 2004.

abigail

Abigail has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018. She graduated from UNSW in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Abigail provides executive support, general administration, and software implementation of the CRM system. Prior to this, she worked in the strata industry in various administrative roles.

Aravind Manda

Aravind has been working as a Production Bioinformatician at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2022. He graduated with a Master of Philosophy (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences) from the University of Melbourne in 2021. Aravind was studying the functional genomics of retinal disorders at WEHI during his master’s degree and continued to work as a Research assistant at WEHI before joining the centre. Prior to this, Aravind worked as a research Bioinformatician at IMCB, Singapore, & C-DAC, India where he analysed data from different -omics technologies by applying a variety of Bioinformatics tools/techniques and his efforts have been recognised as a co-author in various publications from high impact journals.