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Plenary: Warwick Bowen
(University of Queensland)


Using quantum technologies to improve biological imaging: Raman microscopy beyond the shot noise limit

Professor Bowen is recognised both nationally and internationally for research at the interface of nanotechnology and quantum science; including nanophotonics, nanomechanics, quantum optomechanics and photonic/quantum sensing. He is an Australian Future Fellow. He leads the Quantum Optics Laboratory at UQ, is Director of the UQ Precision Sensing Initiative, and is both Program and Node Manager of the Australian Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems.

The research in Professor Bowen's lab spans from the very fundamental, e.g. how does quantum physics transition into our everyday world at large scales?, to applied, e.g. developing next generation sensors for medical diagnostics and navigation.

Andrew Clayton

Andrew Clayton
(Swinburne University)


Dynamics of molecules and cells revealed with periodic forcing

Prof. Andrew Clayton, Professor of Biophotonics at the Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria, Australia undertook his Ph.D. studies in physical chemistry at the University of Melbourne (Prof. Ken Ghiggino) then spent time as ARC research fellow in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department studying biophysics (Prof. Bill Sawyer). He pursued further postdoctoral studies at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen (Dr. Thomas Jovin) as Human Frontier Science Program Fellow before returning to Melbourne initially as HFSP fellow (Prof. Tony Burgess) then NHMRC RD Wright Fellow and Head of the Cell Biophysics Laboratory at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. He was recruited to the Centre for Micro-Photonics at Swinburne in late 2009 to lead the biophotonics research program. He was promoted to full Professor of Biophotonics in 2018.

His present research focuses on understanding the wiring diagram of living cells by measuring macromolecular interactions and dynamics with multidimensional microscopy. His research achievements have been recognized with several awards including Young Fluorescence Investigator 2007 from the US Biophysical Society.

Kate Poole

Kate Poole
(University of New South Wales)

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Force sensing via ion channels in mammalian cells

Dr Kate Poole is an Associate Professor at UNSW's School of Medical Sciences. She received her PhD from the University of Adelaide (2002), and completed post-doctoral training in Germany: at Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden (2002-2005), and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin (2008-2012). In between, Kate spent a couple of years working in industry for the Atomic Force Microscopy company, JPK Instruments, AG. She established her own research group in 2012 at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin supported by a Cecile Vogt Fellowship. Kate returned to Australia in 2016 when she was recruited as a group leader in Single Molecule Science.


Nam-Trung Nguyen (Griffith University)

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Cell stretching for early disease diagnosis

Nam-Trung Nguyen received his Dip-Ing, Dr Ing and Dr Ing Habil degrees from Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany, in 1993, 1997 and 2004, respectively. The habilitation degree (Dr Ing Habil ) is the respected qualification for a full professorship in Germany. During his 10 year stay in Germany, he also worked for Robert Bosch GmbH, the industry leader in micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) for automotive applications. He contributed to the development of the MEMS-based fuel injection systems as well as sensing systems for pressure and mass flow rate. In 1998, he was a postdoctoral research engineer in the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (University of California at Berkeley, USA). Prof Nguyen is the First Runner Up of Inaugural ProSPER.Net-Scopus Young Scientist Awards in Sustainable Development in 2009 and the Runner Up of ASAIHL-Scopus Young Scientist Awards in 2008. He is a Fellow of ASME and a Member of IEEE. His research is focused on microfluidics, nanofluidics, micro/nanomachining technologies, micro/nanoscale science, and instrumentation for biomedical applications.


Gail McConnell (University of Strathclyde, Scotland)


Optical mesoscopy with the Mesolens

Gail McConnell, Professor of Physics, is leader of the Mesolens microscope facility and  director of the Centre for Biophotonics at the University of Strathclyde. Following a first degree in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics (1998) and PhD in Physics from the University of Strathclyde (2002), she obtained a Personal Research Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2003) and a Research Councils UK Academic Fellowship (2005), securing a readership in 2008. Since 2004, Gail has received over £9M of research funding from a range of sources including EPSRC, MRC, BBSRC, EU and industry. The work in Gail’s group involves the design, development and application of linear and nonlinear optical instrumentation for biomedical imaging, from the nanoscale to the whole organism. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society.


Nick Ariotti
(University of New South Wales)


Precision super-resolution cryo-correlative light and electron microscopy for in situ analyses of cellular organelles

Dr Ariotti began his research career at the University of Queensland, Institute for Molecular Biosciences where he completed a PhD in Cell and Membrane Biology in 2013. Dr Ariotti develops novel correlative light and electron microscopy techniques to understand how proteins and lipids are organised in disease. He utilises these techniques to understand the structure, function and composition plasma membrane microdomains at the cell surface.  In 2017, he took up a role as the Associate Director in Biological Electron Microscopy at the Electron Microscope Unit at The University of New South Wales. He has published many peer reviewed articles in journals including Nature, Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Nanotechnology, Current Biology, The Journal of Cell Biology and Developmental Cell.


Donna Whelan
(La Trobe University)

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Applications of a multi-modal microscope in human anatomy, genomic structure, and art

Dr Donna Whelan is a DECRA Fellow based in Bendigo as a part of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science. She uses next-generation single molecule microscopy to explore DNA damage and repair pathways. Her collaborations include research into the underlying mechanisms of host-virus interactions, neurodegeneration, and proteolysis. Prior to starting her own lab in Bendigo, Donna completed her PhD at Monash University, developing advanced microscopic and spectroscopic techniques for applications in biophysical research.  Following this, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in New York University’s School of Medicine under the supervision of Dr Eli Rothenberg, focusing on applying super resolution imaging to map the cellular repair pathway of DNA double strand breaks.


Scott Berry
(University of New South Wales)


Analog and digital modes of gene regulation

Scott Berry has a background in both Biology and Theoretical Physics. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Adelaide, he worked with these disciplines and then studied Honours in Theoretical Physics at The University of Western Australia. Scott then moved to the UK to study a PhD in Epigenetics at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, where he worked on flowering time control in plants – together with Martin Howard and Caroline Dean. There, he began to combine theoretical techniques from Physics together with Genetics, Molecular Biology and Microscopy. Shifting from plants to mammalian cells, Scott then joined the lab of Lucas Pelkmans at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, where he was funded by European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and Human Frontiers Science Programme (HFSP) postdoctoral fellowships. In Zurich, Scott became immersed in the rapidly expanding world of ‘quantitative single-cell biology’. He was recruited as a group leader to Single Molecule Science (SMS) at UNSW Sydney in 2021.

Shelley Wickham
(University of Sydney)


DNA Origami – building hierarchical complexity and lipid-interaction

Dr Shelley Wickham is an ARC DECRA Fellow, Westpac Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Schools of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Sydney. She earned both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, working on photonic structures found in biology. She received her PhD in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Oxford, UK, working on building synthetic molecular motors out of DNA. She then moved to a postdoctoral fellow position at Harvard Medical School, USA, based in the Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, where she worked on designing 3-dimensional DNA origami nanostructures, and using them to study biological systems.


Matthew Simpson (Queensland University of Technology)


Understanding tumour spheroid experiments using techniques from data science and mathematical modelling

Matthew Simpson is a Professor of Mathematics who formerly held positions as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2014-2018) and as an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2006-2009). In 2012 he was awarded the JH Michell Medal for excellence in research by ANZIAM (Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics), a division of the Australian Mathematical Society. In 2020 he was awarded the EO Tuck for outstanding research and distinguished service by ANZIAM. His more recent research interests include the study of collective cell migration, adhesive cell migration, moment dynamics models of cell population behaviour and lattice free random walk models. Studying problems from a wide range of fields has given him the opportunity to interact with several collaborators including applied mathematicians, statisticians, experimental cell biologists and civil engineers.

Brian Abbey
(La Trobe University)


A novel nanotechnology platform for label-free colourimetric histology

Prof Brian Abbey received a PhD in chemistry from Cambridge University in 2007, after graduation Brian worked as a research fellow within the Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science at the University of Melbourne prior to taking up a permanent faculty position at La Trobe University. Over the past 15 years Brian has been leading the development of new optical technologies for biological imaging employing techniques in coherent optics and nanotechnology. In 2012 he was given the deans award for excellence in research and from 2014-2018 was an ARC Future Fellow. In 2015 he won a prestigious international visiting scholarship to the JILA research institute in Boulder, Colorado and in 2016 he received the AIPS Young Tall Poppy award. In 2019 Brian led a multidisciplinary team of researchers to win the national Medtech’s Got Talent award. He is currently the research director of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS).

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