Research scientists

veena nagaraj

Dr Veena Nagaraj

Research Scientist, ENVIRONMENT

  • Dr Veena Nagaraj joined CSIRO’s CarbonLock Future Science Platform as a Research Scientist in November 2022. She is a microbiologist and molecular biologist with nine years of research experience and competence across multidisciplinary areas in the field of environmental and industrial biotechnology. Veena specialises in biofilm studies, particularly extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). She has been actively involved in impact driven industrial research, specifically the investigation and control of biofouling which affects engineered process systems in marine environments spanning the Desalination, Oil and Gas, and Defence industry sectors.
  • Veena obtained her PhD from the School of Engineering and Information Technology, Murdoch University, WA in 2017. Her research on control of membrane biofouling by microbial communities and bacterial exopolysaccharides in a full-scale desalination plant was published in a Nature research journal and other high-profile journals. Her work was also featured as ‘Murdoch research that grabbed the world’s attention in 2017’. Prior to joining CSIRO, she worked as a Research Fellow at Curtin University, WA where she executed industry projects related to problems of biofouling, marine growth, and calcareous deposition on subsea infrastructure. Veena has also briefly supported a project that dealt with carbon dioxide bio-fixation. Veena’s current interests are focused on biological processes that result in carbon dioxide fixation. She is excited to align her expertise with the CarbonLock FSP in the key focus areas of carbon mineralisation, ocean-based carbon storage or biologically enhanced carbon removal and hopes to navigate her research towards innovative and impactful outcomes of permanently locking carbon.

Dr Yongqiang Chen

CERC Engineering Fellow, Reservoir Productivity, ENERGY

  • Yongqiang Chen joined the CarbonLock FSP as a CERC Fellow in November 2022. He obtained his PhD degree on Petroleum Engineering from Curtin University in 2019 working intensively on Smart Waterflooding through multi-scale experiments and geochemical modellings.
  • Following that, Yongqiang moved to The University of Manchester to research solute transport with synchrotron X-ray scanning. In his research journey, Yongqiang developed a strong interest in subsurface gas storage, such as the CO2 and H2. The broad applications and fascinating scientific problems drive him to dive deeper in this area and led him to apply for a position focusing on carbon mineralisation in CSIRO’s CarbonLock FSP. Yongqiang plans on coupling experimental research and modelling to comprehensively evaluate the fate of CO2 in subsurface reservoirs. For certain problems, Yongqiang will develop customised hardware or design simulators to contribute to research excellence in the CarbonLock team.
Nouman Mizra

Mr Nouman Mirza

Process Engineer – Projects Officer, Zero Emissions, ENERGY

  • Nouman Mirza is part of Sustainable Carbon Technologies group that is progressing the emissions reduction work in the areas of carbon capture and more specifically direct air capture.
  • Nouman has a PhD in carbon capture technologies and worked extensively (pilot and laboratory scales) in both the carbon capture/direct air capture and membrane technologies for separating various process streams. His current work focuses on developing solvents and gas-liquid contactors for direct air capture and integrating membrane technology with carbon capture/direct air capture technology.

Dr Song Zhou

Research Scientist, ENERGY

  • Dr Song Zhou’s research focuses on CO2 mineralisation, i.e. the integration of CO2 capture, utilization and conversion with solid waste valorisation processing, such as coal fly ash, chloride waste and municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration ash. Apart from intensive lab researches, Dr Zhou has rich experience in industrial project management and execution, and strong leadership. He has been maintaining connections with industrial partners, such as SUEZ, Latrobe Magnesium, EPA Victoria, and mineral companies overseas.
  • Dr Zhou’s research has made significant contributions to the valorisation processing of Victorian Brown coal fly ash, otherwise an overwhelming amount of alkaline solid waste of significant environmental issues, via proposing, validating and confirming a whole flowsheet to obtain highly value-added metals of Mg and Fe. In the meanwhile, the wastes, including CO2 and chloride leachates can be efficiently and effectively utilized and recycled to form a circular-economy. This led to successful fund-raising for his industrial partner, a pilot plant that is being built in Latrobe Valley, and a patent under application. Dr Zhou is also dedicated to flowsheeting, techno-economic analysis (TEA), which is critical for the implementation of any new industrial processes, using Aspen software and CSIRO-developed technologies.

Dr Liang Li

CERC Fellow, ENERGY

  • Dr Liang Li is a CERC Fellow with a special research focus on CO2 mineralization. Prior to joining CSIRO, he had been a postdoc at Aarhus University (Denmark) and UQ for one and a half years, studying CO2 capture and mineral storage in construction materials. Liang completed a doctorate degree in civil engineering from The University of Queensland in 2021. Liang’s other research interests include cement chemistry, supplementary cementitious materials, mine tailings, and cement-based composites.

Dr Yanlu Xing

Research Scientist, MINERAL RESOURCES

  • Yanlu completed his PhD at Monash University in 2019, specialized in Geochemistry and Economic Geology. In 2019-2021, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, USA, where he worked on deep ocean exploration projects. From 2021 to 2023, he took the role as the Lead Research Fellow for ARC Linkage Project at the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, working on in-situ Cu-leaching and chalcopyrite (CuFeS2, the predominant Cu ore mineral) carbonation using coupled dissolution-reprecipitation (CDR) reactions.
  • Yanlu joined CSIRO CarbonLock FSP as a Research Scientist in 2023 in the Carbon Mineralization team. Yanlu’s main focus will be investigating mechanisms and mineral textures of fluid-mineral reactions that are encountered in CO2 sequestration processes in natural rocks. Yanlu is an experienced geologist and geochemist. His research has been focusing on combining field geology, experimental and computational geochemistry in the study of mineral deposits, fluid-mineral reactions, and hydrothermal metal transportation in natural environments, applied to mineral exploration and processing. Yanlu has extensive experience working on multiple types of mineral ore deposits. He is expertized on the application of hydrothermal experiments and geochemical thermodynamic modelling to unravel fluid-mineral reaction mechanisms, identify key ore forming reactions and processes, and apply these to the development of new exploration tools and innovative mineral processing methods.

Dr Roger Latham

CERC Fellow, ENVIRONMENT

  • Dr Roger Latham joined CSIRO’s CarbonLock Future Science Platform in February 2023 as an “Impossible Without You” Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He comes with 18 years of experience in microbiology and molecular biology laboratories, and has undertaken commercial, biotechnology start-up and academic projects. His research has covered a large range of organism types and contexts, including bacterial and fungal enzyme production, bioreactors, epidemiology, food spoilage and poisoning, human respiratory pathogens, and fermented food and beverages. In addition to his research portfolio, he brings extensive experience as a university lecturer and teacher of science and mathematics. He has a particular interest in isolating microorganisms of commercial interest and improving their productivity in culture.
  • Roger obtained his PhD from the University of Tasmania’s School of Medicine in 2018 for his work on the development of a live probiotic for combating respiratory infections. It was during this project that he published his discovery of the structure and function of the novel protein, haemophilin, which is made by some strains of the commensal bacterium, Haemophilus haemolyticus. This protein was shown to inhibit pathogenic Haemophilus influenzae bacteria by restricting their access to haem. Because of the success of this project and the ongoing quest for finding better alternatives to antibiotics, this line of research continues to attract research funding.

Dr Haftom Weldekidan

CERC Fellow, MINERAL RESOURCES

  • Haftom is a CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Fellow who is part of the Carbon Lock FSP project on Solar Induced Mineralisation integrated with the Direct Air Capture Team. He was born and grew up in Ethiopia, Tigray where he completed his BSc at Mekelle University before moving to Tanzania to complete his MSc and subsequently, his PhD at Macquarie University. Until recently he was a Research Fellow at the University of Guelph in Canada and now moved to Perth to take up this opportunity. Haftom is excited to join CSIRO and making a ‘real world’ difference through his scientific endeavours. His interests away from the workplace include spending time with family, watching movies and playing table tennis.

Dr Santonu Sanyal

CERC Post Doctoral Fellow, ENVIRONMENT

  • With a PhD in Environmental Microbiology from the University of Adelaide, Santonu applies geomicrobiological techniques alongside cutting-edge OMICS methodologies to understand the microbial impact on global biogeochemical cycles. His primary focus lies in microbe-mineral interactions and microbial biomineralization processes. Previously, Santonu worked at the University of Adelaide and Monash University (as a Visiting Research Fellow) on various interdisciplinary research projects related to the biomineralization of heavy/novel metals. Throughout his academic journey, Santonu has immersed himself in research at the intersection of microbiology and geology, investigating microbial influences on mineral transformations, biogeochemical cycles and environmental remediation.
  • Santonu joined CSIRO CarbonLock FSP as a CERC Post-Doctoral fellow in 2023. Looking towards the future, Santonu’s research focus within the FSP will be exploring novel avenues for harnessing microbial processes (templating proteins) to accelerate Carbon biomineralization process i.e., enhance carbon storage. What excites him most about the FSP is the opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research addressing global challenges related to carbon capture and environmental sustainability. Santonu will apply his geomicrobiological expertise to explore the microbial and marine invertebrates’ contribution to carbon cycling and sequestration. He is enthusiastic about forging new collaborations to drive impactful and sustainable solutions to the forefront of scientific and environmental discourse.

Dr Harris Anderson

CERC Fellow, ENVIRONMENT

  • Harris Anderson joined the CarbonLock FSP as a CERC Fellow in November 2023. In this role Harris is interested in using model experiments that simulate biogeochemical processes in coastal regions to assess the feasibility of ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) as a marine carbon dioxide removal technology. Harris will use these model experiments to identify potential areas of geographical interest for ocean alkalinity enhancement and determine its impacts and limitations in an Australian context.
  • Harris gained his PhD from the University of Tasmania at the end of 2022. His research focussed on the role of the Southern Ocean in short-lived climate excursions of the last glacial period. He used geochemical techniques to quantify historical biogeochemical fluctuations that influenced Southern Ocean carbon cycling. He also used experimental output from global circulation models to identify changes in ocean circulation that contributed to rapid increases in atmospheric CO2. Recently, Harris has worked at CSIRO as a Hydrochemist aboard the RV Investigator to measure changes in oceanic macronutrient concentrations. Harris is excited about taking the knowledge and skills built during his PhD and while working at sea, and applying these to present and future climate-change scenarios.