Research scientists

veena nagaraj

Dr Veena Nagaraj

Research Scientist, ENVIRONMENT

  • Veena Nagaraj joined CarbonLock 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 CarbonLock 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 his PhD, Yongqiang was employed at the University of Manchester researching solute transport at with synchrotron X-ray scanning. On his research journey, Yongqiang developed a strong interest in subsurface gas storage. Its broad applications and fascinating scientific problems led him to a position focusing on carbon mineralisation in CarbonLock. 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.
Nouman Mizra

Mr Nouman Mirza

Process Engineer – Projects Officer, Zero Emissions, ENERGY

  • Nouman Mirza is part of a a research group at CSIRO, Sustainable Carbon Technologies, 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

  • Song Zhou’s research focuses on CO2 mineralisation, i.e. the integration of CO2 capture, utilisation and conversion with solid waste valorisation processing, such as coal fly ash, chloride waste and municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration ash. In addition to intensive lab research, Dr Zhou has rich experience in industrial project management and execution as well as strong leadership. He has maintained 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


  • Liang Li is a CERC Fellow with a special research focus on CO2 mineralisation. 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 Xing joined CarbonLock as a Research Scientist in 2023 in the Carbon Mineralisation team. Yanlu completed his PhD at Monash University in 2019, specialising 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’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


  • Roger Latham joined CarbonLock in February 2023 as a 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


  • Haftom Weldekidan joins CarbonLock as a CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Fellow. Hafton works on the Solar Induced Mineralisation integrated with the Direct Air Capture project. 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


  • Santonu Sanyal joined CarbonLock as a CERC Post-Doctoral fellow in 2023. 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 biomineralisation 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 biomineralisation 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.
  • 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


  • Harris Anderson joined CarbonLock 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.

Dr Jessica Jein White (Jess White)


  • Jessica Jein White earned her PhD from Griffith University in the topic, ‘Using Computational Simulations to Understand the Properties of Nanoscale Zerovalent Iron for Groundwater Remediation’. Currently, she is a CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) postdoctoral fellow and is a member of the Mineral Resources team based in Kensington Perth. As part of CarbonLock, Jessica is working on understanding the reaction between CO2 and specific rocks, resulting in the formation of solid carbonate minerals. She is dedicated to accelerating the slow nature of the mineralisation process. Leveraging computational chemistry calculations, Jessica conducts molecular simulations of mineral carbonation under varying conditions to uncover practical methods for accelerating the process.
  • Jessica integrates molecular dynamics with machine learning to develop forcefields for precise calculations. Beyond her immediate research, she harbours a profound interest in quantum computing, foreseeing its transformative impact on the landscape of computational chemistry in the years to come.

Dr Thomas Ray Jones


  • Thomas Ray Jones is a geomicrobiologist specialising in carbon bio-mineralisation, bioleaching, and AMD treatment – with a more recent focus on precipitating microbially-catalysed-carbonate in mined material as a method for on-site carbon sequestration. Completing his PhD in 2023 at the University of Queensland, Thomas’ work has always revolved around the upscaling of microbially based techniques to be used in industrial settings. Previously, Thomas has worked across a range of commodities around the world (REE/Ni in Australia, Fe in Brazil), most recently working with the De Beers Group in South Africa. To better understand the complex microbe-mineral interactions taking place in nature, Thomas utilizes numerous advanced techniques – being highly experienced in Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray Fluorescence Mapping.
  • Thomas joined CarbonLock in 2024 and is primarily focused on enhancing natural rates of rock weathering via microbial activity – to both accelerate carbon sequestration and nutrient availability in agricultural soils. Alongside this, Thomas is also investigating using bio-mineralising microbes for in-situ and ex-situ long-term carbon storage in WA, a process he has used in the past to achieve accelerated carbonation rates in diamond mine residues.

Dr Esmaeel Eftekharian


  • Esmaeel Eftekharian is currently a CERC postdoctoral fellow at CSIRO specialising in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). With a PhD in Infrastructure Engineering from Western Sydney University in 2020, he was honoured with the prestigious CIB Best Doctoral Thesis Award for his thesis in the bushfire modelling area. Before his current role, he completed a three-year postdoctoral position at UNSW Sydney. Esmaeel’s research interests include computational fluid dynamics, bushfire modelling, fire and wind engineering, multiphase flow, pollutant dispersion, and flow-induced noise problems. He has published more than 13 journal articles in esteemed journals and presented his findings at major conferences in the field. He is recognised as a regular reviewer of renowned international journals in his area.
  • Since January 2024, he has brought his expertise in CFD modelling into his current role at CarbonLock. Esmaeel will develop advanced numerical simulation capabilities based on CFD modelling for Direct Air Capture (DAC) units. The project aims to optimise these units with a view to upscaling the technology in Australia, with consideration of future climate change and associated environmental impacts.

Dr Eduardo Gorron Gomez

Microbiologist, ENVIRONMENT

  • Eduardo Gorron Gomez is a microbiologist from Colombia who joined CarbonLock in February 2024 and works on the AIR2Carbon project. He has expertise in recombinant protein production in microalgae and related technoeconomic analysis. Eduardo completed his Masters at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia where he worked with microalgae resistant to high salinity and irradiance. His PhD was in Microalgae Biotechnology at The University of Queensland and has worked in recombinant production industry using microalgae.
  • For Eduardo, CarbonLock is an exciting opportunity to use his recombinant DNA skills in promising strains for carbon capture into recalcitrant compounds. CSIRO is the perfect place to achieve a connection of a science-based product with industry. He also wants to implement his expertise in technoeconomic analysis to evaluate the most viable products using microalgae-based carbon capture. He hopes that industry start to see the potential of microalgae as a biotechnological platform for products with several applications.

Dr Dazhi Yao


  • Dazhi Yao joined CarbonLock as a CERC Fellow in March 2024. His background is in the scope of electrochemistry, electrocatalysis and electroanalytic chemistry, particularly on the modulation on electrode/electrolyte interfaces for electrochemical biosensors and electrocatalysis. Dahzi got his PhD degree in 2022 from the University of Adelaide. Before joining CSIRO, Dazhi was working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) on controllable design of nanomaterials for electrocatalysis.