Our research team

Leader, Environomics Future Science Platform

  • A unifying theme in Olly’s research is the use of DNA and “genomics” to provide scientific insights that support environmental management.

    Over the past 15 years Olly has researched such diverse topics as the ecology of fox control, change in marine food-webs, the evolution of bizarre subterranean creatures, the relationship between farming and biodiversity and more.

    Olly’s work has provided several important technical innovations in applied ecological research, has been featured in university textbooks, and informed government policy.

    The highlight of Olly’s role as director of the Environomics FSP is working with a motivated, collaborative, diverse and multidisciplinary team – and seeing their hard work and clever thinking pay off with the creation of innovative new ways to do environmental science.

Project Lead: Museum epigenomics

  • Clare is a Research Scientist at the Australian National Wildlife Collection, within National Research Collections Australia CSIRO. Her research is on sex chromosome genomics and molecular ecology.

    She has published multiple refereed scientific papers, including cover articles in the journals Nature, Nature Genetics and GigaScience. She received the 2014 ACT Young Tall Poppy Award for research excellence, public engagement and scientific leadership in Australia.

Project Lead: High-throughput collection genomics of highly variable DNA samples

  • Andreas joined CSIRO in 2014, taking on his current research position as research team leader of the Phylogenomics Team at the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC). In this role he runs the ANIC's molecular laboratory, overseas the research in the Lepidoptera collection and leads the Environomics Future Science Platform project 'Mobilising collections through genomics'.

Dr Cindy Bessey

Novel eDNA Collection Technology Enabling Bio-monitoring and Estimation of Species Abundance

  • Cindy Bessey is a marine ecologist whose current work focusses on advancing environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques for successful implementation into bio-monitoring programs. She has a keen interest in understanding the role of lower trophic level organisms in sustaining diverse, productive and healthy ecosystems. Cindy’s research projects and collaborations have included obtaining baseline data in coastal and offshore systems in order to evaluate risks from both anthropogenic and natural pressures, investigating trophic interactions in threatened seagrass ecosystems, evaluating how commercially important fish populations are affected by varying environmental conditions, and assessing the risk that genetically modified fish pose to the natural environment.

    She currently works as part of the Environomics Future Science Platform team at the CSIRO Ecological Genetics laboratory in Perth, Western Australia . Her international employment experience includes positions with the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in California, USA, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in British Columbia, Canada.

Project Lead: Accelerating bio-discovery: a collection genomics pipeline for high-throughput target enrichment

  • Alexander's research interests include the systematics and evolution of flowering plants, in particular of Asteraceae (daisy family), biogeography, user-friendly plant identification tools including AI image recognition, and polyploidy.

    He uses DNA sequence data to resolve phylogenetic relationships of native Australian plants as well as introduced weeds, in the latter case to assist CSIRO Health & Biosecurity with planning of host specificity tests. His phylogenetic research uses target capture, a lab method that enriches hundreds of genes for sequencing. The Environomics project led by Alexander aims to make this approach more efficient and reduce costs.

    Alexander studied biology at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and obtained a doctorate with research on the South American mint genus Minthostachys. After postdoctoral work at the University of Halle and the University of Zürich he joined CSIRO in 2010.

Project Lead: Exploring the Biodiscovery Potential of Natural History Collections

  • Juanita Rodriguez is a research scientist at the Australian National Insect Collection.. Her research focuses on the use of morphological, chemical and molecular data to study the diversification, evolution, biogeography and systematics of terrestrial arthropods.

    Current projects include the molecular phylogenetics and venom evolution in Australian spider wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae), velvet ants (Mutillidae) and millipedes (Diplopoda) and the exploration of bioactive molecules in natural history collection specimens.

    She grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, where she obtained her B.Sc and M.Sc degrees at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. In 2014 she obtained her Ph.D. at Utah State University. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Auburn University between 2014-2016. In August, 2016 she joined CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection.

Dr Pierre Feutry

Project Lead: Close-Kin Mark-recapture: widening the scope with new genomics

  • Pierre is an evolutionary ecologist with interests in fisheries management, shark conservation and tropical aquatic systems. He has a background in genetics/genomics as well as fish biology and otolith microstructure/microchemistry.

    In recent years his research has mostly focused on developing new tools to better understand population connectivity and population size. This includes improvement of genetic resources for the exciting Close-Kin Mark-Recapture method as well as development of new tools for more classic population genetics.

Dr Yosephine Gumulya

Project Lead: Metagenomic mining of riboswitches for construction of RNA-based biosensors

  • Dr Yosephine Gumulya is a research scientist with CSIRO Land and Water. She has a degree in Food Technology (2004) from Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia) and a Master of Biotechnology (2007) from Technical University Hamburg Harburg (Germany). She completed her PhD in 2010 at Max Planck Institute for Coal Research (Germany), where she learned how to engineer new enzymes for production of pharmaceuticals, including computational design, smart library designs and high throughput screening strategies.

    After spending 1.5 years working in the food industry in Spain, she decided to pursue an academic career by doing postdoctoral research in the lab of Prof Elizabeth Gillam and A. Prof. Mikael Boden in the University of Queensland (Australia), where she learned how to resurrect ancestral proteins and study their evolution. In 2016, she obtained Endeavour Research Fellowship to visit Prof Frances Arnold’s lab in California Institute of Technology (US). In 2017, she joined CSIRO on a synthetic biology project, trying to expand the capability on microbial (extremophiles) engineering for biomining applications. Her research has focused on protein engineering, metabolic engineering, microbial engineering, ancestral protein reconstruction, and transcription network engineering.

    She is particularly interested in understanding how protein function has evolved in Nature and used that information as guidance to design better proteins/microbes/biosensor for various industrial applications. She has recently expanded her capabilities into the space technology, trying to engineer microbes for extracting minerals from planetary bodies and to environmental genomics, trying to design RNA-based biosensor for heavy metal pollutant detection, respectively.

Project Lead: The CSIRO Stopwatch: A Pan-Animal Epigenetic Clock

  • Yi Jin is currently a Research Scientist in the Molecular Diagnostics Solutions group in CSIRO, attempting to squeeze public datasets for promising cancer biomarkers. He thinks that well-visualised data speaks ten thousand words.

    Prior to that, he was a postdoc at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, where he studied DNA methylation in corals (and regrets never mastering diving despite working on corals AND living by the Red Sea). He graduated with a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge, but has, over the years, swapped the pipette for a keyboard.

Project Lead: Measuring animal age with DNA methylation

  • Benjamin Mayne is molecular biologist/bioinformatician with expertise in epigenetics and next generation sequencing. Benjamin's PhD research focused on DNA methylation an epigenetic modification, known for its regulation of gene expression and association with aging.

    Currently, Benjamin is working on developing non-invasive aging assays using DNA methylation in a broad variety of vertebrates. This project will focus on reducing cost and efficiency of aging assays in a wide variety of species and has the potential to improve wildlife management.