Invited speakers

Dr James M. Birch (Keynote)

Director of the Surf Centre
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, California, United States

Jim Birch joined MBARI in April, 2007 as the Instrument Group Leader in the Engineering department. While overseeing engineers developing instrument systems for oceanographic research, he became the project manager for the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) project, begun by P.I. Chris Scholin in the early 2000’s. In November 2009 he moved into his current role as Director of the SURF Center (Sensors: Underwater Research of the Future). In this role he oversees all aspects of the ESP project.

Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu (Keynote)

Chief Engineer of Mobility and Robotics Systems Section, Product Delivery Manager, for the InSight Mars Mission Instrument Deployment System, Instrument Deployment System Operations Team Chief and Technical Group Supervisor of Robotics Systems Group at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech

Dr Trebi-Ollennu received the 2008 NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal for his contributions to the Mars Exploration Rover mission, and the 2007 Outstanding Engineer Award from IEEE Region 6. Also in 2007, Ashitey received the Sir Monty Finniston Achievement Medal from Institution of Engineering and Technology, U.K., and in 2010, he won the Specialist Silver Award from the Royal Aeronautical Society, U.K.

Prof Dr Alberto Elfes

Chief Research Scientist, Science Leader for the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO Data61

Dr Alberto Elfes has a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU), USA, where he developed the Occupancy Grid framework for robot mapping and navigation.

Before joining CSIRO in 2011, he held a number of senior positions, including Director of the Brazilian Automation Institute and Principal Researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Alberto has led projects in autonomous aerial, ocean and ground robots for Earth science missions and planetary exploration. His current research interests include 3D multi-modal perception, legged robots for extreme terrain, science rovers, and new robot concepts enabled by advances in materials science.

Dr Pascal Craw

Research Scientist, CSIRO

Dr Pascal Craw’s research interests are centred around the development of automated technology for environmental monitoring across microbial genomics, PCR, and genetic barcoding.

Advances in genomic science and molecular biology offer many powerful tools for understanding the environment. Unfortunately most of these methods require significant training and hardware which limits their ability to be used in the field or deployed remotely. Pascal’s work relates to the miniaturisation and automation of environmental monitoring tools to facilitate remote monitoring and high temporal and spatial resolution studies.

Dr Beatriz Prieto-Simon

Senior Research Fellow, Drug Delivery Deposition & Dynamics
Monash University

After several years of broad international research experience in the fields of biosensors, nanotechnology, materials science, bioengineering and electrochemistry, Beatriz’s research over the last years has unveiled fundamental advances on synergies at the interface of nanostructured materials and biological processes that lay the foundation to build smart platforms based on principles found in nature.

One of Beatriz’s main research interests is focused on pushing the boundaries of the design, fabrication and uses of bio-inspired nanochannel platforms to allow sequential detection of target analytes required to solve intricate research questions. This is a novel approach not attempted yet by other sensing platforms and thus will be used to tackle complex sensing issues which are expected to have a major impact on disease prevention and management, environmental control and food safety.