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Our staff

Meet the team
Our experts help you get the most from our state–of-the-art tools and techniques.

Operations Team

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Professor Margaret Sunde, Academic Director

Professor Margaret Sunde is from Pharmacology within the School of Medical Sciences.

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Dr Peter Southon, Operations Manager

Background
Peter’s scientific background is in materials chemistry, with over 15 years’ experience as a postdoctoral researcher and laboratory manager. He has a particular interest in characterisation of the properties and structure of novel microporous materials such as coordination frameworks and metal-organic frameworks.

Role
As Operations Manager, Peter’s job is to know a little bit about everything and keep the cogs turning in the background. He has general oversight of administration, reporting, finance, policy, procurement and outreach.

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Miranda Samsa-Knapp, Administration Officer

Background 
Miranda has worked as an Educational Designer, and a Teacher and Learning Coordinator at the University of Sydney since 2012. She completed her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Communications in 2008 and is currently studying a Master of Education. She has a strong interest in updating and automating processes to improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace. 

Role
As Administration Officer, Miranda’s main role is to support the Operations Manager with supporting Sydney Analytical staff, and to improve and streamline operational management systems, processes and best practices.

Vibrational Spectroscopy team

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Dr Elizabeth Carter, Facility Manager, Vibrational Spectroscopy

Background
Liz has worked at the University since 2000 and has had the opportunity to assist researchers from a wide range of fields. This exposure has strongly influenced her own research interests which include microplastics, natural glasses (obsidian, tektites, fulgurites), hard and soft biological materials (cells, tissues, teeth, hair, wool) and cultural heritage objects (ceramics, coffins, textiles, pigments, manuscripts). 
OrcID

Role
Liz is the manager of the Sydney Analytical Vibrational Spectroscopy node which is the largest facility of its type in Australia.  Liz is responsible for all day-to-day management and operating activities. She also provides advice, research support and assistance to researchers, students and other technical staff working in the facility.

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Dr Michelle Wood, Senior Technical Officer, Vibrational Spectroscopy

Background
Dr Wood gained a BSc (Hons) in Analytical Chemistry – Forensic Science at UTS before moving to The University of Sydney to begin a PhD in bio-inorganic chemistry. After completing her PhD she joined the Vibrational Spectroscopy Core Facility, which has since become part of Sydney Analytical. Dr Wood has experience in a wide a range of analytical and microscopic techniques, including vibrational spectroscopy, XPS, XRF, UV-Vis, AFM and fluorescence microscopy, as well as data analysis and chemometric techniques.

Role
Dr Wood assists in running of the vibrational spectroscopy laboratories and training users on all instruments including the XPS and nano-FTIR. She is also Sydney Analytical’s primary contact for commercial engagements and the safety officer for vibrational spectroscopy.

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Dr Sarah Kelloway, Professional Officer, Vibrational Spectroscopy, CaP Labratory

Background
Dr. Kelloway has varied experience across a range of techniques and associated sample preparation, including vibrational spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, combustion analyses, X-ray diffraction and petrography, with over a decade of experience in X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Having completed her undergraduate degrees (B.Sc., B.A.) and PhD at Sydney University, Dr. Kelloway has worked primarily in analytical chemistry laboratories at Sydney University and the University of New South Wales (XRF laboratory), whilst also mainintaing active research interests in the field of archaeological science.

Role
Dr. Kelloway works in the Vibrational Spectroscopy Facility, Sydney Analytical, providing research support and assisting with the operation and maintenance of instrumentation, specifically Raman, Infrared and XRF spectrometers and the K-Alpha XPS/UPS system. She also works in the Cutting and Polishing (CaP) Laboratory providing sample preparation services and supporting students and researchers with their sample prep needs

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Dr Joonsup Lee, Staff Scientist, Vibrational Spectroscopy

Background
Dr Lee completed his bachelor’s in applied chemistry (Forensic Chemistry, Honours) at the University of Technology Sydney. He then moved to The University of Sydney where he completed his PhD in Chemistry, investigating the application of vibrational spectroscopic techniques to disease diagnostics and pathogenesis.

Role
Dr Lee can assist with all aspects of research involving vibrational spectroscopy from the design of experiments, sampling protocols, instrument training and data analysis including complex chemometric techniques. He has expertise with almost all of the instruments and accessories available within the facility.

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Thérèse Harrison, Professional Officer, Museum Analyses

Background
Thérèse has a background in Fine Arts and Chemistry. She specialises in the analysis of Cultural Heritage across a number of analytical techniques including vibrational and X-ray spectroscopy.

Role
Thérèse acts as the liaison between Sydney University Museums and Sydney Analytical. She offers training and support to internal and external users working in the field of Cultural Heritage. With an emphasis on non-destructive analysis, Thérèse provides researchers with assistance in the development and application of techniques suitable to the varied needs of different artefacts and materials using both portable and benchtop instrumentation to help achieve high quality research outcomes.

David Mitchell, Professional Officer, CaP Laboratory

Background
David commenced at the University of Sydney Marine Studies Centre moving to Geology and then Geoscience with the move to the Madsen Building.  Marine geophysics (underwater imaging) was his full time role evolving to more general fieldwork. Rockwork became part of his portfolio when the Madsen facility was refurbished.  

Role
The Cutting and Polishing (CaP) Laboratory cuts rocks half as thick as human hair (30 microns) allowing examination under polarised light. David has started back, part time, with Sydney Analytical to invigorate rock sample preparation for the variety of scanners at Sydney Analytical.  

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Ahmed Ahmed, Professional Officer

Background
Ahmed obtained his PhD degree in chemistry from the University of Sydney in 2020 with a background in surface chemistry and numerous publications and awards. Overseas, he conducted research in three universities which included MIT in the USA, KFUPM in Saudi Arabia and BSU in Egypt. Ahmed has worked and collaborated with scientists, engineers, and industrialists from numerous disciplines. Ahmed’s area of expertise includes surface chemistry, nano-engineered surfaces, thin films, surface coatings, materials chemistry and synthesis and characterisation of surfaces and materials. Ahmed has expertise in using the following chemical and physical characterisation instruments: AFM, SEM, AFM-Raman (TERS), XPS, QCM, ellipsometry, goniometry, FTIR spec, Raman spec, UV-Vis spec, NMR, EPR, particle sizer, XRD, XRF, TGA, DSC, and STA-FTIR.

Role
Ahmed provides research support and assisting with the operation and maintenance of state-of-the-art instrumentation in the Vibrational Spectroscopy, Magnetic Resonance and X-rays nodes in Sydney Analytical. My work responsibilities include working on commercial projects, developing new analytical protocols, reviewing, and amending safety documents, mentoring and supervising users on instruments.

X-ray techniques team

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Dr William Lewis, Facility Manager, X-ray techniques

Background
William graduated with a BSc(Hons) with a project under Professor Ward Robinson and PhD  with Professor Peter Steel, both in Chemistry at the University of Canterbury. Following a short postdoctoral position with Professor Steel, he moved to the School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham as Manager of the Crystal Structure Service in 2008. He was promoted to Senior Research Fellow in 2014. In 2018 he moved to the University of Sydney to take up the role of Core Facility Manager: X-ray in Sydney Analytical and the School of Chemistry.

Role
William is the manager of the X-ray arm of Sydney Analytical, and an expert in small molecule X-ray diffraction.

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Dr Paul Fitzgerald, Professional Officer, X-ray Techniques

Background
Paul did his PhD at the University of Sydney in soft-matter and complex fluids, predominantly studied through small angle scattering and atomic force microscopy.  He has expertise in the structure and behaviour of surfactant micelles, lyotropic liquid crystals, self-assembling polymer solutions, polymer latices, proteins in solution, microgels, emulsions and foams.

Role
Paul provides instruction, training and support for the X-ray instruments in Sydney Analytical with a particular focus on Small and Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS/WAXS).

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Dr Samuel Duyker, Professional Officer, X-ray Techniques

Background
Sam completed a PhD at the University of Sydney, after which he undertook post-doctoral work at ANSTO and Oxford before returning to Sydney on a Gritton Fellowship in the School of Chemistry. His experience lies in the physical and chemical characterisation of advanced functional materials with a focus on in situ experiments under non-ambient conditions.

Role
Sam supports researchers using X-ray powder diffraction techniques at Sydney Analytical. This includes training users in instrument operation and data analysis, including database matching and Rietveld refinements.

Drug Discovery team

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Dr Toby Passioura, Facility Manager, Drug Discovery

Background
Dr Passioura conducts research at the interface of chemistry and biology with a focus on drug discovery.  After completing his PhD, he worked in the pharmaceutical sector before returning to academia with roles at the University of Tokyo and, more recently, the University of Sydney.

Role
Dr Passioura is responsible for all aspects of cyclic peptide drug discovery as part of both the University of Sydney’s Drug Discovery Initiative and Sydney Analytical. This includes both ultra-high-throughput screening and technology development.

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Dr Lorna Wilkinson-White, Staff Scientist, Fragment based Drug Discovery

Background
Lorna has a BSc (Hons I) and PhD from the University of Sydney. Following her PhD, she spent eight years as a postdoctoral researcher in the field of protein structural biology, characterising a variety of protein:protein and protein:nucleic acid complexes. Since 2016 she has helped set up and manage the Fragment Based Drug Discovery (FBDD) platform at Sydney University, which has been part of Sydney Analytical since 2018.

Role
Lorna’s main role is to carry out FBDD screens for internal research groups as well as for the wider Sydney researcher community on a variety of protein targets. These screens are carried out using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) techniques. She also works with researchers to characterise protein:protein, protein:nucleic acid and protein:small molecule interactions using NMR, SPR, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC) and in-silico docking methodologies. Additionally, she runs NMR-based metabolomics analysis on a variety of sample types.

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Dr Mario Torrado del Rey, Staff Scientist, Protein Production

Background
Dr. Mario Torrado del Rey joined Sydney Analytical after a three-year postdoctoral experience in Prof Joel Mackay's laboratory, where he was working in protein structure, function and interactions, focusing on the improvement of the protein production stage. Mario completed his BSc in Biochemistry (2002) and his PhD in Molecular Biology (2012) at the Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain. His PhD work studied the stability-function relationship in homeodomains, in Dr. Juan Luis Asensio’s lab.

Role
Mario is a Staff Scientist at Protein Production and Characterisation (PPC) in the Drug Discovery node of Sydney Analytical. He is focused on helping scientists with their protein-related research problems, either training them or performing experiments for them. Mario has extensive experience with three expression hosts to produce recombinant proteins: bacteria, insect cells and mammalian cells. He is also skilled in protein purification methods, circular dichroism and other protein analysis techniques, and can provide advice on molecular biology solutions.

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Dr Chandrika Deshpande, Staff Scientist, Protein Production

Background
Chandrika completed her PhD from Macquarie University with Dr. Bridget where her research involved using stages of structural genomics to study proteins from the lateral gene transfer system in bacteria. Following this, Chandrika joined Dr. Mika Jormakka’s structural biology group in Centenary Institute, Sydney, where she worked on structural and functional characterization of important bacterial and eukaryotic membrane proteins for 7 years. During this period, she received the National Breast Cancer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and the University of Sydney Early Career Researcher’s grant. Prior to her PhD Chandrika worked as a Research Scientist at the Institute of Bioinformatics (India) on a wide variety of projects involving comparative genomics-based analysis.

Role
Chandrika is a staff scientist in the Protein Production and Characterisation (PPC) node. Chandrika is a biochemist and molecular biologist with a strong background in protein research. Chandrika’s role is to provide expert advice and technical support to assist researchers and train new users in a wide variety of experimental techniques including recombinant protein expression (bacterial and insect), protein purification, functional characterization and structural studies using x-ray crystallography. In addition, she also has the expertise in working with the more challenging and difficult membrane proteins.

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Angela Nikolic, Laboratory Manager, Drug Discovery

Background
Angela Nikolic has had extensive experience in all aspects of Lab Management and management of WHS issues in Molecular Biology/ Structural Biology focussed research labs based at the University of Sydney.

Role
Angela Nikolic is responsible for the Lab Management and Management of WHS issues in the Structural Biology Labs of University of Sydney together with managing the same for the University of Sydney’s Drug Discovery Initiative and Sydney Analytical arm based in the Molecular Bioscience Building (G08).

NMR team

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Dr Ian Luck, Facility Manager, Magnetic Resonance

Background
Ian has a background in organometallic and organic chemistry, having worked with analytical and spectroscopic techniques in industry and the tertiary research sector. He has more than 20 years’ experience in managing NMR and EPR facilities and has interests in heteronuclear NMR methods and small molecule and natural product characterisation by NMR.

Role
Ian is the manager of the Magnetic Resonance node and has overall responsibility for the management and functioning of Sydney Analytical’s NMR and EPR capabilities. He provides specialist support for research activities in magnetic resonance, with  particular focus on small molecule and chemical applications of NMR. 

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Dr Biswaranjan Mohanty, Staff Scientist, Biomolecular NMR

Background
Completing both Bachelor and Master of Science (Physics) at Utkal University in India, Biswaranjan undertook his Ph.D. in Soft Condensed Matter Physics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Before joining the University of Sydney, he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University for 10 years and a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Nobel Laureate Professor Kurt Wüthrich at Scripps Research in the USA for almost four years. His research work at Monash and Scripps primarily involved:

  1. Fast structure determination of proteins and protein-ligand complexes using solution NMR spectroscopy;
  2. CPMG relaxation dispersion NMR studying protein dynamics (micro–millisecond timescales);
  3. Fast NMR data acquisition using non-uniform sampling and processing
  4. High-throughput small-molecule screening using ligand/protein detected NMR experiments to design inhibitors of various diseases related protein targets;
  5. NMR quality control and structure elucidation of small-molecule ligands in aqueous/non-aqueous solutions

Role
Biswaranjan role at Sydney Analytical, University of Sydney provides management and supervision of biomolecular NMR laboratory facilities (1H frequencies of 400/600/800 MHz), including planning, training, data collection, analysis, and reporting in support of both internal and external users. In addition, Biswaranjan is looking forward to collaboration with various academic and industry partners with his vast research expertise on solution NMR spectroscopy

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Ahmad Nassar, Instrumentation Engineer, NMR

Background
Ahmad has a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, he graduated in 2008 from Cairo University, Egypt, and started his career as a field service engineer in 2009 in the healthcare and medical equipment sector. He has experience working on medical systems and equipment including anesthesia, life support and critical care systems, patient monitoring, incubators, medical beds, bed head units, ultrasound, dermatology and laser systems. He has experience working with Picture Archiving and Communication Systems PACS, Radiology Information Systems RIS, and Hospital Information System HIS using DICOM, HL7 and other medical, laboratory and healthcare standards. Ahmad’s roles have included planned preventative maintenance, troubleshooting, corrective repair and installation of biomedical equipment and integration with healthcare IT infrastructure.

Role
Ahmad joined Sydney Analytical as an Instrumentation Engineer, his role is to provide technical maintenance and support for diverse scientific instrumentation and support specialist applications to best meet the requirements of the Core Research Facilities. Ahmad’s role is focused supporting the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometers, with an extension of support to all Sydney Analytical equipment and instruments.