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Our staff

Meet the team
The Sydney Informatics Hub brings together experts from diverse analytical and technical backgrounds to assist you with your research goals.

Leadership

Professional headshot of Associate Professor Tom Bishop

Professor Tom Bishop, Academic Director

Tom Bishop is an associate professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, and mainly teaches in the field of data science. His research interests are in modelling and predicting the variation of environmental properties in space and time with an emphasis on applying this to the domains of soil, agriculture and hydrology.

View academic profile

Michele Collins, Operations Manager

Informatics

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Dr Gordon McDonald, Group Lead

gordon.mcdonald@sydney.edu.au

LinkedIn | GitHub | Google Scholar | ResearchGate

Gordon’s background is in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (PhB, Australian National University, Uni Medal 2009), and he completed his PhD experimental quantum mechanics (2015) at the Australian National University, in which he developed compact new designs of quantum sensors to detect gravity with part-per-billion accuracy. Since joining SIH as a data scientist in 2016, he has been applying machine learning and Bayesian statistical techniques to:

  • Heath-related projects with the Westmead Institute of Medical Research, the Woolcock Institute, and Sydney Children’s hospital.
  • Developing a software tool to streamline the process of analyzing metabolites through High Pressure Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (HPLC-MS) at the Charles Perkins Centre.
  • Financial and occupational transition modelling for the NSW Department of Industry’s Smart and Skilled program for Vocational education and training.
  • Other projects involving dental health, electoral and demographic data, chemical concentration simulations, animal behaviour modelling and reviews on internet sales websites.

Gordon is part of the university’s Statistical Consulting Service as well as being a qualified Software Carpentry instructor, delivering hands-on training on behalf of SIH.

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Dr Chao Sun, Group Lead

chao.sun@sydney.edu.au

LinkedIn

With a background in electronics engineering, Chao has been working in the digital humanities for several years. As the Data Scientist of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at this university, Chao created strong relationships with researchers, consulting on diverse research projects, to identify and collect large scale data sources, prototype data science techniques, and develop visualisations for researchers.

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Dr Sebastian Haan, Data Scientist

ResearchGate

Seb joined the University of Sydney in 2016 as a research data engineer and specialises in machine learning and data visualisation methods. With a background in particle and astrophysics (PhD, University of Heidelberg, Germany), his career is built on international research positions at the California Institute of Technology (USA), CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science (Sydney), the Max-Planck-Institute (Heidelberg, Germany), and the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY, Hamburg). He has published and peer-reviewed in several major scientific journals. Having long term experience in analysing a wide range of complex data, he is keen on tackling new challenges in the rapidly changing field of machine learning for a large variety of data science applications. His latest research focuses on probabilistic models to explain and predict the occurrence of crime as well as novel 3D image processing methods for astronomical instruments. Besides data science and research, he enjoys to take things apart - but can’t always put them together again.

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Dr Henry Lydecker, Data Scientist

Henry has a background in ecology and public health research, but today he helps empower researchers at the university through his expertise in statistical analysis, data visualization, geospatial modellings, and cutting-edge machine learning techniques including computer vision and natural language processing. Outside of work, he’s passionate about food, fitness, and photography. He’s also a massive coffee nerd, and spends a lot of his time making, drinking, and thinking about coffee.

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Marius Mather, Data Scientist

Marius is a data scientist and statistician with a background in psychology and mental health research. He has a Master of Biostatistics from the University of Sydney and previously worked at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use as a biostatistician. Marius is passionate about making data science more accessible to researchers in a variety of fields through the use of open source tools. His interests are statistical and causal inference, open and reproducible science, machine learning and Bayesian statistics.

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Dr Darya Vanichkina, Data Scientist & Data Analytics Trainer

darya.vanichkina@sydney.edu.au

LinkedIn | GitHub | Google Scholar | Twitter

Darya is a data scientist with a biology background and experience in big data, machine learning, and statistics. She is a Software and Data Carpentry instructor and contributor, passionate about using evidence-based teaching practices to develop courses around quantitative skills, programming and reproducible research methodologies for researchers and non-technical audiences. Darya holds a PhD in Bioinformatics and Genomics from the University of Queensland, and is a Specialist Biochemist with a major in Molecular Biology. At SIH, Darya’s role is that of Data Analytics Trainer, working across the different faculties of the University to develop and deliver data science focussed discipline-specific workshops.

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Zheng (Elevn) Li, Data Science Software Engineer

elevn.li@sydney.edu.au

LinkedIn |

Elevn is a data science software engineer at SIH, with a background of renewable energy engineering and information technology. Before getting on board, he had 2.5 years of industry experience as a software engineer, where he got exposed to full stack web development (Python|Django|PostgreSQL|React/Angular) and variety of cloud services (Azure). Elevn is passionate about different research domains and loves designing and building resilient architecture under different infrastructures.

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Dr Nathaniel Butterworth, Senior Informatics Technical Officer (Visualisation)

nathaniel.butterworth@sydney.edu.au

LinkedIn | GitHub

Nathan has worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the EarthByte group at the University of Sydney. Here he learned the crafts of data mining and machine learning on big data projects. Prior to this he completed a PhD in geosciences entitled, “The dynamics of subduction and its tectonic implications”. Before pursuing geophysics he received his BSc from the University of Wollongong in 2008 and his honours in astrophysics from the University of Sydney in 2009. Between his postdoc and starting at SIH in July 2017, Nathan spent 2 years travelling the world with a telescope and engaging the global community with just how cool science is. Now he returns to the academic world to enable and inspire researchers to embrace the services of the Sydney Informatics Hub.

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Kristian Maras, Senior Informatics Technical Officer (Modelling and Simulation)

kristian.maras@sydney.edu.au

Kristian is passionate about applied mathematical modelling, including optimisation and complex systems. He holds a Masters in Science - Mathematical and Statistical Modelling (UTS). His career in academia covers transdisciplinary research consulting in Energy and Sustainability, building models to guide efficient use of resources, data analysis and geospatial mapping.

Prior to that he has a commercial background in both Energy and Finance markets and originally studied a double degree in Commerce - Actuarial studies and Applied Finance (Macquarie University).

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Michael Lynch, Research Engineer Group Lead

LinkedIn | GitHub

Mike is a software engineer with over ten years experience providing specialised support for research, with expertise in research data management, open standards for data repositories and data publication and the application of modern IT development and deployment practices to research software. He has experience in full-stack web development in Python and JavaScript, machine learning, natural language processing and data visualisation, and is interested in digital humanities and functional programming.

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Dr Tracy Chew, Bioinformatics Group Lead

tracy.chew@sydney.edu.au

Tracy enjoys developing fast, scalable big data analytics workflows on commercial cloud and national high performance computing facilities. She has a background in animal health, genomics and bioinformatics having completed her Bachelor’s degree in Animal and Veterinary Bioscience (Hons I, USyd) and her PhD (USyd) on canine de novo mutations and Mendelian disorders. Since joining the Sydney Informatics Hub in 2017, she has been involved in human health (influenza, sepsis, pancreatitis, cancer research), metagenomics, plant ‘omics (food security) and Australian wildlife and conservation research.  She has developed fast and scalable workflows including germline and somatic variant calling, de novo genome and transcriptome assembly and RNA sequencing pre-processing.

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Dr Cali Willet, Senior Research Bioinformatician

cali.willet@sydney.edu.au

Cali is a bioinformatician at the Sydney Informatics Hub. She completed her PhD in animal genomics and computational biology in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. She is interested in the genetics of disease in humans and animals, and how cutting edge genomic technologies are rapidly increasing our ability to understand complex biologies and phenotypes, in particular large scale genomic rearrangements. Currently she is working on optimising mammalian genomics pipelines to facilitate higher sample throughput on HPC, to be applied to diverse projects including human cancers and livestock studies.

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Dr Nandan Deshpande, Senior Research Bioinformatician

Nandan works at the Sydney Informatics Hub as a Senior Research Bioinformatician. He has a PhD in bioinformatics and considerable amount of research experience working on projects revolving around different “omics” technologies. These include genomics, transcriptomics, and metagenomics, applied to model as well as non-model organisms. He has been instrumental in assisting various research groups in solving their questions in human diseases such as host-pathogen associations and cancer research. He has also worked on interesting questions from environmental science such as climate change, e.g. bleaching effects on marine algae and developmental growth of sea urchin due to ocean acidification.

Nandan has previously worked at the System Biology Initiative, UNSW as a Senior Research Associate and prior to that at the Institute of Bioinformatics, India as a Bioinformatics Research Scientist.

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Dr Georgina Samaha, Australia BioCommons Senior Bionformatics Officer

georgina.samaha@sydney.edu.au

ResearchGate | Github

Georgina Samaha is a bioinformatician at the Sydney Informatics Hub. She completed her PhD in genomics at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Sydney and has undergraduate training in animal science (BAnVetBioSc Hons I, USyd) and philosophy (BASc, USyd). In her role, she is working to make bioinformatics more accessible to researchers by developing scalable and reproducible bioinformatic workflows. In her research she has focused on naturally occurring animal models of heritable diseases in humans and how researchers can repurpose genomic resources developed for model species to inform conservation management of endangered species.

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Dr Eden Zhang, Data Scientist

eden.zhang@sydney.edu.au

Using her background in soil microbial ecology and interest in all things creative, Eden strives to make a career out of data science – more specifically, the visualization of big data for better science communication. Outside of work, she dabbles in art, photography, eating lots of sweets and the occasional tattoo commission

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Dr Januar Harianto, Data Scientist

januar.harianto@sydney.edu.au

Before he was a data scientist, Januar worked as an ecophysiologist, modelling the consequences of climate change stressors on marine ecosystems around the world. He studied echinoderms, foraminifera, molluscs and corals, from the San Juan archipelago in the U.S. to the Great Barrier Reef, and Sydney Harbour in Australia. Now, he spends his time developing open-source tools and packages for reproducible workflows in data science.

Dr Tim White, Data Science Software Engineer

Tim is a data science software engineer at the Sydney Informatics Hub. He has a background in physics and astronomy, completing his bachelor's degree (Hons I with medal) and PhD, both at the University of Sydney. He subsequently worked at the University of Göttingen in Germany, Aarhus University in Denmark, and ANU, before return to Sydney in 2019 as a University of Sydney Fellow. In his previous research, he measured fundamental properties of stars, and developed data pipelines and novel data processing techniques for NASA’s Kepler and TESS missions. With extensive experience analysing large and complex astrophysical data sets, Tim is eager to apply and expand his skills to broader range of research questions.

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Xinwei Luo, Data Science Software Engineer

xinwei.luo@sydney.edu.au

LinkedIn

Xinwei is a data science software engineer at the Sydney Informatics Hub with a background in computer science, data science and psychology. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Sydney, achieving an HD average for core degree units. Xinwei participated in a summer research program to help integrate ProgressiveDB into Jupyter Notebook to speed up relational database queries. She also has over 3 years of experience in higher education teaching through her role as a teaching assistant within the School of Computer Science, focusing on coordinating and delivering units to large cohorts. 
At SIH, Xinwei is very excited to apply her background knowledge in CS and DS to real-world projects and make meaningful impacts for researchers at the University of Sydney.

Statistical Consulting Service

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Chris Howden, Statistical Service Lead

christopher.howden@sydney.edu.au

Chris Howden is the Statistical Consulting Lead. He has been teaching and applying advanced statistical and quantitative methods since 1999, and managing data science/statistical teams since 2006. With experience in data visualisation, analysis, design, modelling, big data and training in the Academic, Public and Private sectors across a broad range of domains such as: Audio Processing of Gunshots, Criminal statistics, Ecology, Market Research (FMCG, Sensory and Services), Social Research, Psychology, Medical, Genetic and other miscellaneous areas e.g. modelling household waste. His focus is using the most appropriate analysis in developing evidence based insight and strategy to help Researchers achieve their objectives.

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Jim Matthews, Senior Statistical Consultant

jim.matthews@sydney.edu.au

Jim has worked as a statistician with the Sydney Informatics Hub since August 2018 and has also worked with the Bosch Institute in the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Jim’s interests include experimental design, quality and precision of test methods, and especially working with researchers and statistical methods to achieve research goals.

Prior to completing his Master of Statistics degree at the University of Wollongong in 2014, Jim worked in the iron & steel industry and the refractories industry for many years in a number of capacities with an emphasis on refractory design and performance and laboratory evaluation.

Profile Photo Alex Shaw

Dr Alex Shaw, Statistical Consultant

alexander.shaw@sydney.edu.au

Alex has a background in medical research, with expertise in molecular biology, cell biology, bioinformatics, genomics and genetics. During his research career, Alex witnessed a sharp increase in the quantity and complexity of data being collected across the various research fields he was exposed to. He undertook a Master of Biostatistics, with the aim of helping other researchers conduct their analyses in this data-rich world. Alex joined the statistical consulting team in mid-2019. As well as consulting, Alex has an interest and experience in teaching statistics. His overall goal is to empower researchers to embrace the statistical challenges and opportunities that come from working with complex datasets in their chosen field.

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Dr Kathrin Schemann, Statistical Consultant

kathrin.schemann@sydney.edu.au

Kathrin Schemann is a biostatistician with a background in animal and human health and holds a Master of Biostatistics and a PhD in Veterinary Epidemiology. Kathrin has a decade of practical experience in applying her wide-ranging study design and data analysis skills to multi-disciplinary research and operational work in a range of settings and domains, including government and academia and covering animal- and veterinary science, psychology, policy science, service planning, health statistics, population health information systems as well as clinical and population health research. She has taught applied biostatistics to undergraduate and postgraduate students since 2009. Kathrin is passionate about making statistics approachable and aims to assist researchers in optimising their study design and statistical analysis to improve the quality of their research.

Sydney Informatics Hub

Address
  • Level 3 Cnr City Rd & Butlin Ave Darlington NSW 2008 Merewether H04