Shore Team

The Shore Team is in charge of logistics and analyses back on land.

Russell Neches - Doctoral Candidate, UC Davis

Russell Neches is a UC Davis Microbiology doctoral candidate working with Jonathan Eisen to apply metagenomic methods to the movement ecology of microbes, using the halophilic archaea of the western United States as a model. He is a principal investigator on Project MERCCURI, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supported citizen science project to improve the characterization of the microbiota of "charismatic" elements of the built environment, including sports arenas, museums and the International Space Station. Designing and sharing Open Hardware devices has become an important part of Russell's research, which is what brought him into this collaboration.  Russell's blog can be found here. 


Dr. Helder Marcal - H&S Officer, UNSW

Dr Marçal was a finalist for UNSWs inventor of the year. This technology opens the way for the development of the first peptide vaccine to inhibit the immunopathogenesis of diseases. His research has been highlighted in the Sydney Morning Herald, Discovery Channel, ABC Catalyst show and The Sunday Telegraph. He has established international collaborations involving these technologies in the field of regenerative and translational medicine and presented at numerous international conferences. Dr Marçal’s knowledge and skills span across different research that include tissue regeneration in space. This is a project that is investigating the impact of space travel especially, microgravity and its effect on human stem cells and liver regeneration. This is a new area of research called Bioastronautics and Dr Marçal is using the NASA designed bioreactor to analyze these impacts. This work has been covered by the Discover Chanel and has resulted in an international collaboration with NASA-AMES. He has been a visiting scientist at the Penguin Automated Research Centre (Canada), McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Pittsburgh), European Stem Cell Centre of Excellence (Portugal), and the Californian Institute for Regenerative Medicine (USA).

Professor Ian Paulsen - Director of Macquarie Biomolecular Frontiers Centre, Macquarie University

Professor Ian Paulsen is a Professor of Genomics at Macquarie University and Deputy Director of the Macquarie Biomolecular Frontiers Centre. He is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher with more than 200 publications. He received a PhD from Monash University and was an NHMRC C.J. Martin Fellow at the University of California at San Diego. He then took a faculty position at the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), where he led many microbial genome sequencing projects. Ian returned to Australia in 2007 as a Professor at Macquarie University, where his recent research is focused on novel metagenomic and systems biology approaches to investigate microbial adaptation to different environments.
Ian’s blog-

Aaron Darling

Dr. Aaron Darling - Associate Professor, University of Technology Sydney

Dr. Aaron Darling trained as a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While hacking comparative genomics software for the first E. coli genome projects he discovered a love for the endless mysteries of microbiology and the challenges of interpreting microbial genome data. Following the completion of his Ph.D. work he studied microbial genome evolution at the University of Queensland and later at the University of California-Davis with Professor Jonathan Eisen. During this time Aaron contributed to the development of several new metagenome analysis and phylogeny tools which will be applied to data generated by the Indigo V expedition. Aaron has recently moved to the University of Technology Sydney where he is an Associate Professor of bioinformatics in the ithree institute. See his lab website for more information.

neilan photo

Dr. Brett Neilan - Scientia Professor, UNSW

Brett Neilan is a molecular biologist and an expert in the study of toxic algae. Today his research group at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), comprises more than thirty researchers, including eigthteen graduate students. The main topic of their work is the genetics of blue-green algae and the research has led to an understanding of the biochemical pathways that are responsible for the production of toxins in our water supplies. He obtained his PhD in microbial and molecular biology from UNSW in 1995. Prior to his PhD training, Brett obtained a BAppSc degree in biomedical science (1985) at the University of Technology, Sydney, and then worked as a biochemical researcher, molecular geneticist and forensic biologist. His postdoctoral positions were a NASA fellowship at Stanford University and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship in Berlin. The continuation of this early work has become the basis for current studies regarding the search for microbial natural products in novel environments, including PNG, Antarctica, the hypersaline lagoon of Shark Bay and arid deserts. The research has been communicated in more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, and was awarded the Eureka Prizes for Scientific Research (2001, 2005, 2010) and the Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal for studies in the Biological Sciences. He is an adjunct professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and has recently been a visiting scientist in India, Italy, Japan, Brazil, USA, China and Korea. Future plans are to characterise the genetics of marine natural products and gain a better understanding of the factors that influence the production of toxins. Apart from the genetic signatures of life, his work also involves the chemical constituents of fossilised and extant microbial communities, many from Earth’s extreme habitats. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand how the physiologies of microbial life (algal and bacterial) have formed the planet and how they can be exploited for biotechnology.