Scientor Team

These are the SCIENTists and sailORS who will be running the boat and the experiments while at sea.


Dr. Federico Lauro was born and raised in Venice, Italy.  He graduated from the University of Padua and went on to obtain his PhD at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA.
He has pioneered skills in both experimental and computational sciences – in particular, deep-sea and Antarctic microbiology.

In addition to his scientific achievements, Dr Lauro is also a champion sailor winning both the Australian National Championships (in Ynglings) and Italian National Championships.  He came in fourth place in the World Championships 2012 for Ynglings.

Dr. Joe Grzymski studied philosophy and biology at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. There, he fell in love with terrible weather and pale ale – which prompted a series of poor decisions that led to a life in academia. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Norway and did his graduate work in the laboratory of Oscar Schofield at Rutgers University ( He spent 7 field seasons in Antarctica studying microbial adaptation to cold and phytoplankton physiology. At times he is a biophysicist, programmer, microbial ecologist and molecular biologist. His recent interest ( in microbial adaptation to oligotrophy (low nutrients like nitrate and iron) has parallels to Dr. Lauro's work on trophic strategy ( and must be why he was invited on this incredible expedition – either that or because he specializes in cooking Italian food (specifically, the delicacies of Venice). His lab at the Desert Research Institute is in beautiful Reno, Nevada where there is no ocean but beautiful Lake Tahoe (a once, pristine, oligotrophic lake).

Jeff Goldblum was the sailing rockstar for leg 1. Before joining the Indigo V expedition he starred in numerous Hollywood movies including 'The Fly', 'Jurassic Park' and 'Independence Day'. On this trip he tried to fool us into thinking that his name was Joshua Goldstein.

Dr. Martin Ostrowski is molecular biochemist with 12 years experience in marine microbiology. At Macquarie University he works in a team <> that is interested in the ecology and evolution of primary producers, including marine cyanobacteria (Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus) and tiny algae know as photosynthetic pico-eukaryotes (PPE).  Martin’s work involves isolating, sequencing and analysing the genomes of marine phytoplankton and developing novel methods to measure their role in global bio-geochemical cycles. Martin manages a state-of-the-art flow cytometry and cell sorting facility established at Macquarie University to explore the microbial ‘dark matter’ of the oceans using novel fluorescence detection strategies and single-cell approaches.

Before moving to Macquarie University Martin worked as a Post-Doc at the University of Warwick in the UK and participated in the Atlantic Meridional Transect Program <>. In the UK he developed research projects to investigate genomics hypotheses to unravel the drivers of niche adaptation, measure the elemental quotas of phytoplankton and determine the controls on ocean primary production.

Rachelle graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a BS in Biochemistry.  Her true passion lies with the ocean and so she spent almost all of her undergrad time “down the hill” at Scripps Institute of Oceangraphy.  She worked in Professor Ken Smith’s deep-sea lab and then moved over to study the genomes of novel bacteria in Professor Doug Bartlett’s lab.  She was one of seven undergraduates across the nation to be awarded with a National Science Foundation Research for Undergraduate grant and she spent three months at the the Bermuda Biological Station for Research studying the molecular mechanisms of stress on coral reefs.  She worked as a Research Associate at Nanogen, San Diego based biotechnology company, and Gensci, an Irvine based medical device company.  She is a NAUI Master SCUBA diver, Scientific Diving and Nitrox certified.  Rachelle has a  diploma in Professional Photography, her work can be viewed HERE.

Dr. Jay T. Cullen took his BSc (Hon) in Biology from McGill University and PhD in Chemical Oceanography from Rutgers University. After a postdoctoral scholarship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with Dr. Jim Moffett he has been at the University of Victoria in BC, Canada where he is an Associate Professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.  He has helped to develop sensitive analytical techniques to measure trace metals in natural waters.  Trace metals can be essential nutrients as cofactors in microbial enzymes or act as toxicants which disrupt critical cellular functions.  By helping to shape microbial community structure and control the rate of important biogeochemical processes like carbon and nitrogen fixation, trace metal bioavailability can modulate the air-sea transfer of climate active gases.  The Cullen Lab aims to understand the function and fate of trace metals in the ocean. Jay will be responsible to collecting and analyzing seawater samples for dissolved iron during Indigo V.  See the Cullen Lab website for more information.

Dr. Diane McDougald is a Senior Research Associate with the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation (CMB) and School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, UNSW. Dr. McDougald is a program leader at the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation as well as a cluster leader for the Marine Health and Biotechnology Cluster in the Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Centre (AEBC), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has made significant contributions to the fields of Vibrio biology, bacterial adaptation to stress and mechanisms of molecular control of these responses, cell-to-cell communication, biofilm formation and interactions of bacteria with higher eukaryotes.

Prof. Michael Givskov, a world authority on biofilm biology and identification of targets for their control from the medical domain to general microbiology, with firsts in biofilm model systems, chemistry of cell-cell signalling and signal jamming.

Dr. Ron Hoeke joined CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in October 2010. His research interests include the interaction of physics, geomorphology, and ecology in the coastal zone and how climate change may influence these factors and outcomes. Prior to joining CSIRO, Ron completed a masters degree in physical oceanography on barrier island inlet migration, at the Florida Institute of Technology in 2001. He then went on to work for a joint NOAA-University of Hawaii project to establish an inter-disciplinary coral reef monitoring program for all US-flagged islands in the Pacific. Concurrent with his work at NOAA, and through a NOAA, US Geological Survey and Australian Institute of Marine Science partnership, he completed work on a PhD at James Cook University in 2010. The focus of the PhD research was the synthesis of in situ oceanographic data and coupled wave-flow numerical modelling to better understand the circulation, flushing mechanisms, water quality and sedimentation of coral reef systems. Ron's current research includes current and future wave climate, sea-level anomalies driven by wave events, and inundation of Pacific islands.


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