Speakers and their biographies will be listed (in alphabetical order) as they are received.

Plenary Speakers

Richard AllcockRichard Allcock is a DNA-sequencing tragic who is the Director of the LotteryWest State Biomedical Facility – Genomics node (LSBFG) based at Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia. He is a member of the School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Western Australia and a Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. His present focus is the application of genomics and next-generation sequencing techniques to clinical and diagnostic medicine in collaboration with many members of PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA.

ToumyToumy Guettouche, PhD, is the Director of Oncogenomics Core Facility (OCF) at the Sylvester Cancer Center, University of Miami School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the Director for New Technology Assessment and Implementation, Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG)-Center for Genome Technology. In addition he is the Director of R&D for the CLIA lab of the Division of Clinical and Translational Genetics. He is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Genetics at UMSOM. Previously he worked at Bayer Diagnostics and Digene Corporation developing tests and tools including HCV and HPV genotyping assays. His primary objective at UMSOM is to evaluate, acquire and implement next-gen genomics and molecular diagnostics technology for the research and clinical area.

MarkMark McKeage (MBChB, MMedSc, PhD, FRACP) is an Assoc Prof in Clincal Pharmacology and Medical Oncology Specialist at Auckland City Hospital. Previously he worked at The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital (London UK) and the Prince of Wales Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of New South Wales. His research interests are concerned with preclinical and clinical investigations of the clinical pharmacology and development of novel anticancer drugs. He has had a key role in the development of several new cancer treatments, including satraplatin (JM216) and 5,6-dimethyl-4-acetic acid (DMXAA, ASA404).


ZacharyZachary Ardern is an MSc candidate in biological sciences at the University of Auckland, working on experimental evolution in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and analysis of the resulting genomes. He has BSc/BA conjoint degrees and a PGDipSci. His interests extend from molecular evolution into related philosophical topics.

RudiRudiger Brauning is a Computational Biologist with AgResearch. He holds a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He worked as Bioinformatician at the German Cancer Research Centre and the South African National Bioinformatics Institute before joining AgResearch in New Zealand. Since 2006 he has been using Next Generation Sequence data mainly for marker discovery and small and large scale assemblies. He designed popular SNP chips ranging in density from 5k to 700k for sheep, salmon, and deer.



LouiseCarrLouise Carr is a 2nd year MSc (Genetics) student at Massey University, Palmerston North. Her Masters project investigates the role of microRNAs in the adaptive diversification of NZ native plants (Pachycladon spp). This includes bioinformatic analyses of microRNA and mRNA profiles obtained by Illumina sequencing. She is also interested in genome assembly, and has assembled the mitochondrial genome of the New Zealand frog Leiopelma hochstetteri as part of a study exploring the evolutionary origins of this species. Through a combination of workshops and self-study on mapping, programming and statistics, Louise is actively building up computational expertise to analyze Next-Gen data sets.

DavisJohn Davis is the Australasian Bioinformatics Lead with Life Technologies, managing the company’s bioinformatics business throughout Australia and New Zealand. His team is currently partnered with customers throughout the region to help provide training, troubleshooting and analysis of data derived through the use of Life Technologies sequencing systems.

JennyDraperJenny Draper is a specialist in bacteriology & aquatic animal diseases at the Animal Health Laboratory in Wallaceville, part of the Ministry for Primary Industries (formerly known as MAF). She obtained her Ph.D. in Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, the home of the UCSC Genome Browser. She has over 12 years experience in bioinformatics and molecular microbiology, which she is now using to help identify exotic and emerging animal diseases in New Zealand.

RichardHallRichard Hall is a principle investigator on the 'ESR Virus Hunters' (Pathogen Discovery) project. He is a virologist, specialising in the use of molecular (DNA) techniques for the detection and characterisation of viruses.

Richard attained his PhD in 2005 at the University of Otago, studying the genetics of human autoimmune diseases. After his PhD, Richard spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher with the Animal Genomics group at AgResearch Invermay, before he took up his current position with ESR in 2007. Richard spent the first two years at ESR developing influenza vaccine prototype strains using a process called reverse genetics. Richard's background in genomics and a 'burgeoning' expertise in virology, brought about the perfect circumstances to establish a 'pathogen discovery' research group in 2009 in collaboration with co-investigator (and co-fisherman) Dr Matthew Peacey. Richard spent the early days of the project learning about the use of next-generation sequencing for the detection of novel pathogens, with the guidance and assistance from Thomas Briese and Ian Lipkin at the Center for Infection & Immunity at Columbia University, New York. Since this time the project has grown up into its own entity, and has made some interesting and significant discoveries in both human and animal health areas, that has been greatly assisted by collaboration with New Zealand and overseas researchers.

Richard also works at the WHO National Influenza Centre at ESR, investigating anti-viral drug resistance in influenza viruses as well as developing diagnostic capability in this area. His expertise also underpinned diagnostic and emergency response work, such as during the emergence of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 in 2009. He is also involved in the SHIVERS project established by ESR and other research institutes to investigate influenza in the Southern Hemisphere.

DanJonesDan Jones completed a B.Sc. and M.Sc. at The University of Auckland/Scion, and is completing a Ph.D. at La Trobe University (Melbourne) , focussing on de novo genome sequencing of a fungal fruit pathogen, genome-genome comparisons of predicted secretomes, and peptide mass fingerprinting to support in silico gene predictions. Other research interests and experience include analysis of targeted exome sequencing of ryegrass, transcriptome sequencing of tobacco, genome assembly pipelines and quality metrics, and bioinformatics education.



MikeKeehanMike Keehan is a Senior Bioinformaticist at LIC. He is primarily involved in the Primary Growth Partnership Dairy Genomics project and also supporting genomic selection for LIC. With a career background in applied mathematics, software development and systems administration he has undertaken a variety of bioinformatics projects for LIC. Mike has a masters degree in Operations Research and a post graduate diploma in Science from Massey University. Mike is interested in phasing techniques and applying biological annotation as a strong prior for gene discovery.

JonasKorlachJonas Korlach is Chief Scientific Officer at Pacific Biosciences. He co-invented the SMRT technology with Stephen Turner, Ph.D., Pacific Biosciences Founder and Chief Technology Officer, when the two were graduate students at Cornell University. Dr. Korlach joined Pacific Biosciences as the company's eighth employee in 2004. Dr. Korlach is the recipient of multiple grants, an inventor on 33 issued U.S. patents, and an author of numerous scientific studies on the principles and applications of SMRT technology, including publications in Nature, Science, and PNAS. He received both his Ph.D. and his M.S. degrees in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell, and received M.S. and B.A. degrees in Biological Sciences from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.


BeckyLaurieBecky Laurie has a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the John Innes Centre and University of East Anglia in the UK.  In 2003 she came to New Zealand and the University of Otago as Richard Macknight’s Post-Doc and continued her research into the regulation of flowering time.  Becky joined the Otago Genomics Facility in 2011 and has been instrumental in the setup and management of the NGS facility in conjunction with New Zealand Genomics Ltd.  The facility currently operates two HiSeqs (2000, 2500) a MiSeq QC instrument and Affymetrics Array platform, offering a range of services including genome sequencing, RNASeq, exome sequencing and custom projects.   

PaulMcLeanPaul Maclean started at AgResearch as a bioinformatician in 2008, after completing a Masters Degree in Bioinformatics at Auckland University. During his time at AgResearch, he has been involved in many projects ranging from digital gene expression to metagenomics on a variety of different eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. Most of these projects involve many different methods of next generation sequencing technology.

RogerRoger Moraga is a Molecular Biologist and Bioinformatician, who cut his teeth working on the drafts of the Human Genome at the turn of the Century. Moraga earned a BSc in Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid, and a MSc in Bioinformatics from Exeter University. At AgResearch his role is to provide Bioinformatics support to scientists in all aspects of their research, from early steps of experiment design to data analysis and biological interpretation. He has developed expertise in Next Generation Sequencing for transcriptomics and genomics, working on non-model organisms of importance to New Zealand's agricultural sector such as sheep, forage plants, endophytes, and soil bacteria.

DaviudPennyDavid Penny is a long-term member of Massey University (since 1966), and has been interested in virtual everything to do with DNA sequences. This includes helping establish GenBank in the 1980s, helping establish Sanger Sequencing at Massey (1990s and again in the early 2000s), and then helped establish next-gen sequencing. Perhaps he is best known for his work in mathematical biology with Prof. Mike Hendy, but he has very general interests. He work has been well-recognised by the Royal Society, governments and Massey, and he has been President of three societies, two of them overseas societies.

MarianMarian Price-Carter is a scientist with AgResearch at the National Centre for Biosecurity and Infectious Diseases at Wallaceville, who uses molecular techniques to distinguish important bacterial pathogens in NZ.  Her doctorate from the University of Utah explored the disulfide coupled folding of marine toxins. She then switched gears and as a post doctoral fellow at the University of Utah used genetic techniques to answer questions about the lifestyle of Salmonella.

MiguelMiguel Roncoroni is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied Biotechnology at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in upstate NY. In 2007 he came to the University of Auckland for postgraduate studies. He finished his MSc thesis in 2009, under the supervision of Prof. Richard Gardner. After that, he worked in the wine industry before returning to Richard's lab in 2010 to pursue a PhD. His project has been done in collaboration with Prof. Vladimir Jiranek at the University of Adelaide.

BojianBojian Zhong studied for his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at China University of Geosciences and Fudan University in China. He is now studying his PhD in the Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University with Prof David Penny and Prof Peter Lockhart. His PhD research focuses on reconstruction of evolutionary relationships on plants using genomic data.

YZhouYanfei Zhou completed a B.Sc. and M.Sc. at Lanzhou University in China. He is pursuing a PhD (Microbiological Genetics) in Associate Professor Rosie Bradshaw's lab at Massey University, Palmerston North. His PhD project
involves development of a multiplex real time PCR method and an investigation of the role of the endophyte Neotyphodium lolii in ryegrass drought tolerance using high-throughput RNA sequencing.


LisaZondagLisa Zondag studied for her BSc (Hons) in Genetics, at the University of Otago in Dunedin. She is now carrying out her PhD in the Developmental Biology laboratory in the Department of Anatomy, University of Otago with Dr Megan Wilson. Her project is investigating the transcriptome of Botrylloides leachi at different regenerative stages in the hopes of uncovering genes and pathways involved in the initiation and differentiation of specialized cell types during whole body regeneration (WBR).