"Accelerating the use of genomic technologies in Australasia"

Our Purpose

Over the past decade, AGTA has become an integral part of the research community in the Australasian and the Pacific region. Membership is open to the research and clinical diagnostic community, industry, students and supporters of high throughput technologies, bioinformatics and systems biology.

Meet the Executive

Professor Marcel Dinger

President

Convenor AGTA 2015


Professor and Head of School

School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
Faculty of Science, UNSW Sydney

Sydney, Australia

Marcel Dinger is Professor and Head of School for Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at UNSW Sydney. He has more than 20 years experience in genomics as both an academic and entrepreneur. He has published >130 papers that have collectively been cited >18,000 times and is (co)-founder of four startups in biotechnology and IT. He is a director on the board of Pryzm Health, a digital he...

Marcel Dinger is Professor and Head of School for Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at UNSW Sydney. He has more than 20 years experience in genomics as both an academic and entrepreneur. He has published >130 papers that have collectively been cited >18,000 times and is (co)-founder of four startups in biotechnology and IT. He is a director on the board of Pryzm Health, a digital health enterprise focused on developed tools to enable precision healthcare at population-scale, a director on the governance board of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG), an ANU-based centre focused on using genomics to improve the health and well-being of Australia’s First Peoples, and President of the Australasian Genomics Technologies Association (AGTA), the principal body for the promotion of genomics research and technologies in Australasia.

Associate Professor Ruby C Y Lin

Vice President

Convenor AGTA 2016
AGTA President (2013 -2015)
AMATA Secretary (2009-2011)


Project Manager, Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

Westmead Institute for Medical Research
University of Sydney

Sydney, Australia

Ruby is conjoint Associate Professor at the University of NSW. Previously she was a senior research fellow at the Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics, University of New South Wales from 2003. Her research interests for the last 15 years have expanded from cardiovascular disease and transcriptomics to systems biology and non-coding RNA species. During this time, she was awarded a NHMRC project grant ...

Ruby is conjoint Associate Professor at the University of NSW. Previously she was a senior research fellow at the Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics, University of New South Wales from 2003. Her research interests for the last 15 years have expanded from cardiovascular disease and transcriptomics to systems biology and non-coding RNA species. During this time, she was awarded a NHMRC project grant with A/Prof Julie McMullen to look at transcriptomics of myocardial infarction in a PI3K mouse model. Interestingly, she also had two of her own functional genomics experiments that resulted in 8 months of maternity leave with her first child and 1 year of maternity leave with her second. Despite the lengthy break, she managed to secure another NHMRC project grant with A/Prof Julie McMullen for 2013-5 and had 9 publications during this time. She is now focussing on using systems biology to address underlying pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and overlapping disease conditions with mesothelioma. And to make it more interesting, she is analysing 73 samples of miRNA-seq data and 36 samples of RNA-seq datasets.
Ruby collaborates with A/Prof Julie R McMullen (Baker IDI), Prof Margaret J Morris (UNSW), Prof Sakari Kauppinen (Aalborg University, Denmark), Prof Robert H Yang (UNSW). Ruby remains an active member of AGTA, HBPRCA and ASMR, as well as being part of the UNSW women in research network as a mentor.

Ms. Vikki Marshall

Website and Membership Officer

AGTA President 2017 – 2019
AGTA Secretary and Public Officer (2013 – 2017)
AGTA Vice President (Oct. 2011 – 2013)
AMATA 2010 Convenor


Program Manager, Precision Oncology

The Alfred Hospital/Monash University
Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC)

Melbourne, Australia

Vikki is Project Manager – Precision Oncology for the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC), based at the Alfred Hospital/Monash University (since September 2018). Previously she was Operations Manager/Executive Officer of the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, University of Melbourne and Genomics Technical Manager at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) ...

Vikki is Project Manager – Precision Oncology for the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC), based at the Alfred Hospital/Monash University (since September 2018). Previously she was Operations Manager/Executive Officer of the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, University of Melbourne and Genomics Technical Manager at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) Parkville.

She has been involved with AMATA/AGTA since 2008, being convenor of the highly successful AMATA 2010 conference in Hobart and Vice President and Vice-Treasurer of AMATA from 2011-2013.

Vikki has considerable experience in high-throughput genomic technologies and specialist expertise in NGS technologies. Her main interests lay in scientifically accurate and optimally efficient use of genomic technologies, methods development, experimental design, laboratory design and management as well as protocol optimisation.

Vikki holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (MLS) from RMIT University and a MPhil Science by thesis (Dept. Medical Biology, WEHI) from the University of Melbourne. She completed her tertiary education part-time whilst being employed by the WEHI for some 25 years, where she held positions as Research Officer and Laboratory Manager. At the WEHI, among other projects, Vikki was involved for 14 years in studies of the genetics of host resistance to malaria using mouse models, the subject of her Masters thesis. From lab-based research at the WEHI, Vikki moved to microarray and genomics facility management both at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and at the Queensland Brain Institute, University of Qld.

Mr. Mark van der Hoek

Treasurer

Co-convenor for AMATA/Combio 2012
Treasurer (2009-present)


Manager, David R Gunn Genomics Suite

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

Adelaide, Australia

Mark is currently the manager of the David R Gunn Genomics Suite at SAHMRI in Adelaide.  After graduating from the University of Adelaide in 1993 in Chemistry, he was initially employed in the private sector doing mass spectrometry before moving in 1996 to the Hanson Centre for Cancer Research to assist establish a peptide synthesis and mass spectrometry service.  Following this he...

Mark is currently the manager of the David R Gunn Genomics Suite at SAHMRI in Adelaide.  After graduating from the University of Adelaide in 1993 in Chemistry, he was initially employed in the private sector doing mass spectrometry before moving in 1996 to the Hanson Centre for Cancer Research to assist establish a peptide synthesis and mass spectrometry service.  Following this he worked for local biotechnology companies Geneworks and Bresagen before moving back to SA Pathology in 2001 to establish a microarray facility in a joint partnership with the University of Adelaide.  He became manager of the microarray facility in 2006, rebranding it as Adelaide Microarray Centre and establishing an Affymetrix based array service.  During this time he became involved in genomic data analysis for local research projects and became AGTA Treasurer in 2010.  In 2011 the microarray centre became part of the newly forming ACRF Cancer Genomics Facility where he played significant roles in the design, setup and operation of the new facility.

Professor Erik (Rik) Thompson

Founding AMATA President (Lifetime member)

AGTA Founding President (2004-2007)


Professor and Chair of Breast Cancer Research
Team Leader, Chronic Disease and Ageing

School of Biomedical Sciences
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI)
Queensland Institute of Technology

Brisbane, Australia

Prof Erik (Rik) Thompson was the founding president (2004-2007) of the Australasian Microarray and Associated Technologies Association (AMATA), and is currently President of The International EMT Association (TEMTIA). He has also been President of the Matrix Biology Society of Australia & NZ (2001-2003) and the (International) Metastasis Research Society (MRS). He recently created OzMRS, an...

Prof Erik (Rik) Thompson was the founding president (2004-2007) of the Australasian Microarray and Associated Technologies Association (AMATA), and is currently President of The International EMT Association (TEMTIA). He has also been President of the Matrix Biology Society of Australia & NZ (2001-2003) and the (International) Metastasis Research Society (MRS). He recently created OzMRS, an interest group for metastasis researchers in Australia.

Dr Jac Charlesworth

Executive Committee member

Convener AGTA 2017


Senior Research Fellow, Computational Genomics

Menzies Institute for Medical Research
University of Tasmania

Hobart, Australia

Dr Charlesworth runs a computational genomics research group at The Menzies Institute for Medical Research in Tasmania. She has a particular interest in complex disease gene discovery using next-gen sequencing in large families, and of using ‘normal’ population variation to inform disease research. She has a background in wet lab genetics but eventially saw the light, and in 2006 she did fo...

Dr Charlesworth runs a computational genomics research group at The Menzies Institute for Medical Research in Tasmania. She has a particular interest in complex disease gene discovery using next-gen sequencing in large families, and of using ‘normal’ population variation to inform disease research. She has a background in wet lab genetics but eventially saw the light, and in 2006 she did four years of postdoctoral training in statistical genetics in the USA.  She is currently ‘gene hunting’ for neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, eye diseases including glaucoma, and other complex traits including cancers, diabetes and normal brain structural variation.

Associate Professor Joseph Powell

Executive Committee Member


Head, Garvan Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Sydney, Australia

Associate Professor Powell is the Head of the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics, a Principal Research Fellow at Garvan Institute for Medical Research, and a member of the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales. He currently holds a NHMRC Career Development Fellow, with the highest ranked application in his round; awarded an NHMRC Research Excellence Award (2015), and the ...

Associate Professor Powell is the Head of the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics, a Principal Research Fellow at Garvan Institute for Medical Research, and a member of the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales. He currently holds a NHMRC Career Development Fellow, with the highest ranked application in his round; awarded an NHMRC Research Excellence Award (2015), and the prestigious 2016 Commonwealth Health Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Medical Research. His research is focused on understanding the functional mechanisms by which genetic variants contribute to disease susceptibility at a cellular level, and ultimately achieve therapeutic and diagnostic outcomes.

Dr Sam Buckberry

Executive Committee Member


NHMRC-ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow

The University of Western Australia

Perth, Australia

Sam is a postdoctoral bioinformatician in the Lister Lab at The University of Western Australia and a joint NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow. He focuses on the analysis and integration of genomics datasets, including data for DNA methylation, chromatin accessibility, transcription factor occupancy and gene expression on a genome-wide scale. His curren...

Sam is a postdoctoral bioinformatician in the Lister Lab at The University of Western Australia and a joint NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow. He focuses on the analysis and integration of genomics datasets, including data for DNA methylation, chromatin accessibility, transcription factor occupancy and gene expression on a genome-wide scale. His current research is focused on deciphering the role of the epigenome in stem cell reprogramming and neuronal gene regulation. Sam has been a member of the AGTA since 2015 and joined the executive committee in 2017.

Mr. Liam Williams

Vice Treasurer

Convenor AGTA 2016


Auckland Genomics

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland Genomics, based at the University of Auckland, provides access to next-generation library making and sequencing (Illumina MiSeq, NextSeq, Chromium 10x), as well as gene expression technologies using several platforms (Affymetrix GeneChip, NanoString).

Visi...

Dr Kirby Siemering

Co-opted Executive Committee Member


Chief Executive Officer

Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF)

Melbourne, Australia

Kirby currently manages the science and technology portfolio at the Australian Genome Research Facility and is responsible for the development and management of major genomics projects. Kirby has over 20 years’ experience in the field of genomics, having held senior positions in both academia and ASX-listed and privately held biotechnology companies, along with experience in biotechnology ind...

Kirby currently manages the science and technology portfolio at the Australian Genome Research Facility and is responsible for the development and management of major genomics projects. Kirby has over 20 years’ experience in the field of genomics, having held senior positions in both academia and ASX-listed and privately held biotechnology companies, along with experience in biotechnology industry analysis, strategy, and policy development at State Government level

Dr Helen Speirs

Executive Committee Member


Deputy Director, Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Sydney, Australia

Helen is the Deputy Director of the Ramaciotti Centre for Gemomics, UNSW. After graduating from the University of Glasgow she went on to complete her PhD at the University of Edinburgh and post-doctoral positions studying the genetics of hypertension. Helen has worked in the field of genomics for more than 20 years. Her interests lie in developing genomics technologies and enabling research by ...

Helen is the Deputy Director of the Ramaciotti Centre for Gemomics, UNSW. After graduating from the University of Glasgow she went on to complete her PhD at the University of Edinburgh and post-doctoral positions studying the genetics of hypertension. Helen has worked in the field of genomics for more than 20 years. Her interests lie in developing genomics technologies and enabling research by making them accessible to the research community.

Dr Nic Waddell

Executive Committee Member


Group Leader, Medical Genomics
Cancer Program Coordinator

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Brisbane, Australia

  • Dr Nic Waddell is currently the Medical Genomics Group Leader at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the Cancer Program coordinator, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow.
  • Nic was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the University of Leicester. She undertook post docs at QIMR Berghofer and UQ before establishing her research group at QI...

  • Dr Nic Waddell is currently the Medical Genomics Group Leader at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the Cancer Program coordinator, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow.
  • Nic was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the University of Leicester. She undertook post docs at QIMR Berghofer and UQ before establishing her research group at QIMR Berghofer. Her program of research uses bioinformatic and genomic approaches to address clinical challenges in cancer. She collaborates extensively with researchers and clinicians, and is part of  Australian Genomics and Queensland Genomics.
  • She is the co-founder of a spin out analytics company. She has published over 100 research articles including Nature, Nature Genetics and Nature Immunology.
  • Areas of expertise: cancer, genomics, transcriptomics, sequencing, bioinformatics.

Dr Robert Day

Executive Committee Member

Convenor AGTA 2016


Research Fellow

Cancer Genetics
CTCR University of Otago

Otago, NZ

Rob began his research career in 1994 at the University of Bath (UK) studying the defence responses of Cassava plants to bacterial pathogens. He later switched to developmental biology, looking to manipulate the development of seed. In 2004, Rob moved to the University of Otago (NZ) and used Laser Capture Microdissection to interrogate specific seed tissues for mono-allelic expression. This pr...

Rob began his research career in 1994 at the University of Bath (UK) studying the defence responses of Cassava plants to bacterial pathogens. He later switched to developmental biology, looking to manipulate the development of seed. In 2004, Rob moved to the University of Otago (NZ) and used Laser Capture Microdissection to interrogate specific seed tissues for mono-allelic expression. This project involved the comparison of different RNA amplification techniques for use with microarray and RNA sequencing on the Roche 454 FLX and Illumina HiSeq platforms. In 2012 he accepted an appointment at the Otago Genomics Facility to help develop standard operating procedures for sample processing and project management. During this time Rob served on the Project Advisory Committee for New Zealand Genomics Ltd. He currently runs the Illumina MiSeq for the Centre for Translational Cancer Research and is developing new methods for sequence-based diagnostics from single cells and is involved in projects looking at tissue regeneration and fungal endophyte infection. Rob was a member of the AMATA08 conference organising committee and was convenor of the Otago Genomics Facility Meeting 2013-2014.

Associate Professor Mark Cowley

Executive Committee Member


Group Leader, Computational Biology Group

Children’s Cancer Institute

Sydney, NSW

  • A/Prof Mark Cowley is a bioinformatician, who leads the Computational Biology group at the Children’s Cancer Institute.
  • Mark’s research involves developing bioinformatics approaches to better understand the molecular basis underlying human disease, with a highly translational focus.
  • He has played a leadership role within two of Australia’s largest precision cancer ...

  • A/Prof Mark Cowley is a bioinformatician, who leads the Computational Biology group at the Children’s Cancer Institute.
  • Mark’s research involves developing bioinformatics approaches to better understand the molecular basis underlying human disease, with a highly translational focus.
  • He has played a leadership role within two of Australia’s largest precision cancer medicine trials, namely the Zero Childhood Cancer program, and the Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) program.
  • Prior to this, Mark’s team led the development of clinical-grade whole-genome analysis, which was commercialised, and developed into one of the first whole-genome-sequencing-based pathology tests in the world.
  • Mark’s multi-disciplinary team attempts to bridge the gap from vast amounts of molecular data to improved health outcomes, through making molecularly-informed treatment decisions in real-time, for children with high-risk or rare cancers.

Dr Liz Christie

Co-opted Executive Committee Member


Senior Post-doctoral Researcher

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Melbourne, Victoria

  • Liz was awarded her PhD in 2013 from the University of Melbourne and has been a postdoctoral researcher at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for the last 8 years.
  • Her research focuses on understanding and targeting mechanisms of acquired chemoresistance in high-grade serous ovarian cancer, utilizing whole genome and targeted sequencing.
  • Her research aims are to develop mol...

  • Liz was awarded her PhD in 2013 from the University of Melbourne and has been a postdoctoral researcher at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for the last 8 years.
  • Her research focuses on understanding and targeting mechanisms of acquired chemoresistance in high-grade serous ovarian cancer, utilizing whole genome and targeted sequencing.
  • Her research aims are to develop molecularly guided treatment strategies in recurrent high-grade serous cancer, overcome chemoresistance through mapping biomarkers of resistance and identifying novel treatment strategies.

Dr Katherine Pillman

Co-opted Executive Committee Member


Bioinformatics Research Fellow

Centre for Cancer Biology
University of South Australia

Adelaide, SA

  • Her research focus is transcriptional, post-transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of genes involved in cancer in human and mouse models.
  • Prior to her current position she was a post-doctoral research associate at Oregon State University.
  • Katherine completed her PhD in 2009 at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics.

Background

In 2003 at the 3rd National Microarray Conference in Couran Cove, Queensland, attendees voted to form a new incorporated association based on the need for a multi-disciplinary professional and educational forum on the use of genomic technologies. It was called the Australasian Microarray and Associated Technologies Association (AMATA).

The founding of the association was seeded on generous support from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF), which at the time funded a DNA Resource that underpinned the development of DNA microarrays in Australia. Further information about the many outcomes from the initial $1.3 million in ACRF funding is available here

Over the last decade there has been a rapid evolution in genomic technologies leading to widespread adoption of other (non-array) platforms. Hence, in 2011 it was decided to change the name of the society to Australasian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) to reflect the changing landscape of genomic technology platforms. Despite the change in the association name the general purpose of the association has remained the same.