Professional Staff
Meet our team of professional staff who will work with you throughout your project. The team have a comprehensive set of skills and deep technical knowledge gained from years of experience working in research and commercial laboratories.

Service Managers

Jess Gurr

Jessica has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2019. She completed her undergraduate degree in Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at the University of Sydney in 2011. Jessica has a background in conservation genomics, and in 2018 was awarded her PhD from the University of Sydney on developing genomic tools for the management of threatened species. Jessica works as an Illumina NGS service manager, providing a broad range of technical and project planning advice to clients undertaking transcriptomic, epigenomic, and genomic sequencing projects.

Jason Koval

Jason has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2008. He graduated from UNSW in 2008 with a Master of Science in Biotechnology. Jason manages the operations and resourcing for the Centre’s Illumina DNA, metagenome, and targeted DNA sequencing services. He also previously implemented and managed the Roche 454 sequencing service, Sanger sequencing and fragment analysis services. Prior to this, Jason worked at Silliker Inc. Food Science Centre (USA) as an operations supervisor and microbiologist.

Tonia Russell

Tonia has been providing sequencing services to the scientific community for over 18 years. Since starting at the Centre in 2009 she has gained experience in Sanger sequencing, short read NGS sequencing and long-read sequencing. Tonia established the Centre’s long-read sequencing services using PacBio sequencing technology and is currently driving the development of our Oxford Nanopore and HiC services. Tonia’s career in the provision of scientific services also includes three years in London at the National Amyloidosis Centre where she provided genetic testing for the diagnosis of Familial Mediterranean Fever and Amyloidosis.

Matthew Wong

Matthew Wong joined the Ramaciotti Centre in 2022 as a research officer in Sanger services. He received his PhD in 2016 from UNSW where he studied at the Children’s Cancer Institute. His background is in oncology research, specializing in the role of post-transcriptional modifications and super-enhancers in gene expression.

Dr Firoozeh Salehzadeh

Dr Firoozeh Salehzadeh has extensive experience in the setting up and development of single cells sequencing, spatial transcriptomics, genomics, and epigenetics technologies in the company and industry. She started her scientific path in molecular biology, leading her to a PhD in Medical Sciences at the Karolinska Institute in 2011. She specialises in the study of molecular mechanisms regulating metabolism and obesity. Furthermore, her interest in high-throughput technologies has landed her a new role at Ramaciotti centre as a microarray service manager to establish Illumina Infinium array service. 

Research Officers

Dr Erika Becker

Erika has been working as a Research Officer in the microarray team at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2012. She has a wealth of experience in genotyping and gene expression array technology. Erika was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the University of Queensland and she has worked in various laboratories and research centres in Queensland and NSW gaining extensive experience in both molecular and cell biology.

Scott Genner

Scott has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018. He graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science (First Class Honours) from the University of Technology in 2014. Scott is a Research Officer within the Next Generation Sequencing Team, performing tasks such as quality control checks, and preparing samples for sequencing. Prior to this, he worked at the Heart Research Institute, performing a wide variety of molecular biology techniques to produce quality data for publication.

Rhys Stark

Rhys has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018. He graduated from the University of Technology with a Bachelor of Biotechnology before working at The Garvan Institute, investigating personalised treatment for pancreatic cancer. Rhys is a Research Officer within the Next Generation Sequencing team, performing tasks such as generating sample quality control reports, preparing samples for sequencing and assisting in the management and troubleshooting of our Robotics platforms.

Christie Foster

Christie has been working in the Microarray team at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2020, providing NATA-accredited genotyping services. She performs all aspects from QC checks to high-throughput processing of samples with liquid-handling instruments, data QC analysis, and liaising with customers. She was awarded her PhD in 2015 from The University of Sydney on the biology of the microalga Chromera velia (focussed on the genetics of flagellar assembly, in vitro growth improvement and novel pigmentation), and has a Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology and Genetics) with First Class Honours. Her career has also encompassed research in the fields of biodiscovery (screening for microbial bioactive compounds), molecular microbiology (generation and phenotypic analysis of bacterial gene knockouts), photobiology and biochemistry, and participation in a range of citizen science projects.

Darshi Ramesh

Darshi has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2015, as a Research Officer in the Next Generation Sequencing team. She was awarded her PhD in 2004 from the University of Sydney on the influence of glucocorticoids on osteoclast formation activity and life span. Darshi has extensive professional expertise and knowledge across a wide spectrum of research techniques including molecular biology, tissue culture and immunology.

Kerry Nutt

Kerry has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2020, as a research officer, specialising in sequencing via Illumina platforms. She was awarded her PhD in 2006 at Queensland University of Technology on characterisation of proteinase inhibitors from canegrubs for possible application to genetically engineer pest-derived resistance into sugarcane. She also has a graduate certificate in diagnostic genomics from the Queensland University of Technology.

Research Assistants

Steven Chan
Jane Au

Jane Au is a Research Assistant working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2021. Prior to this, she was working as a Research Assistant, recruited as part of a national scheme to implement next generation sequencing (NGS) of SARS CoV 2.
She started as a Biochemistry Scientist with Pathology NSW health before undertaking Research roles which included the Development of a Novel Biodosimetry Assay at Radiation Oncology ACT hospital and clinical whole genome sequencing at the Garvin Institute of Medical Research.

Nour Hawchar

Nour is currently working as a research assistant for the NGS team at the Ramaciotti Centre. She previously worked for a statewide genomics service at NSW health pathology performing whole exome sequencing testing for patients with quick turnaround times. She also was involved in triaging genetic request forms and samples, performing DNA extractions from a variety of fresh samples, QC work, troubleshooting and results entry.

Aurelie Moya

Aurelie joined the Ramaciotti Centre in January 2023 as a Research Assistant in the NGS team. Prior to that, she was an academic researcher for 15 years, working on understanding the molecular basis of coral biology - calcification, symbiosis, and development; and the impacts of Climate Change on those processes through transcriptomic approaches.  She has extensive experience in handling RNA samples, performing quality check and preparing libraries for High-throughput Sequencing, as well as analysing sequencing data.


Support Staff

Keren Natalia

Keren has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018 as the Centre Quality Manager. She is a quality management system professional with 15 years’ experience specialising in quality system implementation based on ISO9001, ISO13485 and ISO/IEC17025 (NATA). Keren also has a background in medical microbiology and immunology, graduating from UNSW with a Bachelor of Science in 2004.


Abigail has been working at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2018. She graduated from UNSW in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Abigail provides executive support, general administration, and software implementation of the CRM system. Prior to this, she worked in the strata industry in various administrative roles.

Aravind Manda

Aravind has been working as a Production Bioinformatician at the Ramaciotti Centre since 2022. He graduated with a Master of Philosophy (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences) from the University of Melbourne in 2021. Aravind was studying the functional genomics of retinal disorders at WEHI during his master’s degree and continued to work as a Research assistant at WEHI before joining the centre. Prior to this, Aravind worked as a research Bioinformatician at IMCB, Singapore, & C-DAC, India where he analysed data from different -omics technologies by applying a variety of Bioinformatics tools/techniques and his efforts have been recognised as a co-author in various publications from high impact journals.