March 2016 update – welcome to our new staff and our visitors

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There has been plenty of activity with the arrival of Assoc Prof Vicky Schneider, our new Deputy Director of the EMBL-Australian Bioinformatics Resource, and new team structures at VLSCI / EMBL-ABR. You may have heard that some of our existing staff are now in new roles, such as Dr Bernie Pope (Lead, Cancer and Clinical Genomics), Assoc Prof Torsten Seemann (Lead, Microbial Genomics), Dr Danny Park (Lead, Melbourne Bioinformatics Platform) and Dr Andrew Isaac (Lead, Computing Platforms). 

Please read on for a quick introduction to new staff members and visitors. Also below are a few details of some great upcoming events and jobs.


This week we welcomed Dr Philippa Griffin to EMBL-ABR.ClareSloggett Philippa is a specialist in bioinformatics for evolutionary genomics data processing and analysis and has experience in Open Data projects. At EMBL-ABR Philippa will be involved in training and education, publishing Australian data and bioinformatics resources, and more. Philippa will also be working with the Hoffmann Lab (Bio21 Institute) on two RADSeq projects: conservation genomics of the Mountain Pygmy Possum and Eastern Barred Bandicoot; and population genomics / data curation on the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue fever.

Dr Anna Syme has also just joined the VLSCI team from the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, bringing a breadth of experiences including authoring a number of field guides, including “Barnacles“. Anna will be working as a bioinformatician, joining another of this year’s recruits, Madison Flannery to work on the national BioPlatforms Australia Sepsis project. Madison’s experience combines a background in computer science with a MSci (Bioinformatics) and will work under the guidance of the project’s supervisor, Torsten Seemann.


VLSCI is currently hosting a visiting scholar, Ivo F.A.C. Fokkema, from Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands. Ivo is working with VLSCI staff for 3 months on the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, Clinical Genomics, LOVD database development project.  

We also have Tom Connor from Cardiff University, Wales, UK with us this week. As a big user of the Genomics Virtual Lab and part of the UK’s Cloud Infrastructure for Microbial Bioinformatics project, he is here to work intensively with our staff on a GVL launcher for CLIMB.


COMBINE‘s first Melbourne seminar of 2016, “Bioinformatics in Australia: the pre-history to 1997”, will be presented by Professor Terry Speed. The talk will be at VLSCI, LAB-14 Seminar Space, 700 Swanston Street, Carlton, on Thursday 24 March 2016, 5pm – 6pm. Following the talk, the group will move to The Clyde Hotel (385 Cardigan St, Carlton) for light refreshments and networking. More information and RSVP here.

The upcoming Open Knowledge Human Genomics Meetup II will feature Professor Ingrid Winship talking about about how genetic conditions are screened, the process of identifying causal genetic variants, and how clinical genetic information is shared with patients and researchers. It will be at Thoughtworks Melbourne, Level 23, 303 Collins St, Melbourne on Wednesday 9 March 2016, 6pm. More information and RSVP here.


We’ve added some information about a couple of jobs in the network: Proteomic Bioinformatician at Bio21 Institute and a PhD Scholarship for a Computational Chemist at UQ.