Our Team

Dr. Skye Thomas-Hall : Team leader for the Algae Biotechnology Group and site manager for the Algae Energy Farm.

Dr. Skye Thomas-Hall

Team leader for the Algae Biotechnology Group and site manager for the Algae Energy Farm., s.thomashall@uq.edu.au

I manage the diverse algae research projects performed by PhD and honours students working with Schenk Lab. My main interests centre around the production and processing of microalgae for nutraceuticals such as omega 3 fatty acids, carotenoids and pigments.
I have extensive experience in large scale low cost algae cultivation, the main focus being production of biomass as a high protein feed supplement for livestock and aquaculture. The long term vision for microalgae is the sustainable production of biofuels, this is what sparked my initial interest in microalgae. ​

Dr Cristiana Dal’Molin : Bioengineer Consultant Expert | Project leader | Algae systems biology

Dr Cristiana Dal’Molin

Bioengineer Consultant Expert | Project leader | Algae systems biology, c.gomesdeoliveira@uq.edu.au

I assist the team on the development of genome-scale metabolic reconstruction and modelling: a platform technology that is used for detailed analysis of the microalgae metabolic capabilities to produce products of industrial interest.

Find more information about Dr. Dal’Molin’s expertise and projects of interest here: http://researchers.uq.edu.au/researcher/1631

Dr. Lilia Carvalhais : Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Lilia Carvalhais

Post Doctoral Fellow, l.carvalhais@uq.edu.au

Plant-microbe interactions focusing on plant defence mechanisms, plant nutrition, root exudates and microbial ecology

Dr. Ali Malekizadeh : Postdoctoral Researcher - Environmental and Chemical Engineer

Dr. Ali Malekizadeh

Postdoctoral Researcher - Environmental and Chemical Engineer, a.malekizadeh@uq.edu.au

During my PhD research I discovered a new technology for water treatment, oil separation and food processing. The patent has been secured worldwide and I am currently working with our industry partners on a collaborative research & development project to commercialize the new filtration technology.

Dr. Swaminathan Detchanamurthy : Visiting Academic

Dr. Swaminathan Detchanamurthy

Visiting Academic, s.detchanamurthy@uq.edu.au

I am a Visiting Academic from India working jointly with Prof. Schenk Lab at University of Queensland and an algal based company Qponics based in Brisbane, Australia in the scale-up of Omega-3 algae production. Secondly, I am also working jointly with Prof. Schenk Lab at University of Queensland and Coal Seam Gas Consortium (CCSG), Australia to grow value added algal biomass using brine water.
I have diverse international experience in science and engineering to work with different kinds of bacteria, yeast and algae to produce value added products from lab scale to commercialization scale for the past 10 years.

Dr. Eladl Eltanahy : Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Eladl Eltanahy

Postdoctoral Researcher, eladl@mans.edu.eg

I am a PostDoc Researcher currently investigating the agricultural applications of microalgae as a source of EPA, DHA protein for livestock and aquaculture feed supplement.
I have 13 years experience in Halophilic Dunaliella open pond production, livestock effluent biological treatment and nutritive value of microalgae in aquaculture ecosystem.

Dr. Richard Moyle : Research Manager, Nexgen Plants Pty Ltd

Dr. Richard Moyle

Research Manager, Nexgen Plants Pty Ltd, r.moyle1@uq.edu.au

The Nexgen Plants research group studies plant-virus interactions.

Our aim is to achieve robust crop resistance to plant viruses.

Find more information about Nexgen Plants Pty Ltd at http://www.nexgenplants.com

Ekaterina Nowak : Research Scientist and Lab Manager

Ekaterina Nowak

Research Scientist and Lab Manager, k.nowak@uq.edu.au

As a part of Nexgen team, I'm currently developing pathogen-resistant crops using molecular plant breeding techniques.

Dr. Azam Sheikh : Visiting Academic

Dr. Azam Sheikh

Visiting Academic, azamsheikh24@gmail.com

I am a Visiting Academic at Schenk lab. Trained algal biotechnologist skilled with experience
of microalgae cultivation in large scale open raceway ponds, circular ponds and closed
photo-bioreactors at locations across the world (India, South Korea, South Africa, and now
Australia). My research interest extends from fundamental biochemistry of microalgal
systems to industry oriented investigations. I am currently working on scale-up studies of
methods developed for enhancement of commercially important microalgal metabolites.
Other aspects of my research involves-cultivation of commercially important microalgae
using automated open raceway pond, role of ROS in microalgal response to stress, and
enhancement, extraction and purification of high value chemicals from microalgae.

Lara-Simone Pretorius : PhD Student

Lara-Simone Pretorius

PhD Student, larasimone.pretorious@uqconnect.edu.au

I am currently in the third year of my PhD studying plant-virus interactions. I became part of the Schenklab team in 2010 undertaking a mini research project for my undergraduate degree, and they just couldn't get rid of me. I love Schenk lab and consider all lab members (past, present and future) my crazy, fun-loving, super multicultural, science family.

I am also a member of the Nexgen Plants Team which is dedicated to helping plants defend themselves against viruses and aims to prevent million of dollars of crop losses in the future. I am extremely passionate about this work and the meaningful contribution it is making to the pursuit of science and our never ending quest for knowledge.

Hooman Mirzaee : PhD Student

Hooman Mirzaee

PhD Student, h.mirzaee@uq.edu.au

My research has mainly focused on finding new antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) especially bacteriocins. To achieve this goal I apply two different approaches culturable and unculturable methods. In addition, I have plans to introduce some AMP genes to plants and investigate the level of resistance in challenge with pathogens.

Sharifah Farhana : PhD student

Sharifah Farhana

PhD student, uqssyed4@uq.edu.au

I am working on biodiscovery of biocontrol agents and antagonistic compounds against​ ​plant-damaging Oomycete,Phytophthora​​. My research focus​es ​on finding the biocontrol agents with plant growth promotion and biocontrol properties against four Phytophthora​​ species. In addition to that, I am also working on identification and characterisation of the potential anti-oomycete​ ​and growth-promoting compounds and their application in plants to control Phytophthora​​ diseases.

Elvis T. Chua : PhD Student

Elvis T. Chua

PhD Student, elvis_chua@yahoo.com

My research focus is to optimize the lipid extraction of Nannochloropsis sp. and to determine the valuable compounds left in the biomass.

Emily Ariens : Honours Student

Emily Ariens

Honours Student, emily.ariens@uq.net.au

My research is in plant-microbe interactions focusing on optimising clavibacter infection in tomatoes. To then find and use beneficial microbes to inhibit the pathogens effect on tomato growth.

James Booth : Honours Student

James Booth

Honours Student, james.booth@uq.net.au

My research is focused on finding and using beneficial bacteria to inhibit plant pathogens. The goal is to find a strain or collection of microbes that can be used to protect plants as an alternative to chemical pesticides.

Hamed Alsufyani : PhD Student

Hamed Alsufyani

PhD Student, hamed-191@hotmail.com

My research focuses on developing and optimizing methods for harvesting microalgae and oil extraction using hydrate gel filtration systems. I also assist the hydrate gel filtration team in developing prototypes and new possible applications for Schenklab's patented filtration technology.

Hongwei Liu : PhD Student

Hongwei Liu

PhD Student, hongwei.liu@uq.connect.au

My PhD research interests lie primarily in plant mediated effects on rhizosphere/endosphere microbial community.

My current research topic of interest is to determine the effects of activation of wheat hormone pathways/wheat crown rot disease on the rhizosphere microbial community structure and functional diversity.

Shabana Wagi : Ph.D. Student

Shabana Wagi

Ph.D. Student , Shabanawagi @gmail.com

I am a Ph.D. Scholar and I am working on plant growth promoting rhizospheric bacteria isolated from wheat rhizosphere. I am working on plant growth promoting ability of these rhizobacteria on wheat.

Shook Pui Chan : Masters Student

Shook Pui Chan

Masters Student, shookpui.chan@uq.net.au

My research focuses on water purification and oil separation using hydrate gel filtration system. I assist the team in developing prototypes and to discover possible applications of the new filtration technology

Sherlyn Larang : Masters Student

Sherlyn Larang

Masters Student, sherlyn.larang@outlook.com

My masters' project currently focuses on developing and commercialising filtration prototypes using the new hydrate gel technology discovered by SchenkLab. I also assist the team in discovering other possible applications for the hydrate gel and with collaborative projects with industry partners.

Admire Chaendera (Adi) : Research Collaborator

Admire Chaendera (Adi)

Research Collaborator , admirec@domboresources.com.au

Adi is a consulting process engineer. He is working on a study to establish effective ways of utilising industrial flue gas during algae cultivation. With a passion for responsible stewardship of the environment, his interests are in turning current efforts towards carbon footprint reduction into commercially viable projects in order to ensure sustainability and acceleration of technology take-up.

Faisal Alsenani : PhD Student

Faisal Alsenani

PhD Student, Faisal.alsenani@uqconnect.edu.au

My research focuses on screening and isolation of natural health products and new antibiotics from microalgae.

In 2016 I participated in the 1st Australia New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Society Symposium.
please refer to: Alsenani, F., et al. (2016). External stimuli to induce nutraceutical biosynthesis in marine microalgae.

Lina Gonzalez : PhD Student

Lina Gonzalez

PhD Student, lina.gonzalezgonzalez@uq.net.au

My research project is focused on the optimization of a closed loop for biofuels production from microalgae through anaerobic digestion and nutrient recycling.

Diego F. Correa : PhD Student

Diego F. Correa

PhD Student, diego.correagomez@uq.net.au

My research is focused on environmental resource management and the potential trade-offs or synergies between production and conservation. It involves the selection of suitable areas for the construction of micro-algae production facilities at a regional scale, taking into account ecological, social and economic factors. This project includes collaborators from the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences.​

Timothy Brett Walker : Volunteer

Timothy Brett Walker

Volunteer, t.walker@uq.net.au

I completed Professional Masters of Biotechnology mid-2018 at the Schenk Lab, with my research focusing on use of the hydrate filtration system to separate oil from algal lysate and from ethanol solvent extraction. I am currently volunteering two days a week at the Schenk Lab, in between work, where I am continuing to test the hydrate's oil separation capabilities under different conditions.

Cui Yi (Ian) : PhD Student

Cui Yi (Ian)

PhD Student, shjzhcuiyi@hotmail.com

My research project is oil production from Phaeodactylum tricornutum. I am interested in the induction of EPA and DHA in this magical creature.

I am also the curator of Queensland microalgae culture collections.

Anna Hendra : Masters Student

Anna Hendra

Masters Student, anna.hendra@uq.net.au

The purpose of my research is to study the effect of using nutrient recycling through anaerobic digestion when growing algae.

Eric S. Djojo : Masters Student

Eric S. Djojo

Masters Student, e.djojo@uq.net.au

My research focus is to find early detection method for contamination in algae culture and also prevent and control the contamination.

Hong Chyng Ng : Honours Student

Hong Chyng Ng

Honours Student, hong.ng@uq.net.au

My research focus is to isolate new Nannochloropsis strains and maximise their EPA production.

Ness Mojtahedi : Research Assistant

Ness Mojtahedi

Research Assistant,

I am a research assistant working with Nexgen Plants.
My area of expertise is plant transformation; currently focusing on plant-virus interactions.
Our aim within Nexgen is to achieve robust crops resistant to plant viruses.

Ruijuan Ma : <strong>PhD student</strong>

Ruijuan Ma

PhD student, ruijuanma@hotmail.com

My research focus on improving astaxanthin production from Haematococcus, and understanding the mechanism of different factors on astaxanthin biosynthesis.

Bingli Liu (Jessica) : PhD Student

Bingli Liu (Jessica)

PhD Student, 806590853@qq.com

My research is based on the analysis of bacterial communities isolated from marine microalgae samples (Cylindrotheca fusiformi, Tetraselmis chuii). Using high-throughput sequencing technology, I aim to identify the bacterial strains within these diverse communities that enhance the growth and productivity of certain microalgae strains.

Noelia Neira Peralta : Masters Student

Noelia Neira Peralta

Masters Student, n.neiraperalta@uq.edu.au

My project currently focuses in the evaluation of transgenic tomato plants expressing different known antimicrobial peptides and their resistance to Gram negative phytophagenic bacteria. Additionally, I assist in the discovery of new peptides with antimicrobial activity.

Yuet Kiu (Vicky) Choy : Honours Student

Yuet Kiu (Vicky) Choy

Honours Student, yuet.choy@uq.net.au

My honours project is focused on the screening of efficient bacteria control agents against two strawberry rotting pathogens.

Ying Wang : Masters Student

Ying Wang

Masters Student, ying.wang11@uq.net.au

My research is focused on developing efficient lipid extraction techniques from the oleaginous microalga Nannochloropsis sp. BR2 in order to secure more sustainable sources of omega-3 fatty acids. I am currently investigating a pre-treatment method to break the algal cell walls; improving oil extraction.

Heejae Jung : Honours Student

Heejae Jung

Honours Student, kisuksa302@hotmail.com

my research focuses on efficient harvesting techniques and mechanism from various microalgae. I am also interested in aqua-feed using microalgae.

Eugenie Singh : Honors Student

Eugenie Singh

Honors Student, eugenie.singh@uq.net.au

I am interested in studying the phyllosphere microbiome of plants for biological interactions that inhibit the progression of  foliar (leaf surface) diseases. This research is of utmost importance as it provides potentially new biocontrol application agents that can contribute to crop protection.

Faruq Ahmed : PhD Student

Faruq Ahmed

PhD Student, f.ahmed1@uq.edu.au

My research focuses on including microalgae to produce carotenoids and phytosterols and understanding the mechanism of such actions

Forough Ghasemi Naghdi : PhD Student

Forough Ghasemi Naghdi

PhD Student, f.ghaseminaghdi@uq.edu.au

My research focuses on developing optimum procedures for the extraction of lipids from various microalgae

Ahmad Rosli : PhD Student

Ahmad Rosli

PhD Student, ahmad.rosli@uqconnect.edu.au

My research involves the effective screening and characterization of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), which are a class of rhizobacteria that resides in the soil rhizosphere of plants, that directly and indirectly promotes plant growth and sustains overall plant health.

Ambreen Aslam : PhD Student

Ambreen Aslam

PhD Student, a.ambreen@uq.edu.au

I have been focusing on ''Biodiesel production by microalgae cultivation through conversion of Industrial Carbon Dioxide"

Anahid Al-Amery : PhD Student

Anahid Al-Amery

PhD Student, anahid.alamery@uqconnect.edu.au

Environmental stresses have a negative effect on crop production and food accessibility. The emergence of the novel technologies, such as gene technology and molecular biology, is now allowing researchers to identify the genetic behind plant stress responses. My research area of interest is to use the plant’s natural hormone Brassinosteroid (BR) to increase cotton yield under suboptimal conditions.

Vivian Rincon florez : PhD Student

Vivian Rincon florez

PhD Student, v.rinconflorez@uq.edu.au

I am a microbiologist from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. My research focuses on the effect of strategic tillage in soil microbial communities from soils under long-term no-tillage in QLD, Australia.

Nilmini Jayalath : Research Assistant

Nilmini Jayalath

Research Assistant, n.jayalath@uq.edu.au

I began my career in South Australia as a Research Assistant in the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) at the University of Adelaide. Then, I joined in the Soil Contaminant Ecotoxicology group at CSIRO Land and Water SA approximately nine years. I worked as a Research Assistant in the CSIRO Agriculture SA too.

I completed my PhD in Science in August, 2016 in the School of Agriculture at the University of Adelaide and graduated in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

I love the climate in Brisbane and the crops originated from particularly, tropical /sub-tropical regions. Therefore, I am delighted be a member of Schenk Group and the Nexgen Team.

Liam Zanchetta : Honours Student

Liam Zanchetta

Honours Student, liam.zanchetta@outlook.com

My honours project involves the anaerobic digestion of algae biomass in an effort to reduce the overall cost and inputs when producing biodiesel from algae. Biogas will be produced through the digestion process which can be used to create heating or provide electricity but mainly it will be burnt to provide the beneficial CO2 that the algae need to grow.

Annabel Hutchinson : Honours Student

Annabel Hutchinson

Honours Student, annabel.hutchinson@uq.net.au

My research compares the yield of duckweed grown using mineral and organic fertiliser and its application as an animal fodder.

Thorya Fallath : PhD Student

Thorya Fallath

PhD Student, thorya.fallath@uq.net.au

I am interested in understanding the interactions between the Mediator complex subunit 25 and some transcription factors