Invited Speakers


Professor Mary O’Kane is the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer and also a company director and Executive Chairman of Mary O’Kane & Associates Pty Ltd, a Sydney-based consulting practice. She is also Chair of the Development Gateway and Development Gateway International, Chair of the CRC for Spatial Information, and a director of NICTA, Capital Markets CRC, PSMA Ltd and Business Events Sydney.Professor O’Kane was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1996-2001 She is a former Chair of the board of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, a former member of the Commonwealth’s Review of the National Innovation System, Australian Research Council and the Co-operative Research Centres (CRC) Committee, the board of FH Faulding & Co Ltd and the board of CSIRO. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of Engineers Australia.



Strategies and Progress of the HUPO Human Proteome Project

Professor Gil Omenn is the Director of the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (CCMB) at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is a Professor of Molecular Medicine & Genetics, Professor of Human Genetics, Professor of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, Professor of Public Health at the School of Public Health and Research Professor at the Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics. Professor Omenn's research focuses on cancer proteomics and informatics. He leads the Proteomics Alliance for Cancer Research, the HUPO Plasma Proteome Project, the Driving Biological Problems Core of the National Center for Integrative Biomedical Informatics, and the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. There are datasets for application of analytical tools, and there are research teams eager to engage in collaborative studies in each of these initiatives. He has long-standing interests in mechanisms of genetic predispositions to risks from environmental and occupational exposures, pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics, and science-based risk analyses.Professor Omenn also served as Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and as Chief Executive Officer of the University of Michigan Health System from 1997-2002. He is PI of the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor Proteomics Alliance for Cancer research program and leader of the international Human Proteome Organization (HUPO). He has also recently received the 2013 David E. Rogers Award from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).



Integrating exome sequencing, mRNA-seq, and microRNA-seq to identify genes and 
mechanisms in optic nerve degeneration 


Dr. Terry Gaasterland is a computer scientist turned computational molecular biologist. Her work seeks to understand the program of the cell encoded in the genome. She earned her undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Russian with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University as an A.B. Duke Scholar, and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Maryland. As an Enrico Fermi Fellow at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and then as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, she applied techniques from her work in "cooperative answering", natural language processing, and deductive database research to the interpretation of the first three DOE-funded microbial genomes and a fourth Canadian-funded archaeal genome. During seven years as a Head of Lab at Rockefeller University, Dr. Gaasterland focused on the integration of gene expression data and genome sequence data analysis in human and model eukaryotic organisms. Ten years ago, Dr. Gaasterland moved her Laboratory of Computational Genomics to UCSD to establish the Scripps Genome Center, a UCSD resource based at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the Marine Biology Division, with bioinformatics hardware and software housed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. At UCSD, she is now Professor of Computational Biology and Genomics at SIO and a faculty member in UCSD’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. Since receiving the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) in 2000, she has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to develop and use methods in computational genomics. Her accomplishments in computational molecular biology as well as her early career work in deductive databases is reflected in over 90 refereed publications, with over 80 indexed in PubMed. Dr. Gaasterland designs and uses computational tools to decipher and interrogate cell systems through integrated analysis of genomic and proteomic data. Her work aims to address the general question: How does regulation of transcription and translation modulate and affect cell state changes? She applies this approach to understand optic nerve degeneration in primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). This chronic eye disease affects more than 2 million Americans over age 40, and causes blindness in over 3 million people worldwide each year, affecting quality of life in aging populations. Her laboratory is seeking genes and molecular mechanisms responsible for risk and progression. A member of the NEIGHBOR Consortium to study POAG and the NHGRI Medical Sequencing program, Dr. Gaasterland is sequencing and analyzing variation in transcribed exons genome-wide for 400 primary open angle glaucoma cases and controls. To decipher molecular mechanisms affected by variation, Dr. Gaasterland uses a combination of high-throughput sequencing, quantitative PCR, and computational analysis to identify and test regulatory binding sites and non-coding RNAs affected by mutations.


Normalization of -omic data after 2007

Professor Terry Speed is an expert mathematician and statistician who has applied mathematical theories to a range of problems in forensic science, medical science, farming and mining. However, his main research focus is in the application of statistics to problems in genetics and molecular biology. Internationally, Professor Speed is regarded as the leading expert in the analysis of microarray data and has made has made ground-breaking contributions to the fields of bioinformatics, statistical genetics, the analysis of designed experiments, graphical models and Bayes networks. He was recently awarded the 2013 Prime Minister’s Science Prize for his work in Bioinformatics, which is Australia’s highest award for excellence in science research. In the same year that he received the prize, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, United Kingdom, while in 2012 he was the recipient of the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation and won the Thomas Reuters Citation Award in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for being the most cited Australian researcher in that field for the past decade. He also received the inaugural National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Achievement Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research in 2007, an NHMRC Fellowship in 2009 and the Australian Government Centenary Medal in 2001. He is now working as the Senior Principal Research Scientist and is the head of the Bioinformatics division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne where his main research focus is in metabolic flux analysis, estimating 13C enrichment in time course experiments, basecalling for resequencing chips, and phylogenomics.


Professor John Mattick is the Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, one of Australia's best medical research organisations. He is also a Professor of Molecular Biology and Australian Research Council Federation Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland. He has worked at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the CSIRO Division of Molecular Biology in Sydney, and has been based in the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Cologne, Strasbourg and Queensland since 1988. He was the Foundation Director of the Australian Genome Research Facility and the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. Professor John Mattick completed his Bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours in Biochemistry at the University of Sydney. He then went on to obtain his PhD at Monash University in Melbourne. It was soon after when the idea occurred to him that ‘junk’ DNA was not actually evolutionary debris, as previously thought, but may be involved in the orchestration of the growth, division and differentiation of genes. He then went on to test his idea, and has published more than 200 scientific papers to date on the subject in Journals such as Science, Nature Genetics, Nature Reviews Genetics, Genome Research, PNAS, Human Molecular Genetics and Scientific American. As a result, Professor John Mattick’s research has contributed great insight into the complexity and depth of the human transcriptome. Professor John Mattick has received numerous awards for his contribution, including the Biotechnology Medal by the Australian Biochemical Society, the Centenary Medal of the Australian Government, the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science, the inaugural Gutenberg Professorship of the University of Strasbourg, and the Julian Wells Medal of the Lorne Genome Society.


Genome scale regulatory network modeling

Professor Lars Nielsen is the Chair of Biological Engineering at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at the University of Queensland. His research interests are in the fields of haematotherapy, immunotherapy and organotypic models for the study of disease and treatment in the tissue engineering area. He has developed novel strategies for generating microtissues for drug screening and using stem cells to produce red and white blood cells for transfusion. He leads a research group at the Centre for Systems and Synthetic Biology who have made much advancement in projects involving the polymer production in bacteria, recombinant protein and virus production in animal cells, and metabolic engineering of sugarcane.Professor Nielsen has been granted four patents in stem cells and in metabolic engineering and has received the UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award and the Australian Institute of Political Science Queesland Young Tall Poppy Award. His work has also led to project collaborations with the world's leading metabolic engineers from Korea and the United States.


Combinatorial optimisation models for analysing biological data sets

A/Prof Regina Berretta is Head of Discipline of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Newcastle, Australia and one of the founding academics of the Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information Based Medicine. A/Prof Berretta holds degrees in Computational and Applied Mathematics, Mathematics for Teaching, a Master and PhD (all from UNICAMP, Brazil) in the area of Metaheuristic methods to address Integer Programming problems. She held a prestigious early-career fellowship at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil prior to joining the University of Newcastle in 2003. Her main research interest is in the development of mathematical models and computational methods to solve problems in bioinformatics area with emphasis in personalized medicine. She has a substantial expertise in the development of heuristics and metaheuristics for tackle complex combinatorial optimization problems in several areas (production planning, education timetable, functional genomics, etc). She has published more than 60 papers and was awarded more than 15 competitive grants.


Vertically integrated multi-layered omics data for biomarker discovery

Jean Yee Hwa Yang is currently an Associate Professor and an ARC Future Fellow in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Sydney. Her research work has centred on the development of statistical methodology and the application of statistics to problems in genomics, proteomics and biomedical research. In particular, her focus is on developing methods for integrating expression studies and other biological metadata such as miRNA expression, sequence information and clinical data. As a statistician who works in the bioinformatics area, she works in a collaborative environment with scientific investigators from diverse backgrounds. Jean completed a bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Sydney before her PhD in the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, on the design and analysis of cDNA microarray experiments.Jean is a member of the core team in the Bioconductor project, an open source and open development software project for the analysis of genomic and other biological data and actively contributes to organizing the annual Sydney Bioinformatics Research Symposium.



Dr. Michelle Brazas is currently working at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) as a Manager of Research and Knowledge Translation, where she brokers knowledge between research areas to further research outcomes. In this role, she coordinates and facilitates the advanced bioinformatics workshops offered through She also plays an active role in the ISCB Education committee, and is the Secretariat on the Executive Board of the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education & Training (GOBLET), where she helps coordinate bioinformatics training endeavors worldwide.