Meet The Team
MTP Connect REDI Fellow and Associate Professor, Program Lead
Aossicate Professor Nham Tran
Nham completed his PhD in non-coding RNA biology at the University of New South Wales. He leads a research program focused on oral cancers, specifically studying the regulatory role of small RNAs and HPV16-driven viral oncology.
He is a current REDI Industry fellow, Co CI Lead of a ARC DP and is founder of two start up companies.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr Dayna Sais
Dayna graduated with a Bachelor in Forensic Biology and Biomedical Science from the University of Technology Sydney. She has won numerous awards such as the Endeavour Short Term Fellowships for her research.
Dayna joined the team in 2017 and is currently working on several projects investigating the role of miRNAs in cancer and infection. She was awarded her PhD in October 2023 and is a mad Panthers supporter.
Fiona graduated with a Bachelor in Forensic Science at Bond University. Her research explores the application of saliva-based small RNA biomarkers in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. Her work has won numerous student prizes at international conferences
Fiona is in her last year of her PhD and loves animals and has a pet bird, called Sid!
Passe and Williams Research Scholar
Sarah is a Passe and Williams PhD scholar working on understanding the role of small RNAs in Head and Neck cancers. Sarah also has a political science degree from USYD and is very passionate about social reform. Her favourite pastime is making CRISPR KOs for her project.
ARC PhD Scholar
Sumaiya joined the team in 2022 and is working on cross kingdom miRNAs. Her project will examine how worm miRNAs are able to subvert the mammalian immune response to infection. This is a collaborative project with A/Prof Sheila Donnelly.
Sumaiya has extensive experience in research having spent many years at The Centenary before joining Speedx, then embarking on a PhD.
She enjoys spending time with her young family and the company of others.
UTS President's PhD Scholar
Dr. Ngoc Ha Tran
Ngoc Ha is a medical doctor with a degree of master of science in medicine, majoring in Otolaryngology at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.With her specialization in ENT virus and head and neck cancers, she aims to pursue a career as a research scientist in this field.
Her project will investigate the application of saliva as a liquid biopsy for the detection of HPV16-associated oral cancers. Outside of work, Ngoc Ha enjoys spending time with her family. She also loves traveling and is a cat lover!
Jess was a science intern with us before her honours project. She is working on developing a 3 plex qPCR assay for the detection on HPV16 in oral cancers.
She would like to use her skills as a scientist to improve the lives of others with a focus on countries in SE Asia.
Jess is a mad foodie and is founder of her own start up company.
Helen is working on developing molecular diagnostics tools for avian research. She has expertise in working with avian viruses and SNP detection assays.
She decided to return to science having spent many years in business and is enjoying her time in the lab.
Helen enjoys spending time with her son and making him do his homework.
Sheeza is a final year student with a keen interest in engineering and medical devices. She is currently working as a Kit technician on her way to being a specialist. Sheeza ambition is to work in surgical wards with patients who are receiving life changing medical treatment. She is motivated to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Her project involves creating a microgravity device to simulate zero gravity and explore how gravity affects human cells.
Capstone Scholar (AllVascular)
Esther is a biomedical engineering student avidly interested in leveraging the potential of technology to make a positive impact on the lives of those around her. She is currently employed @ AllVascular working on implantable devices.
Her capstone project is exploring the limitations of haemodialysis, and novel technologies to improve therapy. Esther enjoys anything requiring organisation, playing oztag, and baking.
Richie is undertaking a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and is in his final year. Engineering and science have been a passion from the moment his dad introduced him to National Geographic, He has been hooked on the possibilities that science held, and the problems that could be solved with it.
He has a keen passion for Aerospace and working on a designing and making a zero gravity device. Richie would like to become a Project Manager, and support people in leveraging their strengths towards a common goal.
Samantha Khoury PhD
Samantha is an Australian Federation of Graduate Women Fellow who joined the group as an honors student, graduating with first class honors. Her PhD (awarded 2018) was focused on discovering novel small RNA biomarkers for the rapid and early diagnosis of head and neck cancers. Samantha's work has identified a suite of diagnostic serum miRNAs which are currently being tested in patients with oral cancer.
Her interest for biomarker discovery saw her attend the Wellcome Trust Advanced Course: Functional Genomics and Systems Biology. She hopes to use miRNA Seq to further characterise the expression of these small RNAs in other subsets of head and neck cancers.
Meredith Hill PhD
Meredith graduated with a Bachelor of Forensic Biology in Biomedical Science from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2016. During her honours year, Meredith developed an interest in the dysregulation of cellular processes which result in disease, with a particular interest in miRNA to miRNA regulation. Meredith is a huge star wars fans and is also a hot chocolate connoisseur!
Meredith was awarded her PhD in miRNA gene interactions in October 2023!
Richard is a final year biomedical student. His is working on designing and prototyping affordable PCR Microfluidics chips using PMMA for use in a Point-of-Care setting. He is exploring different materials and channel design to create a PCR chip. He would like to pursue a career in medical devices.
In his spare time, Richard is a trained barista, foodie and a huge fan of Japanese culture.
Silvia Vicente i Rizo
Internship student Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona - 2015
Silvia was a exchange student from Spain who is a part of the research team during her time studying at UTS. Her interest for non-coding-RNAs developed while she was studying her degree at Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona).
She joined BERG (Biomedical Electronics Research Group University of Pompeu Fabra, UPF, Universitat Pompeu Fabra) research group, the main focus of her project group was in designing and testing needles which prevent infection during prostate biopsy.
Leonie Herson Masters Student
Leonie graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science in 2015; during which she completed an undergraduate project under the joint supervision of Prof. Stella Valenzuela and Dr. Bruce Cornell at Surgical Diagnostics where she learned how to develop and utilize artificial lipid bilayer membranes as well as create 3D lipid models.
It was at the same time that she also commenced her studies in 2D and 3D animation, where she learned how to use professional animation software such as Maya, leading to an interest in biomedical animation. Leonie is also an experienced freelance Scientific Illustrator and has recently won an award for her work in the annual VizbiPlus Challenge competition. Leonie is a collaborative student from the Valenzuela lab from School of Life Sciences, UTS.
Pamela Ajuyah PhD
Pamela started her PhD in 2012 having just finished her honors at The University of Sydney. She graduated with first class honors and was awarded a Australian Postgraduate Award to pursue a PhD in miRNAs. Pamela's interest in small RNAs started in undergraduate studies when she was awarded two University of Sydney Summer scholarships (2009, 2010). This allowed her to work in research labs focusing on miRNA themes. Her project was centered on the role of two miRNAs and their co-operative regulation to a tumor suppressor gene important in head and neck cancers.
In 2012, Pam was awarded a EMBL travel scholarship to attend and present her work at the 2012 PhD symposium in Heidelberg Germany. In 2013 , she was awarded the BioInfoSummer travel grant, Translational Cancer Research Network travel scholarship, UKRNA and the Lorne Genome student travel bursaries. She is also the recipient of the TCRN PhD Top-up award. Pamela was awarded her PhD in early 2017.
Vinay has a Masters majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Currently working in Phillips Health Care. His main interests are engineering designs and is passionate about a career in Design Engineering.
Matt is studying Engineering (Biomedical ) and Business (Finance). He is working on a data viz project using the TCGA and PowerBI to generate living data maps.
Matt would like to work in Data / Business Analysis. and the ideal holiday for him is to go snowboarding. His saviour during lock down was playing rocket league with friends.
Shanti is a final year Biomedical Engineering student, working on The Rugged PCR for use as a diagnostic tool to test for waterborne species in remote areas.
Bella Pham - Biomedical Engineer
Bella spent a year in
our lab as a Capstone Research student. Bella was engaged in building a microgravity device to study the effects of gravity on cancer cells. She us now working as a biomedical engineer.
Tina spent a year in our lab in the Capstone Research Program. She was involved in the OpenPCR project with the aim of building a phone app for use in the OpenPCR device. Tina now works as a Discovery Project Coordinator at TransPerfect
Taylah is a student at the University of Technology, Sydney, currently studying a Bachelors of Biomedical Engineering and Bachelors of Business Management. She is currently working on the gravitational device RPM and how zero gravity affects changes to mammalian cells. Taylah is now working as a Production Team ManagerProduction Team Manager
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners
Colin spent a year in our lab as a Capstone Research project. He research project involved designing and building a miniature PCR device. Colin now works as a field Service Engineer at Hologic, Inc.
Nick is currently studingy Bachelor of engineering (Electrical) at University of Technology. He has involved in a project for Vivid -THE LIMINAL ZONE (Lighting design and decoration) and as a hobby, Nick likes to tinker with electronic projects. He is currently working on the PCR POC device in the area or wireless communication.
Chloe is a mechatronics engineering student and has an interest in assistive and diagnostic technologies. She is currently working on designing a qPCR machine for POC applications.She was also a UTS academic teaching various design and engineering subjects at UTS
Marcus was a final and 5th-year Mechanical Engineering/Medical Science student. He has an interest in mechanical design and enjoys prototyping and exploring different design concepts.
He will be undertaking his capstone project on the design of a low-cost Random Positioning Machine (RPM) aimed at understanding the effects of gravity on cancer cells. In his spare time, Marcus enjoys skiing and the outdoors. He now works as a Security and Communications Consultant at GHD
Alice was a honours student in 2022 working on mammalian nanotubes. Her project showed that HPV16 may be able to move along these tunnels to infect other cells. Alice enjoys photograph and is a foodie at heart. She is now a research assistant at the Garvan, Sydney, Australia.
Yuhang is a student at UTS, currently studying a Master of Biomedical Engineering. He has an interest in product design of all types of medical equipment and is working on design a portable PCR machine as part of his capstone project.
Olivia is a biomedical engineer with a passion for space research and data analysis. She worked on a gravity device known as a RPM which can simulate zero gravity. Olivia is currently working as a Master Data Specialist at LifeHealthcare.
Rosie is a Biomedical Engineering & Marketing Graduate who joined the team as a capstone student. She is a natural team leader and ran a project developing POC devices.