Team:Victoria Australia/Team/Overview


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Latest revision as of 15:01, 20 October 2009

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Who We Are:

Team Victoria


  • Professor Philip Poronnik :

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Professor Philip Poronnik initiated RMIT University iGEM participation and is the overall iGEM leader for Team Victoria_Australia. Prof. Phil participated in iGEM 2008 where he also became known as "P2" in iGEM circles with "P1" being Prof. Phillip Long of UQ/MIT fame. Prof Phil - P2 - is the Discipline Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences at RMIT University and is leader of the Health Innovations Research Institute (HIRi) program in Metabolism, Exercise and Disease.

Prof. Phil’s research spans areas of molecular physiology of membrane transport; kidney physiology and albumin handling; the physiology, function and regulation of ion channels; the development of innovative teaching methods; and synthetic biology. Prof. Phil has research grants from both the Australian NHMRC and ARC funding bodies and has over 90 publications.

In addition to his scientific research, Professor Phil is heavily involved in science education research. He is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and Research Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology at the University of Queensland, directed by P1. His key focus in teaching are areas around creativity and innovation and embedding transferable skills to science graduates - opportunities provided by activities such as iGEM.

Prof Phil has many recognitions of his outstanding achievements including:
- A UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award (2004).
- “In Focus” review editor for the International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology,
- Editorial Board for the American Journal of Physiology Renal Reviews.
- National Secretary of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science

  • Dr Leonard Pattenden :
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Dr Len Pattenden is a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow in the Poronnik group of the Health Innovations Research Institute, RMIT University. Len is the RMIT University iGEM team coordinator. Len undertakes research into albumin handling by the kidneys and the relationship of albumin structure to changes in the way it is processed by the kidneys. This research is relevant to diabetes where albumin is modified by sugars and for ~16,000 Australians progress to the complication of albuminuria, which in turn progresses to renal failure and cardiovascular disease. Len has research interests in areas of Synchrotron science, membrane biology, large-scale protein expression, protein engineering, biomolecular engineering, molecular physiology, structural biology, drug and vaccine design, and of course, synthetic biology.



  • Sebastian Ramov:

Sebastian is in his second year second year of Bachelor Applied science (Pharmaceutical science). He joined the iGEM competition to enhance his knowledge in the lab and to get a feel of what it's like to be a research scientist.


  • Michelle Chayeb:

Michelle Chayeb is a 20 year old pharmaceutical sciences student and is currently in her second year. Her primary passion lies in drug development and enjoys working in the lab.


  • Lyna Thach:

Lyna is currently studying an undergraduate degree at RMIT University; Bachelor of Applied Science (Pharmaceutical Sciences). She enjoys undertaking hands on work that involve chemicals, drugs and skilled work activities. By all means they’ve already got her best interest at heart. She decided to be part of the iGEM competition to broaden her knowledge in the laboratory field, and to have a feel of what it would be like to undertake some of the responsibilities of an Honours student.


  • Danielle Kamato:

Danielle Kamato is 19 years old and currently studying second year Pharmaceutical Science at RMIT university. Dannii decided to join iGEM so she would have an opportunity to research and develop a project of personal interest, as well as experience lab work first hand.


  • Jasmine Panthaki:

Jasmine is currently studying her first year of her undergraduate degree at RMIT University; Bachelor of Applied Science (Pharmaceutical Sciences). Her love of science developed in primary school, learning simple things about the body and space. She is determined to gain as much knowledge as she can about the mechanism of drugs and the immune system and after completing her degree she plans to travel throughout Africa.


  • Flora Yuen:

Flora is currently studying her first year of her undergraduate degree at RMIT University; Bachelor of Applied Science (Pharmaceutical Sciences). She has a huge passion in the field of science, although she can complain about the workload and information overload alot, deep down she loves it. She hopes that in the future that science will take her around the world. iGEM was brought to her attention since it would be a great opportunity to explore an aspect of science in great detail, while having fun.


  • Muriel Aldunate:

Muriel is in her 2nd year of studying biotechnology at RMIT University and has dedicated her life to science since she was five; when her parents bought her a microscope and she went around collecting helpless insects to inspect. In her spare time she aims to inspire future generations by assisting by teaching year 7 science & being a rolemodel that can turn "geek into chic". She plans never to stop travelling the world, marvelling at its wonders and trying to understand everything in it.


  • Candice Raeburn:

Candi is a 2nd year biotechnology student who enjoys making surprised facial expressions at beer in conical flasks (see picture right) and genetics. When she grows up she hopes to be taller and intends to save the world (to fulfil the young optimistic scientist stereotype). Candi enjoys: bioacoustics, behavioural genetics, entomology, biological chemistry, virology, biomimicry, nanotechnology and a nice pair of slacks. She has studied in Australia and the USA, and hopes to complete her degree in the UK next year.


  • Breegini Culas:

Breegini is a 1st year student studying an undergraduate degree in Applied Science (Pharmaceutical Science) at RMIT. Science has always been an interest in her life, she loves doing hands on lab work more than anything. iGEM sparked her interest because she wanted a challenge and this gave rise to a great opportunity to travel as well.