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Team Alumni

Postdoctoral Scientists



Olivier Zemb
 was a postdoctoral member of the team (2007-2011) originally from France applying principles of microbial ecology to the in vitro and in situ degradation of chlorinated hydrocarbons. He was studying the use of abiotic sources of electrons such as iron in the context of biological reductive dechlorination. Methods included next generation sequencing coupled with incubation experiments and RNA stable isotope probing which allow identification of the genes that use a particular isotopic substrate. He was also involved in theoretical consideration of the electrostatic interaction between virus and bacteria. In 2011 Olivier successfully applied for a permanent position back in France and left the team in October 2011.



Dr David Schleheck - Joined the group from Konstanz University (Germany) and made enormous contributions to the development of the bioremediation portfolio (2004-2006).

Dr Maki Teramoto - Joined the group from the Marine Biotechnology Institute (Japan) and contributed to the EBCRC bioremediation project (2005).


Research Assistants

Muoi Khou - Served the group from 2004 to 2007 making great contributions to the EBCRC bioremediation project and to lab management during this time. Moui left the group to pursue a medical degree, which she completed in 2011.

Ilona Kindinger 
- Originally from Germany, Ilona joined the group in 2006 to work on a project entitled Development of a bacterial-protozoa based group selection model. She returned to Germany in 2008 and now works in Konstanz.

Ryan Yi Heng Nai 
- Joined the group in 2007 to work on a project entitled Development of a bacterial-protozoa based group selection model. Ryan left the group to pursue a PhD on RNA fingerprinting at the University of Tasmania.

Dan Yu - Joined the group in 2007 to work on a project entitled Development of a bacterial-protozoa based group selection model.


PhD Graduates

Ana-Maria Moreno - Graduated with a PhD in 2007 with a thesis entitled Understanding bacteria-protozoa interactions: from grazing resistance mechanisms to carbon flow in bacteria-protozoa food webs.

Grace Chong - Graduated with a PhD in 2010 with a thesis entitled Intercellular bacterial signalling in activated sludge.

Vibeke Aagaard - Graduated with a PhD in 2010 with a thesis entitled Utility of electron transfer mediators in the bioremediation of organochlorine contaminated soil.

Maria-Luisa Gutierrez-Zamora - Graduated with a PhD in 2011 with a thesis entitled Development of a novel ribosomal RNA based method for fingerprinting bacterial consortia.

Joanna Koenig - Was awarded a PhD in 2011 a thesis entitled Microbial strategies for the bioremediation of carbon tetrachloride and perchloroethene mixtures.

Sania Wadud - Was awarded a PhD in 2011 a thesis entitled Understanding the microbial ecology of chicken litter in the context of odour production. 
Adrian Low - Was awarded a PhD in 2012 with a thesis entitled Generation of a low pH 1,2-dichloroethane enrichment culture for enhanced bioremediation.


Masters Graduates

Lan Le - Graduated with an MSc in 2010 with a thesis entitled Community analysis and physiological characterisation of bacterial isolates from a nitrifying membrane reactor.

Onder Kimyon - Graduated with an MSc in 2012 with a thesis entitled The role of AHL-mediated quorum sensing systems in chitinase production in Aeromonas strains isolated from a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Honours Graduates

Adrian Low - Graduated with BSc (hons I) in 2006 with a thesis entitled Remediation of soils contaminated with chlorinated hydrocarbons. Adrian went on to contribute to the group as a research assistant (2007-2008) before initiating a PhD in the group in 2009.

Angela Johnstone - Graduated with BSc (hons I) in 2008 with a thesis entitled Identification of electron shuttles for biodegradation of chlorinated compounds. Also served as a research assistant throughout 2009.

Mohd Hazwan Ab Halim - Graduated with BSc (hons II) in 2009 with a thesis entitled The role of acylated homoserine lactones in activated sludge.

Kirsten Coupland - Graduated with BSc (hons I) in 2010 with a thesis entitled Electron shuttle activity from natural environments and their application to bioremediation

Shafini abd Hapiz - Conducted a summer project with the group and graduated with BSc (hons I) in 2010 with a thesis entitled The role of quorum sensing on electron shuttle production and biofilm formation.

Tallulah Brown - Graduated with BSc (hons I) in 2010 with a thesis entitled The effect of electron shuttles on complex microbial communities

Nadhiah Rahman - Graduated with BSc (hons I) in 2011 with a thesis entitled Improving direct rRNA fingerprinting (DRF) technique to characterise microbial communities in complex samples.

Nik Zamri - Graduated with BSc (hons II) in 2011 with a thesis entitled The effects of electron shuttles on methanogenesis.





Ian Ch'ng - From Malaysia, completed BSc (hons) in 2011 with a thesis entitled Development of a chitosan based activated sludge floc formation model. 








Eliza Wells - 

Practicum Students

Coen van Gennep - Joined the group from Wageningen University (Netherlands) in 2006 as part of his undergraduate studies to work on a project entitled Ex situ reactors for reductive dechlorination.

Jelte jan Reitsma - Joined the group from Wageningen University (Netherlands) in 2006 as part of his undergraduate studies to work on a project entitled Cyanocobalamin production for bioremediation in a lab scale fermenter.

Astrid Michaelsen - Joined the group from the University of Vienna (Austria) in 2007 as part of her PhD project entitled Foxing of paper caused by fungi and molecular monitoring of conservation treatments.

Jutta Zwielehner - Joined the group from the University of Vienna (Austria) in 2009 as part of her PhD project entitled Use of stable isotope probing to identify the major consumers of butyrate in faecal samples.

Kathrin Grossmeier - Joined the group from the Technical University of Munich (Germany) as part of her MSc on a project entitled Electron shuttles for catalysing the reductive dechlorination of organochlorines.






Ms Carmen Elekes - A volunteer student from Romania visited the group in July 2011 working Dr Sabrina Beckmann on the methanogenic potential of the microbial community from groundwater associated with coal seams in the Western Coal Fields of NSW, Australia.





Arthur Bauer joined the team as a practicum student from France (July-August 2011). Arthur worked on the identification of bacterial and fungal isolates growing on coal-silica plates.





Ms Melissa Rapadas
 volunteered with the group (July-Nov 2011) as part of the BABS3301 Biomolecular Sciences Laboratory Project program. Melissa worked on testing isolated bacterial lineages from activated sludge for the production of extracellular redox active metabolites.





Ms Liza Kretzschmar originally from Germany volunteered in the lab, working with Dr Astrid Michaelsen to develop a convenient standard for quantitative PCR of functional genes involved in anaerobic perchloroethene degradation. Email: z3218219@student.unsw.edu.au



Nasim Shah Mohammadi is a volunteer student originally from Iran visiting the group one day a week May-Dec 2011. She has a BSc and MSc in Microbiology in Iran and then completed a master's by coursework in molecular biotechnology at the University of Sydney. She has worked on the effect of griseofulvin on gene expression in Trichophyton Rubrum and on the use of cellulose as a biomaterial. Nasim is now screening activated sludge isolates for AHL production.




Monica Das Gupta joined the team as a BABS3301 student at the start of S1 2012. Monica is working on the identification of isoprene degrading bacteria in soil. Isoprene is an atmospheric trace gas that plays an important role in regulating atmospheric chemistry. About 4 % of the global atmopsheric budget sinks into soil each year yet next to nothing is known about isoprene degrading bacteria in soil. With the support of postgrad student Iman Taleb Monica is using a stable isotope probing based approach. Mail: monica.dg14@gmail.com