Mik Black
Professor, University of Otago Department of Biochemistry

Mik received a BSc (Hons) in statistics from the University of Canterbury, and a MSc (mathematical statistics) and PhD (statistics) from Purdue University. After completing his PhD in 2002, Mik returned to New Zealand to work as a lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland.  An ongoing involvement in a number of Dunedin-based collaborative genomics projects resulted in a move to the University of Otago in 2006.  Mik’s research focuses on the development and application of statistical methods for the analysis of data from genomics experiments, with a particular emphasis on human disease.  Mik has also been heavily involved in a number of major initiatives designed to put in place sustainable national research infrastructure: New Zealand Genomics Ltd (where he was the Bioinformatics Team Leader during 2012-2013) and now Genomics Aotearoa (where he is currently the Bioinformatics lead) for genomics, and NeSI (New Zealand eScience Infrastructure) for high performance computing and eResearch.

Claire Grant
Communications Manager, Genomics Aotearoa (GA)

Claire Grant is the Communications Manager for Genomics Aotearoa, responsible for promoting its research activities and contributing to improving understanding of genomics in New Zealand. She has extensive experience in communications advisory and public relations in New Zealand, and is passionate about science communication.

Dr Tyler McInnesBioinformatics Training Coordinator, Genomics Aotearoa (GA)

Tyler is the Bioinformatics training coordinator for GA, responsible for coordinating, developing and delivering bioinformatics and data science training workshops across New Zealand. Tyler received a BSc (Hons) in Genetics and a PhD in Biochemistry, both from the University of Otago. Prior to his role with GA Tyler worked as a Teaching Fellow for the Genetics Teaching Programme at the University of Otago. Tyler’s areas of expertise are R, DNA methylation, colorectal cancer, RNA-seq, and teaching.


Rania AlaniService Engagement Manager, REANNZ

Rania is a Service Engagement Manager at REANNZ, New Zealand’s national research and education network (NREN), where she works on a variety of member-led initiatives and activities from both public and private sectors. Rania has an extensive background in both domestic and international education, working with both ākonga and kura’s around Aotearoa, in account management. Along with the REANNZ engagement team based across the country, she guides members in how to utilise the network to best support the research communities they work with. Rania is extremely passionate in helping to improve the eResearch communities infrastructure, understanding the unique needs of science and data intensive research to ensure that members have access to the networking capabilities, people and resources they need.


Jana Makar
Communications Manager, New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI)

Based at the University of Auckland, Jana Makar coordinates a range of engagement initiatives and external communications to raise the profile of NeSI’s activities, impacts, and collaborations. Prior to joining NeSI, Jana worked as a communications professional for multiple organisations in Canada’s cyberinfrastructure sector, including Cybera (provincial research & education network), WestGrid (regional HPC consortium), and Compute Canada (national HPC platform). She has a degree in Communications from the University of Calgary and spent the early part of her career working as a journalist for weekly and daily newspapers in Western Canada.

Dr Nisha GhatakResearch Communities Advisor and Training Lead, NeSI

Nisha Ghatak is the Research Communities Advisor and Training Lead at NeSI. She is currently based at the University of Auckland. Nisha’s role focuses on growing the eResearch capability in New Zealand through training delivery and community building. She is also the Regional Coordinator for The Carpentries in Aotearoa New Zealand.



Nauman Maqbool, Knowledge &  eResearch Leader, Crown Research Institute AgResearch

Nauman is a Bioinformatician by training and moved to New Zealand after doing a PhD from The University of Sydney. He has held multiple roles with AgResearch leading the Bioinformatics and wider Knowledge & Analytics teams. With a passion for eResearch, he is currently leading the effort of establishing the eResearch Platform and associated services at AgResearch in a collaborative effort with NeSI. His area of interests are data science along with data, information and knowledge management.







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