The Human Studies Unit

The Human Studies Unit (HSU) is part of the Program in Complex Trait Genomics based at the Institute of Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland. At HSU, we combine laboratory and computing expertise to generate high quality genomic data, and provide innovative data management solutions, to advance understanding of common complex diseases and benefit those affected by them. HSU comprises highly skilled laboratory, project management and research IT staff working together to deliver a complete solution for the receipt, processing, sequencing, storage and dissemination of biological samples and genomic data.

Our Team

Leadership Team

Anjali Henders

Human Studies Manager

Anjali Henders is responsible for the daily operation of PCTG which involves the coordination of research activities and strategies, research governance and supervision of the PCTG high-through put genomics laboratory, the Human Studies Unit. Anjali has over 15 years of experience managing complex, large-scale research programmes and specialises in facilitating and managing interdisciplinary collaborations and consortia. Her significant contribution to these projects has been recognised by her inclusion in publications and commentaries.

Leanne Wallace

Laboratory Manager

Leanne joined the group in February 2016 to assist with establishing a wet lab for the group to begin biological sample collection for various studies of interest. She brought with her 17 years experience in working with and managing human biological collections for large-scale population-based recruitment projects. Her expertise lays in genomics applications and sample management. Leanne studied at Griffith University obtaining a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Science and Masters in Genetic Counselling.

Laboratory Team

Vanda Bharti

Research Assistant

Vanda received a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology from UQ in 2009. In the past she has worked with different labs at PA and QIMR and gained experience in working with different cellular assays and drug treatments in vivo and invitro, Bisulphite sequencing, Co-IP, CHIP, Real time PCR, Western, Extraction of large and small RNAs making the Nebnext miRNA and mRNA libraries, Preparation of sample for next gen sequencing, Whole Genome Gene expression arrays, Biotin pull downs with miRNA, cell culture etc. Vanda is involved in receipting, processing and storage of biological samples, Nucleic acid extractions and quality checking.

Gemyka English

Research Assistant

Gemyka comes to the team with a diverse background, having worked as a Certified Dental Nurse for 6 years before beginning her studies in Science. Once she obtained her Bachelor of Biomedical Science in 2016, Gemyka became involved in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. The Project team then welcomed her in June 2018, and since then she has become the main laboratory contact for the projects associated with Motor Neurone Disease. Whilst supporting these projects Gemyka also assists in the Receipt, Processing and Handling of Biological samples, DNA extraction and Quantitation of samples.

Alaina Farrelly

Research Assistant

Alaina obtained a Bachelor of Biomedical Science from Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. Before joining the PCTG group she worked in forensic biology laboratories across Australia. Alaina joined the PCTG team in June 2018 and contributes to the labs genomics projects.

Tiana McClaren

Research Assistant

Tiana joined the PCTG laboratory team in June 2016 after receiving a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Production Animal Science from the University of Queensland. In the lab, Tiana assists with the receipt and processing of human biological research samples, DNA extractions, quantitation and other laboratory protocols for the projects that the PCTG group are currently working on.

Shivangi Wani

Research Assistant

Shivangi obtained her Masters of Science in Biotechnology from Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. She has close to 12 years of laboratory experience and has worked mostly in the field of Cancer Research using the applications of Next Generation Genomic and Molecular Cell biology. She joined the PCTG laboratory team in February 2017 and contributes to the labs genomics and cell biology projects.

Laura Ziser

Senior Research Technician

Laura joined the HSU team in early 2019 following the completion of a Bachelor of Engineering (Biomedical and Electrical) (Hons) at The University of Queensland. Laura assists with sample receipt and processing in the laboratory, and preliminary data analysis.

Research Support

Lorelle Nunn

Project Support Assistant

Lorelle has a background of 18 years’ experience working on large scale population health and human genetics studies in the areas of participant recruitment, phenotype data collection, data QC and biological sample retrieval. Lorelle joined the Human Studies Unit in January 2018.

Research Computing

Madhura Bhadravathi Lokeshappa

Systems Developer

Madhura joined the group in June 2016 and leads the development of the group’s Information Systems. She obtained her Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from Visvesvaraya Technological University, India. Prior to joining HSU, she worked as a Software Engineer in one of the leading Bioinformatics company in India, developing and maintaining company’s CRM portals and websites.

Leonie Gough

Research Support Officer

Leonie's background is in ecology and conservation. She has an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation & Management from the University of Oxford and an MRes in Computational Methods in Ecology & Evolution from Imperial College London. She has delivered important research outcomes in a variety of roles in the UK and Europe, as demonstrated by her publication record. Leonie joined HSU in March 2018 to support the development of the group’s Information Systems.

Preethi Lakshmi

Research Support Officer

Preethi started contributing to the development of the group's Information Systems. She has attained her bachelor's degree on Information Technology from Anna University, India. Previously She was working for a Multinational Corporation named Infosys Limited for three years as Senior Software Developer. She has a good experience in creating responsive web pages. Preethi joined HSU in July 2019 to support the development of the group’s Information Systems.