IMNIS Catalyst

1 May 2023



IMNIS acknowledges support from MTP Connect REDI program

IMNIS Catalyst is an ambassador program where IMNIS alumni represent the program and ATSE in the broader STEM ecosystem as they engage with schools, industry, and academia.  

The IMNIS Catalyst program has been designed to support our emerging IMNIS leaders to gain experience in communication, one of the top three executive skills in demand today, and enable opportunities to apply these skills in the broader STEM ecosystem. The program runs on a calendar year, and applications open in February of each year.  

In 2023, 20 IMNIS Catalysts will be provided with tailored opportunities for professional development designed to:

  • Hone their STEM Communication and media skills  
  • Build a public profile   
  • Communicate with influence  
  • Develop their leadership voice 

The IMNIS Catalyst program is powered by MTPConnect as part of the REDI initiative. 

IMNIS Catalysts 2023

IMNIS Catalysts 2023

Eslam Ahmed

Health Sciences - Neuroscience

Eslam is a 3rd year PhD candidate at the school of Medicine, Deakin Uni. His main speciality is neuroscience. They’ve used preclinical models and human epidemiology data to understand what’s happening in the brain (mental health) in response to asthma. The importance of characterising these novel biological targets will contribute to the understanding of lung-brain crosstalk, improve mental illness outcomes and lead to the development of alternate therapies. Aside from his research, Eslam is very much interested in teaching and currently also working as a casual academic tutor teaching anatomy to 2nd year medical students. Moreover, to increase clinical exposure and skills, Eslam is also working as a volunteer research assistant at the Royal Children’s hospital in the Brain and Mind group, participating in a clinical trial called “Concussion Essentials”. 

UNSW Headshots
Nimal Kumar Balasubramani

Engineering - Aerospace

Nimal Balasubramani is an aerospace engineer working on the design and development of advanced composite structures for chemical transportation in the logistics and space sector at Omni Tanker Pty Ltd. He holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from UNSW Sydney where he specialised in developing novel damage prediction tools for composite structures through an ARC Linkage Project with Boeing Aerostructures Australia. Before moving to Australia for his PhD, Nimal has completed his Master’s in Aerospace Technologies at The University of Nottingham, UK and accumulated few years of industry experience in designing composite tanks and electro-mechanical product systems. 

Dr Sangita Bista

Engineering - Science

Sangista is an experienced energy professional/academics. Her expertise is in energy management, energy planning, distributed energy resources, energy LCA, resource optimization and electrical engineering. Sangista has experience with Government, NGO, Tertiary Education and Private Industries. She is a conscientious member of the team who works harmoniously with peers to produce consistently good results. Sangita is a self-motivated person who treasures a “can do” attitude! She is always up for coaching and helping others in developing their careers. 

Pia Campagna

Health Sciences – Genomics, Immunology & Neuroscience

Pia Campagna ( is a final year PhD student researching the genomics of treatment response and pregnancy in multiple sclerosis at Monash University’s Central Clinical School. During her PhD, she has published six papers, received an MS Research Australia Incubator Grant valued at $25,000 (2021, AI) and won four oral presentation conference awards. She has developed her leadership skills through committee work, including Co-Chair of the Monash CCS Graduate Research Student committee (CGRSC, 2021), Secretary and Student Liaison Manager of the Students of Brain Research (SOBR, 2021), Secretary of the Australian Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Student Society (COMBINE, 2021) and member of the COMBINE Symposium committee (2020). Pia is dedicated to achieving her potential as a scientist in Australia and has been a mentee in the L’Oreal For Women in Science Program (2022), IMNIS REDI program (2022) and Startmate Student Fellowship (2021). She also loves baking and hates running. 

Adaeze Ekwe

Health Sciences – Immunology & Cell Therapy

Adaeze is a research scientist with a background in microbiology and immunology, and expertise in good manufacturing practice (GMP) development of gene-modified cell therapies. Adaeze has extensive experience in developing gene-modified cell therapy for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) as part of her PhD candidacy currently at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. During this time, she has developed relevant research skills as well as understanding of good manufacturing practice regulations for taking therapeutics from bench to clinic. Adaeze is also passionate about active community engagement and regularly communicates her science to the public through her continued involvement as a science ambassador at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. 

Daniel Gan (Zheng Gan)

Health Sciences - Medicine

Daniel is a final-year PhD student at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, UNSW. His doctoral research aims to promote greater engagement with e-health technologies by partnering with end-users to design, implement, and evaluate innovative user-centred strategies. Daniel was one of ten mentees selected to participate in the inaugural IMNIS Clinical program which ran from 2021-2022. He found the experience to be extremely rewarding because of the many valuable insights gained from his mentor. These insights provided him with a greater awareness of how to thrive as a research professional in a non-academic context. As a beneficiary of the IMNIS mentoring program, Daniel hopes to pay it forward through sharing his knowledge and experiences in the IMNIS Catalyst program. 

Qiang Gao

Engineering – Energy Systems

Qiang (Dan) Gao is a research fellow and PhD candidate in the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He received his M.Sc degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2019, both in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. His research aims to tackle the real-world engineering challenges in the development & deployment of ocean renewable energy technologies (i.e. offshore wind and ocean wave energy harnessing), which is evident from his strong track records, including technical publications at highly prestigious professional transactions and journals and international conferences. He led and involved in a number of research projects in clean energy technologies and large energy storage system design and has collaborated with industry partners and research institutes, including CSIRO and Australian and overseas universities. He has been awarded a number of awards and funding from international and national organizations such as universities, INORE, IEA-OES, AUPEC2022, etc. 

Dr Lukas Gerstweiler

Biotechnology/Biochemistry – Biopharmaceutical process development

Lukas Gerstweiler is a lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Adelaide. His research focuses on the improving the production of therapeutic and food proteins applying model based process development and digital twins.

Dr Amol Ghodke

Biotechnology/Biochemistry - Agriculture

Amol has completed a PhD from the University of Melbourne. His PhD thesis title was “Understanding aphids: Transcriptomics, molecular evolution and pest control”. Amol has presented his research work at several international conferences in Australia and overseas with travel scholarships. After his PhD, Amol served as a scientist at CESAR Pty Ltd. Melbourne. He is currently working at CSIRO, Brisbane as a CERC postdoctoral fellow. Amol has collaborated with various international institutes and industries. He has participated in the Gene technology Access Centre’s mentorship program for 4 years, educating students from years 5-12 about biology and science. Overall, Amol has delivered impactful agriculture research and showed a stronghold the subject. His collaborations, publications, presentations, engagement with researchers, people and students offers a bright personality that can contribute to Australian society and economy. 

Dr Sam Havey

Health Sciences – Speech Therapy

Sam is a speech pathologist and post-doctoral research fellow in the Queensland Aphasia Research Centre at the University of Queensland. He researches ways to improve rehabilitation outcomes for people recovering from brain injury. Sam’s research interests stem from working with people with acquired communication difficulties and their families. He has particular interests in making treatments more effective, predicting recovery of language function after stroke, understanding the neurological basis of language, and translating research knowledge to improve clinical servicesSam is passionate about building advocacy and community support for people living with aphasia. He is a former committee member for a consumer advisory group for people with aphasia in Victoria and he co-facilitates a community aphasia group. 

Emma Kuhn

Biotechnology/Biochemistry – Microbiology & Environmental Health

When illicit drugs are manufactured or used within a property there are invariably residues left behind. As an ambitious PhD Candidate, Emma’s great passion is raising awareness for third-hand exposure to methamphetamine contamination and the innocent residents that unwittingly move into a contaminated property. Emma is also an enthusiastic advocate and lecturer of Environmental Health. This area of public health is comprised of environmental factors that impact human health with prevention being the main goal. She loves teaching undergraduate and post graduate students and helping them discover their passion for Environmental Health. The challenge of using new applications and technology to bridge the gap between online and in-person learning is one of her favourite aspects. Emma’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology), an Honours degree in Environmental Health and a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Health Practice from Flinders University in South Australia. 

Dr Alina Lam

Biotechnology/Biochemistry – Drug delivery/pharmaceutical

With a completed PhD (finally!), a love for science, an enormous appreciation for science communication and a knack for word doc formatting, Alina has fallen head first into Publishing wonderland and is currently developing print and digital education resources to support secondary students, nationwide, as they trek through their science curriculum. Outside of her career, she’s also doing a lot of falling at her local skating rink. 

Dr Eugene Madzokere

Biotechnology - Virology

Eugene is a Microbiologist (Virologist). He graduated from Griffith University mid-December of 2022. Eugene is an enthusiastic, young, innovative early career research scientist. He currently works at SpeeDx, a thriving, leading innovative molecular diagnostics company based in Sydney as an IMNIS Ignite Intern. The company has other units in London (England) and the Texas (USA). At SpeeDx, Eugene is supervised by the company’s co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer, and lead of the Innovation Team, Professor Alisson Todd. Throughout this internship he will be working with and helping the Innovation Team design, optimise, and produce fast, highly sensitive and specific molecular diagnostic assays and robust technologies targeting several sexually transmitted infections (STIs), some of which currently are highly resistant to existing treatments. As a SpeeDster, Eugene’s primary goal now is to help SpeeDx improve point of care STI diagnostics and patient outcomes.      

Deepak Surendhra Mallya

Environmental Engineering

In his final year of PhD, Deepak is focused on creating cutting-edge nanomaterials for the treatment of water. His primary goal is to help find solutions to pressing issues in environmental clean-up and water reclamation. He is one of the Study Geelong Ambassadors who is developing projects and workshops to help international students in Geelong who are enrolled in tertiary education upgrade their skills. He teaches and develops courses at Deakin University in areas including water engineering, air pollution and control, and global environmental systems. His current PhD path has greatly aided him in developing his talents in leadership, professional development, engagement and impact, and effective communication. He is motivated to develop the next generation of leaders and instil excitement to explore education in STEM to young students so they can use these abilities to address issues in the larger community. 

Christopher Mesiku

Physical Sciences – Quantum Physics

Chris is a Research Fellow in the school of cybernetics. He is using a cybernetic theory of change to develop a set of tools to support stakeholders to design data projects that effectively combat disadvantage in Australia. Chris’s career journey so far reflects his passion for optimisation and both for acquiring new knowledge, and translating knowledge into accessible outcomes for positive change. Throughout his career, Chris has balanced research positions in physics, astronomy, and machine learning, while also working as a web and app developer, data analyst and storyteller for organisations including the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), Queensland Government and IBM Research Australia. Chris is finalising his doctoral thesis with the University of Queensland, combining his disciplinary training in philosophy, physics and AI to explore and evaluate among other things, the validity of information that is AI generated. 

Lydia Qian2
Lydia Qian

Biochemistry – Cell biology

Lydia completed a Bachelor’s of Advanced Science (Honours) and is currently a third year PhD student from the University of New South Wales. Her research project aims to understand how cells make and control the amount of in the body and will help us develop cholesterol lowering drugs. Lydia completed the IMNIS Engage program in 2021 and found it a rewarding experience in learning from and connecting with many people in the STEM sector. Lydia tutors biology to high school and undergraduate students and aims to inspire a passion for this subject and appreciation for life at the micro and macro scale. Lydia believes understanding STEM will help society develop new technology in many sectors and improve the quality of life for society. The statement sounds grand, but she truly believes that innovations in STEM can enrich the lives of many. Outside of her studies, she enjoys capturing the natural world by drawing and painting landscapes, plants and animals. 

Sinead Reading

Health Sciences – Immunology & Cell Therapy

Sinead has a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry from the University of York (England) and her scientific experience includes an honours year at GlaxoSmithKline in epigenetics and a PhD in Cancer Immunotherapy. Her PhD at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre focuses on better understanding the negative regulatory pathways that limit immune responses to cancer in order to improve current treatment options. Sinead is passionate about science communication and instilling this passion into the next generation of young scientists. She has chaired sessions at the Petermac Student Symposium, have had a segment on a rural radio station to discuss Women in STEM and is currently a scientist mentor, providing scientific workshops to high school students at the Gene Technology Access Centre. Sinead’s love for teaching continues beyond science; she has taught English as a foreign language and currently teaches dance to large groups of high school students twice a week.

Nanditha Sirigiri

Physical Sciences – Computational Science including Machine learning/AI

Nanditha is presently a researcher experienced a wide range of technical due diligence in computational, experimental, ML/AI modelling in battery materials and battery energy storage systems. Her area of research expertise is in the intersection of combined computational-experimental science and machine learning/AI solving problems in material design, focused on developing and accelerating novel materials development and deployment in new-age battery energy storage systems for efficient energy storage from dependable renewable sources of solar and wind farms. Nanditha is strongly motivated to work in businesses working towards enhancing technology focused on renewable energy projects, working with clients, and expanding business towards renewable and green technologies. 

Dr Pramod Subedi

Biotechnology/Biochemistry – Structural Biology, Genetics & Biochemistry

Pramod obtained his masters (Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, 2016) and Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Genetics, 2020) from the Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe University under the supervision of Prof. Begoña Heras. During his Ph.D. he worked on several research projects that combine biochemical and structural biology approaches to dissect key virulence pathways in Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli, two WHO ‘Priority Pathogens’ due to their high antibiotic resistance rates. Following his graduation, he continued his postdoctoral research in the Heras laboratory to examine how a group of bacterial redox-active enzymes contribute to bacterial fitness and pathogenicity along with increasing antibiotic resistance. In 2021, he joined the Maher laboratory at the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute at the University of Melbourne to study the bacterial metal transporters including integral membrane proteins. Previously, Pramod was an IMNIS mentee in the 2017 IMNIS MedTech-Pharma Program in Victoria (VIC). 

Dr Niveditha Vathsangam

Health Sciences – Immunology/Protein Biology

Niveditha is an immunologist by training with experience in development of therapeutics and assays for therapeutic efficiency. She is currently the Associate Director (Immunology) at 360biolabs where she leads a team that looks at immunogenicity and pharmacokinetics of pharmaceuticals in Phase 1 clinical trials. Niveditha has over 10 years of experience in product development from conceptualisation to the commercialisation. She has been fortunate to lead development and validation teams in leading biotechnology organisations, gaining project management experience in products ranging from biologics to medical devices. She is keen to continue learning about the biotechnology sector in Australia and continue to positively contribute to its global growth. Additionally, Niveditha is passionate about imparting experience and knowledge to the next generation of change-makers to allow continuous growth of the industry, towards a better life. 


IMNIS catalysts 2022

Dr Malene Ahern

Ngozi Chidi-Egboka

Dr Beatrice Chiew

Amal Mohamed Dameer

Dr Marisa Duong

Alejandra Fernandez

Josephine Ataa Hinneh

Adam Johnston

Dr Lauren Jones

Tian Nie

Arianna Oddo

Winter Okoth

Dr Mateus Oliveira Silva

Françios Olivier

Mohammad Zaidur Rahman Sabuj

Janice Vaz

IMNIS Catalysts 2021

IMNIS catalysts 2021

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Kay Myo Min

Thilanka Morawakage

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Fatematuz Zohora