Invited Speakers

As we build an exciting program for you, we will be sharing our invited speakers with you here….

Prof. Muzlifah Haniffa

BSc (Hons), MBBCh(Hons), MRCP, PhD

Muzlifah Haniffa is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, Lister Institute Research Fellow and Consultant Dermatologist based in Newcastle University.  She graduated from medical school in Cardiff, trained as a junior doctor in Cambridge and received her dermatology specialist training in Newcastle. She was awarded an Action Medical Research Training Fellowship and a Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellowship. 

Muzlifah is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2020) and the recipient of the Academy of Medical Sciences Foulkes Foundation Medal (2019) and the European Federation of Immunological Societies ACTERIA Prize in Immunology and Allergology (2018). She is a leading member of the Human Cell Atlas initiative and pioneered the application of single cell genomics to decode the developing human immune system, and the human skin in health and disease. She is passionate about mentoring and diversity in science.   

Dr. Rita Strack

Rita Strack obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago. While there, she worked with Benjamin Glick and Robert Keenan to engineer improved variants of the red fluorescent protein DsRed, and also studied the chemical mechanism of chromophore formation in DsRed. She continued her research as a postdoctoral fellow in Samie Jaffrey’s laboratory at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she developed fluorescent reporters for live-cell imaging of RNA such as Spinach2. She handles imaging, microscopy and probes, along with protein and RNA biochemistry content for the journal. Rita joined Nature Methods in November 2014.

Assoc. Prof. Pedro Horna

Dr. Horna is a hematopathologist and Associate Professor at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, with an interest in flow cytometry, particularly T-cell neoplasias. Dr. Horna has authored several works related to the flow cytometric assessment of T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders, and has also spearheaded the implementation of TRBC1 staining for the routine assessment of T-cell clonality by flow cytometry.

Dr. Melanie Neeland

Dr Melanie Neeland is a senior research fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute where she leads an immunology research program investigating early life immune determinants of allergic and respiratory diseases. Melanie completed her PhD in systems immunology at Monash University in 2015, held a visiting fellowship at Stanford University in 2017 and is a member of the scientific management committee of the Australian Respiratory Early Surveillance Team for Cystic Fibrosis.

Melanie’s research explores the single cell landscape of globally important childhood diseases with support from the NHMRC, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Inflammation Network and the Human Cell Atlas.

Dr. Denis Schapiro

Dr. Denis Schapiro is a Research Group Leader at the Heidelberg University Hospital focusing on spatial omics technologies and analysis. Before moving to Heidelberg, he was an Independent Fellow at the Laboratory of Systems Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and the Klarman Cell Observatory at the Broad Institute where he was a a Damon Runyon Quantitative Biology Fellow mentored by Prof. Peter Sorger and Prof. Aviv Regev. Previously, he was supported by the SNFS Mobility Fellowship.

Denis obtained his PhD from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich in the laboratory of Prof. Bernd Bodenmiller where he worked on Imaging Mass Cytometry and corresponding analysis tools focusing on highly multiplexed image analysis. Denis is the lead developer of the histology topography cytometry analysis toolbox (histoCAT) and the multiple choice microscopy pipeline (MCMICRO).Prior to this, he received his diploma (Dipl. Biol. (t.o)) at the University of Stuttgart and Harvard Medical School working with Prof. Peter Sorger and Prof. Alfred Goldberg. He was an intern at the Complex Systems Modeling Group at Bayer AG in Leverkusen focusing on PBPK modeling.

Assoc. Prof. Evan Jellison

Evan earned his doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he studied immune responses to viral infections. He then entered into postdoctoral training at UCONN School of Medicine studying immune tolerance in memory T cells. Throughout his training, flow cytometry has played a vital role in Evan’s research and he gained substantial expertise in the technology. This ultimately resulted in him being hired to continue on at UCONN School of Medicine as a professor and director of flow cytometry. In this role, Evan continues to play an important role in nearly every aspect of research at the medical school, while training and educating students, fellows, and even the occasional P.I. Recently, Evan has migrated some of his expertise from the SRL into the clinical lab where he is the supervisor for clinical flow cytometry at UCONN’s John Dempsey Hospital. Evan is an active member of his regional flow cytometry societies (Metroflow and New England Cytometry) and maintains an active membership role with ISAC, serving on both the ISAC Biosafety Committee and as co-chair of the Flow Cytometry Content sub-committee.

Dr. Edward Abadir

Dr. Edward Abadir is a clinical and laboratory Haematologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He completed a PhD at the University of Sydney with a focus on the investigation and application of novel surface targets in acute myeloid leukaemia and stem cell transplantation. He has an interest in flow cytometry and minimal residual disease detection. Edward is a lecturer at the University of Sydney and contributes to the medical education of students and junior doctors.

Prof. John Rasko


Professor Rasko is an Australian pioneer in the application of adult stem cells and genetic  therapy. Since 1999 he has directed the Department of Cell and Molecular Therapies at  Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney.  

John Rasko is a clinical haematologist, pathologist and scientist with an international  reputation in gene and stem cell therapy, experimental haematology and molecular  biology. In over 170 publications he has contributed to the understanding of stem cells  and blood cell development, gene therapy technologies, cancer causation and treatment,  human genetic diseases and molecular biology.  

He serves on Hospital, state and national bodies including Chair of GTTAC, Office of the  Gene Technology Regulator – responsible for regulating all genetically-modified  organisms in Australia – and immediate past Chair of the Advisory Committee on  Biologicals, Therapeutic Goods Administration. Contributions to scientific organisations  include co-founding (2000) and past-President (2003-5) of the Australasian Gene & Cell  Therapy Society; President (2018-20), President-Elect (2016-18) and Vice President  (2008-12) of the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy; Scientific Advisory  Committees and Board member for philanthropic foundations; and several Human  Research Ethics Committees. He is a founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of  Health and Medical Sciences. In 2018, the Board of the ABC honoured him as the  sixtieth Boyer Lecturer. He is the recipient of national (RCPA, RACP, ASBMB) and  international awards in recognition of his commitment to excellence in medical research,  including appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Prof. Rong Fan

Dr. Rong Fan is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Yale University. His research focuses on the development and deployment of single-cell and spatial multi-omics technologies, often based on microfabricated tools, to study normal development and human diseases including cancer and autoimmunity. A microchip technology his laboratory developed for simultaneous measurement of 42 immune effector proteins in single cells, which remains the highest multiplexing to date for a single-cell protein secretion assay, has been commercialized and widely used by >100 pharmaceutical companies and medical centers in the U.S. and around the world.

Recently, his laboratory developed a novel NGS-based spatial omics technology called DBiT-seq for spatially resolved transcriptome mapping, high-plex protein mapping, and spatial epigenome sequencing, which may find applications in a wide range of biomedical research fields. He is co-founder of IsoPlexis, Singleron Biotechnologies, and AtlasXomics. He is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors. 

Michelle Petrasich

Michelle Petrasich has been the Scientific leader of the Immunophenotyping and Transplantation section at Auckland City hospital since 1999. The laboratory offers diagnostic immunophenotyping and residual disease testing, investigation of immune disorders, and transplantation studies.

MRD testing is a special area of interest, and the section holds COG Accreditation for the B-ALL testing program, is a member of UK MRC AML19 MRD program for acute myeloid leukaemia, and performs Euroflow Myeloma MRD testing for clinical trials. Transplantation testing is part of the FACT accredited adult and paediatric Transplantation service for Auckland City Hospital, and the section performs memory naïve T assessment for the National SCIDs screening program. 

Michelle is passionate about flow cytometry and developing new assays in response to clinical need.

Prof. Lihong Wang

BSc, MS, PhD

Lihong Wang is Bren Professor of Medical and Electrical Engineering at California Institute of Technology. His book entitled “Biomedical Optics” won the Goodman Book Writing Award. He has published 560 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered 550 invited talks. His Google Scholar h-index and citations have reached 143 and 85,000, respectively.

His laboratory was the first to report functional photoacoustic tomography, 3D photoacoustic microscopy, and CUP (world’s fastest camera). He received the NIH Director’s Pioneer, NIH Director’s Transformative Research, and NIH/NCI Outstanding Investigator awards.

He also received the OSA C.E.K. Mees Medal, IEEE Technical Achievement Award, IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award, SPIE Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, IPPA Senior Prize, and OSA Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award. He is a Fellow of AAAS, AIMBE, Electromagnetics Academy, IAMBE, IEEE, NAI, OSA, and SPIE. An honorary doctorate was conferred on him by Lund University, Sweden. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. 

Dr. John Wilson

Dr John Wilson’s interests are centred in flow cytometry and its application to basic and clinical biology. He serendipitously got involved with flow cytometry when Ken Field suggested that mouse survival statistics alone were not going to complete an honours thesis. 

John completed a B.App Sc. (Med lab sci) at the Queensland University of Technology, then a PhD at University of Queensland. John worked with Geoff Osborne at the Queensland Brain Institute, where he helped to characterise and setup Australia’s first Influx cell sorter and an AMNIS imagestream cytometer, developed flow cytometry assays related to brain tissue and learned a lot about road cycling. After being lured away from research with the promise of secure employment in Pathology, John became involved in MRD in lymphoid and myeloid leukaemias and participated in the implementation of an in-house B-ALL MRD panel. He was then asked to manage the COG B-ALL accreditation at Pathology Queensland.  His vocation lies in the application of flow cytometry to assist clinicians in the detection, management or reduction of suffering, notably the assessment of minimal (measurable) residual disease. His current interests lie in improving the clinical application of MRD in myeloid leukaemias and introducing new flow cytometry ideas into clinical use in a timely manner.  

Image Courtesy of International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney)