Keynote Speakers

We're pleased to be hosting the following keynote speakers at NZ eResearch Symposium 2010:

Dr. Nicole Cloonan

Nicole Cloonan

Personalized Medical Genomics

Cancer is Australia's largest disease burden, and arises as from the accumulation of genetic damage. Typically cancers accumulate multiple mutations, and these will vary from one cancer type to another, from person to person, and may even vary between different tumour sites in the same person. This variation could mean the best treatment for one patient might have no effect for another, or that a treatment that worked in the past might have no effect upon on a cancer relapse. The ultimate dream for cancer patients would be to determine exactly what mutations caused the disease, and exactly what treatments would work the best - a concept known as personalized medical genomics. Although conceptually simple, collecting, storing, and analysing the large scale biological data generated as part of medical genomics studies represents a huge informatics challenge - eclipsed only by the challenge of integrating this data with existing biological resources and knowledge.


Nicole Cloonan is an ARC Fellow working with Professor Sean Grimmond at the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics (QCMG), based at The University of Queensland. Her work is multi-disciplinary in nature, involving computational biology and bioinformatics, biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology - all of which she uses to understand the complexity, function, and systems biology of RNA. Recently, she has worked at the intersection of genomics and bioinformatics to establish the technology enabling complete surveys of RNA, DNA, and epigenome content in mammalian systems, work that has been fundamental to the contribution of the QCMG to the International Cancer Genome Consortium.

Dr. Shaun Hendy

Dr Shaun Hendy

A City of Four Million People?

Most commentators agree that the only way forward for New Zealand is to forge a high-productivity knowledge-based economy. However, in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, it is the large global cities that have driven innovation and the generation of knowledge. If New Zealand is to take the high productivity path, it must overcome its geographical isolation and low population density by learning to act like a city of four million people. In this talk, I will discuss the nature and magnitude of this challenge by looking quantitatively at innovation and the generation of knowledge around the world. I will discuss how eResearch will play an essential role in building scale and collaboration within New Zealand and in extending the Kiwi knowledge network around the world.


Dr Shaun Hendy is the Deputy Director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (based at the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences), and a Distinguished Scientist at Industrial Research Ltd. His PhD in physics from the University of Alberta was followed by a NZ Science and Technology post-doctoral fellowship at Industrial Research Ltd in Wellington. He joined Victoria University in 2003. Shaun writes a blog, 'A measure of science' as part of a hub for New Zealand's science bloggers. Shaun also has a regular slot on Radio New Zealand Nights as physics correspondant.

Prof. William (Bill) Michener

William (Bill) Michener

Cyberinfrastructure and the Environmental Sciences

The data challenges in the environmental sciences lie in discovering relevant data, dealing with extreme data heterogeneity, and converting data to information and knowledge. Addressing these challenges requires new approaches for managing, preserving, analyzing, and sharing data.  In this talk, I introduce several environmental science challenges and relate those to current cyberinfrastructure challenges. Second, I introduce DataONE  (Data Observation Network for Earth), which represents a new virtual organization that will enable new science and knowledge creation through universal access to data about life on earth and the environment that sustains it. DataONE encompasses a distributed framework and sustainable cyberinfrastructure that meets the needs of science and society for open, persistent, robust, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data. Third, I conclude by presenting several opportunities for international collaboration in the environmental sciences and cyberinfrastructure areas.


William Michener is Professor and Director of e-Science Initiatives for University Libraries at the University of New Mexico. He has authored four books related to ecological informatics and more than 70 journal articles and book chapters. He is a Certified Senior Ecologist and serves as Editor of Ecological Archives and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Ecological Informatics. He has directed several large interdisciplinary research programs including the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Biocomplexity Program, the Development Program for the U.S. Long-Term Ecological Research Network, and numerous cyberinfrastructure research and development projects. His current efforts focus on developing information technologies for the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences through DataONE—a large, multi-institutional, international research project funded by NSF.  

Dr. Andrew Treloar

Andrew Treloar

The Past, Present and Future of Research Data

Research data is increasingly becoming important in its own right, not just as the means to deriving a publication. We have been dealing with the data deluge since the turn of the millennium, and the scale of the challenges continue to increase. This presentation will review how we got to where we are today, looking at the pivotal role of data and data management in the history of communication. It will then move to consider the present role of data in scholarly communication by examining a range of problems in the published literature. It will conclude by examining some of the initiatives being taken to start to fix the future of data, and the sorts of services and approaches that will be required.


Dr Andrew Treloar is the Director of Technology for the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) (, with particular responsibility for the Data Capture and Metadata Stores programs. In 2008 he led the project to establish ANDS. Prior to that he was associated with a number of e-research projects as Director or Technical Architect: ARCHER ( - an e-Research support environment), DART ( - data acquisition and analysis), and ARROW ( - institutional repository software), as well as the development of an Information Management Strategy for Monash University ( His research interests include data management, institutional repositories and scholarly communication. He never seems to be able to make enough time for practising his cello, or reading, but does try to prioritise talking to his chooks and working in his vegetable garden and orchard. Further details at