Mik Black
Senior Lecturer, 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.

Wallace Chase
Technical Engagement Manager, REANNZ

Wallace assists the community to utilize the full potential of the global Research and Education network ecosystem. To this end Wallace leverages his 15 years of experience in higher education IT operations and supporting research infrastructure.  Wallace most recently comes to REANNZ from his role in the US as the CEO of the Carolina Research and Education Network. He also worked for Clemson University Computing and Information Technology as Executive Director. Prior to that, Wallace worked for Washington State University leading the networking team, The George Washington University as a network engineer and at Lake Superior State University also as a network engineer.   Wallace is active in the broader networking and engineering community, working alongside other national networks such as Internet2, Géant, TEIN, the Quilt, Pacific Northwest Gigapop, Pacific Wave as well as many others.   He is active with the North American Network Operators Group and has worked on the staff of conferences such as Super Computing (SciNet Network Research Exhibition team) and INTEROP (Network Operations Center staff). Wallace has been on several research teams funded for multiple National Science Foundation projects in the US, has served on several NSF funding panels and assists with several experimental networking research projects globally.

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

Based at the University of Auckland, Jana coordinates a variety 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 consultant for multiple organisations in Canada’s technology, academic, and startup sectors, including Compute Canada and WestGrid (two organisations in Canada that are quite similar to NeSI). 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. 

Murray Cadzow
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Otago

Murray completed his PhD in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Otago. Murray’s research involves the analysis of genome-wide genetic variation to identify regions of DNA associated with altered risk of human disease, focusing in particular on variation that changes the risk of developing gout and diabetes in Māori and Pasifika populations.  Murray has a strong interest in computing, and also in digital literacy training.  He is a certified Software and Data Carpentry instructor, Carpentries instructor trainer, and has helped organise and deliver multiple training and education events around the country over the past few years.

Jonah Duckles
Consultant, AbacusBio

Jonah specialises in improving agricultural production systems, using world-class research insights and technology around data science, GIS and satellite remote sensing, and open-source software. Jonah joined AbacusBio in 2019, with a key expertise in ‘big-picture’ technology strategy and business development. He also enjoys building cross-cultural and collaborative initiatives, having worked with organisations large and small to help them build diverse and capable communities of data scientists. Jonah’s career highlights include: Extending the reach and sustainability of The Carpentries– a global research and training non-profit organisation through building relationships, which resulted in 80 dues-paying member organisations in 10 countries; and architecture and development of open-source research support infrastructure used in over USD $36.5M worth of funded research projects.

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