David Brownlie
MC eResearch 2021

David leads the Network Operations team at REANNZ, New Zealand’s national research and education network (NREN). David maintains relationships with members of the network, vendor’s technical teams and the global National Research and Education Networks community. David joined REANNZ from Datacom where he managed a team designing and implementing tools for the management of enterprise systems. David was drawn to REANNZ’s mission to help support and enable research in New Zealand and has been a member of the REANNZ team since 2006 when the network was established..

Carl Olsen
Manager, Member Engagement, REANNZ

Carl leads the engagement team at REANNZ, New Zealand’s national research and education network (NREN), establishing the strategy and member focused direction of the team’s initiatives and activities. Carl has extensive people leadership experience from his previous roles and most values supporting the organisation to continue to deliver better outcomes for REANNZ members. Carl and the team contribute to REANNZ’s role in the eResearch community, understanding the unique needs of science and data intensive research to ensure that members have access to the networking capabilities, people and resources they need.

Hannah Edwards
Communications and Marketing Manager, REANNZ

Hannah develops the external marketing and communications for REANNZ, New Zealand’s national research and education network (NREN). As a member of the engagement team she supports and coordinates engagement initiatives and activities with members and partners, spreading the word of how REANNZ members utilise the network and services to support the crucial work that they conduct. Hannah most values making connections within the research and education community in New Zealand, as well as collaborating with the international communications and marketing professionals who work together as a part of the NREN community.


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. 

Mik Black
Associate Professor, 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.

Claire Grant
Communications Manager, Genomics Aotearoa

Claire Grant is the Communications Manager for Genomics Aotearoa, responsible for promoting its research activities and contributing to improving understanding of genomics in New Zealand. She has extensive experience in communications advisory and public relations in New Zealand, and is passionate about science communication.

Matt Plummer
Digital Research Consultant, Victoria University of Wellington

Matt’s background spans the arts and technology, working as an Art History Teaching Fellow and Visual Resources Administrator before taking up a position in Victoria University of Wellington’s Information Technology unit.  In his current role as a Digital Research Consultant, he acts as a ‘digital interpreter’, working with researchers from different disciplines to utilise technology in innovative and transformative ways. He has assisted with the development of open source projects and research tools, coordinated numerous community-building and training events, and enjoys the opportunity to introduce researchers to new approaches and collaborators.

Miles Benton
Senior Bioinformatics Scientist, Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR)

Miles is a Senior Scientist within the Human Genomics group at ESR with extensive experience in computational genomics and bioinformatics. He completed a PostDoc at Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia) working on the development of methods to deal with ever expanding genomic data sets and their access and interpretation back to the people that matter (i.e. clients, clinicians, researchers, public, etc). Part of his role at ESR has been implementing bioinformatics workflows in both research and clinical settings. Miles was recently appointed to the Genomics Aoteoroa Bioinformatics Leadership Team, where he is responsible for overseeing bioinformatics support for human  health projects across the country. He is also heavily involved in the Data Carpentries as an instructor and facilitator, and is also a mentor on ESR’s data science accelerator programme. He is deeply committed to making data science and it’s tools accessible, with the belief that everyone should be able to access, interactive with and interpret their data.