The Team

Associate Professor Janet Davies PhD BSc
Principal Investigator
A/Prof Janet Davies completed her PhD in Biological and Environmental Sciences, Murdoch University in 1994. She is leads the Allergy Research Group at the Queensland University of Technology and is Assistant Director of Research, Metro North Hospital and Health Service for Queensland Health. Her applied allergy research focuses on understanding the specificity of allergic responses to subtropical grass pollen allergens and developing specific immunodiagnosis and therapy for subtropical grass pollen allergy. She leads collaborative projects with clinical, academic and industry partners including the multicentre cross-sectional Grass Pollen Allergy Survey. A/Prof Davies serves on the EAACI Interest Group on Aerobiology, EAACI Task Force for Component Resolved Diagnostics, and is Vice Chair of the WHO IUIS Allergen Nomenclature Subcommittee.

Associate Professor Bircan Erbas PhD, MSc
Chief Investigators
Associate Professor Bircan Erbas is a leading pollen epidemiologist, biostatistician and is of strong international standing in environmental determinants of health and respiratory epidemiology. She leads several successful projects and collaborates with large multidisciplinary research teams. She led the successful NHMRC project grant (ID 541934) which recruited over 600 children and adolescents in two years. She has received a number of international awards, grants and travel stipends for her development and application of statistical models for the analysis of longitudinal data. A/Prof Erbas has attracted nearly $1 million as Principal Investigator and over $3 million as key co-investigator. A/Prof Erbas has co-authored over 80 academic referee publications mostly in high quality international journals. She has supervised 5 PhD students to completion and currently supervises 6 PhD students and 3 Master of Public Health students. Erbas serves on the statistical editorial board of Respirology and is regional editor of International Journal of Environmental Health Research.

Professor Connie Katelaris MB BS FRACP PhD
Chief Investigators
Dr Katelaris is Professor, Immunology & Allergy at Western Sydney University, and Head of Unit and Senior Staff Specialist at Campbelltown Hospital. Dr Katelaris has conducted aerobiological research in rural and urban centres over the last 35 years, including pollen counts for the Sydney Olympics. She is responsible for one of the longest running aerobiological programmes in Australia, monitoring pollen and fungi in the Sydney region. Dr Katelaris serves on the Executive Committee of International Association of Aerobiology and initiated the Asian Aeroallergen Network for the World Allergy Organisation. She is a member of the Aerobiology Interest Group of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. In 2014, Dr Katelaris hosted the 10th International Congress on Aerobiology at Western Sydney University.

Associate Professor Ed Newbigin PhD, BSc
Chief Investigators
Associate Professor Newbigin is a plant biologist in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne with nearly 30 years research experience in the areas of the cellular and molecular biology of plants. As coordinator of the Melbourne pollen count since 1997, he has been instrumental in delivering an important community service to Melbourne’s allergy sufferers, providing them with resources and information about the impact of grass pollen on human health. Through his work with community groups and as a member of cross-disciplinary groups of researchers, he has contributed significantly to raising the profile of aerobiology in Australia.

Professor Alfredo Heute PhD, BSc
Chief Investigators
Sydney University of Technology My main research interest is in using remote sensing to study and analyse broad scale vegetation health and functioning. I use satellite data to observe land surface responses and interactions with climate, land use activities, and major disturbance events. I also look at vegetation dynamics, landscape phenology processes, and their shifting seasonalities with climate varaiability. Recently, I used remote sensing and field measurements to understand the phenology patterns of tropical rainforests and savannas in the Amazon and Southeast Asia and my Amazon work was featured in a National Geographic television special entitled "The Big Picture". Currently my research involves coupling eddy covariance tower flux measurements with ground spectral sensors and satellite observations to study carbon and water cycling across Australian landscapes. I am actively involved with several international space programs, including the NASA-EOS MODIS Science Team, the Japanese JAXA GCOM-SGLI Science Team, the European PROBA-V User Expert Group, and NPOESS-VIIRS advisory group.

Dr Elizabeth Ebert PhD BSc
Chief Investigators
Dr. Beth Ebert leads the Weather and Environmental Prediction research program at the Bureau of Meteorology, a team of 40 scientists and IT professionals working on high impact weather science, forecast system development, and advanced cloud observations. She received her PhD in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin in 1987 and joined the Bureau of Meteorology in 1989. She has worked in the areas of satellite meteorology, rainfall measurement, ensemble prediction, and forecast verification. She serves on the Scientific Steering Committee for the World Meteorological Organization's World Weather Research Programme, actively promoting the combination of meteorological information with impact models to predict how weather affects public safety and health.

Dr Rieks van Klinken PhD BSc
Chief Investigators
Dr Rieks van Klinken is the Group Leader (Northern Australia) CSIRO Health and Biosecurity program. He is internationally recognised for is contribution to the Biosecurity field. Most of his career has been focused at the interface between science and policy/practice. Dr van Klinken was a local collaborator, instigator and founder of the Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee (PMMC) (in 2000). The PMMC is now one of the most successful, and long-running community-led weed management groups, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders (government, conservation, pastoral, mining, indigenous) around a common goal and resulting in many millions of dollars for on-ground management. He has also been an instrumental, long-term member of the National Lippia Management Group, and the National Prickle Bush Management Group.

Professor Simon Haberle PhD, BA,
Chief Investigators
Prof Haberle is a palynologist from ANU whose research and teaching is in the areas of palaeoecology, archaeological science, melissopalynology, and aerobiology. He has extensive knowledge of pollen and other microscopic indicators found in fossil deposits and he uses this knowledge to reconstruct past environmental change and investigates the nature and tempo of human influence on our world. The establishment of the online Australasian Pollen and Spore Atlas ( in his lab at ANU has revolutionised access to collections of Australian and regional pollen flora enabling better access and understanding of pollen morphologies used in a range of research areas. He has been working in aerobiology studies for the last decade and has been actively counting daily pollen records from Darwin, Daintree Rainforest, Canberra, and Hobart (including 4 regional stations across Tasmania). He is also collaborating with colleagues in Beijing (China) to develop an aerobiology program.

Dr Danielle Medek PhD, BSc, MD
Chief Investigators
Danielle received a BSc from the University of Queensland (Botany and Ecology) and a PhD from the Australian National University, exploring cold tolerance in subantarctic grasses. After a postdoctoral fellowship relating her findings to Australian heathland plants, Danielle completed a medical degree (MBBS), at the Australian National University. During her medical degree work, she advocated for the health of Indigenous Australians, while also researching the impacts of climate on seasonal pollen and allergic disease. She completed a post-doctoral position at the Harvard University School of Public Health investigating the effects of climate change on human nutrition. Danielle completed her medical residency at Canberra Hospital and is now a House Officer with Waitemata District Hospital, New Zealand.

Associate Professor Paul Beggs PhD BSc
Chief Investigators
Department of Environmental Sciences Macquarie University Paul is an environmental health scientist and climate scientist. His research interests include impacts of climate change on human health, with a particular focus on allergens and allergic diseases. It is for this research that he won the 2009 Eureka Prize for Medical Research. Paul was also a contributing author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007, the same year the IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize. Paul was President of the International Society of Biometeorology from 2008-2011 and is currently a member of the International Association for Aerobiology Council at-Large. He is Editor of the book published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press titled “Impacts of Climate Change on Allergens and Allergic Diseases”.

Dr. Jeremy Silver
Associate Investigators and Researchers Article Category
Postdoctoral Researcher School of Earth Science, University of Melbourne Jeremy Silver studied applied mathematics and statistics at the University of Melbourne, worked in biostatistics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and then did a PhD in atmospheric modelling at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is currently a MacKenzie postdoctoral fellow at the University of Melbourne. Jeremy is developing a model for emissions, atmospheric transport and deposition of grass pollen in Australia. Jeremy's research addresses applications of satellite remote sensing for understanding emissions of pollen. Jeremy is interested in air quality modelling more generally and is involved with the National Environmental Science Programme's Clean Air and Urban Landscapes hub.

Dr Benoit Crouzy PhD BSc
Associate Investigators and Researchers
Institute of Environmental Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland Dr. Benoît Crouzy studied physics at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, (EPFL) and obtained a PhD in theoretical physics in 2009. He then worked five years as a modeler for the institute of environmental engineering at EPFL. His research interests include time series analysis, stochastic modeling and machine learning techniques. He is the author of 20 peer-reviewed publications in theoretical physics and mathematics applied to environmental sciences. He is currently responsible at MeteoSwiss for testing, developing and implementing automatic measurements in biometeorological networks. In addition he keeps a lecturing activity at EPFL on environmental transport phenomena. Accordingly, he will help transposing the methods developed at MeteoSwiss to Australia in order to monitor in real time the grass pollen season.

Dr Bernard Clot
Associate Investigators and Researchers
Head of Biometeriology Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Switzerland Dr Bernard Clot obtained a PhD in Biology of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He is the Head of Biometeorology at the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, and currently serves as President of the International Association for Aerobiology. His research encompasses aerobiology, phenology, pollen monitoring, pollen forecasting, modelling, health impact, climate change impact and invasive plants. He will make available the test system and contribute to the knowledge transfer in order to monitor in real time the grass pollen season in Australia.

Dr Edwin R. Lampugnani
Associate Investigators and Researchers
School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne My current work focuses on the development of a novel in planta protein-protein interaction method and the turn-over of proteins in a plant cell. I have also been exploring how cellulose is made in the different walls of the developing Arabidopsis flower; a superb system for studying organ development. About me: I completed my PhD at Monash University (Australia) under the guidance of Prof. David R. Smyth in the field of developmental plant genetics using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. My PhD project involved examining how organ primordia are initiated in the flowers of Arabidopsis thaliana, and the genetic factors and pathways involved in this process. I have been able to show that petal development is triggered by the chemical hormone auxin. When the shape of flower buds is disrupted by mutation, auxin accumulation is affected and petals do not arise. Thus floral architecture is established by the finely-tuned interplay of growth gene and hormone action. After I completed my PhD in 2011 I undertook a post-doctoral position with Assoc. Prof. Ed Newbigin and Prof Tony Bacic investigating the cell and molecular biology of cell wall synthesis with a particular emphasis on arabinan and xyloglucan biosynthesis. We used Nicotiana alata pollen tubes as a model to study cell wall biosynthesis because of their relatively simple structure and their ability to grow rapidly in culture. In 2014 I moved to the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls where I continued to investigate the cell and molecular biology of cell wall synthesis, but this time with a particular emphasis on understanding how grasses make the two main non-cellulosic polysaccharides, mixed linkage (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan (β-glucan) and arabinoxylan, in order to manipulate cereal grain wall composition. In 2016 I joined the Persson Cell Wall biology research group where I am developing a number of novel technologies to study protein-protein interactions and protein turnover.

Mrs Pamela Burton
Associate Investigators and Researchers
Pamela is clinical nurse specialist, clinical trials coordinator and coordinator of aerobiology research in the Department of Immunology and Allergy at Campbelltown Hospital, Sydney. She has many years' experience in Clinical Immunology and Allergy, conducting clinical trials, clinical research and pollen and spore collection and Identification, operation of Burkard traps and data management. Certification of Pollen counting obtained from the National Allergy Bureau (NAB, AAAAI, American academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology) in the USA and fungal spore identification certificates from the National pollen, aerobiology and research unit (NPARU) at the University of Worcester in the UK.

Dr Fay Johnston
Senior Research Fellow

Prof. Ian Godwin
The University of Queensland, School of Agriculture and Food Science. Overview Genetic improvement of plants using molecular and genomics tools. Cereals and grain crops. Professor Ian Godwin has over 20 years experience in plant biotechnology research, and cut his teeth on plant genetic engineering at Birmingham University in the UK in the 1980s. Since 1990, he has held an academic position in plant molecular genetics at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. His research involves the use of biotechnological tools for crop improvement, with emphasis on the sustainable production of grain crops. Major focus is on the improvement of crops for food, feed and bio-industrial end-uses, including bio-fuels and bio-materials. Research projects include international collaborations with a focus on food security and plant genetic resource conservation with collaborators in the United States, India, Africa and Pacific Island countries. He is passionate about the public communication of science, and has spoken at many public events on genetics, GM plants and food, animal cloning, and the future of agriculture in a changing climate. In 2003 he was an ABC Science Media Fellow, and has appeared on ABC radio national and local radio on numerous occasions.

Assoc. Prof. Frank Murray
Associate Professor in Environmental Systems, School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Western Australia Research My main research interests relate to impacts of air pollution, climate change, the management of these impacts and the policies needed to address them. These research interests include impacts of air pollutants on human health, impacts on vegetation and ecosystems, impacts of climate change, vulnerability, resilience and adaptation. Most of this research is being conducted in developing countries where the impacts are often most severe, and there are the greatest potential benefits to human health, communities, biodiversity and economics from modest financial investments to reduce emissions and impacts.

Michel Thibaudon