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Meet the Team



Astrid Rodríguez-Acevedo,  Ph.D. /Founder, Director, Spanish Mentor

Colombian-born scientists and Huitaca's director and founder. I am a biologist from the University of Antioquia in Colombia and a 2015 Ph.D. graduate from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. I am an experienced data analyst in different research areas such as genetics, epidemiology, and health economics.  Today, I work at the UQ Dermatology Research Center (UQDRC) where I investigate the methodological aspects of implementing teledermatology in Australia.   All I can do to support diversity in science.     


Priscila Oliveira de Lima,   (Hons), Ph.D. Portuguese Mentor

I am an early career researcher in Biomedical Sciences. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the UFSJ in Brazil and undertook my Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at the Simpson’s lab at the UQDI in Australia. My work involves temporary inhibition of endocytosis to improve responses to monoclonal antibody therapy in cancers. 


Jenifer Gonçalves, MSc, Ph.D.,   Portuguese  Mentor

I am an enthusiastic Biologist with a MSc and Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at UFPR (Brazil), and currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.  I contribute with creative solutions for treating cancers, seeking to obtain the maximum efficiency of diverse therapeutic systems, from natural products to nanomedicine tools, in the absence of toxicity. 



Marcela Fernàndez,  MSc.  Latin American representative

I am a bacteriologist with a Master's degree in Human Genetics and broad experience in Marketing. I have been the scientific director of several genetic laboratories in Bogota, Colombia. Lecturer and basic researcher. I represent Huitaca in Latin America.

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Anita Lopez - Translator

I am a qualified writer with a Bachelor's of Arts in Communication and Journalism, and a demonstrated trajectory in writing, proofreading and editing material for several industries. I currently enjoy my profession working as a translator and keep working my way through becoming officially certified by NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) as a bilingual English/Spanish Translator.

I am a science communicator and now undertaking a Ph.D. on the intersection between sun damage and genetic architecture in melanoma. As well as peer-reviewed journals, I have written for popular science and news and analysis sites such as Scientific American, Ars Technica, and The Conversation. 

Bridgid Betz-Stablein, Ph.D

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Katie Lee, B.Sc.

I am an early career research fellow with the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for the study of Naevi. My research interests center around the application of statistical methods to medical data. I am recognized as an AStat Accredited Statistician with the Statistical Society of Australia.


I am a clinician-academic whose interactions with patients have shaped my research questions and fuelled my enthusiasm for the importance of clinical research. I trained as a genetic counsellor and my research now focuses on the integration of genomics into clinical care.

Aideen McInerney-Leo, MSc, Ph.D


I am a dermatology trainee with experience in general medicine and emergency medicine. I completed a Masters of Public Health and I am now completing a PhD thesis on skin cancer in kidney transplant recipients. I am interested in epidemiology and clinical research.

Emily Shao, MD, MSc, Ph.D


Zac  Gerring, MSc, Ph.D

I am a human geneticist and specialize in the statistical analysis of complex diseases.  My research interests involve the integration of large scale genomic data to better understand the causal mechanisms of neuropsychiatric diseases and identify molecular targets for drug repurposing.


Amit Bhoge , MD

I did a bachelor's degree in Medicine, MBBS, and I completed my MD in Pathology from India. I work as a teaching pathologist at Xavier Medical School, and as a consultant at various clinical labs. My research work is related to gastrointestinal pathologies and tumors.


Snehlata Kumari , Ph.D

I am a biomedical scientist with a strong interest in understanding the immunomodulatory processes regulating inflammation and immunity, and helping develop novel therapeutic strategies for skin inflammation and cancer. 


Carlos Aya-Bonilla  , MSc, Ph.D

My research focuses on the integration of cellular, molecular and genomic tools for a better understanding of mechanisms orchestrating tumour biology in leukaemia, lymphoma, and melanoma. 


Vivian Silva  Kahl , MSc, Ph.D

 I'm a telomere biology researcher. I contributed to the field by demonstrating telomere length's efficiency as a biomarker of human occupational risk exposure to a broad range of synthetic pesticides and nicotine in tobacco fields in Brazil. I am currently at Queensland  University of Technology (QUT) working in telomere biology in head and neck cancers. 


Patricia Agudelo-Romero, MSc, Ph.D

 My researcher focuses on elucidating the interactions of microorganisms and various hosts. I currently work at the Telethon Kids Institute, investigating host-microorganism interactions in chronic respiratory diseases.


Julián Mendez,  B.C.E. 

I am a second-year Ph.D. student with a chemical engineering background. My research focuses on the characterisation of flammability properties for a wide range of materials and the vertical fire spread in high-rise buildings.


Oscar Ortega,  Ph.D. 

I'm a senior scientist at Applied BioMath. During my Ph.D., I worked on cancer systems biology and develop novel methods to visualize mathematical models and quantify the biological effects of model uncertainty as a result of model calibration. In general, I'm interested in how we can use mathematical models to gain insights into biological processes.

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I am a final-year medical student with a background in science. Medicine and science are my passion! I have a bachelor's degree in genomic sciences and a Ph.D. in genetics, specifically in the evolution of sex chromosomes and sex determination genes in mammals. I am currently interested in the applications of artificial intelligence in medicine, in particular, in the early detection of melanoma. 

Deborah Toledo Flores, Ph.D

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