Dr. Dianne Gleeson

Dianne is a geneticist, with 18yrs of research experience in the application of DNA technologies for biodiversity conservation outcomes in both New Zealand and Australia. Her career focus has been facilitating the translation of fundamental research into applied outcomes, working closely with stakeholders to ensure uptake. Previously at Landcare Research NZ, she developed a successful business unit, EcoGene, resulting in a national award for Women in Science Entrepreneurship. She now leads the EcoDNA team at the Institute for Applied Ecology, Faculty for Science and Technology at theUniversity of Canberra, which is focused on the development eDNA technologies for surveillance and detection of species.

Prof. Richard Duncan

Richard Duncan is an ecologist focused on understanding how invasive species arrive, establish and impact native ecosystems. His work in eDNA has focused on designing robust sampling strategies for species detection and developing modelling tools to enable proper quantification of the accuracy and uncertainties associated with eDNA detection.

Dr. Elise Furlan

With over 15 years’ experience in molecular genetics, Elise was one of the first researchers in Australia to develop techniques to analyse environmental DNA (eDNA). She was instrumental in the creation of eDNA facilities at the University of Canberra which, combined with a trace DNA laboratory, enable high-sensitivity eDNA detection while minimizing contamination. Elise’s eDNA research focuses predominately on detection of aquatic species from freshwater samples. She has used a single-species approach to inform of the presence or absence of native and invasive species, and has employed metabarcoding to detect the presence of multiple species simultaneously. Elise has applied this approach to determine the diet composition of various species and to detect biodiversity at a site and is currently working on techniques to improve estimates of species rank abundance.

Dr. Alejandro Trujillo-González

Alejandro Trujillo-González has seven years of experience in parasite-host interactions, parasite ecology, molecular detection techniques and biosecurity. Originally from Cali, Colombia, Alejandro graduated from Los Andes University with a BSc in Biology in 2010, working with parasitic nematodes of mosquito larvae as potential biological controls of mosquito-borne diseases. He then completed a Graduate Diploma of Research Methods at James Cook University in 2013 and a Master of Philosophy in 2015 with research on the behaviour and histopathology of the ectoparasite Neobenedenia infecting barramundi. Alejandro recently completed his PhD at James Cook University on parasites infecting ornamental fish imported into Australia, examining the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) methods as viable detection tools for Australian biosecurity. Alejandro continues to explore the utility of eDNA-based molecular techniques in detecting invasive parasites and pathogens in wild ecosystems to accurately inform management and improve biosecurity protocols.

Dr. Foyez Shams

Dr Foyez Shams

Foyez joined the EcoDNA team as a Research Fellow in 2021. Prior to joining the EcoDNA team at the University of Canberra, Foyez completed a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from the University of Canberra in 2021, focusing on the conservation and management of Australian native freshwater fishes Golden perch and Murray Cod using multidisciplinary approaches such as population genetics, comparative genomics, cytogenetics, and otolith microchemistry. Before starting his PhD in 2016, Foyez, worked as a research assistant focusing on the detection of enterovirulent strains of Escherichia coli bacteria in shrimp farms of Bangladesh using molecular methods such as PCR. Foyez enjoys photography, playing soccer, folk music, cooking, and watching movies.

ResearchGate link: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Foyez-Shams

Kymberly Crockett

Kymberly Crockett

Born and raised in Canberra, Kymberly completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Forensic Studies in 2020 and an Honours in Applied Science in 2021 at the University of Canberra. Throughout her Honours year, Kymberly developed sampling and molecular techniques for the detection of elusive endangered and invasive fish species from eDNA water samples.

Kymberly began working at the University of Canberra as a research assistant for the EcoDNA group at the Institute of Applied Ecology in 2021. She conducts lab work using single-species molecular approaches to determine the presence or absence of native and invasive species from eDNA samples for various research, biosecurity, and surveillance projects, such as the Hitchhiker Pest Project.

Outside of her role in the EcoDNA, Kymberly enjoys going on walks with her dog, cooking/baking, reading, and painting.

Jenn Soroka

Jenn Soroka

Jenn has been a member of the EcoDNA team since April 2021, where she applies eDNA molecular techniques to biosecurity and surveillance of invasive pests, parasites, and pathogens. Her current involvement in the Hitchhiker Pest Project focuses on detection of single-species targets imported to
Australia via shipping containers.

Jenn started her career in behavioural neuroscience and neuroimmunology labs, primarily investigating the relationship between the immune system and neurological disorders in rodent models. However, she transitioned into ecology after moving from the USA to Australia in 2018 and has since worked in a variety of roles, including as a reptile animal technician and as a field ecologist.

In addition to a BSc in Biology, Jenn holds a Cert IV in Environmental Monitoring and Technology and a Cert III in Animal Studies. She’s conducted flora, fauna, and aquatic ecological surveys across the Canberra region and NSW. Jenn loves fieldwork, and has undertaken remote, multi-month field trips
including collecting eDNA water samples in the river systems of northern NSW and tracking Central Bearded Dragons across wildlife sanctuaries in Cunnamulla, QLD.


Clark SM, Vaughn CN, Soroka JA, Li X, Tonelli LH. 2018. Neonatal adoptive transfer of lymphocytes rescues social behavior during adolescence in immune-deficient mice. European Journal of Neuroscience. Apr 47(8):968-978.

Clark SM, Soroka JA, Song C, Li X, Tonelli LH. 2016. CD4+ T cells confer anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects, but enhance fear memory processes in Rag2-/- mice. Stress. 19(3):303-11

Siviy SM, Eck SR, McDowell LS, Soroka J. 2017. Effects of cross-fostering on play and anxiety in juvenile Fischer 344 and Lewis rats. Physiol Behav. 169:147-154

Henriette Theron

Henriette Theron

Born in South Africa and growing up in four different countries (South Africa, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Australia), Henriette completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science and an Honours in Applied Science at the University of Canberra. During her Bachelor studies she majored in four different areas – Water Science, Environmental Genetics, Applied Ecology and Integrated Environmental Management, respectively. Henriette’s
Honours project used a combination of lab-based and office-based technologies to compare the evolution of the Major Histocompatibility Complex gene region of the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby against that of other Australian Marsupials.

Henriette joined the Institute for Applied Ecology’s EcoDNA team as a lab technician. She currently helps with various lab-based projects that use single-species molecular approaches to inform the presence or absence of native (Rakali) and invasive species (Khapra Beetle, Asian Gypsy Moth) from eDNA samples.

Apart from her exciting role as part of the EcoDNA team at UC, Henriette has an avid interest in wildlife, books, music, sport as well as training dogs and riding horses.

Dr. Rheyda Hinlo

Rheyda’s main interest is the application of science to biodiversity conservation. Her previous experience in the environmental field is varied – ranging from captive breeding and reintroduction, conservation genetics, wildlife medicine and invasive species management. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines, a Master of Science in Conservation Biology from Massey University (New Zealand) and a PhD in Applied Ecology from the University of Canberra. Her PhD focused on improving eDNA detection probabilities for monitoring aquatic species.

Jack Rojahn

Born and raised in Canberra, Jack completed a Bachelor of Psychology and an Honours in Applied Science at the University of Canberra. Throughout his Honour’s year, Jack developed molecular techniques capable of detecting the highly endangered corroboree frog from water samples, which he then used to infer reintroduction success of captive bred populations released into the wild.

Jack has been working as a research assistant as part of the EcoDNA group at the Institute for Applied Ecology. He conducts fieldwork across Australia collecting eDNA samples for various projects such as the National Carp Control Plan, monitoring of macro-invertebrates along the Murray River, and eDNA detection of the Macquarie Perch throughout Abercrombie NP. He also conducts lab work using single-species molecular approaches to inform the presence or absence of native and invasive species, and metabarcoding techniques to assess diet composition of sea birds.

Jack is now commencing a PhD at the University of Canberra under the supervision of Dr Dianne Gleeson and Dr Elise Furlan implementing, eDNA and metabarcoding techniques across a diverse range of taxa and ecosystems.

Apart from his role as part of the EcoDNA group at UC, Jack has also worked for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and has a keen interest in walking, travel, music and sport.