Plenary Speakers

Monday 20th February 

s.bSandy Baines
NZGL Chief Operating Officer

Sandy has a background in Information and Technology Management and technical engineering, together with formal qualifications in business and project management. Her business consulting experience covers many different sectors including Finance and Banking, Local Government, Health and not for profit (NFP) sectors. She has worked alongside numerous organisations at a strategic level to develop plans to leverage technology and effect positive change to improve service delivery and performance.

Sandy founded Platinum Services Group, a successful Auckland based project management company that specialised in large scale business ICT projects, capability assessments and organisational capability audits. Sandy has also held several high profile Project Director and IT Management roles where she has been responsible for strategy development and management of large programs of work for change.

Speaking: Monday 20th February
Plenary Session, Coronet Room 09:30

Professor Jim Metson Metson
Deputy Vice Chancellor, The University of Auckland, Former Chief Science Advisor MBIE

Professor Metson is a physical chemist with research inter- ests in materials and particularly the science of surfaces. He received his PhD from Victoria University of Wellington before moving to Canada initially as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario, then joining Surface Science Western. He returned to New Zealand in 1985 to the Depart- ment of Chemistry at the University of Auckland. He was a founding member of the MacDiarmid Institute for Materials Science and Nanotechnology and has worked extensively with international industry, particularly in aluminium reduction technology, gas dry-scrubbing, and alumina refining. He is a recognised international authority on industrial aluminas.

He has served in a range of national and international roles, most recently as the Chief Science Advisor to New Zealand’s Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. Previously he was the NZ Government representative on the Australian National Science Advisory Committee that oversaw the devel- opment of the Australian Synchrotron and chair of the MoRST Research Infrastructure Advisory Group. At the University of Auckland he was co-founder of the Research Centre for Surface and Materials Science and of the Light Metals Research Centre where he is currently Associate Director.

Speaking: Monday 20th February
Plenary Session, Coronet Room, 10.00am.

Download Jim’s abstract here

StoneDr Andrew Stone
Genomics Programme Manager, Garvan Institute for Medical Research

Dr Andrew Stone is the Genomics Program Manager for Garvan’s Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics (KCCG), which is one of the worlds most advanced whole genome sequencing facilities. He also holds the position of Head of Cohort Sequencing for Garvan’s newly formed genomic pathology and health information subsidiary company, Genome.One.

Andrew’s background is primarily in scientific research and project management in both academia and industry. After completion of his PhD at Cardiff University (UK), and holding research positions at both Novartis (Horsham, UK) and RSR Biotech (Cardiff, UK), Andrew joined the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Sydney, Australia) in 2010, to continue his research into the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that underpin acquired endocrine resistance in breast cancer. During this time, he was involved in the management of a collaborative, multi-million dollar National Breast Cancer Foundation program grant, focused on the identification of molecular biomarkers for breast cancer diagnosis, prognosis and predictors of drug response using next generation sequencing technologies.

He later joined KCCG in March 2015. The centre is a purpose-built facility for the provision of next-generation sequencing and data analysis. It features multiple sequencing platforms, including the state-of-the-art Illumina HiSeq X Ten (capable of sequencing >15,000 genomes per year), the latest laboratory robotics and high performance computing architecture. The laboratory operates with dual purpose; offering clinically accredited (ISO 15189) whole genome sequencing for the provision of patient diagnosis (through subsidiary company, Genome.One), while also providing best-in-class WGS and other bespoke sequencing formats to the wider research community.

Speaking: Monday 20th February
Plenary Session, Coronet Room, 11.15am

Download Andrew’s abstract here

Dave F.Dave Fellinger
Data Management Technologist, iRODS Consortium

Dave Fellinger is a Data Management Technologist with the iRODS Consortium. He has over three decades of engineering and research experience including film systems, video process- ing devices, ASIC design and development, GaAs semiconduc- tor manufacture, RAID and storage systems, and file systems. As Chief Scientist of DataDirect Networks, Inc. he focused on building an intellectual property portfolio and representing the company to conferences with a storage focus worldwide.

In his role with the iRODS Consortium Dave is working with users in research sites to assure that the functions and features of iRODS enable fully automated data management through data ingestion, security, maintenance, and distribution. He serves on the External Advisory Board of the DataNet Federation Con- sortium and was a member of the founding board of the iRODS Consortium. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University and hold patents in diverse areas of technology.

Speaking: Monday 20th February
Plenary Session, Coronet Room, 12:00

Download Dave’s abstract here

Tuesday 21st February 

Hon. Paul Goldsmith
Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Minister for Science and Innovation, and Minister for Regulatory Reform

Born in Mt Eden and having attended Auckland Grammar School Paul lives with his wife and their four children in the Epsom electorate.

First elected off the National Party list in 2011, Paul served as the Chair of the Parliamentary Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. Following the 2014 General Election he was appointed Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister for ACC.

In 2016 Paul was appointed Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Minister for Science and Innovation, and Minister for Regulatory Reform, and joined the Cabinet.
Before entering Parliament, Paul created his own business as a historian and biographer focusing on New Zealand’s history and economic development. His last books were biographies of Alan Gibbs (Serious Fun) and Sir William Gallagher (Legend). Between 2007 and 2010 he served as an Auckland City Councillor.
Paul is an enthusiastic pianist and has a broad interest in the arts; he is a 2nd dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do and plays on the right wing for the Parliamentary Rugby team

Speaking: Tuesday 21st February
Conference Gala Dinner, The Grille by Eichardts, 9 Marine Parade, from 18:30

Helen Taylor with hihi (stitchbird) On Tiritiri Matangi Image credit Mhairi McCready (Small)Helen Taylor
Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Helen Taylor is a research fellow in conservation genetics at the University of Otago. Originally from the UK, she conducted her PhD research on inbreeding depression in little spotted kiwi at Victoria University of Wellington. Helen’s current research focuses on how inbreeding affects male fertility in birds. She is also interested in the effective integration of genetics into conservation management and is part of the IUCN Conservation Genetics Specialist Group. A passionate science communicator, Helen has travelled the South Island with the lab in a box schools project and was the 2016 winner of the 180 seconds of science video competition. Helen blogs at, is on twitter @helentaylorcg and you can find out more about her research at

Speaking: Tuesday 21st February
Public Session, Clancy Room, 17:30 – 18:30

Download Helen’s abstract here

Wednesday 22nd February 

R.ChandraRanveer Chandra
Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Ranveer Chandra is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research where he is leading an Incubation on IoT Applications. His research has shipped as part of multiple Microsoft products, including VirtualWiFi in Windows 7 onwards, low power Wi-Fi in Windows 8, Energy Profiler in Visual Studio, and the Wireless Controller Protocol in XBOX One. He is active in the networking and systems research community, and has served as the Program Committee Chair of IEEE DySPAN 2012, and ACM MobiCom 2013. Ranveer is also leading the battery research project, and co-leading the white space networking project at Microsoft Research. He was invited to the FCC to present his work on TV white spaces, and spectrum regulators from India, China, Brazil, Singapore and US (including the FCC chairman) have visited the Microsoft campus to see his deployment of the world’s first urban white space network. As part of his doctoral dissertation, Ranveer developed VirtualWiFi. The software has been downloaded more than 750,000 times and is among the top 5 downloaded software released by Microsoft Research. It is shipping as a feature in Windows since 2009. Ranveer has published more than 75 papers, and filed over 100 patents, more than 80 of which have been granted by the USPTO. His research has been cited by the popular press, such as CNET, MIT Technology Review, Scientific American, New York Times, WSJ, among others. He has won several awards, including best paper awards at ACM CoNext 2008, ACM SIGCOMM 2009, IEEE RTSS 2014, USENIX ATC 2015, and Runtime Verification 2016 (RV’16), the Microsoft Research Graduate Fellowship, the Microsoft Gold Star Award, the MIT Technology Review’s Top Innovators Under 35, TR35 (2010) and Fellow in Communications, World Technology Network (2012). Ranveer has an undergraduate degree from IIT Kharagpur, India and a PhD from Cornell University.

Speaking: Wednesday 22nd February
Plenary Session, Coronet Room, 11:10

Download Ranveer’s abstract here

french-nigel-06Professor Nigel French
Director, NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre, Professor, Food Safety & Vet Public Health
Executive Director, Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health laboratory (mEpiLab).

Nigel has led One Health inter-disciplinary research programmes, combining microbiology, molecular biology, genomics and modelling, in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.  Nigel is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and he holds honorary/visiting professorships at the Universities of Liverpool and Surrey in the UK and the University of Otago Medical School in NZ.

Speaking: Wednesday 22nd February
Plenary Session, Coronet Room, 12:00

Download Nigel’s abstract here

Comments are closed