Lab Members

Prof. Ruiting Lan

Lab head


Ruiting grew up in the southeast countryside of China and in 1986 moved to Australia. He completed his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at the University of Sydney, and since 2002 has been at UNSW. His lab welcomes students from around the world who are interested the evolution and transmission of disease causing bacteria. His multidisciplinary work uses biological and computational approaches to identify and track bacterial spread.

His Lab is known for its collaborative and supportive research environment that encourages innovation and creativity to unlock each student's potential.
Dr. Michael Payne

2017 - Present: Postdoctoral fellow




Michael completed his BSc, MSc (Genetics) and Ph.D. (comparative genomics of Talaromyces marneffei) at the University of Melbourne before joining the LanLab in 2017. His work focusses on the use of genomics to understand bacterial populations, particularly in Salmonella and other enteric pathogens. As part of this work he has developed new methods for genomic typing of bacterial isolates for epidemiology and outbreak detection.
Dr. Sandeep Kaur

2022 - Present: Postdoctoral fellow
2018 - 2021 : Bioinformatician and Ph.D. student
2013 - 2016: Bioinformatician


Sandeep joined the lab as a young summer intern working on identifying insertion sequences. Since then she has contributed as a bioinformatician to a number of projects. Currently, she is working on developing methods and analysis of Typhimuriums. She is fascinated by the complexity of living systems, and loves solving the algorithmic problems brought to light through their study.
Dr. Laurence Luu

2018 - Present: Postdoctoral fellow
2014 - 2018: Ph.D. student
2013: Honours student




Laurence is a honorary LanLab member. He joined as a honours student, completed a Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Ruiting Lan and Dr. Sophie Octavia, and continued for a year as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. His work investigated the evolution of Bordetella pertussis to vaccines and discovered new adaptations associated with increased fitness in the current Australian epidemic B. pertussis population.

He has expertise in microbial proteomics, genomics, animal models of infection and molecular biology techniques.
Dr. Sophie Octavia

2017 - Present: Adjunct lecturer
2009 - 2017: Postdoctoral fellow
2004 - 2008: Ph.D. student
2003: Honours student



Sophie is a honorary LanLab member. She joined the lab as an honours student, completed a Ph.D., and continued as postdoc for 8 years.

In 2017 she moved to Singapore and is the current Head of Bacteriology at the Singapore Environmental Institute for Health.
Raisa Rafique

2018 - Present: Ph.D. student



Raisa’s research is motivated by her compassion for the effects infectious disease has on general health and threat to human life. Her journey has brought her from Bangladesh to Australia, where she originally studied cholera and now focuses on whooping cough. Her Ph.D. aims to uncover how the whooping cough bacteria evolves resistance against vaccinations.
Liam James Maughan Cheney

2019 - Present: Ph.D. student (submitted)
2018 - 2019: Honours student
2017 - 2019: Research intern

Liam joined the LanLab family in 2017 and has a passion for teaching and communicating science. After completing his Ph.D., he wants to start a company to better develop ways for communicating complex scientific research to the general public.

He chose to endeavour the Ph.D. journey because he absolutely loves to tell interesting stories, and what better stories to tell than the genetics of disease causing bacteria.
Hiroki Suyama

2019 - Present: Ph.D. student (submitted)
2017 - 2018 : Honours student



Hiroki joined the LanLab in 2017 to begin his research into whooping cough. While a dedicated Ph.D. student, he spends his spare time relaxing with fancy cheese and tasty beer.
Amanda Luo

2019 - Present: Ph.D. student

Amanda is a Ph.D. student who moved to Australia from China. Her main interest is studying bacteria that cause diarrheal diseases. She is continuing her work from China, and is studying genetics differences across the Vibrio cholerae species.
Samitha Bandaranayake Mudiyanselage

2022 - Present: Ph.D. student

Samitha completed her honors and master’s in plant science and decided to proceed with microbiology for her PhD. She is passionate about understanding the effect of Salmonella in food production chains.

The focus of her PhD is to examine Salmonella Typhimurium strains which are transmitted from food production chains to understand pathogen evolution, and to develop integrated surveillance methods to detect food contamination by Salmonella.

In her spare time when she’s not focusing on Salmonella, she enjoys gardening, travelling, and camping.
Jack Stewart

2022 - Present: M. Sc. student (part time)

After finishing his undergrad degree, Jack worked in the industry. He has recently joined LanLab (2022) to start a Masters by Research focusing on developing computational and labratory driven methods to enable routine surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes.

In his spare time he enjoys cycling and trying new foods (like fancy cheese!).
Kelly Varianne

2022 - Present : Research Assistant

2021 - 2022 : Honours student


Kelly's passion for biology begun from a young age. After completing her science undergraudate she decided to truely learn about life as a researcher and joined the LanLab for an honours.

While most of day involves investigating B. pertussis, she takes her mind off work with Karaoke.
Nathan Purdey

2022 - Present : Honours student

Nathan joined the Lan lab in 2022 for honours, investigating the bacteria Shigella sonnei. When not reading scientific papers, he enjoys reading fantasy and science fiction novels.
Emma Chapman

2023 - Present : Honours student

Emma joined the Lan lab in 2023 for her honours year and is working on the bacteria Shigella flexneri. In her free time, she enjoys trying out new sports.
Vandana Prathapar

2023 - Present : Honours student

Vandana joined the Lan Lab in 2023 for her honours project in refactoring the front-end codebase for the Multilevel Genome Typing database. When she isn't working on the project or studying, she enjoys knitting and readings

Past Members

Visiting Fellows
Dr. Anuruddhika Dissayanake
Prof. He Houjun
Dr. Qiu Yu Xia
Post Doctoral Fellows
Dr. Laurence Luu
Dr. Dalong Hu
Dr. Azadeh Safarchi
Dr. Ram P Maharjan
Research Assistants
Apeksha Goswami
Ph.D. Students
Dr. Lijuna (Ada) Luo
Dr. Xiaomei Zhang
Dr. Zheng Xu
Dr. Laurence Luu
Dr. Sophie Octavia
Dr. Songzhe Fu
Dr. Azadeh Safarchi
Dr. Meghan Jones
Dr. Connie Lam
Dr. Alfred Chin Yen Tay
Dr. Stanley Pang
Sayara Bista
MPhil Students
Yan Wu
Honours Students
Ming Wong
Sophie Gao
Thanh Nguyen
Paris Thompson
Daniel Lum
Angelica Wang
Becky Bourcier
Violet Warner
Crystal Fung
Sunny Wu
Dr. Connie Lam
Shearlane Ch'ng
Ravirag Joshi
Catherine Lim
An Duong
Queenie Leung
Nataline Tang
Vivienne Chen
Chong Gu
Wai-Fong Chan
Krisandra Felicity Jahja
Rita Ann Muscat
Anne-Marie Mooney
Dr. Alfred Chin Yen Tay
Zahra Bahrame
Benson Ton
Wilson Wong
Lisa Black
Ziwei Li
Laurence Ricafort
Josephine Sara
Claudia Stocks
Dr. Stanley Pang
Research Students
Chelsea Liang
Queenie Leung
Wai-Fong Chan