Emma Donnelly


Emma began her life as the daughter of two science teachers. As such, science and education have played a large role in her life. After completing a science degree and post grad science at UWA she stumbled into the world of science communication. Thirteen years later she has worked for a range or science education organisations including Scitech, CSIRO Education, Department of Fisheries (WA), Department of Environment and Conservation, University of WA, as well as consultant work for STAWA, Water Corporation and others. She is also an active member of Australian Science Communicators (ASC).

For the past 5 years she has worked as Science Outreach Manager at Curtin University. Emma aims to connect as many people to science as possible through positive experiences. She does this through Curtin Science Outreach and a range of innovative programs including school sessions, online videos, expert speakers, citizen science and professional development.

Gina Pearse

GinaJune2015Gina co-manages Science Outreach at Curtin University. Prior to managing the team she worked on projects such as Mildew Mania and the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE). She has been continuously involved with the Mildew Mania project for a couple years now and is still excited to be engaging schools and the general public in their science.

Gina enjoys her works as she is always learning more about agriculture and the extraordinary research being done in the area. It’s the perfect job for her as it involves communicating about two of her passions – science and food!


Dr Nola D’Souza

DSC_0008With a 1st class honours degree in Biological Sciences from Murdoch University in Perth, Nola worked for several environmental and government departments in the fields of microbiology, environmental science and plant pathology. She returned to Murdoch to complete a PhD, retraining in the field of molecular plant pathology and biotechnology.

She currently works as the Senior Research Assistant for the Barley Powdery Mildew Program at Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management. She enjoys working in plant pathology and biotechnology because it’s amazing to see how pathogens invade a plant and to discover how those plants defend themselves. Plus anything viewed under a microscope is fascinating! Nola is excited to be involved in Mildew Mania as it’s a great way to share her love of science and get more children involved as future researchers.

Dr Simon Ellwood
Simon was trained in Biochemistry at Imperial College, London and gained a PhD in plant molecular biology at the University of East Anglia. Since then he has been involved in several research projects involving plant fungal diseases.

Simon is Program Leader for the Powdery Mildew of Barley Program at Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management. The Centre is co-funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), and will continue to carry out Curtin’s high-impact research into grains that will make a real difference to the Australian grains industry. The Powdery Mildew of Barley Program seeks to find durable barley genetic resistance to this disease, which is the most economically important barley disease in Western Australia.

Professor Richard Oliver
Richard was trained in biochemistry at the University of Bristol, UK from 1976 and obtained a PhD in 1982. During his postdoctoral fellowship at the renowned Carlsberg Laboratory, Denmark he learnt molecular biology techniques. Since then, he has travelled the world, researching and teaching in many universities (University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park Graduate School, Carlsberg Laboratory, Murdoch University, Curtin University).

In 1996 Richard was invited to join Carlsberg Laboratory as the Professor of Physiology where, among other things, he initiated large-scale genomics of powdery mildew. At the top of this field, he has established widely used technologies for molecular analysis of fungal pathogens and pioneered the use of Arabidopsis to study fungal disease resistance.

At Curtin, Richard is the Chief Scientific Officer for the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM). He leads the design of several national fungicide and genetic disease resistance projects.