Rania AlaniService Engagement Manager, REANNZ


Rania is a Service Engagement Manager at REANNZ, New Zealand’s national research and education network (NREN), where she works on a variety of member-led initiatives and activities from both public and private sectors. She has an extensive background in both domestic and international education, as well as digital equity projects around Aotearoa. Rania is passionate about ensuring that researchers are provided the platforms that cater to the unique needs of science and data-intensive research whilst ensuring that researchers also have access to the networking capabilities, people, and resources they need.


Mik Black
Professor, University of Otago Department of Biochemistry

Mik received a BSc (Hons) in statistics from the University of Canterbury, and a MSc (mathematical statistics) and PhD (statistics) from Purdue University. After completing his PhD in 2002, Mik returned to New Zealand to work as a lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland.  An ongoing involvement in a number of Dunedin-based collaborative genomics projects resulted in a move to the University of Otago in 2006.  Mik’s research focuses on the development and application of statistical methods for the analysis of data from genomics experiments, with a particular emphasis on human disease.  Mik has also been heavily involved in a number of major initiatives designed to put in place sustainable national research infrastructure: New Zealand Genomics Ltd (where he was the Bioinformatics Team Leader during 2012-2013) and now Genomics Aotearoa (where he is currently the Bioinformatics lead) for genomics, and NeSI (New Zealand eScience Infrastructure) for high performance computing and eResearch.

Claire Grant
Communications Manager, Genomics Aotearoa (GA)

Claire Grant is the Communications Manager for Genomics Aotearoa, responsible for promoting its research activities and contributing to improving understanding of genomics in New Zealand. She has extensive experience in communications advisory and public relations in New Zealand, and is passionate about science communication.

Dr Tyler McInnesBioinformatics Training Coordinator, Genomics Aotearoa (GA)


Tyler is the Bioinformatics training coordinator for GA, responsible for coordinating, developing and delivering bioinformatics and data science training workshops across New Zealand. Tyler received a BSc (Hons) in Genetics and a PhD in Biochemistry, both from the University of Otago. Prior to his role with GA Tyler worked as a Teaching Fellow for the Genetics Teaching Programme at the University of Otago. Tyler’s areas of expertise are R, DNA methylation, colorectal cancer, RNA-seq, and teaching.


Jana Makar
Communications Manager, New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI)

Based at the University of Auckland, Jana Makar coordinates a range of engagement initiatives and external communications to raise the profile of NeSI’s activities, impacts, and collaborations. Prior to joining NeSI, Jana worked as a communications professional for multiple organisations in Canada’s cyberinfrastructure sector, including Cybera (provincial research & education network), WestGrid (regional HPC consortium), and Compute Canada (national HPC platform). She has a degree in Communications from the University of Calgary and spent the early part of her career working as a journalist for weekly and daily newspapers in Western Canada.

Dr Nisha GhatakResearch Communities Advisor and Training Lead, NeSI

Nisha Ghatak is the Research Communities Advisor and Training Lead at NeSI. She is currently based at the University of Auckland. Nisha’s role focuses on growing the eResearch capability in New Zealand through training delivery and community building. She is also the Regional Coordinator for The Carpentries in Aotearoa New Zealand.


Tania Way

Service Engagement Manager, REANNZ

Tania is a Service Engagement Manager for REANNZ, New Zealand’s National Research and Education Network (NREN), and is based in Christchurch.  As part of the REANNZ engagement team, she is focused on building deeper relationships with our members, to help improve usage of our high-performance research and education network infrastructure.  She works on cultivating closer relationships with our members, assisting them to unlock their own potential through delivery of customised technology, services and support.



Kerry Satherley

Service Delivery Coordinator

Kerry has been a Service Delivery Coordinator at REANNZ since June 2022, managing the delivery of third-party services (primarily fibre connectivity) and hardware for REANNZ members. He has 19 years of experience working in the IT/Telco industries, working for 2 large Global Companies over that time in a Service Delivery/Customer focused capacity.

Zoe Yang

Senior Scientist at ESR

Dr. Zoe Yang is a Senior Scientist at ESR, based in Wellington. Her current research centers on developing the pangenome graph pipeline for the construction of Pan Genomes and variant calling. Her primary focus lies in the application of this technology to microbial pathogens, establishing a pangenome graph-based system to monitor plasmid surveillance in antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria, and studying genomics diversity and population dynamics of Neisseria meningitidis, the bacteria responsible for meningococcal disease.

Dr. Yang earned her B.A. in Agricultural Resources and Environment from Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University in Yangling, China, before attaining her PhD in Botany at the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science (IBCAS), Beijing, China.

Throughout her career, Dr. Yang has committed herself to leveraging the health benefits of genomics through the innovative use of sequencing technologies and analytical frameworks. She has extensive experience working with ‘omics’ data to comprehend the molecular basis of health and disease. This work spans a broad range of organisms and model systems, including those for cancer and infectious diseases.

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