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Gavin Graham and Farah Zaib Khan join QCIF

25 March 2022

Dr Farah Zaib Khan and Gavin Graham have joined QCIF to work on the Australian BioCommons project.  

Farah joined the Australian BioCommons team in mid-January this year as a Scientific Business Analyst, and Gavin joined in February as Software and Platforms Services Manager. 

Gavin returns to The University of Queensland after having previously spent nine years in IT and project management roles at UQ. Five of those years were with UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience as a Senior IT Operations and Project Manager.  

Gavin led the pilot of the EMBL Australia Mirror of the EMBL-EBI (European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute), an NCI-funded specialised bioinformatics facility, and the EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource (EMBL-ABR) to help researchers in life sciences. 

“I was compelled to join QCIF and Australia BioCommons to continue my work on providing bioinformatics web-services innovation. My outlook is to apply commercial grade practises to how these services can be delivered to researchers and lowering the barrier to entry for computational analysis,” said Gavin. 

Nigel Ward, BioCommons’ Associate Director of Platforms, said the organisation has a growing portfolio of shared bioinformatics services that address challenges identified by the Australian life sciences community.  

“Gavin's role is a critical part of our service management team. He has general responsibility for ensuring that all services offered through the BioCommons, and its operational partners like QCIF, are robust, stable, available, sufficiently resourced and managed professionally to enable a high-quality researcher experience,” said Nigel.  

Prior to joining IMB, Gavin spent four years as Information Technology Manager at UQ’s Australian Genome Research Facility, and has more than 10 years’ experience working in IT management roles in the private sector. 

In his BioCommons role, he will be based at QCIF’s headquarters on UQ’s St Lucia campus. 

He has completed his Graduate Diploma in Business Management and is currently studying part-time for a Master of Business Administration at UQ. 

Farah completed her PhD in Computing and Information Systems with The University of Melbourne in 2019, and worked as a lecturer there from February 2019 until December 2021.  

Dr Jeff Christiansen, Australian BioCommons’ Deputy Director, who is also employed via QCIF, said Farah will be a key member of BioCommons’ Community Engagement team.  

“She will be responsible for the critical task of distilling and making sense of requirements from a very wide range of researchers who undertake their ‘omics data analyses in very different ways,” said Jeff.  

“Farah comes to us highly recommended due to her diligent and methodical analysis approach which she has applied previously in documenting global community challenges in the area of bioinformatics workflows.” 

Farah said: “I am looking forward to contributing to capturing community requirements and liaising with the product owners, platform and services team, and implementation teams to drive the establishment of new services. In the process, I will also liaise with the BioCommons’ services managers to devise the plan to move newly established services to business-as-usual processes.” 

Farah has a background in computational bioinformatics, genomic data analysis, open science and bioinformatics workflows.  

During her PhD, Farah established collaborations with researchers in Australia and Europe and published a paper with these researchers in GigaScience, a journal focused on ‘big data’ research from the life and biomedical sciences. 

Farah also has a Master of Science (Bioinformatics) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  

She will be based in Australian BioCommons’ Melbourne office with the Melbourne Bioinformatics team.  

QCIF warmly welcomes both Farah and Gavin to the team.

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