Barr Lab

Current Lab Members


Picture of Ruzeen Patwa

Research Description

I have a master’s degree in biology from New York University, and have worked in several cancer biology labs identifying genes that mediate cancer progression. In Barr lab, I provide technical support to the lab members, as well as daily management of the lab.

Apart from lab work, I enjoy watching movies, spending time with my family, and catching up with friends over a cup of coffee.

Graduate Students

Picture of Marion Bichet
Graduate Student
marion.bichet@monash.eduView CV

Research Description

I am a French PhD student with a master degree in microbiology from Pasteur Institute and Sorbonne University in Paris. Previously, I worked on the interaction between host and pathogens. In the Barr Lab, I am investigating the interactions between bacteriophages and eukaryotic cells. Using cutting-edge technology, like confocal microscopy and ddPCR, I will attempt to understand how bacteriophages influence epithelial cells and delineate the mechanisms by which these cells transcytose phage particles.

Outside of the lab I like to go hiking and enjoy the incredible Australian landscapes, I also like to spend times with my friends around a fresh drink.


Follow me on Twitter @marion_bichet 

Picture of Wai Hoe Chin
Graduate Student
wai.chin@monash.eduView CV

Area of Study

I am a Malaysian PhD student. Previously, I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences (Infectious Diseases) from The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom.

In the Barr lab, my aim is to further develop the bacteriophage-adherence-to-mucus (BAM) model. Firstly, I am investigating how phage-bacteria co-evolve within the gut mucus environment. Secondly, I envisage to understand how phages and bacteria interact under the spatial complexity of the gut mucus layer. To address these questions, I am experimenting with phages and bacteria within a gut-on-chip microfluidic device, which is capable of simulating a life-like gut mucosal environment. Overall, my project is highly interdisciplinary, requiring the merging of many fields, namely: engineering, cell biology, microbiology and evolutionary biology.

Beyond the lab, I like to spend my time learning languages, exercising and quality coffee binging.

Follow me on Twitter @chinhoe589

Picture of Sofia Dahlman
Graduate Student
sofia.dahlman@monash.eduView CV

Research Description

I am a Swedish PhD student with a master’s degree in Biomedical Science from Leiden University, The Netherlands.


In the Barr Lab, my work will be directed at decoding the human gut phageome and its impact on health and disease. To this end I will identify and characterise prophages from a large number of clinical isolates. My project will use extensive bioinformatic and high throughput sequencing techniques as well as microbiology approaches.


Outside the lab, I enjoy traveling and experiencing new places, hiking, gardening, listening to audio books and eating delicious foods.

Picture of Fernando Gordillo Altamirano
Graduate Student
fernando.gordilloaltamirano@monash.eduView CV

Research Description

I am a Medical Doctor from Ecuador and I have a master's degree in Infection & Immunity from the University of Sydney. At the Barr lab I will be tackling one of the most important threats in the scenario of global health: antimicrobial resistance. Specifically, I will look into bacteriophage adjuvant therapy as a treatment strategy against multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens.
Outside of the lab, I spend a lot of time at the gym, binge-watching TV series, cooking and baking.
Follow me on Twitter @NandoGordillo


Picture of Wilbur

Area of Study

Lab guard dog. Expert in eating treats, playing fetch and pats.

Follow me on Instagram here!


Picture of John Forsyth

Research Description

I am currently an Honours student at Monash University. I completed a Bachelor of Science at Deakin University in 2018, majoring in human biology. At the Barr lab, I will be studying the mechanism in which bacteriophage adsorb to and infect multidrug resistant bacterial pathogens. Using gene knockout techniques I will attempt to characterise phage infectivity of Acinetobacter baumannii to further our understanding of phages for therapeutic use.

Outside of the lab I love to exercise and I am a massive fan of all sports. I closely follow the English Premier League (soccer) and the AFL (football).

Picture of Ciaren Kett

Research Description

I am currently studying the Master of Biotechnology through the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) and Monash University. Previously, I studied a Bachelor of Science in Genetics & Molecular Biology. At the Barr Lab, I will be developing a molecular method for the quantification of T4 phage particles using RT-PCR.


Outside the lab, I like to indulge in a nice meal or beverage, watch excessive amounts of TV, read, and exercise.

Picture of Luisa Kielty

Research Description

I am currently studying my Master's of Biotechnology at Monash University. In 2016, I completed my Science Degree, majoring in Microbiology and Chemistry.


In the Barr Lab,  I am attempting to isolate bacteriophages against the ESKAPE pathogens; in particular against A. baumannii strains.


In my spare time, I enjoy walking my dog and going to the gym. I recently started doing yoga, pilates and teaching myself how to sew.

Picture of Phuong-Dan Nguyen

Research Description

I am currently a Biotechnology Masters’ student with my studies primarily focusing on Regenerative Medicine at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI). I have completed a BSc (Pharmacology and Physiology) and BA (Psychology) at Monash University. At the Barr Lab my project is CRISPR deletion in the lambda phage genome for re-engineering approaches. This will involve using a two-plasmid system design for CRISPR to induce large fragment deletion.

Outside of the lab I am a Taekwondo instructor. I also enjoy spending time at the gym, sleeping, travelling and eating ice cream out of the tub. 

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Barr Laboratory | Monash University Feedback/Questions

Monash University
School of Biological Sciences
Senior Zoology
Clayton VIC 3168

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