Postdoctoral researchers

Dr Soumya Kanti De

Soumya is a post-doctoral researcher who investigates the formation possibilities of nanoparticles in prebiotic environments that have not been investigated before, as well as their potential impact on the chemistry of prebiotic environments and, indeed, the origin of life. During his doctoral research, he investigated the change of the physicochemical properties and stability of phospholipid vesicles upon interaction with nanoparticles and biomolecules. 

Soumya enjoys learning and playing chess, watching movies, and football during his spare time.

s [dot] de [at]


Dr Joshua King

Josh is a post-doctoral researcher who investigates physical properties of lipid vesicles in order to better understand the origins of a stably propagating cell. He undertook his doctoral research in the Soft Materials and Colloids Laboratory at Monash University where he explored the relationship between nanostructure and dynamic properties of complex fluids. Outside of the lab, Josh enjoys playing tennis, cooking, and listening to podcasts. 

joshua [dot] king1 [at]


Dr Joshua Marlow

Josh is a post-doctoral researcher investigating the creation of 'protocells',  simple chemical systems which propagate and evolve just like early cells. His experience is in the study of lipid and surfactant self-assembly, and the analysis of self-assembled structure using scattering techniques and rheometry. After completing his PhD research at Monash University in the Soft Matter and Colloids Laboratory, he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Warr Group at the University of Sydney. Before beginning at UNSW, Josh also acted as an Industry Instrument Scientist at Australia's nuclear science and technology organisation, ANSTO, connecting academia, industry, and government facilities. Outside of the lab, Josh enjoys comic books, movies, board games and video games, and spending time with his family.

joshua [dot] marlow [at]


Dr Arslan Siddique

Arslan is a post-doctoral researcher studying interfacial interactions of clay minerals with fatty acid membranes and designing microfluidic systems to simulate early earth environment exploring the origin of life. He also investigates the mechanism of interactions of different nanoparticles with phospholipid membranes to modulate biomembrane properties for applications in the areas of synthetic biology, drug delivery, and nanobiotechnology. He has a multidisciplinary research background with a PhD in Chemical Engineering from UNSW Australia and MSc in Biotechnology. His research expertise lies in developing biomimetic model systems and use of interfacial-sensitive characterisation tools and techniques such as QCM-D and neutron reflectometry to examine supported lipid bilayers (SLBs).

In his leisure time, Arslan loves to watch documentaries, listens to pop music, and plays cricket.

a [dot] siddique [at]


PhD students

Rabia Ali

Rabia is a PhD candidate exploring the mysteries of life's beginnings under the guidance of Dr. Anna Wang. Since joining the group in January 2024, Rabia been passionately investigating the realms of phospholipid vesicles, unraveling their role in the origin of life while scrutinising the factors influencing their shape and morphology. Her journey in research began during  her master's studies, where she worked on enhancing the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells through innovative gel polymer electrolytes. Additionally, Rabia worked in the realm of soft robotics by developing stimuli-responsive materials for soft machines. Born and raised in the vibrant capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad, she bring a diverse perspective to her work. 

Beyond the lab, Rabia find joy in the culinary arts, whipping up delicious dishes and pastries, as well as traveling to new places. 

rabia [dot] ali [at]


Dev Chauhan

Dev is a PhD candidate working with Dr Albert Fahrenbach and Anna on the impact of vesicle confinement on prebiotic reaction networks. Specifically, he is researching the impact of vesicle confinement on prebiotic reaction networks and the effect of macromolecular crowding in protocell biochemistry. Dev received his Master's degree in chemical and molecular biology, where he worked on a gene-editing technology called CRISPR using Zebrafish, and his Honours in Biotechnology, where he investigated olfactory decisions and olfactory information processing in a maternally separated mice model.

In his spare time, Dev loves playing cricket and badminton, traveling, and enjoying Indian classical music (specifically, Carnatic music, Dhrupad, and Tarana). Most importantly, he is the one who expresses himself through dance. He is an Indian semi-classical (Kathak) and folk dancer.

d [dot] chauhan [at]


Ziyan Fan

Ziyan is a PhD candidate working on the innovative therapeutic approaches to Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases based on human pathophysiology or physiology: Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). The purpose of her project is to develop a synthetic cell that imitate the crowding and confiment of real cells. Tau protein and Aß42 peptide can both generate LLPS droplets. The understanding of droplet solidification and maturation will discovered by controlling tau protein and Aß42 peptide maturation with crowding and confinement.

Ziyan was also an Honours student in the group working on cell division and membrane fusion.

Daniel Loo

Daniel is a PhD candidate co-supervised by Associate Professor Patrick Spicer of the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering working on protocell systems composed of fatty acid vesicles. By employing mainly optical microscopy, he is investigating the behaviour of these systems in a variety of prebiotically relevant conditions. He also studies the aggregation phenomena of these vesicles. 

Outside of the lab, he has a keen interest in engineering and the other branches of science. For leisure, he enjoys jogging, and watching cricket and Formula 1 racing. 

w [dot] loo [at]


Lauren Lowe

Lauren is a PhD candidate working on regulating the nutrient flow of model primitive and artificial cells. After exploring how fatty acid membranes are affected by subtle shifts in pH during her Honours, Lauren has continued studying model primitive cells throughout her PhD with goal of building a synthetic cell that can access the nutrients required for membrane growth and subsequent division. 

Aside from science, Lauren enjoys playing softball, watching various sports and reading fiction novels.

lauren [dot] lowe [at]


Honours students

Ethan Fillingham

Ethan is an Honours year student undertaking a bachelors degree in medicinal chemistry. His project invovles determining the effect of macromolecular crowding on the formation of liquid-liquid phase seperated (LLPS) droplets and their transition to a solid-like state. This has implications in areas such as the origins of life and specific LLPS related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

ecfillingham [at] gmail [dot] com


Stan Zhuang

Wei ZHUANG (Stan) is a fourth year Honours student, co-supervised by Dr. Anna Wang and Dr. Albert Fahrenbach. He is working his Honours project on "Vesicles Morphology Influenced by Prebiotic Sugars".

During Stan's spare time, he loves playing soccer, travelling and enjoys watching documentaries regarding aviation.


Research assistants and officers

Dr Joshua Brown

Josh is currently a postdoctoral fellow at CSIRO, and remains a research officer in our group. He was a part-time post-doctoral researcher working on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of protocell membranes to investigate structure-property relationships. He also works with the ARC CoE for Eco-efficient Ore Beneficiation on modelling selective collectors for rare earth element recovery. Josh was awarded his PhD in Chemistry in 2021 through the University of Newcastle and prior to this completed undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Queensland.

joshua [dot] brown1 [at]


Lan Tran

Lan is a research assistant working on precision quantification of vesicle properties using holography.



Group leader

Dr Anna Wang
Scientia Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow

Biography here


Dr Chen Chen

Chen was a visiting Junior Research Fellow (March 2024) and is a Special Postdoctoral Researcher (SPDR) from RIKEN (Wako) in Japan. His research focuses on the self-assembly of membraneless protocells to investigate how primitive cells transitioned to modern cells. He enjoys traveling, cooking, watching animations during his spare time.

chen [dot] chen [at] riken [dot] jp


Dr Siddharth Rawat

Siddharth was a PhD candidate and uses digital holographic microscopy and deep learning for the non-invasive study of cells, micro-objects, and pollen lipids in complex environments.  Their research interests also extend to automated pollen classification, employing advanced machine learning methods for applications in healthcare and environmental monitoring.

siddharth [dot] rawat [at]


Khushi Daga

Khushi was an Honours student (2023) working on the interfacial physics behind silica deposition in geothermal pools, and investigating whether sinter structures can be useful in the search for life outside our planet. She holds a passion for Space and Origin of Life studies, and loves seeking new experiences and knowledge. 

Khushi is an avid bookworm who adores creative outlets like playing instruments, dancing or ice-skating. 

khushirdaga [at] gmail [dot] com


Katelyn La

Katelyn was an Honours student (2023) in Medicinal Chemistry and her project is to investigate how the changes in phospholipid membrane composition influences its fluidity. She is currently studying the affects of doping the membrane with intermediates of phospholipid synthesis (namely Lyso-PC and Oleic Acid) and plans to further study the impact of adding phospholipid-synthesising proteins as well. Understanding the relationship between the composition and fluidity is important because adequate fluidity is required for membrane-bound reactions to occur.

Outside of education, she enjoys playing games, listening to music (as well as dancing to them), playing instruments and she loves animals of all kinds.

katelyn [dot] kkl [dot] la [at] gmail [dot] com


Akiko Baba

Akiko was a visiting Junior Research Fellow (2023) from Tohoku University, where she works with Prof Masayuki Imai to investigate primordial evolution by linking sequence information and vesicle reproduction. She is interested in studying effects of amino acid sequences in peptides on the self-production of fatty acid vesicles.

akiko [dot] baba [dot] q3 [at]


Yaam Deckel

Yaam was working on micropipette aspiration, and vesicle hemifusion. She is now an Honours student with Dr Albert Fahrenbach.

yaam [dot] deckel [at]

Jonathan Wendoloski

Jono was working on using machine learning to mitigate noise in holograms.

Omar Khamis

Omar was an undergraduate researcher and research assistant who worked on light-scattering assays for vesicle permeability in 2019-2020. As of 2020 he is now working at Saudi Aramco.

Jenane Konesan

Jena graduated first class with a degree in Medicinal Chemistry (Hons). Jena was exploring the potential of fatty acids for enhanced transdermal drug delivery.

Juan Trius Bejar

Juan was working with Siddharth on automating pollen detecting using machine learning and holography, and making diffusion measurements of particles in passive baths.

Storm Drury

Storm was working on 3D printing a portable holographic microscope.

Greta Paget

Greta was helping assemble an optical tweezer setup on the holographic microscope.

Matthew Turner and James Luong

Matthew and James were summer students working on using holographic microscopy to quantify diffusion and vesicle loading

Thomas Deighan

Thomas was using holographic imaging to characterise microbe stress.

Our lab at UNSW Sydney