Events Co-Manager – Krysta Callander

Krysta Callander comes to SOBR from the scenic country of New Zealand where she completed her BSc(Hons) at the University of Otago majoring in Psychology. Krysta is now one year into her PhD as part of the Music and Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Melbourne University. With the intriguing title of “the sound of silence”, Krysta’s research looks into the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms underlying how we habituate to sounds, with a particular interest in tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and misophonia (fear of sound). Krysta has a passion for science communication and a keen interest in mentoring, coordinating the graduate research student group for the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, in addition to tutoring and mentoring undergraduate students. In recent years she has also been involved in Youthline and Women’s Refuge and has a keen interest in mental health and wellbeing on both a community and individual level. A musician at heart, she is excited to be in Melbourne combining her love of music with all things brain-related, and is looking forward to working with the SOBR committee of 2013 to create some excellent events for fellow brain researchers.

Events Co-Manager – Rose Chesworth

Rose completed her Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) at the University of Sydney, then continued to work as a research assistant for the next 3 years investigating rodent models of mental illness. In her PhD she is investigating rodent models of addiction to methamphetamine at the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health. She has presented her work at numerous national conferences. Rose was an active member of the SOBR committee in 2012, as well as being the marking and communications manager of the Students of Florey Institute committee at the Florey. She takes a keen interest in educating the public about neuroscience by taking part in Brain Awareness Week and the Mindfields VCE program, both of which educate high school students about neuroscience and mental illness. She also speaks at local Rotary clubs about her research.

Finance and Sponsorship Manager – Samantha Barton

Samantha Barton completed her Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Monash University in 2010 and Honours at The Ritchie Centre/Monash Institute of Medical Research in 2011. Under the supervision of Dr Graeme Polglase, A/Prof Tim Moss and Dr Mary Tolcos, Sam is currently completing a PhD at The Ritchie Centre/Monash Institute of Medical Research in the field of neonatal neurology. Her main research focus is investigating ways to protect the newborn baby brain with her specific research aims being to reduce ventilator-induced brain damage in premature babies with the use of Erythropoietin. She has presented her research at many conferences and her research has been recognized by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Sam is excited to be joining the SoBR family as the Finance and Sponsorship Manager and looks forward to assisting students of brain research to network, to raise awareness of the importance of our research and importantly to convey our research to a wider audience.

Societies and Conference Liaison Manager – Erin McAllum

Erin McAllum completed her undergraduate honours degree in Biochemistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand where she also worked as an assistant research fellow. Currently, she is working towards a PhD at the University of Melbourne where she is investigating potential therapeutics for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. She is particularly interested in how these therapeutics alter the metal content of key proteins that have been implicated in the disease process. So far, her research has taken her to Oregon State University where she learnt key techniques in metal biology.
Erin has previously been involved in running undergraduate practical labs and has a keen interest in encouraging young scientists to appreciate the wider impact of their research. She is very excited to be taking on the role of Societies and Conference Liaison Manager for SOBR as she believes that students should be playing a larger role in conferences and networking with leaders in the field. She also believes that young scientists should be encouraged to network amongst themselves to form important collaborations.
Victoria has a high concentration of quality research institutions and Erin believes that bringing these researchers together, as SOBR does, is essential to establish Melbourne as a leader in brain research.

Media and Communications Manager – Matteo Senesi

Matteo just started the second year of his PhD investigating neurotoxic properties of prion species. The interest in science begin since very young, growing up in the countryside of Tuscany, feeding animals, rolling down the hills, climbing trees and playing in golden grain fields.
He decided to chase his passion in 2004, enrolling in the Psychology Faculty of the University of Florence: six years after he graduated cum laude as doctor in Experimental Psychology investigating therapeutic effects of non-invasive BDNF administration in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. A week after, he decided to travel to Australia looking for better chances to satisfy further his curiosity and thirst for science. One year later, fascinated by the bi-polar weather of Melbourne and awarded with a MIRS/MIFRS from the University of Melbourne, he started his PhD with the Department of Pathology, under the supervision of Steven J Collins, in prion disease. His main fields of interest are neurodegeneration, synaptogenesis, synaptic transmission, neurotrophic factors, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and prion disease, all seasoned with abundant behavioural science and animal models.
He is a member of the Melbourne University Athletic Club for middle-long distances, enjoys long run sessions across Melbourne especially on the distance between 10-20km and considered one of the fastest PhD student on the planet. On the other side, he considers himself quite geeky since he started very young to hack his own Olivetti with the result of a steady deletion of some vital system files. He developed an interest in technology, informatics, file-sharing, media communication and he traduced this interest in pop culture, social media, synth-pop, electro music and photography. He is currently trying to monitor and list neuroscience seminars hosted in Melbourne (MBC, RMH, W+EH, Bio-21 and others) with a unique Gooogle Calendar NSMelb (Neuroscience Seminar Melbourne, email to to be added to the calendar).

Student Liaison and Enquiries Manager – Briana Davis

Briana completed her Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science, majoring in Medicinal Chemistry, at Monash University Parkville in 2009 and then went on to complete her Honours year in 2010, during which time she started to branch out into the field of pharmacology whilst maintaining a keen interest in chemistry. She is currently completing her PhD in a joint project between the Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery Biology themes at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS). Her project involves the synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of allosteric ligands designed to target the M1 mAChR; a G protein-coupled receptor that has emerged as a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of cognitive deficits experienced in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

Briana was the recipient of the prestigious Sir John Monash medal in 2009, the winner of the Best Oral Presentation prize at the MIPS postgraduate symposium in 2010, and runner-up in the faculty 3 minute thesis competition in 2011. She has also participated in a number of other local conferences and symposiums. Briana also enjoys being involved in committees, volunteering and teaching. She was President of the Monash chapter of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) in 2011/2012, has been a Monash University Open Day ambassador every year since 2007, and is actively involved in teaching and mentoring undergraduate students.

In the future, Briana is keen to pursue a postdoctoral position in Europe and follow on with a career in academia, remaining in the field of neuroscience.

Briana is very excited to be able to take on a role in this year’s SOBR committee and hopes that she can make a valuable contribution to the network.