Who we are

Cold plasma microbiology team at GEM2022 in Sydney

We are an interdisciplinary team with expertise in microbiology, chemical engineering and cold plasma science. Please contact us for enquiries about collaborations and available student projects.

Dr Anne Mai-Prochnow

has received a degree in Biology from University of Rostock (Germany) and a Ph. D. in Microbiology from University of New South Wales (Australia). She undertook a Marie Curie Fellowship at the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Nottingham (UK) and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Sydney, Australia. She is currently working at the University of Sydney where she investigates microbial biofilms and methods to eradicate them. She is particularly interested in the effects of cold atmospheric pressure plasma biofilm bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Dr. Anne Mai-Prochnow

Dr Heema Vyas

Dr Heema Kumari Nilesh Vyas graduated with an Undergraduate Bachelor of Science (Medical Biotechnology) degree with a First-Class Honours in 2014 from the University of Wollongong (Wollongong, Australia). She then completed her PhD in December 2020 in the lab group of A/Prof Martina Sanderson-Smith, University of Wollongong (Wollongong, Australia). Her PhD project focussed on i) designing and optimising a Group A Streptococcus (GAS) biofilm host pharyngeal cell model, and ii) assessing the role of pharyngeal cell surface glycans in mediating GAS biofilm formation in the context of recurrent Strep pharyngitis and antibiotic treatment failure.

After her PhD, in May 2021, Heema began her postdoctoral position in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney (Sydney, Australia). As a postdoc, Heema is part of an interdisciplinary team led by Dr Anne Mai-Prochnow. The team is working on an ARC Discovery Project that explores cold atmospheric plasma and its effect on bacterial biofilms, their cells and extracellular matrix.

Overall, Heema is very passionate about biofilms and finding novel and efficacious antimicrobial strategies capable of eradicating biofilms that are implicated in infection and disease.

Heema is also very vocal and open in her efforts towards championing mental health and wellbeing, alongside ensuring parity for all in STEMM. This has seen Heema involved in several blog posts and interviews exploring wellbeing in the life sciences, and as a panellist and active committee member for equity, diversity, and inclusivity initiatives in STEMM/academia. To find out more about Heema, follow her on Twitter @HKNVee !

Dr Heema Vyas

Ms Binbin Xia

BinBin Xia is a first-year PhD candidate at The University of Sydney (July, 2021). She has developed a strong interest for microorganism research and nanotechnology through her Bachelor of Science (Applied Chemistry) at Zhejiang Normal University, and her Master of Philosophy (MPhil) at the University of Sydney. During her BSc, she participated in the development of nano-catalysts in oxygen evolution and CO2 adsorption. This research has already resulted in two co-author publications in high-impact journals in materials chemistry (2018). During her Mphil, she investigated the conversion of agriculture waste such as grape seed and cow bone protein into compounds for cancer therapy. She conducted as the first author of a literature review which is now under revision (2021). On an extension of her Mphil, she collaborated with a cold plasma project on coffee ground extraction (2020). Binbin is now working with Dr Anne Mai-Prochnow on an ARC Discovery Project that explores cold atmospheric plasma and its effect on bacterial biofilms, their cells and extracellular matrix.

Ms Binbin Xia