Plenary Speakers

Professor Muyinatu Bell

Muyinatu Bell is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, where she founded and directs the Photoacoustic and Ultrasonic Systems Engineering (PULSE) Lab. Dr. Bell earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering (biomedical engineering minor) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006), received a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University (2012), conducted research abroad as a Whitaker International Fellow at the Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital in the United Kingdom (2009-2010), and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Engineering Research Center for Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology at Johns Hopkins University (2016). She has published over 60 scientific journal articles and conference papers, holds a patent for short-lag spatial coherence beamforming, and is the recipient of numerous awards, grants, and fellowships, including the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award (2015), MIT Technology Review’s Innovator Under 35 Award (2016), the NSF CAREER Award (2018), and the NIH Trailblazer Award (2018).

Dr Laura Coyle

Dr. Laura Coyle is a Senior Optical Engineer at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, CO, USA.  Dr. Coyle completed her BA in Physics and Applied Mathematics at Colgate University, followed by her MS and PhD in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, where her research focused on the use of computer-generated holograms to align and calibrate complex optical systems, often for ground-based astronomical telescopes. At Ball Aerospace, she works primarily in the Civil Space business unit, supporting alignment and performance characterization of optical systems, including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.  She is also involved in business development and internal research and development (IRAD) activities, primarily aimed at technology development for future NASA flagship missions and accurate, flexible optical metrology systems.  She served on the planning committee of the 2010 IONS-NA2 conference as a student and is proud to be serving as a 2018 OSA Ambassador.

Professor Michael Steel

Prof Michael Steel is the Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy within the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie University. He is also currently Interim Director of Australian Astronomical Optics – Macquarie, the newest department in the University. He is responsible for the oversight of all academic functions in both of these departments.

He obtained his PhD in nonlinear optics from the University of Sydney (Australia) in 1996, and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Auckland (New Zealand) and Columbia University (New York). From 2000-2007, he worked at the photonic design software company RSoft Design Group developing specialized software for modelling integrated photonic devices. In 2007, he returned to academia, joining the Department of Physics at Macquarie University as Associate Professor in a continuing position. He became Head of the renamed Department of Physics and Astronomy in January 2016 and was promoted to full professor in July 2016. In 2017, he initiated and led a three university collaboration to establish a national capability in optical astronomical instrumentation, including Macquarie University acquiring the instrumentation arm of the Australian Astronomical Observatory. He was the Science Leader for the Nonlinear Quantum Photonics program in the CUDOS Centre of Excellence from 2011-2017.

Michael’s research is in the area of integrated nonlinear photonics and its application to optical signal processing in both classical and quantum domains. His group works on topics including nonlinear optics in periodic structures, integrated quantum photonics, magneto-optic and non-reciprocal devices, opto-acoustic interactions in nanoscale waveguides, and quantum applications of femtosecond laser-induced waveguides in glasses.

Dr Ceri Brenner

Ceri is a laser-plasma physicist with a unique role spanning research, innovation and business development working for UK ‘s Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. She specialises in the physics governing extreme photon intensity (> 1018 W/cm2) interactions with matter and the subsequent particle acceleration and suprathermal electron transport through matter that gives rise to bright picosecond flashes of electron, x-ray, ion and neutron beams. She is collaborating with aerospace and nuclear companies to apply these beams for non-destructive imaging and inspection applications and is currently leading an innovation grant project partnered with Sellafield Ltd to assess laser-driven beams for nuclear waste management.

She graduated from University of Oxford in 2008 and received her PhD in 2012 from University of Strathclyde on the subject of high brightness laser-driven proton beams for fusion ignitor schemes, radioisotope production and neutron generation .
In 2017 she was awarded the UK Institute of Physics Clifford-Paterson Medal and Prize for her significant contributions to the application of physics in an industrial context.

Professional Development Speakers

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki just loves Science to Pieces. After all, Science is a way to not get fooled. Dr Karl’s media career spans more than 30 years, talking about Science in radio, TV, newspapers, and books – 44 to date with more on the way.

His accolades range from the Ig Nobel Prize from Harvard University for his groundbreaking research into belly button fluff and why it is almost always blue, to being one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.

A lifetime student, Dr Karl has degrees in Physics and Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine and Surgery.  He has worked as a physicist, labourer, roadie for bands, car mechanic, filmmaker, biomedical engineer, TV weatherman, and medical doctor at The Children’s Hospital in Sydney. Since 1995, he has been the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney, where his ‘mission’ is to spread the good word about science and its benefits.

Dr Jean-luc Doumont

An engineer (Louvain) and PhD in applied physics (Stanford), Jean-luc Doumont is an articulate, entertaining and thought-provoking speaker. He is acclaimed worldwide for his no-nonsense approach, his highly applicable, often life-changing recommendations on a wide range of topics, and Trees, maps, and theorems, his book about “effective communication for rational minds.”