Anna is from Sydney and did her BSc at the Univeristy of Sydney (2009), doing Honours research in optics and photonics with Dr. Maryanne Large. Her interest in how objects interact with light led to a PhD in Applied Physics at Harvard University (2016) with Prof. Vinothan N. Manoharan, using digital holographic microscopy - a fast, three-dimensional microscopy technique - to study the dynamics of colloidal systems including particles near oil-water interfaces, and swimming E.coli.
During her PhD she was also fortunate enough to be involved with the Science and Cooking class and EdX program. Her PhD inspired a love for microscopy, and an appreciation of how thermal fluctuations and motion at the microscale can lead to self-assembled macroscopic structures. One system that captured her attention was how simple amphiphilic molecules self-assemble into cell membranes. To explore questions pertaining to membrane self-assembly during the origins of life (and the potential for cell-based life elsewhere in the universe), she did a postdoc with Prof. Jack W. Szostak at Massachusetts General Hospital as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in Astrobiology (Nov 2016-2018).
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