Opening Guest Lecture - Sunday evening

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Astrophysicist, Broadcaster, Stargazing Live

Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning Australian astronomer, author and TV presenter. Lisa is a Professor of Practice at the University of New South Wales and the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador. She previously worked on the mega-telescope project called the Square Kilometre Array – a continent-spanning next-generation radio telescope that will study the history of the universe. She is the author of popular astronomy book When Galaxies Collide and last year toured Australia with a series of live astronomy shows. She has appeared on stage with Apollo astronauts including Buzz Aldrin and is a presenter on ABC Television's hit astronomy show Stargazing Live

In this exciting live presentation Lisa takes the audience on a journey through our cosmos, asking the question: what happens When Galaxies Collide? The event will be followed by a book signing event for When Galaxies Collide, which was described by Prof. Brian Cox as 'A fascinating and inspiring tour of the galaxies'.

International Speakers

Professor Lola Peréz Marin, University of Córdoba, Spain – Food Science keynote

Prof. Dr. Dolores Peréz-Marín, PhD in Agriculture Engineering (University of Córdoba-UCO, Spain). Since 1999, she serves as instructor and teacher in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Engineering (ETSIAM, UCO). Currently, she holds the position of Full-Professor in Fundamentals and Technology of Livestock Production and in Non-destructive Spectral Sensors for Quality, Safety and Traceability of Agro-Food Products. She is Director of the Master Engineering and Management in the food chain and vice-dean in International Relations. She is a recognized expert in the use non-destructive spectral sensors applied to feed & food integrity. Her NIRS researches began in 1999, working later on in the topic of her thesis, concerned the application of nonlinear calibration methodology to the difficult problem of measuring the ingredient composition of unground animal compound feeds. Since then, she has worked on an ever widening range of applications in food and agriculture − feed, fats and oils, meats, protein animal by-products, milk and dairy, and various fruits and vegetables − using NIRS, alone or combined with other sensors. One of her main expertise in linked to the processing of spectral big data with multivariate analysis tools and nonlinear methods. This research has resulted in well over 200 publications, with 98 of these being peer reviewed papers in top quality journals and several contributions as invited speakers in national and international conferences and workshops. She has experience in the participation, management and scientific co-ordination of several national and European R + D NIRS projects, and in technology transfer contracts with companies. She is a member of the Council Management Committee (2013-2019) and the President of the Educational Group of ICNIRS, highlighting her participation in the educational project “International Virtual Platform for Learning and Teaching of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (IVPTL-NIRS)”. She is currently editor of the Journal of NIRS, FAO consultant and member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the  Institute for Global Food Security- Queens University (UK). She was awarded in 2014 with the International Tomas Hirschfeld Award for her outstanding contribution in the field of NIR spectroscopy.

Dr Ilias Tachtsidis, University College London - Functional NIR spectroscopy keynote

Dr Tachtsidis is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow and Reader in Biomedical Engineering at University College London, UK. He is a senior member of the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory and heads the Multi-Modal Spectroscopy Group. His research is highly multi-disciplinary, crossing the boundaries between engineering, physics, neuroscience and clinical medicine. The technical focus of his work is the development and use of non-invasive optical instruments and techniques for monitoring brain oxygenation, haemodynamics and metabolism. A major part of Dr Tachtsidis research is to investigate the use and limitations of functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy or fNIRS in neuroscience applications. 

Dr Paola Ricciardi, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, England - Museum keynote

Paola Ricciardi is the Fitzwilliam Museum’s first (and only!) Research Scientist. She holds a PhD in Cultural Heritage Science from the University of Florence (2008) and a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Rome (2003). Before joining the Fitzwilliam Museum (The University of Cambridge’s art and antiquities museum) in October 2011, she spent three years at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC as the Samuel H. Kress post-doctoral Fellow in Imaging Science. At the Fitzwilliam, Paola is responsible for the scientific aspects of the MINIARE research project (, which uses a cross-disciplinary approach to study medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts. She is also engaged in research on other types of objects such as medieval polychrome wood sculptures, early Modern portrait miniatures, and 18th century ceramics and glass. Her main research interests include the technical analysis of cultural heritage objects, particularly with non-invasive imaging and spectroscopic methods; the study of artists’ materials and techniques; and the transfer of knowledge between artists and craftsmen working in different media.

National Speakers

Dr Kara Youngentob, Australian National University - Wildlife Keynote

Dr Kara Youngentob is a Research Fellow in Ecology and Evolution at the Australian National University. She holds a PhD in Ecology from the Australian National University (2010) and a MSc in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida (2004). Her research investigates relationships between forage quality and landscape use by herbivores to help inform wildlife management and conservation decisions. Largescale investigations of plant nutritional traits are only possible using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. Dr Youngentob is also developing tools to map the quality of forage for koalas and other browsing herbivores using airborne hyperspectral remote sensing data.