Richard G. Morris (Group Leader)

After completing a Masters in Mathematical Physics from the University of Edinburgh, and following a short spell working in investment banking, Richard completed a PhD in Theoretical (Statistical) Physics from the University of Manchester.  He then undertook postdocs at the Institut de Physique Theorique (IPhT) at the CEA in Saclay, France, and the University of Warwick, in the UK.  This facilitated a transition from Statistical Physics to Theoretical Soft-Condensed Matter, a trajectory that concluded with a move into Biology when he took up the position of Simons Fellow at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore, India.  He was appointed as an EMBL-Australia Group Leader in 2019, and has a joint position at UNSW, Sydney, between Single Molecule Science (SMS) and Physics.  Richard is married with four daughters.


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Emanuele Crosato (Postdoc)

Emanuele completed a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Padua, and an MSc in Artificial Intelligence at the Free University of Amsterdam. After moving to Australia, he then completed a PhD in Complex Systems Science at the University of Sydney, where he applied concepts of information theory and statistical mechanics to study collective dynamics of biological and socio-economic systems.  The current focus of Emanuele’s research is on the thermodynamics
of emergent phenomena in active matter. When he is not studying active matter, he spends his time riding his motorbike, taking photographs and playing the piano. (He’s still attempting to learn
Dutch too).

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Sami Al-Izzi (Postdoc)

Sami completed his BSc in Theoretical Physics at University College London before taking Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at the University of Cambridge. He then moved to the University of Warwick to pursue a 4 year MSc+PhD at the CDT in Mathematics of Systems, where the PhD was supervised jointly between Warwick and Institut Curie (Sorbonne Université). His PhD research focused on using concepts from soft matter physics, differential geometry and hydrodynamics to understand the dynamics of lipid membrane tubes in a variety of conditions mimicking cellular processes.  Sami’s current research interests are in applying ideas from geometry and hydrodynamics to experimental problems in developmental/mechano biology. He hopes to use these methods to better understand the interplay between geometry, forces and cell signalling, and to provide useful quantitative tools and theory for experimental biologists. In his spare time he enjoys climbing, running and playing guitar.

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Richard Spinney (Postdoc)

Richard completed an MSci at the University of Nottingham before completing his PhD at University College London. This was followed by research positions at University College London and the University of Sydney. Richard's research and interests lie in aspects of nonequilibrium statistical physics, encompassing stochastic thermodynamics, information theory, and stochastic processes. This has led to applications in information thermodynamics, computation, emergent behaviour in soft matter, and computational neuroscience. He is currently investigating the kinetics of designer molecules. Beyond research he enjoys cycling and spending time exploring New South Wales.


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Denni Currin-Ross (PhD student)

Denni completed a dual degree in BSc/BA at The University of Queensland (UQ) majoring in Genetics and Mathematics. Currently, Denni is completing a joint PhD between UQ and UNSW under the co-supervision of Alpha Yap and Richard Morris. Denni’s research centres around analysing and understanding myosin flow patterns at cellular junctions in epithelial monolayers. Besides work, Denni enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and going to the beach with her dogs.

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Samantha Webster (PhD student)

Sam has an undergraduate degree in mathematics, physics, and German from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her current PhD project is jointly supervised by Jesse Goyette and Richard Morris (both UNSW).  She investigates the relationship between trans-membrane T-cell receptors and membrane curvature on both resting and active immune cells. This is achieved through a combination of lattice light-sheet microscopy and single molecule localisation microscopy. Outside of the lab, Sam enjoys drinking green juices, following the Japanese V. League, and complaining about taking care of T cells.


Brian Ee (PhD student)

Brian completed a BA in Music and BAdvSci(Hons) in Microbiology at UNSW. For his undergraduate honours thesis, he researched the structural dynamics and self-assembly of bacterial virulence proteins using synthetic biology and biophysics techniques. He is now undertaking a PhD at UNSW, jointly supervised by Richard Morris and Lawrence Lee. His research interests span synthetic biology, protein dynamics, reaction kinetics and molecular self-assembly. His current work involves developing experiment and theory for new synthetic biology methods to self-assemble multi-enzyme complexes. Brian also enjoys playing the clarinet, swimming and tinkering with 3D printers and computers.



  • Mitchell Kiely (Hons. student) - now Department of Defence.