Meet our team


MicroBlitzers are a diverse bunch. We have citizen scientists throughout WA, from all walks of life, who have been inspired to get involved by the project’s potential to help protect the environment. But who are the people behind MicroBlitz? The scientists. The researchers. The organisational lynchpins.

Andy Whiteley

Professor Andy Whiteley

Andy Whiteley

Winthrop Professor

Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)

PhD in Biological Oceanography

You could say MicroBlitz is my brainchild. I conducted a similar project in the UK, where I used DNA sequencing of microbial communities to generate the first microbial map of a country.  I created MicroBlitz to overcome the problem of scale when transferring this research from the UK to WA. As Group Leader, with overall responsibility for delivering MicroBlitz I work with our project and research managers to maximise the impact of MicroBlitz and the dissemination of our research.

Barry Marshall

Professor Barry Marshall

Barry Marshall

Honorary Clinical Professor of Infection and Immunity, Nobel Laureate in Physiology


I am the Director of the Marshall Centre at UWA, which is at the forefront of infectious
disease research and discovery and I’m also a keen advocate of citizen science. I strongly
believe that citizen scientists have the ability to contribute to real research that will make a
difference to health outcomes. At the Marshall Centre we run several projects that citizen
scientists can volunteer for, including the Noisy Guts Project.

I first became involved in the MicroBlitz project through my grandchildren’s interest in
collecting soil samples for MicroBlitz on their family holidays. So, when I was invited to
collaborate with the MicroBlitz project, you might say I was
already involved in the project at ‘ground level’. The involvement of the Marshall Centre adds value to the MicroBlitz data collected and we are particularly interested in the microorganisms
of the soils of remote communities that may affect human health.

Deborah Bowie

Ms Deborah Bowie

Deborah Bowie

MicroBlitz Project Manager

Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

The job of MicroBlitz Project Manager is a diverse challenge, and that’s just the way I like it. Not only do I oversee project development and rollout of new iniatives, I also nurture partner networks, develop training opportunities, liaise with funding bodies and sponsors, and represent MicroBlitz in various forums. My role even extends beyond MicroBlitz – I’m here to advocate citizen science in a broader sense too.

Tony O'Donnell

Professor Tony O’Donnell

Tony O’Donnell

Winthrop Professor

BSc, PhD, FSB, PhD

As Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Science at UWA, I have a strategic role to play within the MicroBlitz team, not least in terms of raising the profile of the project and communicating the objectives and benefits of our research to a broad audience. But as a scientist, I also have a keen interest and involvement in the research itself, focusing on the analysis of the data we uncover.