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Our researchers

We are a collaborative, passionate & diverse group

Our AMAZING team

Laboratory head

Associate Professor Francine Marques is a Senior Medical Research Fellow from the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow (Level 2), a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leader (Level 2), and head of the Hypertension Research laboratory at Monash University. She was awarded her PhD in 2012 at the University of Sydney, in the field of the molecular genomics of hypertension. She was previously an NHMRC and Heart Foundation early career fellow during 2012-2016, and a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow (Level 1) during 2017-2021. She has won 25 awards including the 2021 Australian Academy of Science Gottschalk Medal. 

Outside the lab, she loves gardening, taking the dogs to the park, baking, and she is the queen of DIYs.

Francine Marques

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Joanne O'Donnell is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellow in the Marques lab. Previously she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA (2014-2017). Joanne completed her PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (2011-2014), under an NHMRC Dora Lush Fellowship.  

Outside the lab, she loves spending time with her family and travelling.

Joanne O'Donnell

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Hamdi Jama finished her PhD at the Hypertension Research Lab in 2022 in collaboration with Prof David Kaye at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Her PhD project focused on elucidating the mechanisms by which gut microbial metabolites modulate cardiovascular disease. In 2017, she received a first-class honours project completed at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute characterising cardiac fibroblasts during cardiac inflammation.

Outside of the lab she enjoys hiking, outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

Hamdi Jama

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Leticia Camargo Tavares obtained her PhD degree in the field of Computational Biology & Genomic Medicine from Monash University in December 2023. Her PhD project focused on uncovering genetic risk factors associated with gastrointestinal disorders (including irritable bowel syndrome and gastroparesis), by exploiting and integrating phenotypic and genetic data from international cohorts and large-scale biobanks using high-performance computing and coding skills. Leticia also holds a master’s degree (MSc) in Pharmacogenetics & Precision Medicine and a bachelor’s degree (BSc) in Biomolecular Sciences, both obtained from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Besides being a passionate scientist, Leticia is graduated in classical ballet. Outside the work, she loves travelling and spending time outdoors whenever she gets the chance.

Leticia Camargo Tavares

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Matthew Snelson is an advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, a Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and chair of the Australasian Human Microbiome Research Network. His research investigates the role of diet in altering chronic disease states via modulation of the gut microbiota and intestinal homeostasis.

Outside the lab, he enjoys trail running, making music and spending time with his family

Matthew Snelson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Rikeish graduated with a double degree in Medicine (MD) from University of Indonesia and B. Med Sci (Hons) from Monash University. He received first class honours under the supervision of A/P Dr. Caroline Gargett of Hudson Institute, focusing on characterising the anti-inflammatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells from the endometrium.


After completing his medical degree, he underwent compulsory clinical training for two years in Malaysia before being awarded full registration to practice. He then decided to continue his passion for research by joining the Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur under the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. His research there focused on genetics, such as using whole exome sequencing (WES) for the diagnosis of primary immunodeficiencies.


Outside the lab, Rikeish enjoys hanging out with his mates, game nights and keeping healthy.

Rikeish Muralitharan

Associate Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Liang finished his PhD with Prof Charles Mackay, A/Prof Francine Marques and Dr Remy Robert in 2022. From September 2017 to May 2018, he studied in Charles's lab how pH and GPR65 regulate cytokine production in lymphocytes as a visiting research student. From his studies with Charles, Liang received his Bachelor's degree (BSc(Hons) equivalent) from Wuhan University, China in 2018.


Outside the lab, he's a passionate chorus singer and also enjoys movies, travelling and the outdoors.

Liang Xie

Associate Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Tenghao Zheng obtained his M.D. degree in June 2012 at Zhengzhou University, China and then pursued a two-year specialist training on Gastroenterology at People's Hospital of Zhengzhou University, China, he was awarded the Master of Medicine in June 2014. From September 2014, he started his doctoral studies at Karolinska Institute, Sweden and successfully defended the thesis on May 2019 which focused on identifying risk genes and variants for irritable bowel syndrome. 


Since October 2019, he pursues his scientific career as a postdoctoral research fellow at Monash University, Australia and his current research works focus on the genetic basis and risk factors of common gastrointestinal diseases, where he exploits biobank-scale healthcare data and integrate modern statistics, metagenomic and multi-omics methodologies.

Outside of work, he enjoys traveling, going to the gym, movies and video games.

Tenghao Zheng

PhD student

Evany is a PhD in the Marques lab under supervision of A/Prof Marques, Dr Joanne O'Donnell and Dr Bradley Broughton. She received first class honours through research conducted in the Pharmacology Department at Monash University in 2019, with her research focusing on whether amnion-derived stem cells limited brain inflammation following ischaemic stroke.


Outside of the lab, I enjoy spending quality time with friends and family, going to the beach and travelling! 

Evany Dinakis

PhD student

Chudan is a final year PhD student at the Hypertension Research Lab, supervised by A/Prof Marques, Prof David Kaye and Dr Joanne O'Donnell. Her PhD project focuses on discovering new molecules associated with high blood pressure and fibre intake. Chudan received a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and first-class honours Bachelor of Science from Monash University (2016-2020).

Outside the lab, she enjoys spending time with her friends, hiking, and going outdoors!

Chudan Xu

PhD student

Charlotte graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in Science (Hons) and Music from Monash University. She received first class honours for her research investigating macrophage entry into the brain following ischaemic stroke, conducted in the department of Pharmacology at Monash University. Charlotte is now completing her PhD in the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Pharmacology Group under the supervision of Dr Bradley Broughton, A/Prof Barbara Kemp-Harper and A/Prof Francine Marques.
Outside of the lab, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, knitting and travelling.

Charlotte Barker

Lab mascots

Jessie and Ashy

Jessie and Ashy are our lab mascots. They keep us in check while attending some of the lab meetings unannounced. The girls are miniature Schnauzers who love their walks, treats and belly rubs. They are committed to cardiovascular health and love to exercise and eat their veggies. They are also great at giving cuddles when experiments are not going well. 

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