Lab Members


Dr Megan Phillips (BSc, PhD)

Megan is an Environmental Biologist and Lecturer at UTS, specializing in botanical science and environmental remediation. Her research explores the phytoremediation potential of plants, using a targeted contaminant and region-specific approach. Her scientific approach encompasses desktop analysis, fieldwork and manipulative seed germination and plant growth experiments. She primarily works with heavy metal contaminants and petroleum hydrocarbon mixes.

Megan also coordinates 91107 The Biosphere and 91159 Environmental Remediation and is actively involved in several scientific and community working groups, as well as social media.


Rebecca Pagnucco (BSc, BA)
Master of Science Candidate – 2017

Rebecca’s MSc research project explores the safety and efficacy of oil spill booms containing waste hair as the sorbent component for use in environmental remediation activities. Her research approach uses manipulative mesocosm experiments, with the overall aim of giving her scientific results real-world application.

Rebecca is the first UTS student to be awarded the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia’s NSW Tertiary Institution Study Grant for her MSc work. Rebecca is also a teaching associate for 91123 Biocomplexity and is actively involved in citizen science projects and professional scientific associations.


Noni Doshi Dowsett (BSc, Honours)
Research Assistant – 2016 to Present

Noni is a Research and Teaching Assistant at UTS. Her research interests include ecology and contaminants in ecosystems; investigating the potential impacts of contaminants, how they cycle though individual organisms, species groups, and ecosystems, and how selected contaminants can be removed.

Her PhD research explores metals within seagrass beds, with a particular focus on how metals are concentrated in the sediment. Noni is also a Teaching Assistant for 91107 The Biosphere, 91159 Environmental Remediation, 91154 Ecology, and 91123 Biocomplexity.


Luke Niven (BSc)
Honours Candidate – 2017

Luke Niven is an Honours Research student exploring the heavy metal uptake dynamics of Lantana camara L. across urban and rural Australian landscapes. His work explores site-specific attributes of one of Australia’s worst Weeds of National Significance, across a wide range of surface soil conditions.

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Previous Lab Members:


Sally Gartland (BSc)
Honours Candidate 2016

Sally’s Honours research project explored the phytoremediation potential of regionally-targeted plant species to soil copper contamination. Her research approach combined in-situ botanical field work with manipulative glasshouse experiments with the overall aim of giving her scientific results real-world application.

Lincoln De Haas, Steven Oddy, and Brendan Wilde
Research Interns – 2017

Lincoln’s research examined the spatial patterns of a key heavy metal contaminant across an established conservation area in New South Wales

Steven’s research examined within-species attributes of a key phytoremediator species via a glasshouse growth experiment.

Brendan performed an Australia-wide exploration of native Ficus species, examining their continental distribution and patterns of variation.