Lab Members


Dr Megan Phillips (BSc, PhD)
Lab Leader – Lecturer

Megan is an Environmental Biologist and Lecturer at UTS, specializing in environmental contaminants and local-level remediation strategies. Her current research explores the phytoremediation potential of plants, using a targeted contaminant and region-specific approach. She is also investigating new and traditional oil spill remediation technologies within a comparative framework.

Her scientific approach encompasses desktop analysis, fieldwork, and manipulative experiments. She primarily works with heavy metal contaminants and petroleum-hydrocarbon mixes.

Megan also coordinates 91159 Environmental Remediation and the BSc Environmental Science Honours Program at UTS and is actively involved in several scientific and community working groups.




Nicholas Maricic (BSc)
Master of Science Candidate – 2017 to 2018

Waterways continually experience heavy metal contamination due to human interference. This includes zinc, which can be toxic to plant and macroinvertebrate communities in highly-concentrated levels. Nicholas’ MSc research investigates the phytoremediation potential of several widely-abundant Australian plant species using complimentary field and glasshouse contamination experiments.



Annaclaire McDonald (BSc)
Master of Science Candidate – 2018 to 2020

Annie’s MSc research project aims to identify the phytoremediation potential of Vitaceae  (grapevines) grown in heavy metal contaminated soils. She is currently designing a series of controlled, ex-situ experiments where Vitaceae species will be grown in soils that mimic those found in former mine sites located within Australian wine regions.


Kieran Young (BSc)
Master of Science Candidate – 2017 to 2019

Kieran’s MSc project explores the viability of Australian native plants for use in the field of phytomanagement, in particular, the management of heavy metal contaminated soil left behind after coal mining. Using a combination of in-situ field work and manipulative glasshouse experiments, he aims to identify Australian native trees/grasses with the ability to accumulate or tolerate soils with high levels of heavy metal contamination.

The overarching goal of this project is to develop a practical, cost effective, and environmentally sustainable solution to a large scale global problem.



Lincoln De Haas (BSc)
Master of Science Candidate – 2018 to 2020

Lincoln’s Master’s research project will assess the viability of bio-char as a potential technology to increase plant health and accelerate the rate of phytoremediation in heavy metal contaminated soils.

Focusing primarily on Australian natives, he has designed a controlled glasshouse experiment to quantify the capacity of species such as Acacia longifolia (Sydney Golden Wattle) and Callistemon linearis (Narrow-leaved Bottlebrush) to phytoremediate lead-contaminated soils. Having already seen promising results in Australia’s agricultural industry, will bio-char prove itself as the next big star in the land management field?



Juliette Kidston
Research Internship – 2018

Jules is undertaking a research internship in the Phyto Lab as part of her UTS Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation program. She will be investigating novel solutions to critical environmental problems with connectivity between scientific research and community needs.



Gillian Teear
Research Internship – 2017 to 2018

As part of her UTS Research Internship, Gillian is investigating the performance of various native plant species as heavy metal phytoremediators. By collecting samples from known contaminated sites we can see how these species perform in nature.

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Previous Lab Members:


Rebecca Pagnucco (BSc, BA)
Master of Science Candidate – 2016 to 2017

Rebecca’s MSc research project explored the safety and efficacy of oil spill booms containing waste hair as the sorbent component for use in environmental remediation activities. Her research approach used 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.



Noni Doshi Dowsett (BSc, Honours)
Research Assistant – 2016 to 2017

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’s Honours Research explored the heavy metal uptake dynamics of Lantana camara L. – one of Australia’s worst Weeds of National Significance. His work linked site-specific soil attributes with plat tissue concentrations across a wide range of habitat conditions.


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.