Our team's structure

The MWA Operations team is based at Curtin University, 600km from the telescope itself. Together with the MWA Management team, this small dedicated group of people keeps the telescope running every day of the year. See the image below for the MWA's organisational structure.

The structure of the MWA Management and Operations personnel showing contribution to the MWA as well as line management (solid lines) and lines of reporting (red dashed lines). Management personnel are shown in orange shaded boxes, while Operations personnel are in white boxes.


Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, MWA Director

Prof. Johnston-Hollitt has a BSc with a double major in physics, a BSc (Mathematics and Computer Science) with a major in Pure Mathematics, an honours degree in astrophysics and a PhD in radio astronomy. She has over 20 years experience in the design, construction, governance, and operations of international radio telescopes including LOFAR, the MWA, and the SKA. Further details on Prof. Johnston-Hollitt can be found on Wikipedia.

As the MWA Director, Prof. Johnston-Hollitt is responsible for the overall operations and financial management of the telescope. Specifically:

    i) managing the science operations of the MWA facility, including but not limited to: timely announcements of proposal deadlines, management of the TAC process, scheduling of telescope time, execution of observing programs within the context of the MWA Time Allocation Policy, and keeping the Project webpages up-to-date,
    ii) exercising financial control over the MWA project,
    iii) negotiating operations funding and other funding opportunities related to MWA operations with Astronomy Australia Ltd.,
    iv) liaising with Australian entities as required for MWA operations, such as the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and AARNet,
    v). managing all existing funding agreements associated with MWA operations passing through the Lead Organisation (Curtin) and ensure that the associated reporting obligations are met,
    vi) managing the development and implementation of external funding grants obtained for the operation and management of the telescope (e.g. LIEF grants),
    vii) administering partner contributions provided through the Lead Organisation (Curtin),
    viii) working with the Board Chair to develop detailed proposals for potential new MWA collaboration members,
    ix) liaising with CSIRO regarding the ongoing usage of the MRO and management of the ongoing implementation of the MWA Site Licence Agreement (SLA) between the Lead Organisation (Curtin) and CSIRO,
    x) managing the ASVO initiative between AAL, MWA and other ASVO partners,
    xi) representing the MWA in an appropriate selection of Australian and international fora, and
    xii) managing external stakeholder engagement and to serve as the principal contact for all media activities associated with the MWA facility.

Prof. Melanie Johnston-Hollitt

MWA Director

Mr Harrison Barlow, MWA ASVO Web Developer

Mr Barlow has a BSc in software engineering and computer science. Having managed and built websites for national e-commerce companies, international tourism brands, and fortune 500 companies, he brings experience in front end development, digital strategy, user experience (UX) and design & data analytics. Within his role, Mr Barlow assists with the management of the MWA node of the All-Sky Virtual Observatory (AVSO); the web-based data portal which serves telescope data products to the wider astronomical community. His area of responsibility includes designing, developing, testing and maintaining the web-front end and back-end software components and systems of the MWA ASVO.

Harrison Barlow

MWA ASVO Web Developer

Mr Tom Booler, MWA Consultant

Mr Booler has had an extensive career in project management and logistics spanning the Armed Forces, industry and now research organisations. He held the role of MWA Project Manager for nine years until December 2019. Presently, he is seconded to the SKAO in the UK but he will keep supporting MWA Operations as a consultant.

Tom Booler

MWA Consultant

Mr Brian Crosse, Acting MWA Principal Engineer

The position of MWA Principal Engineer is temporarily filled by Mr Brian Crosse, who has 20 years of experience in the design, commissioning and maintenance of ruggedized RF systems including radio telescopes for deployment in harsh environments. Mr Crosse is currently leading the CIRA design effort for the SKA-LOW Power and Signal Distribution system.
In his role as Acting MWA Principal Engineer, Mr Crosse provides strategic technical advice and overview on MWA Operations and potential instrumental upgrades.

Mr Brian Crosse

Acting MWA Principal Engineer

Mr David Emrich, MWA Hardware Manager

Mr Emrich has a degree in computer science and over 30 years of experience in engineering and hardware management, including 10 years with the MWA. In his current role, Mr Emrich is responsible for the continued operation of the telescope, including hardware life-cycle management and upgrade planning. Duties also include supporting external instruments and partners with experiments designed to interface with MWA hardware and/or operate on site.

Mr David Emrich

MWA Hardware Manager

Mr Phillip Giersch, MWA Technician

Mr Giersch holds a Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering. Prior to joining the MWA team he had over ten years’ experience as a technician in electronics, electro-mechanical repair, installation and servicing. Within this period, he has been working across multiple industries including education, biomedical engineering and consumer electronics.  In his current role, Mr Giersch is responsible for installing and maintaining electronic and electro-mechanical equipment and scientific instruments relevant for the MWA. Furthermore, his duties entail assisting with electronic upgrades to instruments & systems, contributing to the design, construction and modification of electronic circuitry and preparing documentation, reports and recommendations associated with electronic facilities.  

Mr Phillip Giersch

MWA Technician

Ms Rike McLernon, MWA Admistration Officer

Ms McLernon is a multilingual administration professional who has worked in a variety of environments, most recently as Team Coordinator and Director’s Assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Rike has joined the MWA Team as an Administrator, working primarily with the MWA Director and Project Officer. She is the first point of contact for external request regarding the MWA project and is responsible for maintaining the MWA website.

Ms Rike McLernon

MWA Administration Officer

Mr Andrew McPhail, MWA Fieldwork Coordinator

Mr McPhail has an extensive background in the Armed Forces. As Fieldwork Coordinator, he is accountable to the Director for ensuring all activities on the MRO are conducted in accordance with the internal policies of the MWA, the CSIRO site licence agreement, Indigenous land use conditions, and the health safety and emergency procedures of Curtin University and CSIRO. This includes co-ordinating all logistic support, planning and conducting routine maintenance, conducting instrument deployment, and providing support to the MWA Hardware Manager. He is also the MRO MWA Site Warden and First Aid Officer for all site specific emergency planning and responses.

Mr Andrew McPhail

MWA Fieldwork Coordinator

Dr Luke Pratley, MWA Deputy Principal Scientist

Luke has a BSc in Mathematics & Physics with research experience in radio astronomy and Raman scattering. He has an MSc from VUW in theoretical condensed matter physics, and a PhD in Astrophysics from University College London in algorithm development for next generation widefield interferometers. Luke has published extensively and in a wide range of fields with first author papers in cosmic magnetism (theory and observation), theoretical condensed matter physics, & widefield imaging for interferometry (algorithm development and implementation). In addition he has extensive software development and implementation experience particularly in the context of radio astronomy imaging. He is currently a Dunlap Fellow at the University of Toronto. Luke's role as Deputy Principal Scientist is to support the Principal Scientist in activities associated with scientific exploitation of the MWA.

Dr Luke Pratley

MWA Deputy Principal Scientist

Mr Greg Sleap, MWA Data Manager 

Mr Sleap has a degree in information technology and a masters in astronomy, and extensive experience in software development. He is responsible for the planning, design, development, testing, implementation, monitoring, troubleshooting, support and day-to-day running of the MWA Archive. This includes the dataflow out of the correlator and voltage capture system, transport, pre-processing, long term storage and access of data for member researchers and the public via the MWA ASVO web portal. Mr Sleap is also responsible (jointly with Dr Andrew Williams) for all MWA networks and server infrastructure at the MRO, Pawsey and Curtin University, as well as the MWA Collaboration software and infrastructure (Co Manage, AAF/edGAIN, Confluence Wiki, mailman). Mr Sleap is also the primary contact for liaising with our key service providers: Pawsey, CSIRO, AArnet, Australian Access Federation, AAL and Curtin University IT services.

Mr Greg Sleap

MWA Data Manager

Ms Mia Walker, MWA Program Manager

Ms Walker has honours degrees in electronics and communications engineering (BEng) and physics (BSc). She works in the Management team and primarily with the Director to ensure the MWA project meets its goals, and to create pathways for future development. Ms Walker provides project planning and reporting to major stakeholders, implements and maintains contracts such as the Curtin-CSIRO Site Licence Agreement, oversees the allocation of resources in the Operations team, builds systems for the management of technical and project information, and liaises with partners in Australian government, industry and the wider international MWA Collaboration. In addition, Ms Walker supports on-site and local instrumentation and engineering programs, and represents the MWA at outreach events.

Ms Mia Walker

MWA Program Manager

Dr Andrew Williams, MWA Monitor and Control Engineer 

Dr Williams has a BSc and PhD in Physics. Dr Williams is responsible for the computers and software providing the telescope user interface (command line tools, human readable web pages, etc), as well as handling telescope systems startup and shutdown, writing the desired observing state to the hardware and detecting faults in real time, storing and disseminating observation metadata, and logging and visualising telemetry data (voltages, temperatures, etc). Day-to-day work is a mix of gradual improvements/enhancements to the existing MWA software, and new work to support changes in the MWA architecture (long baseline tiles, new correlator, etc). Dr Williams is also currently responsible for scheduling time on the MWA. 

Dr Andrew Williams

MWA Monitor and Control Engineer 

Associate Professor Randall Wayth, MWA Principal Engineer - on leave 

 A/Prof. Wayth has a background in both electrical engineering and computer science with undergraduate degrees in both disciplines, combined with a PhD in radio astronomy. A/Prof. Wayth has over 150 refereed publications covering both the scientific exploitation and technical development of low frequency interferometers. He was responsible for the design and execution of the GLEAM survey (Wayth et al. 2015) and led the design and deployment of the Phase II MWA expansion (Wayth et al. 2018).

A/Prof. Randall Wayth

MWA Principal Engineer