Focus on Marjan Hadian-Jazi

Have you ever wondered what Big Data is? And who the human faces behind it are? Meet Dr Marjan Hadian-Jazi, a Research Officer from La Trobe’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging, specialising in analysing complex x-ray data.

To many people Big Data can sound intimidating, or at the very least vague and incomprehensible. To Marjan, Big Data is like an enormous jigsaw puzzle. ‘I love seeing how millions of pieces of data can be pulled together to paint a larger picture,’ said Marjan. ‘At times I feel my role is more akin to a detective than it is a scientist.’

Dr Hadian-Jazi’s role is to analyse the big data sets generated for advanced X-ray imaging experiments, such as crystallography. (X-ray crystallography is the science of discovering the atomic and molecular structure of a crystal.)

Marjan’s position is co-funded by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and involves the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and expertise with the European x-ray free electron laser (EuXFEL) facility in Hamburg. Through her role Marjan has had the opportunity to live and work in Germany for several years based at the EuXFEL.

‘I got to work in one of the most advanced x-ray facilities available, alongside some of the world’s best in the field of Molecular Imaging.’ And while this was certainly a career highlight, Marjan made some time for play too, ‘I was able to discover Germany as more than a tourist. I met some fascinating people but most of all it is the stunning scenery of northern Germany that stays with me today.’

Of her time at La Trobe, Dr Hadian-Jazi’s remarks that the best thing she has experienced is the workplace diversity and inclusion practices. ‘The University, and particularly the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), has a very open environment that makes people from all sorts of backgrounds accepted. Everyone is valued on the basis of their work.’

And if one’s work is the interpretation of Big Data, crunching the data and analysing the results, what does one do in their spare time? ‘In the months of lockdowns my husband and I tried to find a hobby while staying home. And we’ve mastered cooking pizza! We tried many recipes for the base and toppings, we think we’ve now perfected it!’ says Marjan.

Pizza experimenter and Research Officer, Dr Marjan Hadian-Jazi, is one of the team within Professor Brian Abbey’s lab within LIMS and at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging.