Join us for an exciting conversation of parenthood, jingles and genetics in IMB Sip and Science: Nature vs. Nurture.

Featuring co-creators of Brisbane Festival's new hit musical BANANALAND, and real-life partners Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, and Associate Professor Loic Yengo from the University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), this panel conversation will be an insightful look inside what makes us who we are.

The newest Australian musical to grace QPAC’s Playhouse theatre is BANANALAND - a celebration of the glorious absurdity of following an impossible dream, featuring a knockout score by Kate Miller-Heidke and her collaborator Keir Nuttall - the award-winning songwriting team behind Muriel’s Wedding the Musical and multiple platinum-selling albums.

Award-winning scientist and mathematician Associate Professor Loic Yengo and his team develop and apply new methods to discover patterns in our DNA sequences that may contribute to disease susceptibility and resilience.

Our three panellists will explore a genetic predisposition to talent, resilience and the power of our environment on our development.

Learn more about the panellists below or come along and ask a question - we're sure you'll have plenty!

Admission to this event includes a drink of choice on arrival.


Kate Miller-Heidke | Artist & Co-Creator of BANANALAND

Kate Miller-Heidke is an award-winning singer-songwriter who traverses the worlds of contemporary pop, folk, musical theatre and opera.

She has released five top 10 studio albums including O Vertigo!, Nightflight, and Curiouser, which reached double platinum sales and featured the multi-platinum hits ‘The Last Day On Earth’ and ‘Caught In The Crowd’. Her latest album, Child In Reverse was released in October 2020.

Her work has been nominated for ARIAs in categories as diverse as Best Pop Release, Best Adult Contemporary Album, Best Classical Album, Best Cast Recording, Best Comedy Release and Best Australian Live Act.

Trained as a classical singer at the Queensland Conservatorium, Kate has performed a principal role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and several roles for the English National Opera. Her debut opera as a composer, The Rabbits, won 4 Helpmann Awards including Best Score and Best New Australian Work.

With her collaborator Keir Nuttall, she has written the music and lyrics to Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, which premiered at the Sydney Theatre Company and played throughout 2019 in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. It won five Helpmann Awards, including Best Original Score. They also composed music for Twelfth Night (2018) and As You Like It (2021), both for Melbourne Theatre Company.

Kate had the honour of representing Australia at the Eurovision Song Competition in 2019 with her original song ‘Zero Gravity’. She achieved first place in her semi-final, a top ten placing in the grand final, and won the coveted Marcel Benzançon Award for Artistic Achievement.

Keir Nuttal | Artist & Co-Creator of BANANALAND

Keir Nuttall began his career as a guitarist in numerous obscure indie bands including industrial metal purveyors Dogmachine, and brief Triple J darlings Transport.

In 2002 he began collaborating with Kate Miller-Heidke. He arranged, co-produced and co-wrote her Nightflight and Curiouser albums, achieving Gold and Platinum status respectively. In 2008 their song ‘Caught in the Crowd’ won the International Songwriting Competition and went on to attain Platinum sales. Their song 'The Last Day On Earth' sold multi-platinum copies, which enabled him to get his first credit card. Keir has remained Kate’s long-term collaborator, recently working toward her fifth studio album release. As Kate's guitarist Keir has appeared on her entire catalogue, including collaborations with Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and toured extensively with different configurations of the Kate Miller-Heidke band.

Keir collaborated with Kate Miller-Heidke on the recent original theatre production Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, which had a limited season at Sydney Theatre Company’s Ros Packer theatre before playing a commercial season in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. The show has won multiple awards, including Best Original Score in the 2018 Helpmann Award (and 4 other Helpmann’s), Best Original Score of A Mainstage Production at the 2017 Sydney Theatre Awards, the David Williamson Prize at the 51st Australian Writer’s Guild, and the Original Australian Writing award at the 2020 Green Room Awards.

In 2021 Keir completed his PhD in Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology and received a doctorate. Keir is currently writing a book about a songwriting method he developed for his PhD thesis, centred around the concept of persona.

Associate Professor Loic Yengo | Researcher, IMB

Associate Professor Loic Yengo is an applied mathematician on a mission to unlock some of the deepest secrets hidden in our DNA. Loic was born in Brazzaville (Congo) and completed his primary education in Congo, Cote d'Ivoire and France.

After completing a PhD in Statistics at the University of Lille (France) in 2014, he joined The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2016 to research genetics. Loic started his own lab at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) in 2020 to investigate the causes and consequences of genetic variation.

His team notably develops and applies new methods to discover patterns in our DNA sequences that may contribute to disease susceptibility and resilience. His lab also studies how genes and cultures conspire to influence behaviours and physical appearances.

In 2022, he was awarded the Australian Academy of Science Gani Medal recognising outstanding contributions to human genetics and was named in Nature Medicine’s Yearbook among 11 early-career researchers leading their fields of research.

About IMB Sip and Science

Throughout September 2023 

Last year’s popular Sip and Science series returns to Australian Retirement Trust Festival Garden, South Bank this September. 

Enjoy a series of panel conversations that spotlight the intersection of art and science in our world. Grab a drink on entry and enjoy a guided conversation between IMB researchers and Festival artists.

Admission to the IMB Sip and Science series includes a drink of choice on arrival.


Riverside Green South Bank, QLD 4101
Pavilion, Australian Retirement Trust Festival Garden