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Cosmos’s AWD 2024 50 remarkable &

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. In honour of IWD 2024, Cosmos is showcasing the achievements of 50 of Australia’s outstanding female researchers and scientists.

Credit: Jess Wallace

Cosmos is grateful for the support of the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) and Australia’s five Learned Academies who helped us to create this list.

“Today, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I am deeply inspired by the trailblazing women who have paved the way for Australian research and innovation. Their dedication, resilience, and groundbreaking contributions continue to shape the scientific landscape,” says Ryan Winn, ACOLA Chief Executive Officer.

“Today, I am excited to celebrate not just one or two, but 50 remarkable and inspirational female researchers who are making a profound impact in Australia and beyond. Happy International Women’s Day!”

This list is neither exhaustive nor in any particular order.


Professor Amy Roberts is an archaeologist and anthropologist at Flinders University who primarily works with Aboriginal communities in South Australia. Her research focuses on the pre- and post-contact archaeology of the Riverland and the ways in which the Narungga people engage with seascape.

Professor Emma Kowal is a cultural and medical anthropologist at Deakin University with previous experience as a physician and public health researcher in Indigenous health settings. Her research interests include Australian racial politics and the anthropology of genomics, bioethics, and public health.

Professor Megan Warin is a social anthropologist at the University of Adelaide (UoA) who has made international contributions to the anthropology of food and eating, particularly around eating disorders and obesity.

Archaeology and History

Associate Professor Alice Gorman’s research at Flinders University focuses on archaeology and the heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-Earth mining, and space habitats.

Dr Ariana Lambrides is a postdoctoral researcher at James Cook University (JCU) whose research focuses on the human palaeoecology of island and coastal settings, through the study of archaeological fish remains.

Dr Andrea Jalandoni is a digital archaeologist at Griffith University who specialises in rock art recording and enhancement using innovative techniques such as photogrammetry, model learning and artificial intelligence.

Photograph of a woman laying on a rock formation taking photographs of rock art
Dr Andrea Jalandoni documenting rock art. Credit: Griffith University 850.

Dr Anna Willis is a bioarchaeologist at JCU. She studies skeletal remains to determine how oral health and disease, stress, pathology, and behaviour effect the general health, social identities and lifeways of prehistoric people throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Professor Annie Clarke of the University of Sydney (USYD) is a leading authority in the areas of critical heritage studies, contemporary archaeology, community archaeology, colonial interactions, and rock art.

Dr Georgia Stannard is a lecturer at La Trobe University. Her research focuses broadly on the interaction between Aboriginal Australians and their environments and developing archaeology-specific pedagogies within Australia.

Associate Professor Melissa Marshall is an archaeologist at the University of Notre Dame Australia. She investigates the collaborative management and conservation of rock art sites within the context of cultural landscapes through decolonised frameworks and Indigenous worldviews.

Associate Professor Michelle Langley, of Griffith University, is an authority on the study of artefacts made on hard animal materials – bone, tooth, antler, ivory, and shell – and how they were used in early human communities across the globe.

Associate Professor Nicola Stern is a palaeolithic archaeologist at La Trobe University widely recognised for her innovative approaches to analysing the formation of archaeological agglomerations of material remains.

Dr Shimona Kealy is an archaeologist and palaeobiologist at the Australian National University (ANU). Her research interests include the early movements of people, cultures, and animals throughout Southeast Asia and Australasia.

Associate Professor Tiina Manne is a zooarchaeologist at the University of Queensland (UQ). She analyses animal skeletal remains to reconstruct patterns in past diets to understand how people responded to large-scale climate, environmental and cultural change.

Dr Tristen Jones is an archaeologist and curator at USYD whose research interests involve Australian Indigenous archaeology and heritage, with a focus on rock art, cultural landscapes, material culture and museum collections.

Professor Zenobia Jacobs of the University of Wollongong (UOW) pioneered technical advances to accurately date grains of sand buried at geological and archaeological sites, which helps glean new clues on the evolutionary history of humans.

Chemistry and Geology

Dr Marzi Barghamadi leads the Battery Materials and Design team at CSIRO Manufacturing. She works across different energy storage devices to enhance the energy density of batteries and is co-inventor of a power optimised lithium-ion energy storage device.

A woman with a csiro lanyard on stands in a laboratory
Dr Marzi Barghamadi. Credit: CSIRO.

Associate Professor Raffaella Demichelis leads a team researching computational materials chemistry and geochemistry at Curtin University. Her interests include the study of materials structure, crystal growth, and mineral surface reactivity.

Dr Sarah Kyne is a chemist at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) whose research focuses on sustainable catalytic reactions, organometallic and free radical chemistry, and innovation in chemistry education.

Stephanie Beaupark is a Ngugi woman and PhD candidate at UOW studying the colour chemistry of natural dyes from Australian native trees and using an Indigenist methodology involving yarning with other Indigenous natural dye artists and weavers.

Associate Professor Teresa Ubide is an igneous petrologist and volcanologist at UQ working to forecast volcanic eruptions by studying the chemistry of tiny crystals in volcanic rocks.

Professor Zaiping Guo is a world leader in advanced materials for energy storage at UoA. She developed new battery materials that improve the safety and storage capacity of rechargeable batteries.

Health and Medical Science

Associate Professor Ada Cheung is an endocrinologist working in trans health and co-designing landmark clinical trials with her team at the University of Melbourne’s Trans Health Research Group.

Dr Adaeze Ekwe is a research scientist at QUT with experience in developing gene-modified cell therapy for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

Associate Professor Angela Laird leads a team at Macquarie University working to identify and test potential treatments for neurodegenerative movement disorders such as motor neuron disease and Machado Joseph disease.

Professor Anina Rich researches sensory processing, including selective attention and the way the brain integrates information, at Macquarie University.

Professor Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg is a paediatric anaesthetist at University of Western Australia (UWA) whose research has led to changes in how anaesthesia for children is performed worldwide.

Photograph of a woman in a white dress on a stage
Dr Emma-Anne Karlsen. Credit: © Falling Walls Foundation.

Dr Emma-Anne Karlsen is a PhD candidate at UQ, investigating novel breast cancer biomarkers and therapeutic strategies, and a general surgery registrar. She hopes to build a career as a surgeon-scientist to improve global health outcomes for women with breast cancer.

Associate Professor Francine Marques is a molecular geneticist at Monash University investigating how gut microbes affect high blood pressure to prevent and treat heart disease.=

Professor Georgina Long AO of USYD and the Melanoma Institute Australia is a clinician-scientist who has led groundbreaking work in immunotherapy treatment for melanoma.

Associate Professor Gina Ravenscroft of UWA and the Harry Perkins Institute is an expert in rare genetic diseases, with a particular focus on neurogenetic diseases in babies and children.

Dr Justine Clark is an Adnyamathanha woman and post-doctoral researcher in Indigenous genomics at Genomics at Telethon Kids Institute, looking at the biology and genetics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids affected by cancer.

Associate Professor Kirsty Short is a virologist at UQ whose work focusses on pandemic preparedness, with the goal to use basic research to improve clinical care and public health policy in the case of a viral outbreak.

Photograph of a woman in a biology lab, wearing ppe and holding a pipette
Dr Kirsty Short. Credit: UQ.

Associate Professor Laura Downie is a clinician-scientist at the University of Melbourne recognised for her leadership in evidence-based vision care, particularly in the area of dry eye disease.

Associate Professor Melissa Day of UQ is an endorsed clinical and health psychologist whose main area of research interest is in optimising non-pharmacological treatment for chronic pain.

Dr Maithili Sashindranath is an expert in brain injury and stroke at Monash University. Her current research interests are focussed on improving outcomes in small vessel thrombosis and ischemic stroke.

Professor Shyamali Dharmage is a world-recognised leader in epidemiology of chronic lung diseases at the University of Melbourne. Her research has led to paradigm changes, generated a new field of research (‘pre-COPD’) ’) and changed guidelines worldwide.

Associate Professor Tomoko Sugiura is head of the health Data Analytics Team at the ANU. She oversees research via the advanced use of health data and linkage of large-scale health data assets.

Dr Yee Lian Chew of Flinders University uses the worm C. elegans to identify brain pathways that can be targeted for treatment of neurological conditions such as chronic pain.

Physics and Mathematics

Dr Emily Finch is co-group manager spectroscopy and a beamline scientist at the Australian Synchrotron. Her work involves shooting beams of x-rays at things to learn about their structure and chemistry.

Associate Professor Serena Dipierro is a mathematician at UWA. Her research has contributed to several fields in mathematical analysis, partial differential equations, nonlocal equations, and free boundary problems.

Dr Vanessa Moss is a radio astronomer at CSIRO working at the boundaries between astronomy, telescope operations and data science. She is head of science operations for CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope and coordinates astronomical observations at the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre.

A woman stands on red dirt in the outback, with five white telescope dishes visible behind her in the distance
Dr Vanessa Moss at ASKAP. Credit: CSIRO.

Technology and Engineering

Associate Professor Andreea Molnar of Swinburne University of Technology is interested in computing for the social good, incorporating aspects from information systems, human computer interaction and educational games.

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie of USYD is a pioneer in developing next-generation solar cells, having achieved record efficiencies for multi-junction solar cells using metal halide perovskites.

Kimberlee Weatherall is a professor of law at USYD specialising in the regulation of technology and intellectual property law.

Professor Lisa Given is an interdisciplinary researcher in human information behaviour at RMIT University. Her work brings a critical, social research lens to studies of technology use and user-focused design.

Professor Madhu Bhaskaran is an engineer at RMIT who has developed stretchable skin-like electronic devices for better health care.

A woman wearing a gold shirt smiles at the camera in a lab
Professor Madhu Bhaskaran. Credit: Australian Academy of Sciences (AAS).

Mikaela Jade is a Cabrogal woman of the Dharug-speaking nation and founder of Australia’s first Indigenous education-technology company Indigital. She is empowering a diverse, emerging generation of Indigenous engineers and IT innovators through Indigital’s training programs.

Dr Sue Keay is an expert in artificial intelligence and robotics. She led the development of Australia’s robotics roadmaps and is dedicated to building ecosystems to support research and development.

Professor Trish Williams of Flinders University works to improve healthcare through technology and led a project to develop a benchmark for hospitals to evaluate their digital infrastructure.

Find 2022’s list of 50 women at the cutting edge of science in Australia here.