In this episode, Dr. Peter Dalmaris talks with Dr. Rebecca Johnson.
Dr. Johnson is Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, a Wildlife Forensic Scientist, a Conservation Geneticist and co-chief investigator of the Koala Genome Consortium.
Rebecca is the first female science director in the Museum’s 190-year history and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney. She and her team were instrumental in establishing the Museum as a global leader in the field of wildlife forensics and applied conservation genomics including developing strong translational research with direct links to industry.
She is a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences and represents the Museum on more than 14 government and industry committees.
Of Rebecca’s many achievements, one that stands out is being one of the inaugural 30 “SuperStars of STEM.” This is a group of some of Australia’s most dynamic scientists and technologists whose mission is to create role models for young women and girls and working towards equal representation in the media of men and women in STEM.
This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 41.
Stemiverse podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to techexplorations.com to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and electronics.
- [00:00] Introduction – Introducing Dr. Rebecca Johnson
- [03:19] Rebecca talks about her background, her love of reading as a child, her favorite book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr, and how it lead to her decision to become a scientist
- [09:11] Rebecca talks about her Professors of Genetics at the University of Sydney and her work on Queensland fruit flies
- [10:02] Being drawn to big problems
- [11:27] Rebecca as the first female director of the Australian Museum Research Institute
- [12:22] The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the oldest scientific institute in Australia
- [13:45] Kim McKay, Director & CEO of the Australian Museum
- [14:05] Why did it take so long to appoint female directors?
- [17:40] Causes of female under-representation in STEM and possible solutions
- [21:42] Science & Technology Australia – Superstars of STEM
- [22:44] Rebecca walks us through her typical day at work
- [28:27] What is Wildlife Forensics…
- [33:06] …and Conservation Genomics?
- [36:59] Rebecca’s productivity habits
- [39:11] Isn’t science mostly dealing with failure?
- [42:13] Exposing yourself to a lot of different things during your early years in school helps you find what you love doing
- [44:01] Being a List person
- [45:25] Professor Tim Flannery
- [46:03] How Rebecca sharpens the saw
- [48:11] Rebecca’s Book Recommendations:
- Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong—and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini
- How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of de-Extinction by Beth Shapiro
- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- The Harry Potter Book Series by J.K. Rowling
- [54:45] Rebecca’s advice to her 12-year-old self: Develop Self-Confidence
- [01:00:52] Rebecca’s Contact Information: Twitter: @DrRebeccaJ, Instagram: drrebeccaj