Natalie McKirdy

Program Officer
Wonder of Science, The University of Queensland

Brisbane, QLD

Contact me for

  • Mentoring
  • Sitting on boards or committees
  • Providing an expert opinion
  • Outreach activities
  • Conference presenting
  • Opportunities to collaborate


Natalie is a PhD scholar who understands the importance of not only conducting and publishing research with clinical relevance, but communicating those findings to the wider community. She is an enthusiastic STEMM literacy advocate, using her passion to generate support for, and an appreciation of, rigorous scientific research as a Young Science Ambassador and now Project Officer with the Wonder of Science program.

After an undergraduate degree in Medical Science at Queensland University of Technology, Natalie pursued an Honours research project to develop a transplantable layer of cells grown upon a silk membrane with the aim of restoring sight to patients with corneal endothelial dystrophy. After two years working in clinical trials and feto-maternal research, she returned to her first love (ophthalmic biomaterials research) to earn her PhD enrolled through the University of Queensland’s School of Medicine, with her lab work carried out at the Queensland Eye Institute.

Her PhD project, completed in 2017, investigated compounds from raw silk in a range of therapeutic applications, including as a biomaterial for restoring a key cell population lost due to the common blinding condition, age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Natalie has a passion for sharing STEMM research processes and outcomes with the general public in the spirit of transparency and accountability, which has led to her involvement in a wide variety of community outreach events including a TEDx talk, sci-comedy shows with Science Says!, SciFight and Convince Me, MCing science outreach events with Wonder of Science and Pint of Science, and science communication competitions such as 3 Minute Thesis and FameLab.

In addition to her extensive research and scicomm experience, Natalie has also worked in the education sector for over a decade. Beginning as a teacher aide in secondary Mathematics, she has since worked across the gamut from prep to tertiary levels, including teaching into The University of Queensland's primary and middle years teaching degree in science and technologies education. In her current role with Wonder of Science, Natalie now applies her knowledge and experience of STEM principles and education design to craft learning resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum for both Science and Technologies, with embedded literacy and numeracy outcomes, and facilitates teacher professional development days to support the implementation of student-led, inquiry-based teaching and learning across Queensland.