Tharika Liyanage

PhD candidate
The Australian National University
Learning Programs Presenter
Questacon - the National Science and Technology Centre
Teaching Assistant (EMSC3020, EMSC1006)
The Australian National University

Canberra, ACT

Contact me for

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


I seek to understand whether the Earth and life on it are unique – how did life emerge and survive the changing environmental conditions on this planet? Is it possible that life could have arisen elsewhere in our universe? To address these questions, I study Earth’s 4.6-billion-year history preserved in the rock record. As a paleobiogeochemist, I search for the earliest traces of single-celled life that are preserved as fossilised biomolecules, called biomarkers. I am fascinated by biomarkers and I use them to reconstruct microbial ecosystems and environments in Earth’s early history. However, there are missing links between some biomarkers and microorganisms, resulting in inaccurate reconstructions of Earth's past ecosystems and environments. I am currently pursuing a PhD investigating some of these missing links.


Tharika identifies as culturally and linguistically diverse.