The Science in Public team

Sarah Brooker and Niall Byrne lead a growing team of science communicators, writers, publicists and event managers based in Melbourne’s inner-west.

Niall Byrne Niall is the creative director of Science in Public.
Sarah Brooker Sarah is the managing director of Science in Public.
Toni Stevens Toni is a science communicator and our business manager with a background in journalism and environmental science.
Errol Hunt Errol is a scientist, writer and project manager who is passionate about telling compelling science stories.
Ellie Michaelides Ellie is a science communicator, project manager and our office manager, with a background in zoology.
Lydia Hales Lydia Hales is a science writer with a degree in marine biology and zoology and a masters in journalism.


We also work with a network of trusted associates.

Tim Thwaites Tim has 30 years’ experience of science writing, editing, teaching and broadcasting in Australia and overseas.
Margie Beilharz Margie lectured in environmental policy and management after working in wetlands policy with the state government, and works with us as a project manager, editor and communicator.
Tanya Ha Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmental campaigner, television presenter, author, science journalist, speaker and sustainable living advocate.
Jane Lyons Jane is a writer, editor and journalist with 15 years’ experience in Australia and internationally
Melissa Trudinger Melissa worked in the US biotech industry before coming home to Australia to work as a science writer and editor.
Frankie Lee Frankie is an event producer, writer and marketing consultant who came to us from ABC Science in Sydney.
Branwen Morgan Branwen is a Sydney-based writer and communications consultant with a PhD in medicine.


DSC_6660Niall Byrne

Niall is a science writer and publicist based in Melbourne. The focus of his work is helping scientists bring their work into the public space through the media, events and festivals.

He also guides science organisations in the development of communication strategies to reach their stakeholders, customers and the public.

Recent clients include: Nature; Monash University, The Australian Institute of Marine Science and the GAVI Alliance.

Some highlights of his work include:

  • story-telling and publicity for the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes (2004 to present), L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships (2007-present), the Eureka Prizes (2003-2006; 2013 to present), and the Clunies Ross Foundation (1998-2004)
  • working with CERN on the Australian end of the Higgs boson discovery at the High Energy Physics Conference (2012)
  • conference director, 5th World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne in 2007, and the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers in 2009
  • development and management of the Fresh Science program (1998-present)
  • a series of supplements for Nature (2003 to 2014)
  • re-building the public profile of CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (1988-1998)
  • CSIRO’s communication response to disease emergencies such as equine morbillivirus, bat lyssavirus and pilchard deaths
  • CSIRO’s communication response to the escape of rabbit calicivirus from Wardang Island.

Brought up in Hadleigh, Suffolk in the UK, Niall completed a biology degree at Durham University before running away to the Antipodes.

DSC_9051Sarah Brooker

Sarah is a science communicator and event manager. She develops and delivers communication strategies for science organisations, manages science projects and events and provides media and presentation training.

With a background in biochemistry and genetics, Sarah moved into science communication by joining the science circus and completing a graduate diploma in science communication through ANU.

She went on to assist Biotechnology Australia establish the Gene Technology Information Service, a national enquiry centre on biotechnology and gene technology.

Familiar with the science, issues and public attitudes to do with biotechnology, she has presented widely to audiences including farmers, teachers, students, government groups and at international conferences.

Her freelance projects have taken her through Canberra to work on Science meets Parliament and 50th anniversary celebrations for the Australian Academy of Science; up to Queensland to develop and design a travelling biotechnology exhibition and across to China to extract DNA from bananas in a shopping centre.

Sarah was the Executive Officer for the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists which was held in Melbourne in April 2007.

She is now the managing director of Science in Public and coordinates the national Fresh Science program which publicises the work of early-career scientists.

DSC_8987Toni Stevens

Toni is a science communicator and business manager at Science in Public with eight year’s consulting experience; with Science in Public and engineering firm Cardno.

She tried to escape her family of scientists by studying media production at the University of Canberra. However she was lured into an environmental science major by her interest in high school biology…

One year later she was campaigning the uni to create a science/journalism double degree to suit her newfound passion for science communication. She was the first (and only) person to graduate from UC with this double degree.

Toni has a diverse role at Science in Public, from business development to social media management, communication planning to event management, project management to web editing. She also manages around 10 staff and contractors, overseeing the development and implementation of communication activities for our clients.

Some of her project highlights include:

  • promotion of the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science; including promoting the call for nominations to the science industry; as well as storytelling and media liaison around the winners
  • management and promotion of the L’Oreal For Women in Science Fellowships; including promotion of the Fellowships, management of the application and judging process, and event management around the award ceremony and Girls in Science schools forums
  • development and implementation of communication strategies such as newsletters, websites, social media, media releases and stakeholder events for clients including the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Australia and the Centenary Institute.

DSC_6599Errol Hunt

Errol is a scientist, writer and project manager who is passionate about telling compelling science stories.

After a physics degree at Waikato University (New Zealand), Errol worked as a research physicist for Comalco Research in Melbourne, modelling and verifying physical processes in aluminium reduction cells.

He then side-stepped into travel publishing, becoming a writer, commissioning editor and associate publisher at Lonely Planet, ultimately project managing some 90 different titles. He was coordinating author of the first edition of the South Pacific guidebook, helped shape and implement the company’s media strategy in NZ, and led travel coverage of Christchurch following the 2011 earthquake.

Errol is an editor for the Institute of Physics (UK) and has most-recently been working at the Bureau of Meteorology on a project to collate great stories of industry working with Bureau research and environmental intelligence.

A passionate Westy, Errol lives in Footscray, where he works part-time with the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, explores Vietnamese and Ethiopian eateries with his family, and tinkers (endlessly, and often fruitlessly) with a 1957 Morris Minor.

Ellie Michaelides

Ellie is a science communicator, project manager and our office manager, with a love of animals and the environment.

She completed her MSc in zoology at The University of Melbourne in 2013, researching how environmental light pollution affects reproduction and survival in an Australian species of cricket. She is now working on publishing her research.

During her Master’s degree, Ellie discovered a new-found love of science communication. She started with Science in Public in mid-2014.

She loves the diversity of her work, and particularly likes rolling out the various science prizes including the Eureka Prizes, the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and the Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research.

Although she’s roamed from zoology into science communication, Ellie still keeps a foot in with the animals as a volunteer tour guide and bird handler at Healesville Sanctuary. She one day hopes to help bring the Tasmanian devil, her favourite Australian animal, back from the brink of extinction.

Lydia Hales

Lydia is a freelance science journalist who has written for ABC Health and Wellbeing and ABC Science periodically since April 2014. She has been published by Australian Geographic magazine, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, Australasian Science, ABC’s The Drum, the Lip! Yearbook and the Bloomtrigger blog.

She once had a poem non-delinquently published on a tree. This joined others’ work in an anthology to raise funds for Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease research, as part of Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week.  She has had creative writing in a few other small anthologies, and volunteered at the Melbourne Writers Festival and Emerging Writers’ Festival the last couple of years.

She moved from Tasmania in 2009 to study Science (Marine Biology and Zoology) at James Cook University in Townsville, finishing with a small research project in the rainforest in Borneo. She then moved to Melbourne to complete a Master in Journalism. Prior to joining Science in Public, she held a temporary media and communications role at the Burnet Institute, writing for their website and providing assistance during the International AIDS Conference.

Our associates

DSC_9036Tim Thwaites

Tim is a freelance science writer and broadcaster who specialises in putting science, medicine and engineering into everyday language.

He has 30 years experience of writing, editing, sub-editing, teaching and broadcasting in Australia and overseas.

After a degree and graduate work in zoology, including several years in Canada, he trained and worked as a journalist at The Age.

He has since written and subedited for newspapers, newsletters and magazines both nationally and internationally, and has also worked for universities, government departments, research institutes, private companies and professional organisations producing news stories and features, writing background material and press releases, editing publications, and organising publicity. Tim has been heard regularly on radio.

As a foundation member of Australian Science Communicators, he was national president from December 2007 to December 2009. He was also first editor of its newsletter, acted as co-chair of the program committee for the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne in 2007, was convenor of its National Conference in February 2010, and is a member of the committee which for the past 13 years has organised Fresh Science, the national competition for early career researchers.

Tim has also taught non-fiction writing at La Trobe University.

Margie Beilharz

Margie is a Melbourne-based science communicator who has been working with Science in Public since 2008. Here she delights in taking control of publications and reports, as well as guiding communication for a number of our clients.

Margie followed up her PhD in Zoology with a couple of years in the Victorian National Parks Service working in Wetland Policy. She lectured in Environmental Management at Deakin University for nine years before taking a family break, which included a couple of years living in London.

In 2009 Margie completed a postgraduate certificate in Technical Communication from Swinburne University.

Margie works part time to allow her time for her family, dog, tennis, bike riding and travel.

Tanya Ha, Associate

Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmental campaigner, television presenter, author, science journalist, speaker and sustainable living advocate. She is also a media commentator on environmental issues, was a National Tour Ambassador for National Science Week 2009 and was a delegate to the Australia 2020 Summit.

Tanya is an environmental, science and health communication specialist. She holds a science degree (Chemistry major), a postgraduate certificate in Scientific and Technical Writing, and a Master of Environment. Her work has included reporting for ABC TV’s science show Catalyst, answering viewers’ eco questions as the environment presenter for Can We Help?, radio broadcasting, writing for several magazines and conducting media interviews on environmental issues.

Tanya is also a popular author. Her books include the best-selling eco-guide book Greeniology and the acclaimed Green Stuff for Kids. In 2010 she won the United Nations Association of Australia Media Award for Environmental Reporting. In addition to her media work, Tanya also develops sustainable living and behaviour change programs.

Tanya spent many years working on campaign development, media and engagement for the environment group Planet Ark. She is a past board member of the state government authority Sustainability Victoria and the green group Keep Australia Beautiful, and is an ambassador for the Living Smart program.

Tanya is online: and on Twitter: @Ha_Tanya.

DSC_8955Jane Lyons 

Jane is a writer, editor and journalist with 15 years’ experience in Australian and international newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, websites, marketing material, newsletters and tender bids.

Jane writes and edits for Science in Public. She’s also been responsible for the preparation of strategic plans for the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), as well as the National Marine Science Plan, and a senate submission on behalf of NSW beekeepers.

As a freelance journalist Jane has had work published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, Courier Mail, Medical Observer, The West Australian, Brisbane Times, The Canberra Times, Irish Independent, Evening Herald.

She has also worked as a sub-editor for Crikey, The Conversation, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Independent Newspapers in Ireland.

DSC_6574Melissa Trudinger

Melissa is a Melbourne-based science journalist and communicator. She assists Science in Public with anything biotechnology-related, in particular with our work for EMBL Australia.

Melissa has a background in immunology and molecular biology research. She worked in the US biotechnology industry in a variety of roles for 7 years.

She returned to Australia to become the Science Editor for Australian Biotechnology News from its debut in 2002 until 2005.

She has a post-graduate diploma in Science Communication and was Co-Chair of the Program Committee for the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists, which was held in Melbourne in April 2007.


Frankie Lee, Associate

Frankie Lee is an event producer, writer and marketing consultant.

She studied Communications at the University of Technology, Sydney and worked in the music industry for a long time before moving to ABC. Frankie was Marketing Manager at ABC Radio National for several years then moved to ABC Science.

At ABC Science, she looked after National Science Week, being one of the small team that founded Science Week in Australia in 1997. Frankie produced hundreds of science events including Cafe Scientific and Scientists on the Loose sessions in every state of Australia from 2002 to 2012. She was one of the founders of the Ultimo Science Festival in Sydney in 2005.

Frankie’s science communication career highlights include witnessing the ceremony where Dr Karl Kruszelnicki was awarded an IgNobel Prize at Harvard University for his research into belly button fluff and being tour manager and minder of Douglas Adams for his last Australian tour.

Branwen Morgan, Associatebran

Branwen is a Sydney-based science and medical journalist and communications consultant with a PhD in medicine (UNSW). As a journalist, she has written and recorded stories for the Science Show on Radio National and spent time working with the ABC News in Science team. Between consulting for a range of clients, Branwen continues to write for popular and trade press including Cosmos magazine and Nature. Samples of her work can be found at

As a consultant, Branwen enjoys managing projects that encompass the development and implementation of communication and change management strategies. In one of her roles, she led the creation and deployment of a Flipboard-style news app for an Australian subsidiary of a multinational business and subsequently the redesign of the company’s social intranet turning it from a web portal that reflected the business structure to one that is end-user orientated. Branwen has extensive experience writing press releases, developing media packages, and pitching stories to journalists and news desks. She has developed and produced videos and podcasts to achieve clients’  specific communications goals.

Following completion of her PhD in 2002, Branwen spent several years in London where she worked at the UK’s Science Media Centre; as a conference organiser for the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London; and as Head of Communications for the Coalition for Medical Progress (now amalgamated and rebranded as