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.

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.
Toni Stevens Toni is project manager, writer and office manager with a background in journalism and environmental science.
Laura Boland Laura is a science communicator and project manager with a background in environmental science and public relations.
Chris Lassig Chris is a science writer, broadcaster and web professional, with more than eight years’ experience managing government and not-for-profit websites.
Louise Hudson Louise has over 15 years’ experience in the tourism and business events sector, with a background in marketing, event management and stakeholder engagement.
Melissa Trudinger Melissa worked in the US biotech industry before coming home to Australia to work as a science writer and editor.
Errol Hunt Errol is a scientist, writer and project manager who is passionate about telling compelling science stories.
Ellie Michaelides Ellie finished her MSc in Zoology last year and is now working as a science communicator.


We also work with a network of trusted associates.

Frankie Lee Frankie is an event producer, writer and marketing consultant who came to us from ABC Science in Sydney.
Tanya Ha Tanya is an award-winning environmental campaigner, television presenter, author, science journalist, speaker and sustainable living advocate.
Wendy Williams Wendy is a science communicator, educator, policymaker and project manager with experience in government and cultural organisations.


Past members of the team

Tamzin Byrne Tamzin is spending a year in our ‘Nairobi office’ working at an insect research centre
AJ Epstein AJ is spending a year in our ‘France office’ learning how to make cognac
Sam Harris-Wetherbee Sam is spending a year in our ‘London office’ studying Masters of Science Communication at Imperial College.


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.

Some highlights of his work include:

  • a parliamentary forum on biosecurity (September 2008)
  • conference director, 5th World Conference of Science Journalists, Melbourne 2007
  • story-telling and publicity for the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes (2004 to 2008), for the Eureka Prizes (2003-2006) and the Clunies Ross Foundation (1998-2004);
  • science communications advice and media relations for the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation (2006-2007);
  • development and management of the Fresh Science program (1998-);
  • a series of supplements for Nature (2003 to 2006);
  • 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_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.


DSC_8987Toni Stevens

Toni 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 to graduate from UC with this double degree.

After 5 years writing environmental impact assessments for mining companies in Wollongong, Toni got her break into science communication and came to Science in Public in 2012 and has since added many more slashes to her title.

Now not just scientist/journalist, Toni is also a project manager/media liaison officer/science writer/event manager/newsletter compiler/ web editor and Twitter-er.

She loves the diversity of her work which ranges from working on the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and the L’Oréal for Women in Science Fellowships, to writing press releases for the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Australia, the Centenary Institute and the National Stem Cell Foundation.

Outside of work you’re most likely to find Toni at the beach (even in Melbourne) or exploring the world around her, whether at a gig in the city, hiking out on the peninsula, or anything in between.

Chris Lassig

Chris is a science writer, broadcaster and web professional, with more than eight years’ experience managing government and not-for-profit websites.

Originally a physicist, he studied quantum mechanics at the University of Queensland and eventually obtained his PhD at the University of Melbourne, with a thesis on non-associative quantum field theory.

A love of storytelling, however, led him to study screenwriting at RMIT University, out of which he has made a number of award-winning short films. It also moved him into a career specialising in writing and editing for websites.

This included a lengthy stint at the former Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment, where he managed a team responsible for maintaining 10 websites covering land, water, climate change and information for emergencies like the Black Saturday bushfires.

At the same time, he has maintained his connection to science, and can be heard on the airwaves on the nationally-distributed community radio program, Lost in Science.

Since joining Science in Public in January 2013, he has helped to develop its online capability. Among other things, he has built the national Inspiring Australia website.

Laura Boland

Laura is a science communicator and project manager with a background in environmental science and public relations.

Her first job after high school involved taking blood samples at a pathology laboratory, and she has continued in science ever since. With a passion for environmental conservation and sustainability, Laura studied Environmental Science at The University Of Newcastle. She spent her Honours year using computer models to investigate soil moisture dynamics.

After five years working as an Environmental Scientist in Melbourne, Laura decided that she wanted to talk about science, and particularly issues of the environment, to a larger audience. So she went back to university and completed a Master of Communication at Victoria University, where she focused her research on environmental communication in the media.

Immediately before joining Science In Public Laura worked with the Wilderness Society Victoria helping to protect the Kimberley and Tasmanian Forests.

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.


Louise Hudson

Louise is a project manager with over 15 years experience in the tourism and business events industries and extensive experience in marketing, event management and stakeholder engagement.

Louise came to Science in Public in 2012 after working with the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau as a Business Development Executive – identifying and bidding for international conference opportunities within Victoria’s science and medical fields.

Louise’s previous experience includes marketing and event management roles at the City of Melbourne and the Melbourne Docklands, as well as working within the marketing team at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Louise currently assists Science in Public with project management and in her spare time loves to ride her bike to the beach and spending time with her young family.

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.


Our associates

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.

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) and a postgraduate certificate in Scientific and Technical Writing, and is part way through 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.



Wendy Williams

Wendy is a science communicator, educator, policymaker and project manager with experience in government and cultural organizations.

She studied microbiology and biochemistry at the University of Melbourne before teaching high school science and maths. This took her to Melbourne Zoo where she taught everything from science and english to ballet and ESL, in a classroom equipped with a boa constrictor.

Wendy then moved on to Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens, where she interpreted plant collections, scripted an audioguide, managed holiday programs, and staged concerts and exhibitions. She also taught CAE classes and oversaw construction of the Observatory Gate precinct.

Next stop was the state government innovation unit where she developed and managed the science engagement program, working on policy and developing and managing grant programs and surveys into community attitudes to science. Here she also managed science awards and fellowships and a science careers website.

She has worked with the Inspiring Australia strategy and chaired the Victorian National Science Week Committee.

Past members of the team

AJ Epstein

AJ has been working in event management, marketing and science communication for the past six years. He assists Science in Public across their portfolio of work as operations manager.

He’s particularly enjoyed managing the media program for the International  Botanical Congress as well as driving the Fresh Science and L’Oréal programs.

He previously worked for COSMOS Magazine as a marketing and advertising executive.

AJ grew up on Flinders Island, in the Bass Strait, where he developed a passion for science and learning while helping his father who worked as a vet on the island. AJ still likes to head back there each year to spear a fish, throw a fleece and relax.

AJ has a great interest in all aspects of science and communication. In his spare time, he is learning Spanish, French and kung-fu.

Tamzin Byrne

Tamzin is spending a year in our ‘Nairobi office’ working at an insect research centre.

Tamzin studied science at Melbourne Uni before trundling down the road to RMIT to train as a journalist.

She joined us as a science writer in 2011, and writes many of our newsletters and bulletins.

As the proud owner of a tablet computer, she also manages social media for SiP and for several of our clients.

But Tamzin’s first journalistic love is radio. As a volunteer at Melbourne community radio station SYN, she led a team of 30 budding journalists to produce a daily half hour of current affairs radio for young people.

She also produced a breakie TV variety show for Channel 31 – an exercise in early morning mayhem which has prepared her for the controlled chaos of the media room at scientific conferences.

Tamzin still makes radio in her spare time, and works part-time at ABC Radio National.

DSC_8969Sam Harris-Wetherbee

Sam was recently she was accepted into the Masters of Science Communication at Imperial College in London where she plans to continue her preparation for a career in Science Communication.

Sam specialised in Botany and Environmental Science at Monash and Melbourne Universities, completing her MSc in Botany in 2013.

The research for her Masters degree was based in the Daintree Rainforest of far north QLD, where Sam studied cyanide based defence in native Javan Ash trees.

She has also been involved in research on other aspects of the biology and ecology of tropical and temperate tree species in Australia through her engagement with undergraduate research programs, and her work as a volunteer research assistant.

Despite loving her direct involvement with scientific research, Sam has made the decision to follow her passion for communicating science.

She joined us at Science in Public, initially as an intern, to gain more experience and currently assists us with managing events and coordinating our media training workshops.