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 is the creative director of Science in Public.
  • Sarah Brooker is the managing director of Science in Public.
  • Tanya Ha is Science in Public’s director of engagement and an award-winning environmental campaigner, television presenter, author, science journalist, speaker and sustainable living advocate.
  • Andrew Masterson is Science in Public’s editor-in-chief and an award-winning writer.
  • Benjamin Keirnan is a science communicator with a background in physics, social media, and digital art.
  • Tara Benson is Science in Public’s administration officer, with interests in science and technology.
  • Zara Falkiner-Rose is a science communicator and digital content creative with a passion for science, design and technology.

We also work with a network of trusted associates.

  • Tim Thwaites has 30 years’ experience of science writing, editing, teaching and broadcasting in Australia and overseas.
  • Margie Beilharz is a freelance editor, writer and science communicator with a background in zoology and environmental science and policy.
  • Jerome Pelletier is videographer and director of the production company Stepping Stone films.
  • Toni Stevens is a science communicator with a background in journalism and environmental science.
  • Tamzin Byrne is a science communicator and freelance consultant, who is currently studying at the University of Cambridge, UK.
  • Frankie Lee is an event producer, writer and marketing consultant who came to us from ABC Science in Sydney.
  • Branwen Morgan is a Sydney-based writer and communications consultant with a PhD in medicine.
  • Melissa Trudinger worked in the US biotech industry before coming home to Australia to work as a science writer and editor.
  • Michelle Kovacevic is a science communicator, editor and facilitator with significant experience in communication strategy development and delivery

Niall 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.

At the air show, helping Monash announce that they had 3D-printed the world’s first jet engine.

Some highlights of his work include:

  • story-telling and publicity for the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes (2004-2018), L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships (2007-2015), the Eureka Prizes (2003-2006; 2013-2015), 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 (2003-2014)
  • Filming Finisar for PMs Prizes

    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.

Sarah Brooker

Sarah is the managing director of Science in Public. She loves developing communication strategies, managing events, and training scientists in finding their voice and delivering their science stories.

Presenting at Fresh Science ACT July 2018

Before settling down into a business and starting Science in Public, she assisted Biotechnology Australia to establish the Gene Technology Information Service, a national enquiry centre on biotechnology and gene technology.

In a previous life as a freelancer, she has been:

  • Chief organiser to get science journalists from around the world to come to Melbourne for the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists;

    Media training Australia’s scientific researchers

  • Party planner for the Academy of Science helping them celebrate their 50th anniversary;
  • Coordinator for Science meets Parliament;
  • Exhibition designer and then presenter extracting DNA from bananas in a shopping centre in China for ten days straight.

Her background is biochemistry and genetics until she discovered science communication by running away with the Questacon science circus way back in 1999.

Tanya Ha

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 is an Associate of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and is part of the leadership group of Science and Technology Australia. She also serves on the advisory boards/groups of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, the Wave Energy Research Centre, the Banksia Sustainability Awards audit panel, and the Science Gallery Melbourne.

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

Benjamin Keirnan

Ben is a science communicator with a background in physics, social media, and digital art. He’s a passionate and enthusiastic science communicator who, among numerous other things, hosts a light-hearted weekly science podcast.

Able to tell his droids from his Daleks and his drakes from his dragons; Ben has an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop culture and uses it to draw people into whatever science story he’s working on.

A self-described amateur graphic artist, whose decade of freelancing has helped him acquire a particular set of skills that make him a wizard in Photoshop and design.

Ben has a Master’s degree in Science Communication from the Australian National University. He has a Bachelor of Science from the Queensland University of Technology, majoring in Physics (honours) and science communication. And he also has a Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment, majoring in Animation from QANTM College.

Andrew Masterson

Andrew Masterson, before joining Science in Public as editor-in-chief, was editor of both the quarterly print and daily online iterations of Cosmos.

Prior to that he was a specialist science feature contributor to a wide range of newspapers and magazines, primarily the former Fairfax titles The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review. He also edited the Livewire technology section that appears in the Melbourne and Sydney mastheads, as well as sometimes filling in as acting editor of the television guides for both papers.

Andrew has been a journalist for 40 years, and a science specialist for 20. As well as writing for newspapers and magazines, he has also worked as researcher and script editor on television documentaries, including several made by the Emmy Award-winning Australian production house, Genepool Productions.

An experienced publicist, he has prepared media materials for people in several industries, including science, television, and music.

Andrew has had 10 books released in Australia and overseas, by both mainstream and niche publishers, ranging from textbooks to crime novels to pop-science. His most recent, Lolcatz, Santa and Death by Dog (Penguin Random House, 2016), was described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “science degustation served up by a Michelin-starred auteur who brings out dishes in a gorilla suit.”

Two of his novels have won the Australian national Ned Kelly Award for crime fiction.

When not writing, Andrew, who lives in central Victoria, can generally be found cooking, deploying his precious collection of hand-forged Japanese chef knives.

Tara Benson

Tara is an administration officer with over 8 years experience in retail and administration. She has extensive experience in management, client relations, and process optimisation.

She studied multimedia at QANTM College in Brisbane, before moving to Melbourne and is passionate about science, technology, and creative writing.

Tara assists Science in Public with its administration requirements after seeking a career change more suited to her interests.

She is a self-confessed ‘pop-culture geek’ and in her spare time can be found re-categorising her friends’ movie collections or sorting her comics into their appropriate Dewey Decimal location.

Zara Falkiner-Rose

Zara is a Science communicator and Digital Content Creative with a passion for science, design and technology.

With experience in graphic design, content creation art direction and social media management, Zara has an eclectic skillset that she has used to help a variety of clients including:

  • The Australian Council of Deans of Education
  • Pro Bono Australia
  • The Australian Business Deans Council, and
  • Philanthropy Australia

Zara also has a Bachelor of Communication (Advertising), majoring in Art Direction with a minor in Popular Culture from RMIT University (that means she’s really good at finding gifs and memes).

See Zara’s folio:

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 freelance editor, writer and science communicator based in Northcote, Melbourne. She worked in-house at Science in Public from 2008 to 2016 and still applies her editing skills to some of our projects. Earlier, Margie lectured in environmental policy and management at Deakin University after working in wetlands policy with the state government. She has a PhD in zoology and a graduate certificate in technical communication.

Margie regularly writes online health content and book reviews, and she has edited numerous annual and technical reports, textbooks, industry magazines and articles. She has worked on publications for Commonwealth and state governments, universities, publishers, not-for-profit organisations, professional societies, private companies and others.  

In 2014, Margie realised that her constant referral to the Style Manual was a clue that she was specialising as an editor. So she joined Editors Victoria (the state branch of IPEd, the Institute of Professional Editors) and was promptly appointed their newsletter editor. She currently volunteers on the Editors Victoria executive committee as communication officer.

Her freelance work gives Margie the pleasure of wrangling text into shape (both the words and formatting) and removing jargon and waffle to present scientific information clearly and directly.

Margie is online at

JeromeJerome Pelletier (Stepping Stone Films)

Jerome was born in the French speaking part of Switzerland. At the age of 14 he discovered his father’s super 8 camera – a small oddly shaped ‘state of the art’ Bolex camera. The gadget intrigued him, as well as the opportunity it was offering. Thus began a life-long passion for creating unique and beautiful images.

In 1990 he started his professional career with the opening of Canal 1 Atelier Video in Bienne, the home of Swiss watches, with his friend and colleague Yvan Kohler. After three successful years learning his craft, he decided to explore the world and came to Australia.

It didn’t take long for Jerome to fall in love with the beautiful Australian landscape, friendly people and relaxed lifestyle. And when, soon after arriving in 1994, he fell in love with his Australian wife Linda, his fate was sealed!

In 1999 he founded Stepping Stone Films and joined the Australian  Cinematographers Society (ACS) as an active member. Since then Stepping Stone Films has grown into a successful boutique production company and his talent as a Director of Photography has been recognised and acknowledged through more than 20 awards from the ACS.

Jerome has worked with Science in Public on many short videos over the years, including videos for the L’Oréal for Women in Science Fellowship program, and the CSL Florey Medal.

DSC_8987Toni Stevens

Toni is a science communicator with a background in journalism and environmental science. She currently works part-time in communication roles for the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) and the Conservation Ecology Centre on Cape Otway.

Toni was our Chief of Staff at Science in Public from 2012-2018. She managed 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.
  • delivery of media & communication training for scientists courses around the country.
  • co-ordination of our Fresh Science competition for early-career researchers with a story to tell; including promotion, management of the application and judging process, media training, event management, and  schools forums.
  • re-branding and ongoing management of the Stories of Australian Science website, plus Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Tamzin Byrne

Tamzin is currently based in Cambridge, UK, studying a Masters in Social Innovation at the University of Cambridge to explore how science communicators can retool to create more social impact from research. She’s also supporting start-ups with a social mission at Cambridge Social Ventures, and works with a handful of clients as a freelance consultant.

Her main interests are public health, food security and sustainability – global problems to which science can offer lifesaving solutions.

Before heading to Cambridge, she spent a year at Kenyan insect research institute ICIPE, working on projects about malaria, agricultural pests, beekeeping, edible insects and more.

Prior to that, Tamzin worked full-time from our office in Melbourne as a writer and media liaison across our portfolio of clients. A highlight was her work on the Higgs boson announcement – 100 stories placed in a single day about Australia’s involvement in this discovery.

Frankie Lee

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 Morganbran

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

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.

Michelle Kovacevic

Michelle is a science communicator, editor and facilitator with significant experience in communication strategy development and delivery, particularly to leverage the reach and impact of large and small-scale science events.

She has helped physicists in Melbourne, climate scientists in Paris, government officials in Indonesia, journalists in Southeast Asia, and agricultural entrepreneurs in South Africa find their voice amongst the technical jargon of their day-to-day work and use this to better impact policy and public opinion.

She’s also:

  • Developed sophisticated communication strategies for large events at UN climate meetings COP17, 18, 19 and 20
  • Ran an 800-person event at Rio+20 for the Brazilian government and UNDP.
  • Supported New Zealand’s Chief Science Advisor to launch the inaugural Science Advice to Governments conference.
  • Secured global coverage for the biggest climate science meeting in 2015 – Our Common Future Under Climate Change.
  • Ran Australia’s first virtual reality hackathon on urban sustainability, in collaboration with the Future Earth Media Lab. The results were presented at the world’s largest conference on cities (UN Habitat) in Ecuador.
  • Wrote and edited stories for the Future Earth blog, including a five-part special feature on how students, hackers and the general public are getting involved in sustainability research.
  • Helped conceive Future Earth’sPop-up webinar series and ran three webinars to teach researchers how to blog and use Twitter.

Michelle holds a first class honours degree in neuroscience and diploma in Indonesian language from the University of Melbourne, as well as an advanced diploma of group facilitation. Her full portfolio can be found at