BDC Alumni 2006, Alex Thomson - Superstar of STEM

Tuesday, 31 Aug 2021

Alexandra Thomson sat for the HSC at BDC in 2006 leading to her tertiary education at the University of Technology in Sydney. Specialising in Environmental Biology, Alex undertook an honours year researching the resilience of Victorian temperate seagrasses. She led an investigation assessing seagrass (Zostera nigricaulis) vegetation fragments as a potential mode of long-distance dispersal. The research involved extensive laboratory analysis of both vegetative and sediment samples, involving sediment grain size, quantification of sulfide and organic matter with sediments. Extensive field work was also involved, consisting of regular snorkelling surveys, and applying the use of pulse amplitude fluorometer technology (PAM). 

From 2013 to 2016 Alex read for a Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Sciences. The focus of her research was on vegetated coastal habitats – or “Blue Carbon” systems, encompassing seagrass, saltmarsh, and mangrove environments. This project was a part of the Coastal Carbon Cluster, a CSIRO and university-linked initiative to conduct scientific research into Australia’s coastal carbon stocks and strengthen Australia’s carbon economy, and provide guided policy and management recommendations. While writing her thesis Alex lectured in Ecology, Biology, Marine Productivity and Climate Change and was a research assistant for UTS-based projects and collaborated with CSIRO scientists.

From 2018 to 2021 she was the manager of the Deep Green Biotech Hub (DGBH) located at the University of Technology Sydney, bringing together researchers, SMEs, industry, start-ups, students and other stakeholders to bring NSW to the forefront of algae-based biotechnology innovation in Australia. During this time she:

  • Developed science programming for the Splendour in the Grass music festival
  • Delivered educational outreach to more than 1000 high school students
  • Was an invited keynote speaker to international conferences and festivals, speaking on sustainability and climate change
  • Supported over 90 startups via DGBH
  • Delivered public events attracting more than 45 000 people

Currently Alex is the Faculty Research Engagement Manager in the Faculty of Science, where she facilitates connections between researchers and industry to create new opportunities for science and innovation. 

She is a TedX speaker, science communicator, MC, and has received a number of awards for conference presentations, teaching, and public engagement programs. She is also a Subject Coordinator in the School of Life Sciences at UTS and a Science and Technology Australia awarded “Superstar of STEM”. 

You can check out her TedX talk here: 

Congratulations to Alex for her amazing achievements and her contribution to Science - another BDC Success.