Staff profile: Dr Rebecca Johnson

Position title:
Director, Australian Museum Research Institute, Science and Learning
DNA Laboratory
+612 9320 6237
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Rebecca is a certified wildlife forensic scientist and molecular geneticist with a BSc (Hons) in genetics from the University of Sydney and a PhD in the field of molecular evolutionary genetics from La Trobe University.

Rebecca has held roles as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, James Cook University, Townsville and Tufts University, Boston USA. She is now Head of the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics at the Australian Museum and Acting Head of Science Services & Infrastructure. Rebecca’s major interest is in the field of wildlife forensics and she has established the Museum as one of the global leaders in this field.

Rebecca represents the Museum on a number of government and industry committees in her area of expertise.

In her own words:

I Manage the Wildlife Genetics and Microscopy unit and I am also head of the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics.

My research career began in the fascinating field of Queensland fruit fly genetics (Bactrocera sp.). I then studied and worked for several years in the incredible world of social insect genetics where I studied molecular systems of ants, honey bees and wasps.

My research at the Australian Museum mainly involves collaborative projects such as:

One of my major areas of interest is Wildlife Forensics. In our laboratory we have worked on cases for many government agencies involving:

  • DNA Identification of shark fins and other seized fish parts

  • Dried animal body parts and skins

  • Bones and horns

  • Bird embryos

  • Birdstrikes’: DNA identification of animals that hit aeroplanes/airplanes for Australian Airports.



BSc (Hons) University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia 1995

PhD Molecular Evolutionary Genetics LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia 1999

Professional Memberships

Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS)

Genetics Society of Australia (GSA)

Society for Wildlife Forensic Science (SWFS)

International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG)

Research Projects

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