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Kirsten Benkendorff

BSc(Mq), PhD(UoW)


Faculty of Science and Engineering

02 6620 3755
National Marine Science Centre
Kirsten Benkendorff


Orchid ID



Professor Kirsten Benkendorff is a 2023 Superstar of STEM and an interdisciplinary, researcher with contributions spanning from the molecular to the ecosystem scales of marine biology and biomedical research. She has held a range of leadership roles including former Director of the National Marine Science Centre; Deputy Director, Marine Ecology Research Centre; Director, Higher Degree Research and Training - School of Environment, Science and Engineering; and, Academic Director, Analytical Research Laboratory, Southern Cross University.


Professor Kirsten Benkendorff's research program is focused on the bio-resource value of marine molluscs and includes assessing the impacts of ocean climate change and environmental contaminants on the immune health and nutritional quality of seafood species. She is also investigating the use of marine molluscs for human medicine and has identified a promising anticancer and anti-inflammatory agent that is in preclinical trials. Professor Benkendorff's research approach involves applying sound experimental design, along with the tools of immunology, microbiology, cancer biology, genetics and natural products chemistry to investigate molluscan evolutionary adaptations, thus providing new leads for the development of novel bio-resources. Professor Benkendorff has attracted over $8 million in funding to support her research programs from a various nationally competitive and industry sources. She was awarded the 2011 Dorothy Hill Award from the Australian Academy of Science, a 2008 SA Young Tall Poppy Award and the 2000 Young Australian of the Year Award in Science and Technology.

Professor Benkendorff has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications and is an Associate Editor for Marine Drugs and Nature Scientific Reports. She is on the Council for the Malacological Society of Australasia (Vice President 2009-2020).


Professor Benkendorff currently teaches into the Bachelor of Science and Master of Marine Science & Management programs including Unit assessor for Invertebrate Life and Masters Research Projects, as well as contributing to Pest and Disease Management and 1st year Organisms and Environments.

Professor Benkendorff has successfully supervised 30 PhD's, 3 Masters of Biotechnology, 4 Masters of Marine Science and Management, and 34 Honours students to completion. She currently supervises research projects for 8 PhD candidates at Southern Cross University

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