About the Dean

Emma Johnston


Professor Emma Johnston

Professor Emma Johnston is a leading authority in marine ecology and a former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW.

Professor Johnston has an exceptional research career. She is head of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab at UNSW, and has led major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Antarctic Science Program. She was the inaugural director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

Her UNSW research group investigates the ecology of human impacts in marine systems, combining the diverse disciplines of ecology, microbiology and ecotoxicology to expand fundamental understanding and provide recommendations for management.  Her research is conducted in such diverse field environments as Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef and temperate Australian estuaries.

Professor Johnston studied science at the University of Melbourne, graduating with a PhD in 2002, and was an Australia Research Fellow at UNSW from 2010-2014. Her research has been recognised with numerous awards, including the inaugural Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science (2014), the NSW Science and Engineering Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences (2012) and the Hynes Award from the Canadian Rivers Institute (2016).

Professor Johnston is also a high-profile science communicator, winning the 2015 Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research. She is a regular media commentator and, as co-presenter for the Foxtel/BBC television series, Coast Australia, has helped take Australian marine science to an international audience.

As President-Elect of Science and Technology Australia, Professor Johnston is also a public advocate for science and for increasing the participation of women in research.

She was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW in May 2016 and Dean of Science in May 2017.