Dr Jen Matthews has pioneered the application of metabolomics to unravel the metabolic interactions underpinning coral health and resilience to environmental change.
Increasing environmental pressures, such as increased sea temperatures, are causing the catastrophic loss of coral cover around the globe, including the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world: the Great Barrier Reef. So, it’s unsurprising we are starting to see corals migrate poleward to cooler waters. In fact, Sydney has recently become home to a new subtropical coral. This raises a significant question: Could Sydney be a refuge for corals from the warming GBR?
A Human Frontier Science Programme Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, Jen holds a PhD in Marine Biology (Dean’s list, Victoria University Wellington), a MRes (Imperial College London) and a BSc (Honours, Bath University). Jen is dedicated to finding solutions to current environmental challenges, targeting local (e.g. tropicalization of coastal NSW), national (e.g. Great Barrier Reef restoration), and global topics (e.g. microplastic pollution).
Her contributions are internationally recognised, being invited to join the prestigious Coral Bleaching Research Coordination Network, and the International Metabolomics Society Early-Career Members Network. In 2009, she founded ‘Big Blue Conservation’, a not-for-profit organisation protecting and restoring beautiful reef ecosystems in Thailand. Her industry engagement while developing the innovative microplastics removal tool, funded by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation Seed Innovation Grant, has shown her to be an emerging STEMprenuer. Despite her early-career stage, Jen has secured $300,000 in competitive funding, produced 14 publications and actively advocates for effective science communication and women-in-STEM, through programs such as SoapboxScience Sydney 2019-2020.