Joanna Sumner


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Dr Joanna Sumner is passionate about Australia’s unique wildlife and believes we should be doing everything possible to preserve the exquisite and essential diversity of life in our natural world.

Joanna is a wildlife biologist and conservation geneticist. She received a Bachelor of Science, Honours (1st Class) from the University of Sydney and holds a PhD from the University of Queensland. Her PhD research examined the effect of habitat fragmentation on endemic rainforest reptiles in Queensland for which she was awarded the Dean’s Award for an Outstanding PhD thesis. On completing her PhD Joanna was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship by the Australian Research Council. Joanna’s first love is Australia’s diverse reptile fauna, and she has held the offices of President, Vice-President and Treasurer of the Australian Society of Herpetologists, the professional society for reptile and amphibian researchers.

Joanna is the Senior Manager of Genetic Resources at Museums Victoria, managing the wildlife DNA collection and facilitating conservation, taxonomy, and evolutionary genetic research. She oversaw creation of the Ian Potter Australian Wildlife BioBank at Melbourne Museum, a research laboratory and cryopreservation facility that holds a collection of over 50 000 wildlife samples. She is seeking to expand that facility to enable the preservation of primary cell lines and reproductive cells from native Australian fauna. These living cells will safeguard genetic diversity which is vital for wildlife to maintain their ability to evolve in our changing environment.

Joanna has been chosen as one of 80 women to attend the Homeward Bound leadership programme in Antarctica in November 2023. This program aims to inspire women to lead in their STEMM fields, to hone their leadership and communication skills, and contribute positively to a more sustainable future. Joanna is committed to applying her knowledge and skills to improve conservation outcomes for Australian wildlife.


To investigate best practice techniques for cryopreservation of Australia's unique wildlife

To investigate best practice techniques for cryopreservation of Australia's unique wildlife

United Kingdom
Joanna Sumner

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