Dr Vanessa Pirotta


Dr Vanessa Pirotta

Superstar of STEM Mentor and Superstar of STEM Alumna

Wildlife Scientist
Rapiscan Systems
Macquarie University

Vanessa is a wildlife scientist, woman in STEMM/STEAM, science communicator and author.

Vanessa’s research uses innovative technologies for wildlife conservation. She works collaboratively across both marine and terrestrial environments merging cutting edge tech to access animals in unique ways. Most notable works include drones to collect whale snot and the use of computer algorithms and AI for the detection of illegal wildlife trafficking.

Vanessa is a passionate and experienced science communicator who plays an important role in society by making science accessible. She’s represented Australia internationally as the international runner up of the world-renowned science communication competition FameLab, spoken on the TEDx platform, been recognized by the Australian Financial Review as one of the top 100 Women of Influence and listed as one of Science & Technology Australia’s Superstars of STEM.

Vanessa is the lead scientist of the scientific and citizen science program Wild Sydney Harbour, which is learning more about marine life in Sydney Harbour, Australia. As part of this, Vanessa is leading scientific research with the Gamay Rangers. Together, they are combining First Nation Knowledge and scientific research to learn more about marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and fur seals.

Vanessa is also a proud children’s book author, with her book The Voyage of Whale and Calf, serving as an annual reminder of humpback whale biology and ecology in Australian waters.