Kirsty Smith

Kirsty Smith

Manager – Molecular Algal Ecology

Role at Cawthron

Kirsty is a molecular ecologist and has worked in various roles at Cawthron since 2005, including as a technician for freshwater microalgae and researching seafood safety and biosecurity.

In 2012/13 she was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and worked at the Shimoda Marine Research Center at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. Kirsty then returned to New Zealand and the Cawthron Institute, where she now leads the molecular component of the Safe New Zealand Seafood Programme, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. She also works on projects under the NIWA-funded Coasts and Oceans Research Programme (Marine Biosecurity, core funding).

In 2014 Kirsty was awarded a sought-after Marsden Fund Fast-Start Award grant to lead a new research projecting investigating species’ adaptation to climate change.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Phylogenetics 
  • Population genetics 
  • DNA barcoding 
  • Next-generation sequencing 
  • Small genome assembly 
  • Toxic marine dinoflagellates 
  • Species identification

Professional affiliations and achievements

  • Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Post-Doctoral Fellowship 
  • New Zealand Postgraduate Study Abroad Award, Education New Zealand 
  • Dr FG Maskell Prize in Zoology, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Marsden Fund Fast Start Award recipient, 2014
    Kirsty Smith