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Matilda Brown is undertaking a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Tasmania.

Her PhD project aims to use machine learning algorithms to systematically explore the links between leaf architecture, function and environment. Understanding the functional traits of leaves at the cellular level will allow us to better manage the effects of a changing climate with regard to biodiversity and food production.

This study will facilitate collaboration between disciplines and universities, and will have broad implications for computational biology, plant ecophysiology and evolution.

Originally from Launceston, Matilda has had a lifelong fascination with nature, which goes beyond her studies. The botany and palaeobiology major has volunteered at the Tasmanian Herbarium for nearly three years, and worked as a bushwalking guide in both Tasmania and Alice Springs.

When she not looking at leaves in a laboratory, she is usually looking at leaves in Tasmania’s wilderness, or explaining to students what makes biology (and particularly leaves) so fascinating.

She has a passion for science communication and teaching, and seek to harness the technology at our fingertips in novel ways to answer the ‘whys’ of the world around us.

In 2018, Matilda was named a recipient of the Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship to continue her research into the functional micromorphology of leaves.


  • –present
    PhD, University of Tasmania