Kirsten Benkendorff

B.Sc. (Hons 1st class, Mq)
Ph.D. (UoW)

Research Summary

Dr Benkendorff's research program is focused on the bioresource value of marine molluscs. She has made significant contributions towards the development of marine molluscs as indicators for assessing human impacts on intertidal reefs. She has developed a suite of assays for assessing disease resistance in molluscs to reduce mortality in aquaculture and predict the effects of global climate change. She is also investigating the development of marine molluscs for human medicine and has identified a promising anticancer agent that is currently undergoing preclinical trials. Dr Benkendorff is the Vice president of the Australasian Malacological Society.


2011 Dorothy Hill Award from the Australian Academy of Science

2008 SA Young Tall Poppy Award, Australian Institute of Policy and Science

2001 N.S.W. Young Australian of the Year Award for the Environment, NSW National Australia Day Council

2000 Young Australian of the Year Award for Science and Technology, National Australia Day Council


Dr Benkendorff has attracted over $3.4mill in research funding. Currently funded projects include:

ARC linkage LP0989354. Enhancing Seagrass Restoration: Improving Hessian Durability in Marine Environments. Quinton, J Benkendorff, K., Clarke, S., Murray-Jones S. and Tanner J

Philanthropic Foundation. Preclinical testing of purified muricid mollusc extract in rodent models for colorectal cancer. Benkendorff, K.

Australian Seafood CRC. Antiviral defence and the abalone ganglioneurtis virus. Benkendorff, K and Speck, P.

Teaching and Supervision

Dr Benkendorff currently teaches into 1st year Biology and is Unit assessor for Ecology in the School of Environmental Science and Management at Southern Cross University. Prior to moving to SCU, she has 7 years teaching experience as a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University, designing and coordinating topics (units) such as Disease and Immunology and Animal Diversity. Dr Benkendorff has successfully supervised 7 PhD students, 2 Masters of Biotechnology and 27 Honours students to completion and currently supervises 6 PhD students and 2 Honours students.