Dr Bryan Lessard

OCE Postdoctoral Fellow - Science

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Biography

Dr Bryan Lessard is an entomologist at CSIRO’s National Research Collections Australia researching the taxonomy and evolution of medically important flies and mosquitoes. Bryan’s research interests lie in biodiversity discovery, having identified more than 150 species new to science and officially naming more than 50 species from Australia and New Zealand. He also enjoys working in collaborative teams to identify alternative insect pollinators using metabarcording, and unlock the mysteries of natural history specimens using digitisation and collection genomics. More recently, Bryan has developed an interest in edible insects, having advised insect farmers, industry and government to help develop guidelines on the use of insects to sustainably feed the growing population. Bryan enjoys supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students and currently lectures in Invertebrate Biology at the Australian National University. His passion for promoting natural history collections to a global audience began in 2011 when he named a new species of horse fly after Beyoncé, which sparked a global conversation on the importance of taxonomy and collection-based research. Since then, Bryan, better known to the public as Bry the Fly Guy, has built a strong rapport with the media to promote taxonomy to a younger generation through multiplatform campaigns integrating TV, radio, print and social media. He has appeared on Gardening Australia, Totally Wild and The Project, given a TEDx talk, hosted fortnightly segments on ABC radio, appeared in articles published in BBC, USA Today and CNN, and lead the Australian Geographic Citizen Scientist Expedition for three consecutive years to Lord Howe Island to discover new species of insects.

Current Roles

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Revision and classification of the Australian mosquitoes

  • Research and Curation Team
    Australian National Insect Collection

  • Spokesperson
    National Research Collections Australia

Academic Qualifications

  • 2013

    PhD
    Australian National University

  • 2008

    Bachelor Biotechnology (Advanced) Hon I
    University of Wollongong

Professional Experiences

  • 2015-2018

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    CSIRO: Revision and classification of the Australian soldier flies

  • 2017-present

    Associate Editor
    Zoologia

  • 2016-present

    Scientific consultant for small to medium sized enterprise
    Goterra, Australia's largest commercial insect farm

  • 2010-present

    Visiting Fellow (Lecturer)
    Australian National University

  • 2016-2017

    Science Inquiry Workshop
    CSIRO Discovery

Achievements and Awards

  • 2018-

    Winner of the ACT Tall Poppy of The Year Award
    Australian Institute of Policy and Science

  • 2018-

    Member of the Australian Science Superheroes
    Australia’s Chief Scientist

  • 2017-

    Winner of the Early Career Research Excellence Award
    Society of Australian Systematic Biologists

  • 2016-

    TEDx Talk
    TEDx Canberra

  • 2016-

    Winner of the Council of Heads of Australian Entomological Collections Speaker Prize
    Australian Entomological Society

  • 2011-

    Winner of the Presidential Prize for Best Presentation
    Entomological Society of America

Other highlights

  • 2019-present

    Semiregular radio segment: Bry the Fly Guy with Matt Webber on ABC Drive Gold Coast

  • 2017-2018

    Task-force member advising Australian policy makers on implementing insects as livestock feed

  • 2016-2018

    Leader of the Australian Geographic Citizen Science Expedition to Lord Howe Island

  • 2017-

    Semiregular radio segment: "Bry the Fly Guy's Top 5 interesting facts on Australian biodiversity" with Chris Bath on ABC Evenings

Grants

  • 2020-2024

    CSIRO Industry PhD grant for "Exploration and commercialisation of Australia's edible insects"

  • 2019-2020

    CSIRO Acorn grant for "Nutritional value of native edible insect species with potential for commercial production"

  • 2019-

    CSIRO Cutting Edge Symposium for "Developing Australia’s edible insect industry to improve environmental, health and cultural outcomes"

  • 2018-2021

    Australian Biological Resources Study Postdoctoral Research Fellow Grant for "Rebooting mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) biosystematics in Australia: integrative taxonomy of the subgenus Culex"

  • 2018-

    Centre for Biodiversity Analysis Synthesis grant for "Using expert elicitation to identify impacts of climate change on Australia’s alpine animals"

  • 2017-2019

    Environomics Future Science Platform grant for "Metagenomics of plant-pollinator networks"

  • 2017-2019

    Environomics Future Science Platform grant for "High-throughput collection genomics & framework data sets"

  • 2016-2019

    Australian Biological Resources Study APA Top Up Scholarship for "Revision of the Australian bristle fly genus 'Rutilia' Robineau-Desvoidy, 1930 (Diptera: Tachinidae)"

  • 2010-2011

    Australian Biological Resources Study Bush Blitz Capacity-Building Grant for the "Taxonomy, systematics and biodiversity of Australian horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae)"

  • 2008-2008

    Australian Biological Resources Study Honours Research Grant for "Investigating the taxonomic status of the forensically important blowfly 'Chrysomyia rufifacies' (Diptera: Calliphoridae)"

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2017-present

    Insect Protein Association of Australia

  • 2018-present

    CSIRO Pride Network

Publications

We have publications by Dr Bryan Lessard