Blog icon


For the last year, I've been project leader for the "Agriculture and Food Data School", an intensive and immersive internship aimed at up-skilling our staff in digital literacy. I've seen this program grow from an educational experiment in the imaginations of individuals, to a transformative experience for a select few, through to its ultimate CSIRO-wide roll-out as the Digital+Domain's "Digital Academy".

I have a strong personal commitment to excellence and inclusivity in digital literacy education, e.g. through my active involvement with the Software Carpentry global community as an instructor. I have a passion for Python and have contributed to several international, open source software packages, e.g. the haplotype reconstruction program ShoRAH. I also maintain a strong research interest in evolutionary genomics and the mechanistic processes underlying adaptive evolution, and have published primary research on the evolution of birds, bacteria, and viruses.

Other Interests

I am a science educator and communicator, and enjoy writing about my work and encouraging young scientists. I have published numerous articles in COSMOS magazine and have also been featured talking about my research on ABC's "The Science Show".

I am a certified instructor for the volunteer organisation 'Software Carpentry', and have helped design workshops for Bioplatforms Australia. Most recently, I have organised and secured funding for the 'Advanced Scientific Programming in Python' course to come to Canberra in January 2019.


McElroy K. (2018). Data distinctions, disasters, and the CSIRO Ag & Food Data School. ANU Ecology and Evolution Seminar Series. Canberra, Australia.

McElroy K. (2018). Beyond trait-based selection: adaptive diversity for sustainable agriculture. Genetics Society of AustralAsia Annual Conference. Canberra, Australia.

McElroy K. (2017). ‘Illuminating’ the black box of NGS library preparation from degraded specimens. Centre for Biodiversity Analysis 'Genomics and Collections' Symposium. Canberra, Australia.

McElroy K.(2014). Positive selection drives short-term diversification of developing Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. University of Melbourne Genetics Department Seminar Series. Melbourne, Australia.

McElroy K, Catullo R. (2013). Comparative genomics of climate adaptation in
Drosophila. OCE Genomics Symposium. Canberra, Australia.

McElroy K, Woo J, Majzoub M, Hui J, Kjelleberg S, Rice S, Egan S, Thomas T. (2012). Deep sequencing of evolving bacterial populations. 14th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology. Copenhagen, Denmark.

McElroy K, Luciani F, Hui J, Rice S, Thomas T. (2011). Bacteriophage evolution drives Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA01 biofilm diversification. 19th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology / 10th European Conference on Computational Biology. Vienna, Austria.

McElroy K, Luciani F, Thomas T. (2011). GemSIM: General, Error-Model Based Simulator of next- generation sequencing. Bioinformatics Open Source Conference. Vienna, Austria.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2013

    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Applications of Next-gen Sequencing to Microbial Evolution
    The University of New South Wales

  • 2007

    Masters in Epidemiology and Infections Biology
    Swiss Tropical Institute

  • 2005

    Bachelor of Biomedical Science
    The University of Melbourne

  • 2005

    Diploma of Music (Harpsichord)
    The University of Melbourne

Professional Experiences

  • 2013-2017

    Postdoctoral Researcher, Evolutionary Rescue and Climate Genomics

  • 2009-2012

    Freelance Science Journalist
    Various, including Cosmos and Green Lifestyle

  • 2010-2012

    Research Assistant, Bioinformatics

  • 2007-2008

    Research Assistant, Daphnia Genetics
    Zoological Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland

Achievements and Awards

  • 2012-2012

    1st Prize, Science Faculty Three Minute Thesis Competition
    University of New South Wales

  • 2011-2011

    Adrian Lee Travel Fellowship
    University of New South Wales

  • 2010-2010

    Smith White Award
    Genetics Society of AustralAsia

  • 2010-2010

    Royal Society of NSW Scholarship
    Royal Society of New South Wales

  • 2009-2009

    Australian Postgraduate Award
    Department of Education


  • July 2014-July 2015

    Ignition Grant - Landscape genomics of Red-browed finches