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Dr Clare Holleley

Group Leader


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Dr Clare Holleley is an evolutionary biologist that specialises in historical epigenomics and the epigenetics of environmentally controlled reptile sex determination.

She leads the Temporal Epigenomics team at the Australian National Wildlife Collection within CSIRO. Clare's team is developing cutting-edge methodologies to reveal temporal trends in the mode and tempo of epigenetic change over the last century. This work is poised to assist in the efforts to understand the biological impacts of altered climate regimes on sentinel vertebrate species such as reptiles, frogs and fish.

Clare is passionate about the value of natural history collections for genetic and genomic research and is a vocal advocate for the integration of historical insight into contemporary ecology and disease research.

Clare has attracted over $4.5 mill in competitive funding, published more than 50 papers, with many in top journals such as Science, Nature and PNAS.

Clare is a nationally recognised scientific communicator. You can learn more about some of her most impactful research on these ABC Catalyst episodes: Life Without Males and Parrots Versus Possums.
Learn more about Museum Epigenomics from one of her recent international invited seminars.

Other Interests

Membership in large multi-institutional research teams

  • 2024 – Present Temporal Epigenome Atlas. Founder and Director. CSIRO. Australia.
  • 2021 – 2024 AusARG. Australian Amphibian and Reptile Genomes Initiative. Bioplatforms Australia.
  • 2016 – Present Environomics Future Science Platform. CSIRO and Bioplatforms Australia.
  • 2016 –2019 Oz Mammal Genome Initiative. Bioplatforms Australia.
  • 2016 – 2018 Koala Genome Consortium
  • 2013 – 2015 Pogona Genome Consortium
  • 2013 – 2018 Swift Parrot Recovery Team. Advisory member.
  • 2010 – 2011 Genome 10K Consortium . Advisory member.

Achievements and Awards

  • 2022-

    Ross Crozier Medal for Mid-Career Research Excellence
    Genetics Society of Australasia

  • 2019-

    The Women in Science Career Award
    CSIRO Digital, National Facilities & Collections

  • 2014-

    ACT Young Tall Poppy Award
    Australian Institute of Policy and Science. For research excellence, public engagement and scientific leadership in Australia.

  • 2013-

    Breakthrough Scientist Award.
    Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra. For significant achievement through research.

Current Roles

  • Group Leader, Vertebrate Collections
    Leads two biological collections of national significance

  • Environomics Future Science Platform Project Leader
    Museum Epigenomics

  • Adjunct Professor University of Canberra
    Research and leadership in the field of sex determination

  • Editor
    Applied Ecological Genomics. CSIRO Press Textbook.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2009

    Doctor of Philosophy
    University of New South Wales, Australia

  • 2003

    Bachelor of Advanced Science Honours Class I
    University of Sydney, Australia

Professional Experiences

  • 2022-Present

    Principal Research Scientist
    Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO National Collections and Marine Infrastructure, Australia

  • 2016-2022

    Senior Research Scientist
    Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO National Collections and Marine Infrastructure, Australia

  • 2011-2015

    Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Australia

  • 2009-2011

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA

  • 2008-2009

    Postdoctoral Research Associate
    Centre for the Integrative Study of Animal Behaviour, Macquarie University, Australia


  • -

    Australian Research Council Grants -

  • 2022-2026

    ARC Discovery Grant. $1,257,021. The epigenetics of sex in the dragon. Arthur Georges; Paul Waters; Clare Holleley; Aurora Ruiz-Herrera; Jennifer Marshall Graves; Ira Deveson; Sudha Rao.

  • 2018-2021

    ARC Discovery Grant. $424,192. Does coevolution drive speciation? Naomi Langmore; Rebecca Kilner; Clare Holleley

  • 2017-2021

    ARC Discovery Grant. $1,006,500. Sex determination in dragons: Genetics, epigenetics and environment. Arthur Georges; Janine Deakin; Stephen Sarre; Tariq Ezaz; Paul Waters; Lisa Schwanz; Jennifer Graves; Clare Holleley.

  • -

    Major Competitive Internal Grants -

  • 2020-2022

    Environomics Future Science Platform Project. $731,833. Museum Epigenomics

  • 2018-2021

    Environomics Future Science Platform Project. $561,049. When stress gets too much: where are Australia’s ecological breaking-points?

  • 2017-2021

    Intramural Research Program Grant. $79,000. Y-chromosome sequencing in the domestic cat

  • -

    Small Competitive Grants -

  • 2021-2022

    Acorn Grant. CSIRO Health and Biosecurity. $30,000. Retroviral-enriched RNA from archived wildlife for viral origin tracing. With Marina Alexander.

  • 2021-

    Ignition Project Grant. Centre for Biodiversity Analysis. $10,000. Skinks with thermolabile sex as indicators of environmental change. With Duminda Dissanayake.

  • 2021-

    Ignition Project Grant. Centre for Biodiversity Analysis. $10,000. Genomic identification of museum-preserved parasites and their hosts from formalin media. With Erin Hahn.

  • 2019-

    Ignition Project Grant. Centre for Biodiversity Analysis. $10,000. Genome capture for eggshell genomics to improve biodiversity assessment in Australian birds. With Alicia Grealy.

  • 2016-

    Ignition Project Grant. Centre for Biodiversity Analysis. $10,000. Biogeography of sex reversal and the effects of climate change on reptile sex determination.

  • 2014-

    International Visitors Program Grant. University of Canberra. $9,000.

  • 2013-

    RocketHub Crowd Funding Campaign. The Sugar Glider Genetics Project. $9,019.

  • 2013-

    Institute for Applied Ecology Researcher Encouragement Scheme. $2,000. Wildlife forensics to discover the origin of exotic marsupials introduced to the USA.

  • 2012-

    Early Career Research Grant. University of Canberra. $19,770. Sequencing the first carnivore sex chromosome.

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2018- 2019

    CSIRO Enterprise Systems Improvement Reference Group Participant

  • 2017-2020

    Co-ordinator of NRCA Summer Vacation Scholar Program

  • 2016-2017

    Committee member for NRCA Summer Vacation Scholar Program

  • 2014-

    Sponsored ACT representative at the Science in Australia Gender Equality forum (SAGE). Australian Academy of Science.

  • 2014-

    Scientific Presenter Australian Academy of Science Initiative:

  • 2014-

    Workshop convenor and keynote speaker. Early Career Researchers Workshop. University of Canberra. Empirical investigations of gender equity in science disciplines.

  • 2009-2011

    Mentor and Supervisor. Werner H. Kirsten Student Intern Program. A National Cancer Institute & Frederick County High-School Partnership.

  • 2013-2014

    Committee member. Women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. University of Canberra.

  • 2013-2014

    Scientific expert for sugar glider pet-owners and enthusiasts.

We have publications by Dr Clare Holleley

    Published data & software

    We have published items by Dr Clare Holleley