Dr. Christina Zdenek is a biologist and scientist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia, where she is the Lab Manager for the Venom Evolution Lab as a post-doctoral research fellow. Her work on the human-snake conflict began over 10 years ago (in 2009) and has ranged from public education to pre-clinical antivenom testing. From 2010-2016, she seasonally worked as a venomous-snake education demonstrator along the east coast of Australia, educating the public on snake safety, identification, and first-aid. Since 2015, she has worked in The Venom Evolution Lab, improving our understanding of venom function (e.g. venom action upon the blood and nervous systems) by dozens of snake species from across the world, as well as the efficacy of numerous antivenoms.
Her snake venom research aims to facilitate evidence-based decisions by clinicians and antivenom producers by mapping the geographic and phylogenetic patterns of venom effects and relative coverage by conventional and next-generation antivenoms such as small-molecule inhibitors. Her 5-and-counting years researching snake venom aims to help ameliorate the human-snake conflict by reducing the severity of snakebites by improving clinical management of snakebite.
In 2018 she started The #DeathAdderProject to better understand a poorly understood snake species in Australia. More recently, she started the #SoundGardenProject, a synergy of the arts and sciences, a collaboration b/w the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology, investigating snake behaviour in response to airborne sounds. She has published over 40 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. Regarding science communication, she has been contracted for multiple episodes and nature videos about snakes, and she produces snake videos for her two YouTube channels (@Christina N. Zdenek; @A WILD LIFE with Chris and Christina), and wildlife-based Instagram and Twitter accounts (@CNZdenek). Her ultimate purpose is to use science to promote a better world, for humans and for wildlife. You can learn more about Christina’s work by visiting her website.