UNSW experts advising on the bushfire crisis

UNSW academics are available for interview on the bushfires, discussing links to climate change, and how fires affect our health and water supplies.


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UNSW academics whose work and research digs into the deeper causes and effects of bushfires are available for interview.

Bushfire and climate science

Associate Professor Scott David Mooney, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, is an expert in bushfire, fire history, past climate change, climate variability, and human impacts.

Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick is a senior lecturer at the Climate Change Research Centre and a climate scientist interested in extreme events. She researches comprehensive methods of attributing heatwaves to climate change, and how we might be able in attribute the health impacts of heatwaves to climate change.

Dr Sophie Lewis at UNSW Canberra is a climate scientist that uses climate models, observations and palaeoclimate records to provide a long-term perspective on recent climate change. She has a particular focus on recent extreme rainfall and temperature events in Australia.


Professor Mike Letnic, Centre for Ecosystem Science, can advise on effects bushfires have on native animals, as well as terrestrial ecology, ecosystem restoration, management of invasive species, and predators.

Air pollution and health

Professor Guy Marks, South Western Sydney Clinical School at UNSW Medicine. The major focus of his research interest is lung health with specific focus on airways disease, air pollution and tuberculosis. 

Conjoint Professor Bin Jalaludin is an expert on the health effects of air pollution with UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM). 

Dr Christine Cowie, environmental epidemiologist at UNSW Medicine, is an expert in the health effects of exposure to bushfire smoke and air pollution.

Professor Margaret Morris from UNSW Medicine is an expert in intergenerational effects of dietary and stress exposures, and can talk about the potential impact of the bushfires on the health of women and development of children in particular.

Water quality and management

Professor Stuart Khan, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is an expert on the impact of extreme weather events on water quality.

Professor Greg Leslie, Director UNSW Global Water Institute (GWI), is focused on water infrastructure resilience assessment and recovery.

Dr Mark Diesendorf, Honorary Associate Professor, is available to comment on the competing water supply demands for fighting bushfires. 

Energy infrastructure

John Fletcher is a Professor (Energy Systems Research Group) with the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications. He can comment on the impact of bushfires on energy infrastructure.

Mental health, trauma

Professor Richard Bryant at the School of Psychology is Director of the UNSW Traumatic Stress Clinic. His main areas of research are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Prolonged Grief Disorder.

Tourism and financial impact

J.W. Nevile Fellow Tim Harcourt can advise on on the economics of the bushfires and measures to ensure the economic recovery of affected communities.

Professor Gigi Foster specialises in behavioural economics and is an expert on the impact on tourism in bushfire-ravaged communities. 

Professor Michael Sherris is available to comment on potential increases in insurance premiums and the impact on home value following the bushfire crisis.

Professor of Economics Richard Holden is an expert in law, economics and the political economy and can advise on the financial impact of bushfires on the Australian economy.

Road safety

Professor Ann Williamson and Associate Professor Soufiane Boufous are leading researchers in UNSW's Transport and Road Safety Research Centre.


Scientia Professor Jane McAdam, UNSW Law, is available to comment on the impacts of displacement caused by the bushfires.

Post-disaster recovery

Professor David Sanderson is an international disaster risk reduction expert at UNSW Built Environment. He has over 25 years’ experience working in crisis around the world, engaging with aid agencies to improve humanitarian response and build resilience. 

Effect of bushfire smoke on buildings

Adjunct Lecturer in Architecture from UNSW Built Environment, Geoff Hanmer, is an expert in bushfire smoke management in different building types. 

Dr Shamila Haddad from UNSW Built Environment is an expert on indoor air pollution and air quality and can comment on the ways residents can be protected from bushfire smoke.

Climate change and politics, justice

Jeremy Moss is a Professor of Political Philosophy at UNSW Arts & Social Sciences. Professor Moss’s main research interests include projects on climate justice, the ethics of renewable energy as well as the ethical issues associated with climate transitions. 

Associate Professor David McKnight at UNSW Arts & Social Sciences investigates the intersection of climate change, politics and journalism. His research is strongly focused on climate denial in politics and the power of the coal industry.

Landscape management

Dr Elisa Palazzo at UNSW Built Environment is an expert in climate and water sensitive cities and adaptive designs, as well as the resilience of peri-urban landscapes, which extend to landscape management aspects of bushfires.