Dr Jessica Worthington Wilmer
BSc (Hons), PhD
At St Margaret’s 1980-1985
Dr Jessica Worthington Wilmer is a research scientist, laboratory and collection manager at the Queensland Museum & Science Centre. Joining the Queensland Museum in 2002 as its first specialist geneticist, Jessica established and runs the museum’s first molecular lab maintaining an active genetic research program of Queensland’s biodiversity. She helped establish and continues to manage the museum’s frozen tissue collection and participates in numerous public science programs including co-curating two exhibitions.
After graduating from St Margaret’s in 1985, Jessica deferred her university studies to have a “gap year” as a Rotary Exchange Student in Norway. She returned to Australia in 1987, starting her Science degree at The University of Queensland. In 1990, she conducted an extra research year and was awarded First Class Honours. In 1991, she worked as a research assistant at La Trobe University in Melbourne, then between 1992 and 1996 she completed her PhD in evolutionary genetics of the Australian ghost bat at The University of Queensland. Between 1996 and 1999, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Zoology Department, University of Cambridge, UK. After winning an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, Jessica moved to the Biology Department, Boston University, USA in 1999.
Reflecting on her St Margaret’s education Jessica said: “I am, in part, a professional scientist today because I absolutely loved my senior biology classes. St Margaret’s fostered a sense of confidence and belief to actively pursue what we were good at and most enjoyed.”