Dr Christina Zdenek

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science


I am currently a postdoctoral Fellow of the Venom Evolution Lab at The University of Queensland. With more than 16 years in field-involved roles and 8 years in lab-based roles, my research interests have ranged from parrot vocalisations to animal cognition, snake venom activity, antivenom efficacy, snake ecology, and snake behaviour. My ultimate purpose is to use science to create a better world, for humans and for wildlife. [Note: the grants section of this profile exclude the 7 grants (totalling $56,000) that I was awarded during my PhD and MPhil]

Research Impacts

My current research aims to reduce the human-snake conflict. I do this by trying to better understand snake venoms, the effectiveness of snanke antivenoms, and snake behaviour. I hope my scientific outputs and science communication helps ameliorate the burden of snakebite on society. For venom and antivenom studies, I use high-throughput methods to ascertain how venom affects the human body, and how well antivenoms (conventional and next-generation) perform in vitro on human blood. For snake studies, I collaborate with experts from various institutions and disciplines.

More specifically, my work helps determine the effectiveness of next-generation snakebite therapeutic options, plus helps map the geographic and phylogenetic patterns of pathophysiological effects and relative coverage by conventional antivenoms. This work is particularly important to fill knowledge gaps for antivenoms that have not undergone clinical trials (and sometimes not even pre-clinical lab testing) but are nonetheless currently being used to treat snakebite. Another benefit to society that my research provides is advancing medical science by developing new, innovative methods with which to study snake venoms and antivenoms, without the use of animal models. This attribute enables versatility and flexibility that has historically been impossible and has significant biomedical implications.

My field research on Palm Cockatoos, Death Adders, and myriad Australian Psittacines (parrots and cockatoos) aims to improve the lives and preservation of these species, while helping humans live peacefully along side them.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Philosophy, Australian National University


  • Heinsohn, R., Zdenek, C. N., Appleby, D. and Endler, J. A. (2023). Individual preferences for sound tool design in a parrot. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 290 (2006). doi: 10.1098/rspb.2023.1271

  • Walker, Andrew A., Robinson, Samuel D., Merritt, David J., Cardoso, Fernanda C., Goudarzi, Mohaddeseh Hedayati, Mercedes, Raine S., Eagles, David A., Cooper, Paul, Zdenek, Christina N., Fry, Bryan G., Hall, Donald W., Vetter, Irina and King, Glenn F. (2023). Horizontal gene transfer underlies the painful stings of asp caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Megalopygidae). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120 (29) e2305871120, e2305871120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2305871120

  • Zdenek, Christina N., Rodrigues, Caroline F. B., Bourke, Lachlan A., Tanaka-Azevedo, Anita Mitico, Monagle, Paul and Fry, Bryan G. (2023). Children and snakebite: snake venom effects on adult and paediatric plasma. Toxins, 15 (2) 158, 1-16. doi: 10.3390/toxins15020158

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Journal Article

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision