Karen Lee-Waddell

Dr, BSc, BA, MSc, PhD, CD

  • The University of Western Australia (M468), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile

Roles and responsibilities

Dr Karen Lee-Waddell is the Director of the Australian SKA Regional Centre (AusSRC, https://aussrc.org), which is a partnership between CSIRO, Curtin University, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, and the University of Western Australia. In this role, she is leading the Australian effort to build computing and data intensive research capabilities to support astronomers using current and next generation radio telescopes.

Karen is also currently the Project Scientist for WALLABY (https://wallaby-survey.org), the all-sky survey that aims to detect and image the gas distribution in hundreds of thousands of galaxies using CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope. 


Karen completed all of her education in Ontario, Canada -- including a PhD at Queen’s University, MSc at the Royal Military College of Canada, BA(hons) at McMaster University, and a BSc(hons) also at McMaster. 

In 2015, she moved to Sydney, Australia as a Postdoctoral Fellow to pursue a dream of exploring the Universe with the technology made possible by CSIRO and the Australia Telescope National Facility. Karen’s research focuses on galaxy interactions and physical processes governing these systems, in order to better understand how the Universe is evolving and hopefully solve some of the greatest mysteries of the still unknown.

Karen is also passionate about science education and public outreach. She often volunteers in schools (as a part of the STEM Professionals in Schools program) and contributes to events aimed at sharing science and research with society, hoping to inspire the next generation of scientists.

Previous positions

During her first undergraduate degree, Karen joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a Logistics Officer. For 13 years, she was an active Reservist serving with units in Canada -- primarily HMCS STAR and HMCS CATARAQUI -- and in Australia (as a foreign exchange officer) working with the 8th Combat Service Support Battalion. In 2019, Karen was awarded with a Canadian Forces' Decoration medal for long service and good conduct.

Education/Academic qualification

Astrophysics & Astronomy, PhD, A multi-wavelength investigation of the gas-rich dwarf galaxy populations of three interacting groups: NGC 3166/9, NGC 871/6/7 and NGC 4725/47, Queen's University Kingston

Sept 2011Aug 2015

Award Date: 1 Nov 2015

Space Sciences, MSc, Exploring the neutral hydrogen distribution and the gas-rich dwarf galaxy population in the interacting galaxy group NGC 3166/9, Royal Military College of Canada

Sept 2009Aug 2011

Award Date: 17 Nov 2011

Classics, BA (hons), McMaster University

Sept 2007Apr 2009

Award Date: 8 Jun 2009

Physics, BSc (hons), McMaster University

Sept 2003Apr 2007

Award Date: 5 Jun 2007

External positions

WALLABY Project Scientist

Research expertise keywords

  • Astrophysics and astronomy
  • Radio astronomy
  • Extragalactic astronomy
  • Neutral hydrogen in galaxies
  • Galaxy interactions
  • Instrumentation - ASKAP, SKA
  • Data processing


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