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Amy MacIntosh


Amy_MacIntosh - ecotoxicologist

Amy MacIntosh’s fascination with the behaviour and anatomy of animals has led her to a science career that’s all about protecting them

As an ecotoxicologist, Amy researches how naturally occurring radioactive materials from abandoned oil and gas pipes impact marine life.

Amy always wanted to work with animals. She started her studies with a Bachelor of Science in zoology and geography at the University of Otago in Aotearoa / New Zealand. She then followed that up with more study and research projects, and is now completing a PhD in environmental science at Macquarie University, based at ANSTO.

The aim of her PhD? To generate a database of the accumulation of potentially toxic metals and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in different Aussie marine animals, and the key organs of concern (like muscle, liver, gut and shell), from contaminants of decommissioned offshore oil and gas pipelines.

Amy says there are lots of cool things about her job, including travel.

“I’m very lucky to have travelled all the way to the International Atomic Energy Agency HQ in Vienna, Austria, to be a representative for Australia and ANSTO,” she says.

And she’s excited to apply her knowledge to emerging jobs in nuclear science, including monitoring opportunities in Australia’s new nuclear-powered submarines program.

Fun fact

Amy studied anthropology and Hebrew as an undergraduate.

Amy’s top career tip

“Nothing is going to go according to plan and failure is a part of learning and knowing you are human.”

Amy’s study and career path to becoming an ecotoxicologist

  • Bachelor of Science (Zoology, Geography), University of Otago
  • International student exchange to University of Exeter (Zoology)
  • Bachelor of Science (Wildlife Ecology) (Honours), University of Tasmania
  • Master of Science (Earth and Environmental Sciences), Macquarie University
  • Research assistant, (CSIRO Environment)
  • PhD candidate and ecotoxicologist, Macquarie University / ANSTO

This profile was brought to you in partnership with ANSTO and a version of it was originally published in Careers with STEM: Science.

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