Dr Matt Baker is a Scientia Associate Professor in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales.
Matt completed his DPhil in Physics at Oxford University as a John Monash Scholar studying the bacterial flagellar motor that makes nearly all bacteria swim. Upon his return to Australia, Matt focused primarily on how simple subunit interactions govern assembly of complex architectures, and began researching how this complexity emerged. Matt's research group combines bottom-up in vitro synbio from purified proteins, lipids and DNA, with top-down in vivo genome editing of microbes. Overall, Matt applies biophysical methods in synthetic biology and experimental evolution to understand the origins of complex systems such as the bacterial flagellar motor.
Matt also has a love of radio: he was a Top 5 Under 40 Scientist in Residence at the ABC in 2015 and continued as the regular science presenter on Nightlife, and produced content for the Health Report, Science Show, Saturday Extra and Earshot on ABC's Radio National. He is currently a 'Resident Scientist' on Koori FM - Sydney's First Nations Radio station and also on Radio New Zealand's flagship weekend breakfast show Saturday Morning with Kim Hill. He also has applied his data skills to journalism; he was Australia's inaugural Google Newslab Fellow in 2016 when he was embedded at the Sydney Morning Herald. Matt is active in Australia-China relations and has been a delegate and panel chair at the Australia-China Youth Dialogue since 2015.
Matthew is a keen fencer who has represented both Australia and later New Zealand in international competition. In 2014 Matt was selected to represent Australia in the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Scotland, and in 2018 he represented New Zealand in the Commonwealth Fencing Championships held in Australia. Matt has competed in the Asian Championships in 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023, the World Championships in 2022 and 2023. Matt attended the Asia and Oceania Zone Olympic Qualifier in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in April 2021 as the sole NZ fencer attempting to qualify for Tokyo 2020. He is currently in the qualification cycle for Paris 2024.