Dr Peter William Darben

B.App.Sc., PhD, Grad.Dip.Ed.

SPARQ-ed Coordinator


About me

Dr Peter Darben completed his undergraduate studies in Medical Laboratory Science at QUT in 1989, before embarking on a PhD examining the ultrastructure of parasitic nematode eggs and its role in protecting the eggs from chemical attack. During his postgraduate studies, he also had the opportunity to take part in work involving head louse control, marine parasitology and toxicology and assisted in the establishment of a food testing laboratory which surveyed the presence of parasites in Queensland wild boar meat exported to the European Union. He taught undergraduate classes in medical parasitology and clinical biochemistry, and it was this experience, along with extensive community and schools outreach program, led him to leave research for full-time high school teaching. Peter taught secondary school science for six years in Mount Isa at Mount Isa SHS and Spinifex State College, before returning to Brisbane to teach at Cavendish Road SHS, where he taught in that school's Brisbane Academy of Science, an enrichment program which allows students to complete a first year molecular biology course through Griffith University. In 2006, following a project where he translated work done at CSIRO to classroom experiences, Peter received a CSIRO Plant Industries award for Public Communication of Science. In 2008, after working with Prof. Ian Frazer on a project in which students made the protein which forms the basis of the Gardasil vaccine, Peter was appointed the inaugural coordinator of Students Performing Advanced Research Queensland (SPARQ-ed), UQDI's educational outreach facility. He has overseen the growth of SPARQ-ed since that time, and in 2011, SPARQ-ed was awarded a Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science Education. Peter is an active contributor to Queensland science education networks. He is a member of the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority's Biology Working Group and a member of the Queensland Teachers' Union Executive. He is also a member of the Science Teachers' Association of Queensland, and sits on the organising committees for the Kids STEM Convention and National Science Week.

Research fields

Science Education and Engagement