Amanda Niehaus grew up in small-town Iowa in the 80s, and has since lived and worked in Argentina, Alaska, Vancouver, Phoenix and, most recently, Brisbane, Australia. Amanda has a PhD in eco-physiology, a branch of biology that examines the effects of environments on bodies, and has also studied male-female reproductive conflict—the basis of her debut novel, The Breeding Season—in birds and marsupials. In her writing, Amanda uses her research experience in the field and laboratory to shed new light on the emotional and physical challenges of scientific work and uses scientific images and concepts as metaphors to engage a diverse readership with science. As her eco-physiological research does, her writing re-evaluates the links between place and corporeality.
Amanda has won prestigious prizes and grants for both her scientific and creative work, including an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship and the 2017 VU Short Story Prize, in which her short story Breeding Season—the basis of the novel—was selected as best of 800 entries. In the next phase of her career, Amanda will leverage her interdisciplinary portfolio to begin research in the field of science communication, specifically, the role of forms such as fiction and personal essay in the transmission of information more effectively and to a wider audience. In doing so, Amanda will continue to write and publish creative pieces, while simultaneously testing their efficacy as modes of science communication.