Michelle is currently a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University. She is a plant ecologist with special interest in Australian vegetation and plant adaptations to the environment. . She completed her PhD in 1993 at the School of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University. Her thesis is titled : Comparative seed and seedling biology of the semi-arid woodland flora of western New South Wales.
Her main areas of research are on the ecological strategies of plants. Her current research focuses on understanding the success of invasive plants and developing sustainable vegetation restoration methods. Her current research includes:
• Responses of invasive plants to global climate change and elevated carbon dioxide
• Interactions between invasive plants and the soil microbial community
• Ecology of African Olive
• Relating plant volatile organic compound emissions to functional traits
• Development of guidelines for the restoration of woodland and riverside vegetation
Amongst other distinctions she has been the recipient of a ARC Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellowship (2000-2006), and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Ecology. She is currently Deputy Chair of the NSW Scientific Committee. She was appointed to a Personal Chair at Macquarie University in 2014.