Kiaran Kirk carried out his PhD in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Sydney (1985-1988). In 1989 he went to the Oxford University Laboratory of Physiology where he held an Oxford Nuffield Medical Fellowship, the Staines Medical Research Fellowship (Exeter College) and a Lister Institute Senior Research Fellowship. He returned to Australia in 1996 to head the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the ANU Faculty of Science, holding this post until June 2009 when he took up the position of Director of the newly-created ANU Research School of Biology. From 2014 to 2017 Kiaran served as the Dean of the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment. Since August 2017 he has been Dean of the ANU College of Science.
Kiaran was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS) in 2017 and appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2023 Australia Day Honours.