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Scientia Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Academic Lead of UNSW's Grand Challenges Program, UNSW Sydney

I am an evolutionary biologist who thinks about sex for a living. Things I have thought and written about include the evolution of mate choice, the costs of being attractive, the reason animals age and the links between sex, diet, obesity and death.

Together with my fabulous research group (the SEX LAB) and collaborators, I explore the evolutionary and ecological consequences of sexual reproduction. I love curiosity-driven research, and my funding tends to come from fundamental research funding programs like the ARC‘s Discovery program. I am motivated to study evolution because of its power to help us understand both nature and the human condition.

At the moment I am especially interested in the interactions between evolution and economics, the evolution of human life histories, the reasons for sex differences in aging and longevity, the unfolding obesity crisis, the relationship between evolution and equity feminism, the evolution of human bodies, the purpose of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and what we can and cannot infer about morality from studying the natural world. In 2011, New South Books will publish my first book – Sex, Genes & Rock 'n' Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World.

I am currently the Academic Lead of the UNSW Sydney Grand Challenges Program.


  • –present
    Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, University of New South Wales
  • 2009–present
    Australian Professorial Research Fellow, UNSW
  • 2005–2009
    ARC QEII Research Fellow, UNSW
  • 1997–2000
    Postdoctoral Fellow, James Cook University


  • 1996 
    University of Witwatersrand, PhD/Evolutionary Ecology

Research Areas

  • Evolutionary Biology (0603)
  • Population, Ecological And Evolutionary Genetics (060411)
  • Behavioural Ecology (060201)
  • Psychology (1701)


Fenner Medal (2011) of the Australian Academy of Science; Eureka Prize for Science Communication (2013) ARC QEII and Professorial Fellowships