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I am Director of the Computational Biomechanics Research Group - a dynamic and fast growing multidisciplinary team within the School of Environmental and Rural Sciences at UNE, and, Conjoint Associate Professor of Engineering at the University of Newcastle.

My primary interest is in improving our understanding of relationships between shape and function in living and fossil animals to better address both evolutionary and biomedical questions. Taxa currently studied by myself and members of my team include humans and their relatives, marsupial and placental carnivores, birds, sharks, crocodiles, varanids and a range of invertebrates.

We use computer based 3D modelling (Finite Element Analysis) and geometric morphometrics to predict and analyse mechanical behaviour in skulls and other biological structures. In addition to providing detailed information on how animals are adapted to particular behaviours and predictions for behaviour in fossil species, we apply these techniques in a wide range of biomedical areas. For example: predicting optimal arrangements of plates and screws for the treatment of bone fractures; improving prosthetic devices, generating more realistic models of human teeth to facilitate better dental treatments, and, understanding the mechanical consequences of osteoporosis.

Other areas on which I have published and maintain an active interest in include: vertebrate palaeontology, extinction of the Australian megafauna and marsupial carnivore phylogeny and biogeography


  • –present
    Associate Professor, Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences


  • 1999 
    University of New South Wales, PhD (Palaeontology)