Pilbrow laboratory: Physical (biological) anthropology
Dr Varsha Pilbrow
+61 03 8344 5775
View Dr Varsha's latest publications listing here
For further information on Dr Varsha's research please also visit:
- 3D Printing Showcase 2015 interview here (YouTube)
- "Brought to Life, 2000 Years Later" here (Pursuit)
How humans evolved is a question that fascinates lay people and scientists alike. The question is often seeped in controversy, in large part because fossil remains for humans are rare and consist primarily of craniodental elements that fossilize well.
A major question then is: how much reliance can be placed on observations from such scant evidence for reconstructing the evolutionary relationships among our fossil ancestors?
Research in our laboratory focuses on determining the importance of hard-tissue anatomy for studying human evolution. In particular, we study the evidence for gene flow, genetic admixture and evolutionary diversification through dental and skeletal morphology.
Research is conducted in the lab but also involves travel to museums around the world, and participation in palaeoanthropological and archaeological fieldwork in Africa, Europe and Asia.
Peter Mayall, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Peter MayallPostdoctoral Research Associate
Peter Mayall graduated MBBS at the University of Melbourne in 1968 and then completed post-graduate study in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the UK and Hong Kong before returning to Australia to practise until retiring in November 2013. He completed a MA in Archaeology and Physical Anthropology at the University of Melbourne in 2012 and a PhD in 2018 Biological (Physical) Anthropology researching intentional cranial modification in Europe during the Migration Period. In his postdoctoral research Peter is studying intentional cranial modification in Australasia.
Marine Chkadua, PhD student
Marine ChkaduaPhD student
Maka graduated from the Georgian National Medical Institute in Tbilisi in 2005, and is currently undertaking a PhD in physical anthropology. Her research will examine skeletal markers of cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis and dental pathology in osteological collections at the Georgian National Museum, dating to between the late Bronze Age and the Early Middle Ages. This project will assess the overall health of these ancient populations, as well as inspect the incidence of infectious diseases during this time.
Natalie Langowski, PhD student
Natalie LangowskiPhD student
Natalie completed a master’s degree at the University of Melbourne in 2014, and is now continuing her research as a Ph.D. student. Her current research will use carbon, nitrogen and strontium stable isotopes to study the subsistence strategies and mobility of human populations residing in the region of Mtskheta, Georgia, between 1500 BC and AD 600. Natalie aims to examine the impact of major cultural changes on dietary practices, and the role of migrants in disseminating foreign cultures in Mtskheta during this period.
Julietta Capodistrias, Honours student
Dr. Chris Davey, Australian Institute of Archaeology
Prof. Terry Harrison, New York University
Prof. Nicky Kilpatrick, Department of Dentistry, The Royal Children’s Hospital
Georgian National Museum
Harry Brookes Allen, Museum of Anatomy and Pathology
2018 Telematics Trust Fund. Revealing Mummies: The Inside Story
2016 Learning and Teaching Initiatives. Slice it, see it, learn it: Simulating cross-sectional anatomy of the head
2016 Near Eastern Archaeology Fund. Dietary isotopes in Mtskheta
2015 Research Product Realisation Working Group 3D Printing Mini Research Grants. Great Ape Dental Scoring System
2015 University of Melbourne CNRS. Characterisation of hypomineralised enamel (MIH) in ancient teeth: A way to understand a pathology with unknown aetiology
2012 ARC Discovery Project. Archaeology in the Central Caucasus: Investigations at Samatvro and Tchkantiskedi
2012 The Leakey Foundation General Research Grant. Non-metric dental traits in great apes
This research project is available to PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.
Faculty Research Themes
School Research Themes
For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Dr Varsha Pilbrow
Department / Centre
Unit / Centre
MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.