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Associate Professor Jeremy Austin

Telephone +61 8 8313 4557
Position Senior Lecturer
Fax +61 8 8313 4364
Building Darling Building
Floor/Room 2 13
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Genetics & Evolution

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Biography/ Background

My research uses "ancient" DNA techniques in two very different fields of genetics and evolution. The first focuses on using DNA sampled through space and time to understand the evolutionary history of living and extinct animals and birds, to assess the impacts of past environmental change on animal and bird populations, and to provide valuable genetic data for conservation and management of threatened species. The second utilises ancient DNA techniques to allow forensic identification of highly degraded human remains - murder victims, missing persons and war dead. In this area Jeremy's group is developing new "genomics" techniques for human identification as well as providing a service to the Australian Defence Force, Australian Police and humanitarian agencies to assist with the identification of human remains.


BSc (Hons), University of Tasmania, 1991

PhD, University of Tasmania, 1995

Research Interests


Current postgraduate/honours students
• Lauren White, PhD
• Felicia Bardan, PhD
• Duncan Jardine, PhD
• Felicity Coulson, Hons, (Griffith University)
• Michael Herrera, PhD
• Anna Bruniche-Olsen, PhD (University of Tasmania)

Completed postgraduate/honours students


Alex Anderson, Honours – James Cook University, Population genetics of grey-headed
robins in the Australian Wet Tropics, (co-supervisor).


James Nicholls, PhD – University of Queensland, Call and genetic variation in the satin
bowerbird, (principal supervisor).


Gaynor Dolman, PhD – University of Queensland, Speciation in Wet Tropics fauna:
Carlia skinks, (principal supervisor).

Conrad Hoskin, PhD – University of Queensland, Evolution in a secondary contact zone
between two lineages of the Green-eyed Tree Frog Litoria genimaculata, (principal


Sherryn Ciavaglia, Honours – University of Adelaide, Ancient human DNA, (principal

Michelle Roberts, Honours – University of Adelaide, Morphological and molecular
analysis of diet in the arrow squid, Nototodarus gouldi, (principal supervisor).


Jessica Wadley, Honours – University of Adelaide, Phylogeography and conservation
genetics of Wedge-tailed Eagles, (principal supervisor).


Sarah Bray, PhD – University of Adelaide, Evolution and demography of giant shortfaced
bears and brown bears, (principal supervisor).

Nicolas Rawlence, PhD – University of Adelaide, Population demographics of moa in
New Zealand during the late Pleistocene and Holocene, (co-supervisor).

Josh Hale, PhD – University of Melbourne, Human induced changes in the genetic
structure of amphibian populations, (co-supervisor).

Xiaodan Ding, Honours – University of Adelaide, Variation in sperm morphology
among Australian hopping mice, Notomys, and its possible significance, (cosupervisor).

Lindi Olivier, Honours – University of Adelaide, Conservation genetics of Wedgetailed
Eagles, (principal supervisor).


Andrew Hugall, PhD – University of Adelaide, Wet Tropics land snail phylogeography,
(principal supervisor).

Katie Smith, PhD – University of Melbourne, A temporal investigation of hybridisation
in south-eastern Australian tree frogs, (co-supervisor).

Shelann Webb, Honours – University of Adelaide, Extraction and Quantification of
Human DNA from Skeletal Remains, (principal supervisor).


Brett Homes, Honours – University of Adelaide, Phylogeography of Australian
rainforest birds, (principal supervisor).

Lauren White, Honours – University of Adelaide, Conservation genetics of northern
hairy-nosed wombats, (principal supervisor).

Katrina Morris, PhD – University of Sydney, Genetics of the Tasmanian devil and
immunology of the devil facial tumour disease, (co-supervisor).


Denice Higgins, PhD – University of Adelaide, A study of post-mortem degradation of
teeth to advance forensic DNA analysis as a tool for human identification, (principal

Jessica Wadley, PhD – University of Adelaide, Population genetics and phylogeography
of antilopine wallaroo using degraded DNA from scats and museum specimens,
(principal supervisor).

Caitlin Morrison, Honours – University of Adelaide, Conservation genetics of northern
hairy-nosed wombats, (principal supervisor)


Citation Statistics
• Total publications: 95 (peer-reviewed), 24 (popular science and commissioned reports)
• Total citations: 2900
• Average number of citations/article: 23.76 (ISI)
• h-index: 28

Google scholar profile and publications

Community Engagement

Science Communication to the Wider Community

2009    Public lecture on ancient DNA - Museum Victoria, Melbourne (

            Public lecture on ancient DNA - Research Tuesdays, University of Adelaide (

            Palaeontology Week – public lecture at the South Australian Museum

            Public lecture on ancient DNA - Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston

2008    Can You Believe It – popular science article for the Advertiser newspaper

            Maths Science Life Impact – ancient DNA presentation and activity for high school students

2007    Science@Adelaide - ancient DNA presentation to high school students

            Can You Believe It – two popular science articles for the Advertiser newspaper

2006    National Science Week – CSIRO Cutting Edge Science Lecture, University of Adelaide

            CONASTA – National Science Teachers Conference, University of Adelaide

2004    National Science Week, Museum Victoria – public presentation on ancient DNA

2003    National Science Week, Museum Victoria – public presentation on ancient DNA

            Owl Genetics Project  - with Australian Geographic magazine – co-ordinator of this public participation research project, and associated media coverage (TV, news and radio).

            DNA Lab – live laboratory-based public display at Museum Victoria which received

widespread media coverage and won the 2004 Museum Australia – Museum Industry

Recognition Award.


2010      Totally Wild, Channel 10 – Yellow-eyed penguins

2009      Catalyst, ABC TV ( – Ancient DNA           Monsterquest, The History Channel ( – Isle of the Lost Tiger

The Age, Education Section ( – Ancient DNA



ABC TV (, The Advertiser (, Fox News (,2933,446348,00.html), Science Daily ( - Tasmanian Devils

Readers Digest “The Hunt for the Unknown Sailor” Helen O’Neill – HMAS Sydney DNA identification

Stateline, ABC TV ( - HMAS Sydney DNA identification

BBC News (, ABC News ( - Hobbit debate

Reuters (, BBC News (, Sydney Morning Herald (, ABC News ( - Yellow-eyed penguins.


2007            The Bulletin Magazine “The Bone Sailor” Cheryl Jones – HMAS Sydney DNA identification

Entry last updated: Thursday, 6 Aug 2015

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