BSc majoring in Zoology (1997-2000), University of Western Australia
1st Class honors (2001), University of Western Australia
PhD (2002-2006), University of Western Australia
Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Zoology, Cambridge University, UK (2007-2009)
Postdoctoral research fellow, Rowland Institute for Science, Harvard University, USA (2010-2012)
DECRA fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia. (2012-present).
I am interested in the relationship between form, function and ecology of living and extinct animals. My earliest studies examined the relationship between vision and ecology in spiders. Later, at the University of Western Australia, I switched my focus to the evolution of locomotion. I studied morphology, metabolic rates and biomechanics and compared these to ecological characteristics and locomotory ability in a large group of lizards, the varanids. I have similarly studied these traits in other lizard groups, including an extensive project examining the evolution of bipedalism in dragon lizards, showing lizards were essentially popping a wheelie. I later continued my research at the University of Cambridge, focusing on insect adhesion, examining the multitude of solutions insects have developed to overcome the problems of sticking to smooth surfaces. At Harvard University, I examined the vertebrate muscle system, specifically how muscle mechanics integrate with the environment dynamically, during locomotion. My current research at the University of Queensland continues my research into lizard locomotion, with a focus on the design of biologically inspired climbing robots.
- Research featured in the ‘Cambridge Ideas’ series sponsored by Cambridge University. “Sticky Feet”.
- Contracted by the BBC natural history unit during the filming of “Life in Cold Blood – Dragons of the Dry”, with David Attenborough. Also contributed to the accompanying book.
- Contracted by the BBC natural history unit during the filming of “Wildlife on one – Dragons”.
- Research featured in the ABC’s ‘Catalyst’ program in Australia “Lizard Runner”.