As the COVID restrictions hit around March (in Australia), I had to ‘cancel’ one of my DECRA research training workshops that I was going to deliver in person in our ANU labs. This workshop would have been restricted to only 20 participants had it been undertaken in person. I ended up modifying the workshop and moving it all online, using open access software… I was able to reach >300 participants from around the world, including departments with limited infrastructure and where biological anthropology isn’t a part of the university curriculum – so going online had a much bigger impact and significance... A short piece about the workshops has just been published in Evolutionary Anthropology https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/evan.21859
ANU runs an internal magazine called 'Reporter' which features various interesting stories from around campus. Last year, I was approached by one of our ANU media journalists to discuss some of my ongoing work into social inequality and medieval human remains. Our little interview ended up getting featured in the 2020 ANU Reporter Issue. It was due for release earlier in 2020, but had to be delayed because of the various coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Anyway, here it is - Canterbury skeletons tell tales like Chaucer about class
I am super excited to have received formal acceptance of a paper that reports the effect of one sided hip joint ankylosis on femur bone remodeling in an archaeological individual recovered from a site in the Philippines. The paper has been accepted in the International Journal of Paleopathology - a world leading specialised journal that covers diseases and other abnormal conditions from skeletal and soft tissue remains. This paper was in the making for at least 3 years and is a result of multi-disciplinary collaborations.
Many years ago, an excavation of Nagsabaran (Philippines) by archaeologists from the ANU and from the National Museum of the Philippines identified and recovered the skeletal remains of an estimated 'male' who might have died during his middle years (35-50). This individual was uncovered with evidence of left-sided hip joint ankylosis whereby his entire femoral head was fused to the acetabulum of his left side of the pelvis. When I moved to the ANU, I was introduced to these remains and immediately saw a research question - did his bone remodeling differ between the right and left femur?
To test the above question, we got together a big team of researchers who work in various different areas of bone biology and techniques, including synchrotron-sourced Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy and Geographic Information Systems to assess any fluctuations in bone pore density and bone matrix composition. Indeed, our data indicated compromised bone tissue in the left femur, which conforms to expected bone functional adaptation principles of bone remodeling responses to pathological and biomechanical changes.
Can't wait for this paper to be formally published in IJP!
And BTW. here's a pic of me, Christina Vrahnas, and Natalie Sims at the Australian Synchroton in Melbourne (back in 2017!) the moment we successfully identified phosphate peaks in one of the samples from this study - collaboration at its best:
I am very excited to have received acceptance this morning of a short paper I recently contributed to Evolutionary Anthropology, covering our 6 week series of bone histology analysis workshops. In the paper, I provide an overview of the workshop, and also discuss the importance of open access software, and the pedagogical basis to running short and concise weekly online workshops that stimulate learning during the pandemic restrictions. Out soon!
New paper I was lucky to be a part of investigating human dental enamel periodicity and sexual dimorphism has just been published in the Journal of Structural Biology. The study, led by Dr Patrick Mahoney at the University of Kent in the UK, provides evidence that the human skeletal biorhythm is dimorphic. The paper is open access for 50 days.