Dr Justyna Miszkiewicz

BSc Hons, PhD
ARC DECRA Fellow, Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 2 6125 9295

Areas of expertise

  • Biological (Physical) Anthropology 160102
  • Biological Adaptation 060303
  • Biomechanics 110601

Research interests

Conceptually, I want to understand human biology in a social framework. Humans today have extremely fragile bone. Outside of genetics, this poor bone quality is determined by a series of environmental and social factors. I study these in past populations to better understand skeletal plasticity in different contexts so that we can predict and improve human bone health in the future. Technically, I study the micro-anatomy and cell structures of bones and teeth both in humans and animal models to reconstruct the underlying skeletal physiology and growth dynamics. My chief interest is the relationship between skeletal physiology and behaviour.


I am currently (2019-2022) an ARC Fellow working on a project funded via a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA); and, as of 2020, Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology. I have a Bachelor of Science (Hons, 2010), and a PhD in Biological Anthropology (2014) from the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK), where I also held a fixed-term (2013-2014) lectureship in the same discipline. In 2014, I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE). I then worked in medicine (2015-2016) at Imperial College (London, UK) Hammersmith Hospital phenotyping rodent and quail bone as part of a Wellcome-Trust funded project investigating molecular endocrinology of osteoporosis. I took up a permanent lectureship at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2016, where I successfully set up a hard tissue microstructure lab. In 2016, I became an Honorary Research Associate with the Skeletal Biology Research Centre at the University of Kent (UK). In addition to academia, I worked (2008-2013) as an Assistant Osteologist and later Osteologist for Kent Osteological Research and Analysis (UK) writing up human skeletal analysis professional reports. In 2019 I joined the executive board of the Australasian Society for Human Biology as a Treasurer. 

Researcher's projects

Grants > $100k - Principal Investigator:

  • Ancient bone metabolism change with lifestyle in Asia-Pacific ARC DECRA 2019-2022, $381,210 AUD (DE190100068)
  • Microscopy of the primate skeleton ANU Major Equipment Grant 2018 $135,000 AUD (18MEC26)

Associate investigator:

  • The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: A Biocultural investigation of 19th century Frontier mining cemeteries in Australia, New Zealand and California NZ Marsden Fund 2019-2022 $827,000 NZD (18-UOO-028), PI: Prof HR Buckley, University of Otago

Overall, most of my ongoing smaller projects examine human and non-human animal skeletal microstructure in relation to organism biology, physiology, environment, ecology, individually and complementarily. Since 2010, I have been investigating the effect of socio-economic inequality and inequity on skeletal health and disease.

Available student projects

I am looking to mentor research students who are interested in learning how microscopic analyses of bones and teeth inform about the human lives and lifestyles in the past and present.

1x ARCH8030 project (either S1 or S2 2020) looking at biomechanics of flying in microbats is currently available.

Current student projects

2018 Madeleine Green (PhD) Hominin fossil histology and behaviour (Chair)
2018 Karen Cooke (PhD) Histopathology of treponemal disease in ancient humans (Chair)
2018 Tahlia Stewart (PhD) Effect of different dietary regimes on human bone physiology (Chair)
2017 Chelsea Morgan (PhD) Sex and gender in Bioarchaeology (Chair)

see all here


2021 Lauren Richards (Masters, bone health and social ineqaulity)

Past student projects

2019 Nathalia Dias Guimaraes (Masters) Human Palaeohistology at Santana Do Riacho: First insights into bone adaptation of the first Americans 
2019 Hannah Miles (Masters) Osteocyte lacunae morphology in medieval human bone 
2019 Meg Walker (Masters) Ancient human behaviour and ancestry in Holocene northern Vietnam: A palaeohistological analysis of the Man Bac burial population
2019 Kate Phillips (Masters) The relationship of sex, age, and physical activity to bone maintenance and loss: Implications for bioarchaeological research (with JCSMR)
2019 Sarah Robertson (PhD) Differential diagnosis of cribra orbitalia at Christ Church Spitalfields via micro-CT analysis (primary supervisor)
2018 Tara Mann (Honours) Tibia vara and obesity: exploring the utility of tibia vara as a differential diagnostic option in the inference of obesity in palaeopathology.
2018 Diana Tieppo (Masters) Investigating sex-specific variation in bone microstructure of the midshaft endo-cortex in the human femur: Implications for identifying osteoporotic markers in archaeological populations. 
2018 Danielle Rosenquist (Masters) Digital bones: Differential remodelling activity in hand and foot phalanges
2017 Coco James (Masters) Femoral muscle markings and endosteal cortex bone remodelling: Implications for behavioural inferences in bioarchaeology
2017 Stephanie Robinson (Masters) Chalcolithic Wedge Tombs and an Iron Age Burial: An osteobiography and trauma assessment of an individual from the Burren, County Clare, Ireland
2017 Bronwyn Wyatt (Masters) Health and disease in prehistoric Indonesia: placing the Northern Moluccas Islands in to context within broader Southeast Asian prehistory 
2017 Claire Rider (Masters) Hip joint pathology and lower limb skeletal adaptation: a case study from the Metal Period Philippines 
2016 Natasha Langley (Masters) The effects of experimental burning on Sus scrofa fental enamel in forensic and archaeological contexts 
2016 Ashley Bridge (Masters) Bridging the gap: Looking at new ways to identify stature in forensics using contemporary Australian anthropometric data  
2014 Rosie Pitfield (Masters) Histomorphometry in the human humerus during ontogeny (co-supervisor, University of Kent)

See all here


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  29 February 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers