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The Australian National University

Dr Justyna Miszkiewicz

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

Areas of expertise

  • Biological (Physical) Anthropology 160102
  • Biological Adaptation 060303
  • Forensic Biology 069901
  • Biomechanics 110601
  • Archaeological Science 210102
  • Systems Physiology 111603

Research interests

I am a biological anthropologist who studies the skeletal tissue in humans and other animals, addressing research questions in bioarchaeology and skeletal biology. My key interests are to reconstruct ancient behaviour and physiology from human skeletal remains, and investigate vertebrate hard tissue growth and metabolism. I am a (palaeo)histologist by expertise, but I also have experience in experimental biomechanics, synchrotron infrared microspectroscopy, X-ray imaging, and micro-CT. 


I received 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 and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. I later worked in medicine (molecular endocrinology of osteoporosis) (2015-2016) at Imperial College (London, UK). I moved to the ANU as a Lecturer in 2016, and in 2017 I launched our (palaeo)histology lab. In 2016, I became an Honorary Research Associate with the University of Kent (UK). In addition to academia, I also worked (2008-2013) as an Assistant Osteologist and later Osteologist for Kent Osteological Research and Analysis (Canterbury, UK) writing up human skeletal analysis professional reports.

I have been lab-based almost all of my career, with some recent (2017) fieldwork experience in the Philippines. My technical skills took several years to develop and are continually improving and evolving (I like to think!). My initial training was in the Skeletal Biology Research Centre (Dr Patrick Mahoney's lab) at the University of Kent (UK) (2010-2014). My skills were further polished (and challenged) in Professor Graham Williams and Professor Duncan Bassett's Molecular Endocrinology lab in the Department of Medicine at the Hammersmith Hospital/ Imperial College (London) (2015-2016). Most recently (2017), I trained further in Dr Tim Bromage's lab at the NYU Department of Biomaterials (US). Running my own (palaeo)histology group here at the ANU is easily the most exciting and fulfilling career accomplishment.

Researcher's projects

Currently, together with my research group, we reconstruct ancient human bone metabolism and lifestyles for Holocene samples from Asia-Pacific. Almost all of our ongoing research projects examine skeletal (palaeo)histology in relation to organism biology, environment, and/or culture. 

Available student projects

I am looking to mentor research students who are interested in microscopic analyses of hard tissues in bioarchaeology and skeletal biology. Secondarily, I can offer guidance on a selected range of experimental topics with forensic applications, or research questions within palaeopathology. 

Current student projects

(NB. I will be away on Outside Studies Program in S1 of 2019)

  • Maddy Green (PhD, 2018) Using microscopy to discern aetiologies that infer hominin behaviour (Chair)
  • Karen Cooke (PhD, 2018) Histopathology of treponemal disease in archaeological human bone (Chair)
  • Tahlia Stewart (PhD, 2018) The effect of different dietary regimes on human bone physiology (Chair)
  • Chelsea Morgan (PhD, 2017) Sex and gender in Bioarchaeology (Chair)
  • Kate Phillips (Masters, 2018) Osteoporosis from the past to the present (with JCSMR)
  • Meg Walker (Masters, 2018) Human palaeohistology of Neolithic transition in Vietnam
  • Tara Mann (Honours, 2018) Blount's disease (tibia vara) in ancient and living sub-adults

see all here

Past student projects

  • Diana Tieppo (Masters, submitted) Endosteal bone porosity in ancient males and females
  • Sarah Robertson (PhD, 2018) Differential diagnosis of cribra orbitalia via micro-CT (primary supervisor)
  • Danielle Rosenquist (Masters, 2018) Cortical bone remodeling in human foot and hand phalanges
  • Coco James (Masters, 2017) Femoral muscle markings and the underlying cortical bone histology
  • Stephanie Robinson (Masters, 2017) Osteobiography of an individual from prehistoric Ireland
  • Bronwyn Wyatt (Masters, 2017) Health and disease in prehistoric Indonesia 
  • Claire Rider (Masters, 2017) Effects of leg pathology on femoral bone remodeling
  • Natasha Langley (Masters, 2016) Experimental burning on pig dental enamel
  • Ashley Bridge (Masters, 2016) Looking at new ways to identify stature in Australian Forensics 

See all here


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Updated:  17 August 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers