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

Research interests

Conceptually, I want to understand human biology in a social framework. I chose to specialise in skeletal biology because ancient human skeletal remains connect the past with the present. 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. To that end, my research has seen applications in bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, skeletal biology, public health and medicine.    

Biography

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 later 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 also became an Honorary Research Associate with the Skeletal Biology Research Centre at the University of Kent (UK). In July 2019 (until July 2022), I will become a Research Fellow at the ANU working on my Australian Research Council funded project as part of the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award. 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. From mid-2019, I will be serving on the executive board as a Treasurer of the Australasian Society for Human Biology. 

Researcher's projects

Grants > $100k:

  • Principal investigator: Ancient bone metabolism change with lifestyle in Asia-Pacific ARC DECRA 2019-2022, $381,210 (DE190100068)
  • 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 (18-UOO-028), PI: Prof HR Buckley, University of Otago
  • Principal investigator: Microscopy of the primate skeleton ANU Major Equipment Grant 2018 135,000 (18MEC26)

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.

Current student projects

2019 Nathalia Dias Guimaraes (Masters) Human palaeohistology at Santana do Riacho, Brazil
2019 Hannah Miles (Masters) Osteocyte lacunae morphology in ancient human bone
2018 Maddy 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

Past student projects

2019 Meg Walker (Masters, submitted) Human palaeohistology at Man Bac, Vietnam
2019 Kate Phillips (Masters) Osteoporosis from past to present (with JCSMR)
2019 Sarah Robertson (PhD) Diagnosis of cribra orbitalia via uCT (primary supervisor)
2018 Tara Mann (Honours) Tibia vara and obesity
2018 Diana Tieppo (Masters) Endosteal bone porosity in ancient males and females
2018 Danielle Rosenquist (Masters) Cortical bone remodeling in human foot and hand phalanges
2017 Coco James (Masters) Femoral muscle markings and underlying bone histology
2017 Stephanie Robinson (Masters) Osteobiography of an individual from prehistoric Ireland
2017 Bronwyn Wyatt (Masters) Health and disease in prehistoric Indonesia 
2017 Claire Rider (Masters) Effects of leg pathology on femoral bone remodeling
2016 Natasha Langley (Masters) Experimental burning on pig dental enamel
2016 Ashley Bridge (Masters) Looking at new ways to identify stature in Australian Forensics 
2014 Rosie Pitfield (Masters) Histomorphometry in the human humerus during ontogeny (co-supervisor, University of Kent)

See all here

Publications

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Updated:  25 June 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers