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Anatomy and Pathology

The Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology teaches on, and researches, the structure of the body and how this relates to function and contributes to the development of disease.

Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology

Anatomy and Pathology encompass the study of the normal and abnormal morphology of the body at macroscopic and microscopic levels. The emphasis in anatomy is on understanding how structure relates to function in humans and animals; and in pathology it is on developing an understanding of the causes, mechanisms of development, and consequences of disease. 

Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology staff teach in all Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences degrees, and are actively engaged in research. They work closely with many clinical and affiliate titleholders—including at SA Pathology, the Forensic Science Centre, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide Zoo and elsewhere—and have extensive local, national and international collaborative relationships.

Together, this enables the discipline to provide students with a vibrant and supportive environment in which to begin or develop their careers in the medical sciences.

Wide-ranging research

The Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology fosters excellence in interdisciplinary research and nurtures the development of students to help them reach their full potential. Several research groups and collaborations have been established in the discipline, and several of these are described below.

Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit

The Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit is organised around, and supported by, the Wood Jones Chair of Anthropological and Comparative Anatomy. The unit’s diverse research interests include: forensic anthropology; anthropometry; dermatoglyphics; biological structure and dynamics of earlier and present human populations; population genetics; human ecology and adaptation; paleodemography; and much more.

Contact: Professor Maciej Henneberg

Bone and Joint Laboratory 

The Bone and Joint Research Laboratories investigate the pathological processes of bone and joint diseases. The laboratories utilise state-of-the-art facilities to employ a variety of analysis techniques, and collaborate strongly with: the faculty’s Discipline of Orthopaedics and Trauma; UNSW’s Department of Pathology; the Harvard Institute of Medicine’s Department of Medicine; and Sheffield Hallam University’s Biomedical Research Centre.

Contact: Professor David Haynes

Translational Neuropathology Laboratory

The Translational Neuropathology Laboratory develops new treatment strategies for a wide range of neurological diseases and conditions, and improves the translation of treatments into the clinical setting. The laboratory is experienced with pre-clinical models of neurological diseases, behavioural assessment, immunohistochemistry, digital imaging, western blotting and tissue culture techniques.

Contact: Associate Professor Renée Turner

Motoneurone Research Group

The Motoneurone Research Group is concerned with the mechanisms underlying motoneuronal survival after injury, and in age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Motor Neurone Disease. The group’s studies involve the analysis of human post-mortem material, as well as the use of animal models of neurodegeneration. Techniques currently employed include microneurosurgery, multiplex assays, immunocytochemistry, stereology, and confocal and electron microscopy.

Contact: Associate Professor Ian Johnson or Dr Viythia Katharesan

Enteric Neuroscience and Gastrointestinal Research Group

The Enteric Neuroscience and Gastrointestinal Research Group integrates clinical and laboratory research themes to better understand: the normal physiology of the bowel; its connections with the central nervous system (brain-gut axis); and how this goes wrong in the clinical context of functional bowel disorders. Projects explore the complex interaction between the intrinsic and extrinsic innervation of the bowel, and relating aberrations of the enteric and autonomic nervous systems to disturbances in function.

Contact: Dr Marc Gladman

Extracellular Matrix Research Group

This lab has focused on the molecular assembly of elastic fibres and on the role they play in growth factor regulation. This process becomes aberrant in incurable fibrotic diseases involving major organs such as heart, lung, kidney and liver and genetic diseases such as Marfan syndrome. Currently Dr Gibson's lab is investigating the role of elastic fibre-associated Latent TGF-beta Binding Proteins (LTBPs) in cellular and tissue models of fibrosis and fibrotic diseases. 

Contact: Dr Mark Gibson

Centre for International Forensic Studies

The Centre for International Forensic Studies is involved in collaborative research with pathologists and scientists from Forensic Science SA, in addition to colleagues in a number of institutes within Australia and overseas. A major focus for the centre has been on accidental and inflicted trauma in infants and children, and many other aspects of paediatric forensic pathology. Additional research has also involved the: characterisation and dating of injuries; analysis of various aspects of suicides and homicides; and investigation of wildlife forensic issues.

Contact: Professor Roger Byard or Associate Professor Carl Winskog

Paediatric Forensic Anthropology and Anatomy Laboratory

The Paediatric Forensic Anthropology and Anatomy Laboratory investigates new possibilities in the practical application of growth and developmental research to forensic anthropology and paediatric clinical disciplines. The laboratory’s primary goal is to establish normative standards for Australian children, through collaboration with interstate institutions. Researchers use a combination of: three-dimensional clinical and post-mortem MSCT (multi-slice computed tomography) and MRI data; reverse-engineering CAD capabilities; and advanced statistics.

Contact: Dr Nicolene Lottering

Professional surgical anatomy services

The Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology also maintains a diverse external clientele, and can offer a wide range of professional services. These include:

  • external allied health teaching
  • surgical workshops
  • skeletal preparation
  • specialist anatomical medicolegal advice
  • specialised dissection services
  • light and electron microscopy techniques
  • anatomical specimen preparation
  • comparative anatomy and human anatomical variation expertise.

Contact: Associate Professor Mounir Ghabriel

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Key contacts

Academic staff