I graduated from the University of Tasmania with a major in Mathematics, and first class honours in Zoology. After teaching biology and mathematics at year 11-12 for 4 terms, I decided to undertake further research training. I completed a PhD at Murdoch University under the supervision of Dr Marilyn Renfree, investigating the control of pregnancy in tammar wallabies. I undertook postdoctoral research on the effects of growth factors on sheep reproduction at the University of Queensland before returning to work on marsupials as a National Research fellow and later a Sir Colin McKenzie Research Fellow in Comparative Anatomy, in the Department of Anatomy at Monash University. I took up a lectureship at the University of Melbourne in 1991 and was promoted to Professor in 2011.
My research centres on mammalian reproductive physiology and development. I have studied a diverse range or species including humans, but the central focus is on marsupials. Major projects at present investigate sexual determination and differentiation, genomic imprinting, the physiology and endocrinology of birth, the uterine, hormonal and metabolic control of embryonic diapause, embryo culture, the application of artificial reproductive technologies to endangered species and comparative aspects of lactation. I am also involved in the functional analysis if genetic information derived from the ARC Centre for Kangaroo Genomics. Marsupials have enormous potential as research models to contrast with data from humans and mice, and my research highlights and leverages this potential.
My research informs my teaching, where I endeavour to give my undergraduate students a feel for the boundaries of our knowledge and the excitement of exploration into the unknown. My teaching approach is popular, with listings among the top 10 at The University of Melbourne in the national Lecturer of the Year Awards in 2010 and and 2011, and in 2014 ranking as the top nominee at The Universi