DR Varsha Pilbrow

DR Varsha Pilbrow


  • Biological Anthropology
  • Climate
  • Conservation
  • Craniometrics, human anatomy, skeletal biology
  • Dental anthropology
  • Dental morphometrics
  • Fossils
  • Health education
  • Health science
  • Human Evolution
  • Human variation
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Paleoenvironment
  • Phenotypic variation
  • Systematics



  • Varsha completed her PhD in Biological Anthropology from New York University, USA in January 2003. She worked as a Post Doctoral Research Associate at George Washington University (2003-2004) and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2004-2006). She joined the University of Melbourne as a Research Fellow in 2006 and is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience.

    Varsha’s research interests lie in understanding the processes that govern the diversification of populations into subspecies and species, and in seeking the morphological, especially dental correlates of this evolutionary process. She specializes in the dental morphology of the living apes – chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans and gibbons, and is currently working on a project funded by the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation developing models based on apes to address questions relating to the taxonomy and phylogeny of fossil hominids. Varsha is also involved in a bioarchaeology research project in the Republic of Georgia, studying the physical anthropology of human skeletal remains from archaeological sites at the cross-roads of major human migration routes.   

Has subject area


Member of

  • Australasian Society of Human Biology. Regular member 2009 -
  • Australia New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists. Regular member 2009 -
  • International Primatological Society. Regular member 2007 - 2024
  • Australasian Primate Society. Regular member 2006 - 2024
  • Dental Anthropology Association. Regular member 2006 - 2024
  • Paleoanthropology Society. Regular member 2004 - 2024
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Regular member 1993 - 2024


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (Co-PI) Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Predoctoral Grant L.S.B. Leakey Foundation Doctoral Research Grant L.S.B. Leakey General Research Grant   


Education and training

  • PhD, New York University 2003
  • M.Phil, New York University 1995
  • MA, New York University 1992
  • MA, University of Pune 1986
  • BA, University of Bombay 1984

Awards and honors

  • Professional Development Grant, American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 2012
  • University of Illinois Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006
  • Ales Hrdlicka Student Prize, American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 2002



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I supervise Masters, PhD and post-PhD research in Biological (Physical) Anthropology, specifically in dental anthropology, palaeoanthropology, and skeletal biology.