Anatomy is the study of the structure and function of all the features of the body, from cells to tissues and the systems of the body.

A closely related discipline is human biology which explores what it means to be human in an integrative way, combining studies of the biology and behaviour of human beings with current social and ethical issues.

The School's research in anatomy and human biology research has eight broad areas:

We are ranked in the world's top 20:

Biological anthropology

Biological anthropology is concerned with the ways in which the biology and behaviour of humans are influenced by genetic, developmental, ecological, and cultural factors.

We focus on evolutionary principles as applied to human evolution, the behavioural ecology of primates, the process of gene-environment interaction during development, and the interplay of cultural and biological factors in human behaviour.

Key staff contacts

Cell and molecular biology

Research in cell biology has a fundamental appreciation of the importance of the cellular and molecular networks and interactions that underpin human biology. This research helps us understand how our genetic information and signalling networks give rise to distinct cell types and how our cells respond to environmental challenge, including disease states.

Key staff contacts

Forensic anthropology

The Centre for Forensic Anthropology (CFA) offers teaching and training both within UWA and externally, and supports Master and PhD research programs that are focused around our key research areas that include the development of a new generation of morphometric tools and standards for application in forensic identification.

Key staff contacts

Functional and clinical anatomy

This research explores human functional anatomy in relation to biomechanics and the constraints and opportunities provided by the human vertebrate heritage.

To extend and deepen the understanding of human morphology, research examines aspects of human anatomy in great depth, helping to integrate the understanding of other regions.

Key staff contacts

Oral sciences, social inequality and big data (

The International Research Collaborative – Oral Health and Equity ( develops innovative solutions in health education, research and service to address the global challenges associated with social inequities.

We undertake cutting-edge research and development to provide governments, universities and communities with novel strategies to address the significant unmet needs of marginalised communities.

Our focus is to provide world-class research and development targeted at facilitating improved health in societies across the globe.

Key issues include: oral health policy and strategy; accessibility; workforce: skills mix, education and distribution; and research oriented to health care needs and prevention.

Reproductive biology and endocrinology

Research in reproduction examines the impact and interaction of stress and nutritional factors on male and female fertility, placental function, fetal growth, pregnancy outcome and fetal programming of the adult phenotype.

Human studies centre on the use of assisted reproductive technology, particularly psychosocial and lifestyle factors influencing treatment outcome and issues surrounding the use of donated gametes and embryos.

Key staff contacts

Sleep science

Sleep science research aims to investigate the causes of and treatments for sleep disorders including sleep apnoea and insomnia. 

The effects of sleep on neurocognitive function, depression, and athletic performance is also of interest.

Research is undertaken at the University's purpose-built sleep training and research facility in collaboration with the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Key staff contacts

Biological Arts (SymbioticA)

SymbioticA is an artistic laboratory dedicated to the research, learning, critique and hands-on engagement with the life sciences.

SymbioticA is the first research laboratory of its kind, enabling artists and researchers to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department.

It offers a new means of artistic and cultural inquiry where artists use the tools and technologies of science, not just to comment about them but also to explore their possibilities. It also hosts residents, workshops, exhibitions and symposia.

Key staff contacts