This event has now ended.
Professor Steve Donnellan
Head of Evolutionary Biology Unit
South Australian Museum
Professor Steve Donnellan will highlight exciting discoveries made from the Australian Biological Tissue Collection (ABTC) and how advanced DNA technologies are set to "liberate the genomes" of long-dead animals held in the Museum since in the 1860s.
The South Australian Museum is custodian to the ABTC – the largest in the Southern Hemisphere – with nearly 130,000 tissue samples of animals, fish, birds and plants kept in giant freezers in the Museum's basement.
The miniscule tissues at the South Australian Museum are literally scientific treasures. The collection is priceless because of the effort it takes to gather the samples and because many of the samples are now irreplaceable. Many of the tissues are from species or populations which are now extinct, such as the Southern Gastric Brooding Frogs from southern Queensland, and the Long-eared Mouse from South Australia.
DNA analysis of these samples has helped convict criminals in Australian court cases, identify illegal imports, helped scientists across the globe study biodiversity and allowed local researchers to discover and identify new species.
Professor Steve Donnellan is a Chief Researcher at the South Australian Museum and an affiliate Professor of the University of Adelaide in the Schools of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Molecular & Biomedical Science.
Professor Donnellan, an evolutionary biologist, has broad interests in the evolutionary history of the fauna of the Australo-Papuan region, natural resource management, and wildlife forensics.
He is responsible for the Australian Biological Tissue Collection (ABTC) at the Museum, the largest collection of tissues suitable for molecular analyses in the southern hemisphere and one of the world's largest.
His broad role is to conduct research on evolutionary biology problems and to provide expert advice on this topic to the broader scientific community and government agencies.
Professor Donnellan has taken a highly collaborative approach to his research and has conducted research projects with colleagues at most of the Australian museums, many universities, state & commonwealth agencies and numerous international colleagues.