People and health


UNSW Science research related to humanity ranges from the study of microbes to anatomy to human behaviour.

Our researchers in this area are exploring the complexity of human biology and behaviour with an aim to mitigate disease, improve human health and increase social harmony.

The research topics of some of our most eminent scientists in this area are detailed below.


Cycling fatalities almost halved since introduction of mandatory helmet laws
Emeritus Professor Raphael Grzebieta
A UNSW Sydney study has shown a clear link between mandatory helmet laws and a drastic reduction in cycling fatalities.

The evidence is in: Australian mandatory helmet laws brought in to reduce fatalities in cycling have worked, with a world-first study of such laws at UNSW Sydney showing they led to an immediate 46% drop in fatalities and have...

Building a STEM future
Professor Emma Johnston AO
As a leading authority in marine ecology, Professor Emma Johnston is a prominent advocate for more women at the top tiers of science.

Professor Emma Johnston AO is one of Australia’s pre-eminent voices for science and technology in Australia and a leading authority in marine ecology. She is a champion for gender equity in STEM and an active campaigner for...

Towards zero hunger
Associate Professor Jes Sammut
A UNSW scientist’s fish farming expertise is helping increase nutrition and provide a steady income, as well as a host of other benefits, for people in PNG and Vietnam.

In 2010, in collaboration with the National Fisheries Authority in PNG, UNSW scientist Jes Sammut and his team initiated a fish farming research project which included teaching better aquaculture practices to people in remote...

The mathematics of disease
Professor John Murray
Researchers from UNSW, and their partners in academia, government and industry, are using contemporary mathematical modelling to help in the fight against HIV.

On the face of it, mathematics might not seem like it has much to do with the understanding and management of disease, but according to John Murray, a Professor of Applied Mathematics at UNSW, it has a constructive role to...

Giving the gift of sight in PNG
Eye care research highlights the widespread problem of vision impairment in communities in Papua New Guinea, and advocates for the provision of widespread optometry services.

With a passion for improving the eye care of marginalised people in Australia and overseas, Dr Anthea Burnett says her work gives her enormous satisfaction. This is hardly surprising. What could be better than restoring the...

Help for children with severe behavioural problems
Help for children with severe behavioural problems
Associate Professor Eva Kimonis
Innovative therapy for children with severe conduct issues promises profound benefits for families, schools and society at large.

Severe disruptive behaviour in young children puts a terrible strain on parents, siblings and teachers, but just as worrying is the high chance the child will go on to suffer mental health problems and/or follow a criminal...