Wednesday 7 August 2019 8:30am
The SJWRI is delighted to introduce our Sir Thomas Kay Sidey Postdoctoral Fellow for 2019, Dr Ian Towle. Ian will be working under the mentorship of Dr Carolina Loch on a research project titled ‘An evolutionary perspective on dental properties, disease and wear’.
Originally from Aberdeen in Scotland, Ian completed his PhD in Biological Anthropology at Liverpool John Moores University in 2017. His research interests are in using dental remains to understand how diet and behaviour has changed through human evolution, through studying South African fossil hominin teeth, Neolithic, Roman and Medieval human samples, and a variety of primate species. His previous research explored how dental wear differs among hominin species, and has found that enamel properties heavily influence the formation of wear and fractures on the teeth surface.
More on Ian’s previous research (from The Conversation):
What teeth can reveal about the secret lives of our ancestors
Chipped teeth suggests Homo naledi had a unique diet
Human ancestors had the same dental problems as us – even without fizzy drinks and sweets
In this two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship project, Ian and Carolina will examine tooth wear and dental disease in a range of primate species and archaeological human samples to better understand the evolution of the human dentition, by assessing the influence of dental properties such as morphology, size and mechanical properties on the development of these conditions. To do this, Ian will take advantage of unique microscopy, nanoindentation and wear simulation techniques available at Otago. This research will help uncover the drivers of human dental evolution and the development of clinically-relevant conditions such as tooth wear and dental disease.
The Sir Thomas Kay Sidey Postdoctoral Fellowship is intended to support outstanding doctoral research graduates to further their careers by undertaking a postdoctoral fellowship in the Sir John Walsh Research Institute. Their purpose is to attract or retain candidates of the highest calibre to undertake research and teaching in the Faculty of Dentistry.