Background: Helen Anscomb is a neuroanatomist. clinical anatomist and the newly appointed Professor of Anatomy and Histology at Flinders University, SA. She is retaining her long-standing association with James Cook University via an Adjunct role within the College of Medicine and Dentistry (2024-2027 inclusive).

Whilst at JCU, she served as the Academic Lead (Head) for Anatomy and Pathology (from 2012-2022) and Year 1 Coordinator of the MBBS program (2010-2021) in the College of Medicine and Dentistry. During this time her leadership roles included being the Anatomical Licensee and Coordinator of the Human Bequest Program (overseen by Queensland Health) and she held responsibility for strategic leadership and oversight of the anatomical teaching facilities, resources and management of teaching activities for both the Townsville and Cairns campuses.

In 2015, she developed and became Course Coordinator for the RACS (Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) accredited Graduate Diploma of Surgical Anatomy at JCU. Throughout her time at JCU, she was involved in teaching undergraduate human anatomy to Medical and Allied Health professional students across the Academy and into postgraduate medical programmes, as well as a number of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses run by the College (Surgical training) and for the JCU GP Registrars’ training programs. Helen has an outstanding and sustained personal track-record of educational leadership in relation to innovative teaching delivery, curriculum development and evaluation, and the development and implementation of scholarly teaching initiatives. Her experience in course design, and establishment in collaboration with clinical and industry partnerships sets her apart as someone who can design, initiate and deliver high quality and in-demand course offerings whilst establishing and maintaining effective teaching and research collaborations. She has a strong commitment to fostering academic excellence in foundation science and clinically applied education and research and her contributions to excellence and scholarship in tertiary level education have been recognized internationally through Senior Fellowship (SFHEA) of Advance HE.

Helen has presented her academic work in more than 50 research publications through peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed conference proceedings. invited presentations, book chapters and abstracts. During her career she has supervised and mentored more than 10 research and Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students (including 5 PhD, and 3 Honours) from a number of disciplinary backgrounds and is currently the primary supervisor of a further 2 PhD candidates within the College of Medicine and Dentistry. She was Project Co-Lead on the National Health and Medical Research Council project grant (NHMRC: APP1003788) to investigate the Development of anti-TNF treatment strategies for cognitive decline in association with collaborators at the University of Adelaide, SA. In all, her contributions to scholarly research have generated more than $550,000 in high profile and Category-1 and 3 grants through strategically aligned, interdisciplinary collaborative projects (NHMRC in 2011; AITHM (Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine) in 2014). She has also won a number of internal University research grants to the sum of ~$65,000.

Helen’s outstanding and sustained contributions to teaching and teaching leadership are evidenced through sustained funding via Learning and Teaching projects (current grants include a $2,000 – OER Grant; $5,000 – Cat B: Promoting active learning and student engagement and $10,000 – Cat C: Immersive learning for 2023); Personal Teaching and Development awards (including – JCU Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning Citationand Faculty Scholar Development Award) and Awards/Nominations from peers, students and colleagues (Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) citation nominations; JCU Top 10 lecturer – Unijobs; JCU Medical Student Association (JCUMSA) outstanding contribution to teaching award).

In terms of her contributions to service and engagement at JCU, Helen was an active member of numerous internal committees including Postgraduate Studies (Medicine), Board of Studies (Medicine), Assessment Committee (Medicine), and Learning, Teaching and Curriculum Management (College of Medicine and Dentistry), and had sustained experience as a Subject and Course Coordinator. In 2023 she was Acting Associate Dean Learning & Teaching (May-October) for the College and has contributed to strategic educational leadership with the College via Cabinet, Summit and College Council. She has also contributed to the promotion of learning and teaching quality and innovation through roles in internal course-review, in collaborations with the Centre of Education and Enhancement (Education Division) and through Course Performance Review (CPR) and reporting. Externally, Helen has held key positions within the Queensland Health Schools of Anatomy Managers Network (SOAMN), where she assisted in the re-development of legislative guidelines, audit tools and processes and contributing to procedural reform and policy review. She has also peer-reviewed for national grant funding bodies (i.e. NHMRC) and internationally recognised journals and is a long-standing member of a number of scholarly societies (ANZACA, the Anatomical Society (AS) and ANZAHPE).

  • AT8301: Surgical Anatomy of the Upper Body Regions and Central Nervous System (Level 8; TSV)
  • MD3011: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 1 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD6010: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 1 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6020: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 2 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6030: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 3 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6110: Advanced Clinical Medicine (Honours) Part 1 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6120: Advanced Clinical Medicine (Honours) Part 2 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6130: Advanced Clinical Medicine (Honours) Part 3 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • Electrophysiological investigation of oscillatory network activity patterns in the brain relevant to cognition.
  • Pathological models of oscillatory network activity patterns in the hippocampus and neocortex of rodents in vitro.
  • Stress response and cytokines and their regulators in the development of psychological illness (anxiety and depression) and the impact on cognitive functioning.
  • Neuroimaging and neurobiology of cognitive functions and neurodegenerative processes.
  • First year university experience and student engagement (pedagogical enhancement of student engagement in foundation biological sciences).
  • Blended learning and the development of digital anatomy teaching resources.
  • Postgraduate and clinical education, training and currency in foundation sciences.
  • Vertically integrated assessment practices to shape approaches to learning in clinically oriented anatomy.
  • 2024 to present - Adjuct Professor, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2019 to 2023 - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2016 to 2023 - Course Coordinator: Graduate Diploma of Surgical Anatomy, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2012 to 2022 - Academic Lead (Head), Anatomy & Pathology, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2012 to 2022 - Anatomical Licencee, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2011 to 2018 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2016 - External Reviewer / Casual Tutor, Royal College of Surgeons (Ed) (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
  • 2005 to 2010 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2008 - Visting Research Scholar, Newcastle University: Institute of Neuroscience (IoN) (United Kingdom)
  • 2004 to 2005 - Post Doctoral Researcher, University of Leeds (United Kingdom)
  • 2000 to 2003 - PhD, University of Leeds (United Kingdom)
  • 2016 - Deans Subject Excellence Award - highest student satisfaction in Physiotherapy (subject PS2004) - CHS, James Cook University.
  • 2011 - JCU Top 10 Lecturer (Unijobs, as voted for by students in 2010)
  • 2011 - JCU Medical Student Association (JCUMSA) outstanding contribution to teaching award (voted by students).
  • 2009 - Australian Learning and Teaching Citation (outstanding contribution to student learning) Nomination.
  • 2008 - Australian Learning and Teaching Citation (outstanding contribution to student learning) Nomination.
  • 2008 - JCU Citation for outstanding contributions to student learning
  • 2017 to 2018 - JCU Academic Leaders Development Program - nominated by College Dean.
  • 2009 to 2011 - Faculty Teaching Leadership Scholar for Medicine, Health & Molecular Sciences (funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, ALTC)
  • 2016 to 2017 - JCU Learning and Teaching Project Grant (Category C - Curriculum Design Grant).
  • 2015 to 2016 - JCU Learning and Teaching Project Grant (Category A - Quick Start).
  • 2015 to 2016 - CIA on Faculty of Health, Medicine & Molecular Sciences development grant ($10,000) entitled: Indigenous MIND: a pilot biomarker study for Indigenous mental health
  • 2014 - CIE on Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine (AITHM) development grant ($35,000) entitled HART-BEAT: diabetes research from BENCH TO REAL-WORLD PRACTICE
  • 2013 - CIA on School of Medicine & Dentistry Grant Scheme ($8,000) entitled: Role of corticotrophin releasing factor in anxiety in Type 1 diabetes.
  • 2011 to 2013 - CIC on NHMRC project grant APP1003788 ($522,970) entitled: Development of anti-TNF treatment strategies for cognitive decline
  • 2009 - JCU Research Infrastructure Block grant ($16,000)
  • 2008 - CIA on Faculty of Health, Medicine & Molecular Sciences development grant ($9,000) entitled: Cytokines in brain structure and function
  • 2008 - Visiting Research Scholar in Neuroimaging. Hosted by the Institute of Neuroscience (IoN) at Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
  • 2008 - Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience (funded fellowship by JCU and the Australian Neuroscience Society)
  • Anatomical Society (AS)
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Australasian Society for Neuroscience
  • Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB)
  • Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists (ANZACA)
  • Australain and New Zealand Association of Health Professional Educators (ANZAPHE)
  • 2016 - Clinical Anatomy Tutor, Wade Program of Surgical Anatomy - Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh).
  • 2006 to 2008 - Graduate Certificate in Education (Teriary Teaching)
  • 2000 to 2003 - PhD Neuroscience. Thesis entitled: A model of theta frequency rhythmic activity in the rat medial septum/diagonal band complex in vitro
  • 1997 to 2000 - BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences with Anatomical Sciences (Honours)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Other research outputs

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 31+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Helen Anscomb from 2002 onwards.


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These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • An Anatomical Approach to the Study of Osteoporosis and Bone Health in Past and Present Human Remains (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Examination of the Biomechanical, Physiological, Performance and Symptom Responses of Impact/Collision (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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