As a bioarchaeologist and anatomist, I research the health of past communities using human skeletal remains. I use the latest medical literature to diagnose diseases in bone, such as osteoarthritis, trauma, leprosy, and tuberculosis. This biomedical profile is interpreted through a biocultural approach, using archaeological evidence and is particularly focused on the prehistoric Southeast Asian people with their distinctive rice-based diet, tropical environment, climate, and their changes over time. The nexus of health, environment, and society, seen through a lens of climate change and conflict, is a key overarching theme of all my research.

I have extensive research project management experience and substantial long-term collaborations across Australia, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand. I have worked with archaeologists and other specialists in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar. My research students benefit from these collaborations, enabling them to participate in archaeological excavations and the hands-on analysis of human skeletal remains. I see capacity building of the next generation of ethical and respectful bioarchaeologists as one of my key roles. I encourage my students to to co-publish and present at conferences, such as ASHB, where they often win awards. My strong collaborations with archaeologists in the College of Arts, Society and Education (CASE) and the TARL group (Tropical Archaeology Research Laboratory) here at JCU allow for innovative crossovers between STEM and the Humanities.

As the Lead Academic, Anatomy and Pathology, in the College of Medicine and Dentistry, I oversee the teaching of these subjects across multiple colleges, into many courses including medicine, physiotherapy, pharmacy, and biomedical sciences among others. I am also the Queensland Health Anatomical Licensee (the custodian) for JCU to oversee the ethical and legal management of our two Anatomy Laboratories (Townsville and Cairns). We have a Human Bequest Program where people in the community can donate their bodies to JCU for teaching and research. Learning anatomy from our donors is a key example of experiential learning in an enriched learning environment – our students always highly value this part of their course. Have a look at our Facebook page to see what our students and staff are doing.

If you want to read how my career developed from a Bachelor of Science degree 30 years ago have a look here.

  • MD1010: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 1 of 2 (Level 1; TSV & CNS)
  • MD1020: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 2 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • My service and engagement occurs across all levels of the university from being Lead Academic, Anatomy and Pathology in my college, responsible for six academic staff and the Human Anatomy facilities at JCU, to being on the University-level panel for academic staff promotion, and representing the university on the John Flynn residential College Council. Each year I help interview the prospective JCU medical students and meet high school students on their visits to JCU. Externally, my professional expertise in the analysis of human skeletal remains from forensic, historic, and prehistoric contexts has allowed me to make a significant contribution to the wider community. I am able to use my expertise to help the QLD Police, QLD Health, First Nations communities, museums, consultant archaeologists, and others in the identification of human remains. Internationally, I have recently worked with Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum during excavations at a Khmer Rouge prison site. I have a long association with the Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB) providing leadership on the executive and conference committees. This society is particularly focused on actively fostering research development in postgraduate students. I am also on the Executive Committee for the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association, and we recently held our four yearly conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
  • My research interests are across a range of themes, predominantly centred around establishing a baseline for biomedical history across the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age in Southeast Asia. Two such themes are highlighted here. These and many other studies can be found in my publication links. (1) Evolution of Community Health alongside the Intensification of Rice Agriculture in prehistoric Southeast Asia. This includes paleopathological investigations focusing on single individuals (an osteobiography), looking at particular diseases such as osteoarthritis or an infectious disease. It also includes detailed investigations of overall health in a particular community and then synthesizing this information across time periods and geographical regions. For example: "The impact of CLUBFOOT: A holistic, paleopathological case study from Bronze Age Thailand", “Interpreting OSTEOARTHRITIS in bioarchaeology: Highlighting the importance of a clinical approach through case studies from prehistoric Thailand”, “DENTAL HEALTH in Iron Age Cambodia: temporal variations with rice agriculture”, “POPULATION HEALTH from the Bronze to the Iron Age in the Mun River Valley, Northeast Thailand”, “Forager and farmer evolutionary adaptations to MALARIA evidenced by 7000 years of thalassemia in Southeast Asia”. (2) Conflict and Trauma leading up to the development of state society and the Angkorian civilisation. For example: "Bioarchaeological Evidence of CONFLICT in Iron Age, Northwest Cambodia", "Investigating the risk of VIOLENCE during the Neolithic to the Late Iron Age in northeast Thailand", "Domestication and LARGE ANIMAL INTERACTIONS: Skeletal trauma in northern Vietnam during the hunter-gatherer Da But period", "A bioarchaeological study of TRAUMA at late Iron Age to protohistoric Non Ban Jak, Northeast Thailand"
  • JCU places high priority on creating and delivering Transformative Education through providing enriching student experiences targeting intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning. My extensive undergraduate teaching experience, primarily in the anatomy and histology of the musculoskeletal system, is constantly evolving to ensure students are engaged and see the relevance of their learning to their chosen pathway. I provide this with a mix of short learning outcome videos to cover core concepts, clinically relevant case studies to contextualise and apply anatomical knowledge, and face-to-face teaching in the classroom and Anatomy and Histology laboratories. Providing a blended learning experience caters for the diverse ways in which students learn. The CMD Anatomy and Pathology team, which I lead, are actively engaged in teaching and learning research and we are regularly awarded internal and external teaching and learning grants and have well established networks with ANZACA, the Australia and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists.
  • 2015 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville, QLD, Australia)
  • 2008 to 2014 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville, QLD, Australia)
  • 2002 to 2007 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville, QLD, Australia)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2023 to 2027 - ARC Discovery Project (DP230100033) Megalithic Connections: Imperilled Cultural Heritage in Laos and India. Collaboration: Dr Louise Shewan, University of Melbourne and A/Prof Dougald O'Reilly, ANU &others $513,598
  • 2022 to 2023 - JCU Learning and Teaching Grant Innovation Grant (Large – Category C: Immersive Learning) Trollope, Domett et al (CMD Anatomy teaching team) $10,000
  • 2022 to 2023 - Open Educational Resources Collective DIY Open Textbook Grants (Histology) Anscomb, Zimanyi, Domett, Trollope, Grier (CMD Anatomy teaching team) $4,000
  • 2019 to 2021 - Marsden Fund, Royal Society NZ (18-UOO-028) The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: A Biocultural investigation of 19thC Frontier mining cemeteries in Australia, NZ & California. Collaboration: Buckley & Petchey, Otago University NZ$827,000
  • 2018 - JCU Learning and Teaching Grant Interactive and adaptive histology resource Trollope, Domett et al (CMD Anatomy teaching team) $4,682
  • 2015 to 2018 - ARC Discovery Project (DP150101164) Unravelling the Mystery of the Plain of Jars, Laos Collaboration: A/Prof Dougald O'Reilly, ANU, and Dr Louise Shewan & others $425,100
  • 2017 - JCU Learning and Teaching Blended Learning and Innovation Grant (3D scanner) Elliman, Noble, and Domett (CPHVMS and CMD collaboration) $2,899
  • 2016 - JCU Learning and Teaching Quick Start Grant Domett and Noble (CPHVMS and CMD collaboration) $2,000
  • 2011 to 2013 - ARC Discovery Project (DP110101997) From Paddy to Pura: the origins of Angkor Collaboration: A/Prof Dougald O'Reilly, ANU, and Dr Louise Shewan &others $340,000
  • 2009 to 2011 - ARC Discovery Project (DP110101997) History in their Bones: A diachronic, bioarchaeological study of diet, mobility and social organization from Cambodian skeletal assemblages Collaboration: A/Prof O'Reilly ANU, Dr Shewan&others $154,000
  • 2019 to 2027 - IndoPacific Prehistory Association Executive Committee
  • 2022 to 2026 - John Flynn College Council, JCU
  • 2017 to 2022 - Australia and New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomy
  • 2013 to 2019 - Australasian Society for Human Biology Executive Committee: Treasurer
  • 2010 to 2013 - Australasian Society for Human Biology Executive Committee: Secretary
  • 2023 - Co-lead and presenter for 2 week intensive paleopathology workshop to increase research capacity for ECRs from all over Southeast Asia. Funded by the University of Sydney SSEAC and to be held in Bangkok.
  • 2021 - Invited presenter for online course on archaeological human bone by SEAMEO SPAFA (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization: Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts.
  • 2019 - Invitation to present on my research on health and disease at Non Ban Jak, an Iron Age site in northeast Thailand, to the Biological Anthropology Research Seminar Series at ANU. PUBLICATION: Buckley et al 2022.
  • 2018 - Invitation to present research on trauma in prehistoric Southeast Asia at the Global History of Health Project for Asia, Jilin, China. PUBLICATIONS: Domett et al 2011 Antiquity; Pedersen et al Asian Persp 2019; Scott et al PLoSOne 2019.
  • 2017 - Invited presentation at the Society for American Archaeology meeting for a discussion on ethics in bioarchaeological research (colleague presented). PUBLICATION: Halcrow, Crozier, Domett et al 2019.
  • 2016 - Invited presentation on my research into health and disease in prehistoric Cambodia, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ. PUBLICATIONS: Domett & O'Reilly Asian Perspectives 2009; Domett et al IJO 2013; Newton et al IJPP 2013.
  • 2016 - Invited presenter for Osteology Workshop at Silpakorn University, Bangkok

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
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 76+ research outputs authored by Prof Kate Domett from 2004 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Phillips KPA Consulting - Travel Grants

Building Research capacity in bioarchaeology in Thailand

Indicative Funding
$13,640 over 1 year
Research in bioarchaelogy, the study of human remains from archaeological cemetery sites, has only a recent history in Thailand. As such, it is timely for a consolidated capacity-building approach to be undertaken in this research field. Associate Profesor Kate Domett is among one of only a handful of bioarchaeologists specialising in this area in mainland Southeast Asia and is well placed to lead a sustained and realistic expansion of collaboration between Thai researchers and their Australian counterparts.
Kate Domett (College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Thailand; Bioarchaeology; Southeast Asia

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

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.

  • Enhancing palaeopathological diagnostic techniques for osteoporosis through analysis of prehistoric and modern Southeast Asian skeletal collections (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Leprosy and Tuberculosis? A Southeast Asian Paleopathological Investigation (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • An Anatomical Approach to the Study of Osteoporosis and Bone Health in Past and Present Human Remains (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • A biosocial interpretation of disease in rural, regional, and urban centres from 1850-1900 in Australasia (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Body size, health, and diet at Con Co Ngua, Vietnam: an isotopic assessment of diet and physiological assessment of skeletal remains (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The effects of aging on bone macro- and microstructure of two populations in the Asia-Pacific region (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Stature Estimation from Fragmentary Skeletal Remains in Prehistoric Cambodia with health and forensic applications (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Fibrin Glue in Skin Grafts for Skin Cancer (PhD , Advisor Mentor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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