Chancellor’s Prize awarded to Emily Roycroft

The Chancellor’s Prize for excellence in the PhD thesis is awarded annually to outstanding students whose work has had professional and international recognition and impact.

Dr Emily Roycroft, now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian National University, was awarded one of this year’s prizes for her research in the evolution and extinction of Australia's native rodents.

Examining the evolutionary history, biogeography, diversification and molecular evolution of native rodents from Australia and New Guinea, her work also reconstructed the rapid collapse of extinct rodents in Australia since European colonisation using genomic data from museum rodent species.

Papers arising from the research conducted by Dr Roycroft in 2016-2020 at the School of BioSciences have been published in international journals including PNAS, Systematic Biology, and Evolution.

“The University of Melbourne provided me with brilliant opportunities throughout my PhD, including access to invaluable funding,” says Dr Roycroft.

“I'm especially grateful for the financial support I received from the Dame Margaret Blackwood Soroptimist Scholarship, which I was awarded in 2017 and 2018, and the Alfred Nicholas Fellowship which I was awarded in 2019.”

Dr Roycroft now works on comparative genomics of geckos and population genomics of Australian mammals.

“I am fascinated by questions and approaches which attempt to reconstruct the evolutionary past of species, and the environments in which they live,” she says.

“I am also especially passionate about the use of museum collections as a resource for understanding biodiversity loss.”

The Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in the PhD Thesis is awarded each year to up to six graduate researchers who completed their thesis at the University of Melbourne.