Meet the team — we are based in the Schools of Earth Sciences and Geography at the University of Melbourne, Australia




Jon Woodhead

Jon is an isotope geochemist who does quite a bit of geochronology. He specialises in U-Pb dating of older speleothems - those beyond the range of the U-Th chronometer - in studies of palaeoclimate, human origins, landscape evolution and biodiversity.

Google Scholar profile here

Email Jon



Russell Drysdale

Russ is a stable isotope geochemist and speleothem specialist working on Quaternary palaeoclimates. He is currently involved in speleothem projects in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Italy, and France. His has specific interests in applying speleothem science to the timing and forcing of glacial terminations, interglacial variability, and the geographic expression of millennial-scale climate events.    

Google Scholar profile here

Email Russ



John Hellstrom

John is a U-Th geochronologist  and speleothem specialist working on late Quaternary palaeoclimates

Google Scholar profile here

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Kale Sniderman

Kale is a Neogene palynologist who until recently worked on lake sediments (mmm...). We turned him to the Dark Side and now he extracts pollen from speleothems.

Google Scholar profile here

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Helen Green

Helen did her PhD studies on the cave deposits of Victoria, Australia. She is currently doing a post-doc developing U-Th protocols for dating Kimberley rock art.

Email Helen

Florian Dux

Florian did his PhD studies on the clumped isotope method for palaeotemperature reconstruction. He now brings these new skills to the Melbourne group as a postdoc.

Email Florian


Petra Bajo

Petra completed her PhD in 2016 at the School of Geography where she is currently appointed as a Teaching Fellow. She is also working on U-Th dating of carbonates as a Research Assistant at the School of Earth Sciences.

Email Petra



Isabelle Couchoud

Isabelle is a member of the EDYTEM lab at the Universite Savoie-Mont Blanc and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

PhD, MSc and Hons students





Andrea Columbu

Andrea Columbu is studying the potential of carbonate speleothems from Mediterranean gypsum caves for palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. His main interest is in middle to late Quaternary millennial scale climate variations and their implications for landscape evolution.

newsflash! Andrea has just obtained his PhD. Congratulations Andrea!




Ellen Corrick

Ellen began her PhD in late 2015, further exploring her interest in millennial-scale climate change. Her research explore the consistency to which globally distributed speleothems record the rapid Dansgaard-Oeschger events that characterised the last glacial period. 

Eleanor Denson

Eleanor is doing an honours year in 2017. Her research project is to investigate if the Mg:Ca ratio can be used as a paleotemperature proxy in sub-aqueous speleothems. 

She is studying the trace elements of an Italian speleothem and will be conducting temperature controlled calcite farming experiments in an attempt to construct a calibration curve for this temperature dependence.


Bianca Dickson

Bianca is doing her PhD looking at pollen in speleothems from SouthWest Australia, a unique floristic region and biodiversity hotspot.



Bronwyn Dixon

Bronwyn began her PhD at Melbourne Uni in 2013, and is investigating rainfall variability in the Australia over the past 2,000 years.  She is currently creating a new speleothem-based palaeoclimate record from Kangaroo Island, South Australia as well as a regional rainfall reconstruction for southeast Australia through the synthesis of existing palaeoclimate records.


John Engel

John (aka Captain America) has returned to Melbourne Uni, where he did his MSc, to start a PhD aimed at further developing chronometers for speleothems beyond the range of U-series dating.

Jay Gordon

Jay started out as an engineer - then he decided that he wanted an exciting and fun Masters project! He is working on Southern Australia's climate response to millennial climate events during MIS 3.


Kia Matley

Kia is looking at the late Holocene speleothem palynology of the Nullarbor Plain


Claire MacGregor

Claire is doing a Masters project on  rare Southern Hemisphere record of Termination III from a Tasmanian speleothem






Safana Sellman

Safana is doing a PhD on the Pliocene speleothems of the Nullarbor region of southwest Australia. Her main interests are Pliocene climates, Southern Hemisphere palaeoclimate, and novel palaeoclimate techniques.




Tim Pollard

Tim has just started his PhD. His project aims to produce precisely dated speleothem records of climate and environmental change during the Marine Isotope Stage 11 interglacial -  a time when Earth’s orbital characteristics were similar to the present, thus providing a potential analogue for future evolution of the climate system over an orbital timescale.

Rieneke Weij

Rieneke has just started her PhD. Her project aims to investigate the use of speleothem age probability density functions as a palaeoprecipitation proxy.

Lab Managers





Roland Maas

Roland looks after two of the three Clean Labs in Earth Sciences (including the one where U-Th chemistry happens) and one of our MC-ICPMS instruments (Nu007, licensed to thrill)





Alan Greig

Alan runs the Agilent 7700 quad ICPMS and ASI RESOlution laser ablation systems in Earth Sciences. Here he is seen saying goodbye to an old 'friend' (that's why he is smiling).





Roman Witt

Roman did his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany reconstructing climate variability in Central Asia using lake sediments. He currently manages the Stable Isotope Laboratory in the School of Geography.