Staff profile

Staff image

Dr Beata Ujvari

Position: Senior Research Fellow
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env
Department: School of Life & Env. Sciences
Campus: Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus



  • Master of Agricultural Science, 1995
  • Doctor of Philosophy, 2001


Senior Honorary Fellow at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney

Professional activities

•Chair of Comparative Oncology Special Interest Group, Cancer Research Network, University of Sydney, 2012 - 2014

• Member of program and organizing committee: Sydney Cancer Conference, Sydney
• Member of program and organizing committee: GSA 2014, Sydney
• Member of program committee: VetSci 2013, 2014, Singapore

LinkedIn profile

Personal website


Knowledge areas

Genetics, evolutionary ecology, conservation biology, immunology

Conferences and seminars


• Invited speaker: The International Society for Evolution, Medicine, & Public Health Inaugural Meeting, Tempe
• Invited speaker: Cancer & Evolution, Sydney Cancer Network, USyd, Sydney


• Invited speaker: Workshop on diversity in telomere dynamics, Glasgow
• Invited speaker: Australian Telomere and DNA Repair Workshop, Sydney
• Invited speaker: 7th World Cancer Congress, Nanjing, China - declined
• Member of program and organizing committee: Sydney Cancer Conference, Sydney
• Member of program and organizing committee: GSA 2014, Sydney
• Member of program committee: VetSci 2014, Singapore
2013 • Invited speaker: 6th World Cancer Congress 2013, Xi’an, China
• Invited speaker: ComBio2013, Perth
• Member of program committee: VetSci 2013, Singapore
• Oral presentation: GSA 2013, Sydney
• Invited seminar, Deakin University, Geelong
• Invited speaker, Distinguished Visitors Program - Mammals response to change workshop, UNSW, Sydney
• Invited presentation: IBECC, San Francisco, USA
• Invited seminar, Macquarie University, Sydney
• Invited seminar: Early Career Showcase, University of Sydney
• Invited seminar: Australian National University, Canberra
• Invited seminar: SoB, University of Sydney
2011 • Oral presentation, GSA, Melbourne
2010 • Oral presentation: ISBE, Perth

Media appearances

Media coverage and interviews

• “Animal instincts could help in cancer fight, Deakin researcher says” by Dundas, G. Geelong Advertiser, January 2015.

• “Devil cancer invincible” by Elizabeth Lord, Hobart Mercury, 2012
• “Deadly devil disease is here to stay” by Laura Boness, Science Illustrated, 2012
• “Devil’s Contagious Cancer Evolves” by Jesse Jenkins, Biotechniques, 2012
• “Evolving cancer could spare Tassie devils” by Anna Salleh, ABC Science, 2012
• “Tasmanian Devil's Sneaky, Contagious Cancer Evolves” by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience, 2012
• “Killer Cane Toads”, ABC Television, Nexus, 2003 and National Geographic, 2006
• “Snakes alive!” by Geordie Torr and David Hancock, Australian Geographic, 2004
• “The Great Hungarian Plain”, The Mystique Of The Magyars”; ABC Radio, 2000

Research advertised on public and scientific websites

• “Comparative Oncology Special Interest Group” -

• “Comparative Oncology SIG (CO-SIG) activities” Cancer Research Network, The University of Sydney, June 2013.

• IBECC2013 Carl Zimmer “The Devil’s Tumor: How Cancer Evolved into a New Form of life”

• “Featured CRN member “Cancer Research Network, The University of Sydney, September 2012.

• “Infected Tasmanian devils reveal how cancer cells evolve in response to humans” by ScienceDaily (

• “Infected Tasmanian devils reveal how cancer cells evolve in response to humans” by ScienceCodex (

• “Age and Immune response” -


Awards and prizes

  • Ian Potter Travel Award to attend Workshop of Telomere Dynamics” in Scotland - 1.2K 2014
  • Deans Discretion Funds (Fac.Vet. Sci. USyd) to attend the National Cancer Institute Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention, NCI USA - 2K, 2012


Research projects

Visit the following link for detailed info on projects:

Research interests

Being an evolutionary ecologist, my research focuses on the interaction between organisms and their environment and these effects on organismal fitness.  The particular aim of my research is to explore the significance of genetic and epigenetic organismal responses to both macro- and micro environmental challenges.

Research grants

  • Will a novel genetic mutation save large goannas from extinction? (CI: Ujvari, B.)  - Ian Potter Foundation 15K 2013
  • Could genetic mutation save the yellow-spotted goannas (Varanus panoptes) from extinction? (CI: Ujvari, B.) - Whitehead Bequest, Fac. Vet. Sci. 5K 2013
  • Genotyping of captive devils using next-generation sequencing assay. (CIs: Belov, K., PI: Ujvari, B. and 2 others) - Save the Tasmanian Devil, Dr. Eric Guiller Grant 35K 2012
  • Development of a high throughput next-generation sequencing assay to measure genetic relatedness and genomic diversity in Tasmanian devils. (CIs: Belov, K., PI: Ujvari, B. and 2 others) - Save the Tasmanian Devil, Dr. Eric Guiller Grant 35K 2012
  • Methylation and Expression Analyses of tumour suppressor genes in the Devil Facial Tumour Diseas (DFTD) (CI: Ujvari, B.) - Manning Bequest, Fac. Vet. Sci. 2K 2012
  • Characterizing the role of telomeres and telomerase in the evolution and progression of DFTD. (CI: Ujvari, B.) - Save the Tasmanian Devil, Dr. Eric Guiller Grant 25K 2011
  • Investigating the genetic background of diet- and sex-specific lifespan differences in the blowfly, Calliphora stygia. (CIs: Wallman, J. & Ujvari, B.) - URC SGS, UoW 15K 2008
  • Flora and Fauna Research Facility (CI: Buttemer, W.A., PI: Ujvari, B. and 6 others) - ARC, LIEF 200K 2007
  • An experimental study of immunosenescence in tropical pythons (CI: Ujvari, B.) - URC SGS, UoW 10K 2006
  • Microarray equipment (CI: Madsen, T., PI: Ujvari, B. and 5 others) - RIBG, UoW 60K 2006
  • Genome wide expression analysis of immune modulated genes in long- and short lived snake taxa (CI: Ujvari, B.) - URC Near Miss, UoW 10K 2005
  • 2 dimensional (2D) protein separation system (CI: Walker, M., PI: Ujvari, B. and 10 others) RIBG, UoW 65K 2005
  • Facility for analyses of evolutionary immunology (CI: Olsson, M., PI: Ujvari, B. and 10 others) - ARC, LIEF 151K 2005

Research groups

Research page



Some Key publications

Ujvari B., Dowton M. and Madsen T. 2007. Mitochondrial DNA recombination in a free-ranging Australian lizard. Biol. Lett. 3: 189-192.

Ujvari B., Dowton M. and Madsen T. 2008. Population genetic structure gene flow and sex-biased dispersal in frillneck lizards (Chlamydosaurus kingii). Mol. Ecol. 17: 3557-3564.

Ujvari B., Shine R and Madsen T. 2011. How well do predators adjust to climate mediated shifts in prey distribution? A study on Australian water pythons. Ecology 92: 777-783.

Ujvari B. and Madsen T. 2011. Do natural antibodies compensate for humoral immunosenescence in tropical pythons? Func. Ecol. 25: 813-817.

Ujvari B., Pearse A-M., Taylor R., Pyecroft S., Flanagan C., Gombert S., Papenfuss A.T., Madsen T. and Belov K. 2012. Telomere dynamics and homeostasis in a transmissible cancer. PLoS ONE 7: e44085.

Ujvari B., Pearse A-M., Piddington L., Peck S., Taylor R., Pyecroft S., Madsen T., Papenfuss A.T. and Belov K. 2013. Evolution of a contagious cancer: epigenetic variation in Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). Proc. R. Soc. B. 2013 280 20121720;DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1720.Published 21 November 2012

Ujvari B., Mun H., Conigrave A.D., Bray A., Osterkamp J., Halling P. and Madsen T. 2013. Isolation breeds naivety: island living robs Australian varanid lizards of toad-toxin immunity via four-base-pair mutation. Evolution 67: 289-294.

Ujvari B., Pearse A-M., Swift K., Hodson P., Hua B., Pyecroft S., Taylor R., Hamade R., Jones M., Belov K. and Madsen T. 2014. Anthropogenic selection enhances cancer evolution in Tasmanian devil tumours. Evol. Appl. 7: 260-265.

Link to publications

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