Meet the team



Associate Professor Julie Old is an animal scientist/zoologist at the Western Sydney University in Richmond. Julie is passionate about wildlife conservation. She has extensive experience in native mammal research, having completed a PhD and Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in marsupial immunology. In 2006 Julie joined WSU as an academic in Animal Science. In between teaching, she conducts her own research. Julie has been exploring sarcoptic mange in wombats for several years and is very concerned about the plight of wombats. Using WomSAT Julie hopes to enhance the profile of wombats in the wider community. In the longer term, she hopes everyone gains a greater appreciation of wombats and their role in the environment. She hopes WomSAT is a tool that will help in successfully managing and conserving these wonderful Australian animals for future generations.


Chandni completed her Bachelor of Science (Zoology) and Master of Science (Zoology) in India and she is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy (Animal Science) from Western Sydney University. Her study focuses on the causal relationship between stress and sarcoptic mange incidence. She has presented the preliminary results of her study at conferences such as Australian Wildlife Management Society (5-7 December, 2017) and Asia and Oceania Society for Comparative Endocrinology Intercongress (8-12 July, 2018).


Rowan completed her Bachelor of Natural Science (Animal Science) at the end of 2016. Rowan has been passionate about Australian native animals after seeing wombats at the Dubbo Zoo when she was young. After completing her undergraduate degree, Rowan decided to pursue her passion for native animals through a Masters of Philosophy (Animal Science). Rowans research focuses on the genetic diversity of wombats and its possible correlation with sarcoptic mange, as well as monitoring the severity of mange in a number of wombat populations across NSW. This research is a continuation of previous research conducted by the WomSAT team and aims to increase our understanding of the occurrence of sarcoptic mange. 


Blaire completed her Bachelor of Natural Science (Animal Science) at the end of 2017. Blaire has had a passion for wombats from a young age and took advantage of this by studying sarcoptic mange in wombat populations as a part of her undergraduate final project, where she compared the incidence of the disease along with population sizes in the Wolgan Valley, Rylstone and Merriwa in NSW. She is also helping to promote WomSAT on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Blaire’s passion for wombats led her to enrolling in WSU’s Master of Research where she is currently studying wombat nutrition, which includes the analysis of wombat scats and commonly consumed vegetation seasonally with the aim of determining whether or not wombats are receiving adequate nutrition. 


Dr Hayley Stannard is currently a Lecturer at the University of Sydney. Prior to this she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on an ARC Linkage Grant with Taronga Zoological Park and the University of Sydney. Her Postdoctoral work developed nutritionally adequate diets for captive dasyurids used in breeding programs. Hayley’s research interests are focused on conservation biology and physiology of vertebrates, and she is a leading expert in marsupial nutrition. Hayley has devoted the past 10 years to studying marsupial nutrition, as well as evaluating captive health and welfare in a range of species. Hayley is investigating the role of diet and nutrition in wombat sarcoptic mange.


Associate Professor Ricky Spencer is currently a Zoology academic at the Western Sydney University, Richmond. Prior to joining the team at WSU, Ricky was a Senior Research Scientist within the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. In this role he helped to develop new vertebrate pest control methodologies. Ricky has continued to explore pest management through his role at WSU. Through a linkage project with the Australian Research Council Ricky, Ricky has devoted the past 20 years studying turtles, as well as evaluating optimal fox management strategies for managing nest predation on turtles and water birds. In 2014 Ricky launched TurtleSAT to help determine the factors affecting turtle populations. 


Peter West is based at Orange as an Invasive Species Officer/Research Officer with the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Vertebrate Pest Research Unit. He is also a Project Leader with the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. He currently coordinates FeralScan – a community resource for monitoring invasive animals. FeralScan’s success has allowed it to diversify, and similar technology is now being used to map native animals through WomSAT and TurtleSAT. Peter has played a key role in establishing WomSAT online.

Former WomSAT Team members



Candice completed her Bachelor of Natural Science (Animal Science) at the end of 2014. During the last year of her undergraduate degree she studied one of her favourite animals, the Tasmanian Devil, investigating how captive group size affects feeding and social behaviour. Candice decided to continue her studies in 2015 through the honours program at WSU. Her interests include animal welfare and wildlife education. Wombats are one of Candice’s other favourite animals. Through her honours program she helped launch WomSAT into the Australian community. Candice worked with community groups to promote WomSAT. She is now working at ACIAR


Eden recently graduated the Bachelor of Natural Science (Advanced) (Animal Science). During her undergraduate degree Eden was fortunate enough to work on a wide variety of research projects including marsupial immunology, mollusc genetics, macropod behaviour and ringtail possum diets. Eden’s interest in wombats arose during a small project she conducted in 2014 which involved studying wombats suffering from sarcoptic mange. She enjoyed the project so much she decided to take the study further for her Honours project in 2015. Eden assessed the severity of sarcoptic mange in wombat populations in the Wolgan Valley and Mudgee area of NSW, using genetics. Eden used WomSAT during her Honours year to log wombat and burrow sightings. The data collected assisted Eden’s Honours project by providing distribution information on sarcoptic mange. Eden is now study veterinary medicine in London.
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