Associate Professor Lee Ann Rollins
Scientia Fellow and Seminar Series Coordinator
Field of Research: 
Invasion genetics, molecular ecology, evolution
Contact details:
+61 9385 6316

Room 4109, Level 4
Biological Sciences South (E26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052


See also:

Research & Current Projects


My research uses genetic and epigenetic data to examine population and evolutionary processes. Specifically, I am interested in using molecular data to explain the mechanisms underlying rapid evolution often seen in invasive populations and improve the management of invasive and conserved species.


The role of transposable elements in rapid adaptation of invasive species (in collaborations with by Dr. Anna Santure, University of Auckland)

The evolution of host-parasite interactions during a biological invasion (in collaboration with Prof. Rick Shine, Macquarie University)

The evolution of phenotypic plasticity during a biological invasion (in collaboration with Prof. Rick Shine, Macquarie University)

Deciphering the blueprint of an invasion machine: genetic and epigenetic drivers of the Australian cane toad invasion

Genome-wide analysis of a ring species and host-virus model (in collaboration with Dr. Mathew Berg, Deakin University)

Cane toad genome consortium.

Common starling genome consortium.


Genetics Society of Australasia, Vice President

Evolution Society of Australasia, Treasurer

Research Students

Roshmi Sarma (PhD), Deakin University (2016-present), primary supervisor. “How does phenotypic plasticity facilitate invasion?”

Jia Zhou (PhD), University of Adelaide (2017-present), co-supervisor. “Gut microbiome and brain function in invasive cane toads.”

Kat Stuart (PhD), University of New South Wales, (2018-present), joint supervisor.  “Evolution and plasticity in replicated invasion experiments: using genomics to reveal drivers of invasion success in European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) introductions across multiple continents.”

H. Eyck, University of New South Wales (2019-present), primary supervisor. “The evolution of host-parasite interactions during a biological invasion.”

K. Cheung, University of New South Wales (2020 start), joint supervisor (Scientia PhD). “Developing genomic resources to advance the molecular ecology of invasions.”


Ellen Couchman (Hons), UNSW (2010), co-supervisor. “Rapid morphological change in introduced starlings in Australia.”

Adam Cardilini (PhD), Deakin University (2011-2016), co-supervisor. “Genetic and phenotypic variation of a successful invasive species, the common starling, in Australia: the consequences for invasion success.”

Peri Bolton (PhD), Macquarie University (2013-2017), co-supervisor. “Conservation genetics of the Gouldian finch.”

Sam Andrew (PhD), Macquarie University (2014-2017), co-supervisor. “The genetic adaptation of the house sparrow to Australian climate conditions.”

Ashleigh Butler (Hons), Deakin University (2014), primary supervisor. “Is there evidence for selection on mitochondrial genes in invasive starling populations?”

Emma Trussler (Hons), Deakin University (2014), primary supervisor. “Joint-nesting in thrips – all in the family?”

Dan Selechnik (PhD), University of Sydney (2015-2019), co-supervisor.  “The genetic basis of immune function in invasive cane toads.”

Jack Reid (Hons), Deakin University (2015), primary supervisor. “Epigenetics of invasive cane toads.”

Andrea West (Hons), Deakin University (2015), co-supervisor. “The role of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in driving suites of correlated traits.”

Andrea West (MSc), Deakin University (2016-present), primary/external supervisor. “The role of personality in dispersal: A transcriptomic investigation of gene expression in brain tissue of invasive cane toads.”