Debra Judge

Associate Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M309), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


Associate Professor Debra Judge is a biological anthropologist and evolutionary ecologist in the School of Human Sciences.   She received her BS (Behavioral and Ecological Biology) and MS (Animal Ecology) from the University of California, Davis.  She completed her PhD  -- an evolutionary analysis of testamentary property distributions -- in 1996 (Univ Calif Davis).   After a post-doc investigating evolutionary demography (NIH funding), Debra moved to UWA to take up a T&R position in Anatomy & Human Biology.

Debra's abiding interest in family-living species led her to undertake field studies of monogamous birds and primates,  archival studies in testamentary practices, and  to the comparative study of life history and longevity. Her primary research  currently is a longitudinal study of child growth in several ecologically varying communities in rural Timor-Leste.  She focuses on understanding the role of family ecology in the growth and development of children.  With a holistic understanding of the local conditions associated with better child growth, interventions can be tailored to the conditions of local communities, and facilitate improved child growth in the rural areas of Timor-Leste where most families depend on subsistence agriculture. This research has been funded by ARC Discovery grants and by UNICEF. Under her guidance, honours and PhD students have undertaken in-depth field projects in Timor-Leste resulting in numerous publications in research journals of high repute. Debra is passionate about developing the experiences, skills, insights, and critical thinking of young researchers in a way that prepares them for a wide array of careers in public service, international development and aid, as well as in academia. This passion resulted in her appointment as the Department's  Graduate Research Coordinator from 2016 to 2023.

Debra coordinates two  undergraduate units in Biological Anthropology and teaches into units on human biology, women's health,  gender studies, and the intersection of demography and disease.  She has also taught graduate units in Human Ecology. 

Debra is a consulting editor to the two main journals in her discipline,  Human Nature and  Evolution and Human Behavior, the Chair of the international group Women in Evolution and Behavior, and the President of the UWA Academic Staff Association. She is also an elected member of the Academic Board and of the Board of the Graduate Research School.


Roles and responsibilities

Teach biological anthropology at all levels; also teach into Gender Studies

Graduate Research Coordinator for School of Human Sciences

President, UWA Academic Staff Association

Elected member, Academic Board

Elected representative, Academic Consultative Committee

Research supervisor

Research on family ecology and child growth in East Timor
Intergenerational relationships
Primate social behaviour
Evolution of longevity as a life history trait

Future research

Family well-being in rural Timor-Leste
Life history and health outcomes
Allocare & cooperative breeding in Timor-Leste
Roles of grandmothers and other helpers in Western Australia

Funding overview


Australian Research Council
Univ. Western Australia
National Institutes of Health (USA)
Rockefeller Foundation
Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research

Previous positions

Assistant Professor, UWA 2010-2014
Teaching and Research Fellow, UWA 2002-2010
Professional Research Ecologist, Univ California Davis

Current projects

Influences on family well-being in rural Timor-Leste.
Influences of intergenerational support on Western Australian women's reproductive timing and fertility.
Early life experience, reproductive careers, and women's health

Teaching overview

Coordinator ANHB 3315: Human Evolutionary Ecology
Coordinator ANHB 2215: Biological Anthropology: Human Variation

Coordinator APHB5502 Human Ecology
ANHB 3321: lecturer (demograph)
Primates & Human Evolution (in ANHB1101)
Human Behaviour (ANHB1102)
3310/3320: Applications
Population Growth, Evol of Menopause (ANHB 2216)

GEND2903 Sex,Gender and STEM


Family well-being in rural Timor-Leste.
The socioecology of family living species (including humans).
Life history theory and comparative ecology. Comparative biodemography of lifespan. Intergenerational transfers,
Human behavioural ecology.


functional French
basic Spanish
functional Tetun

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Education/Academic qualification

Ecology, PH.D, University of California Davis

Award Date: 10 Mar 1996

External positions

President, UWA Academic Staff Association

30 Jul 2023 → …

Chairperson, Women in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences (WEBS)

2022 → …

Consulting Editor, Journal: Evolution and Human Behavior

2017 → …

Consulting Editor, Journal: Human Nature

2016 → …

Industry keywords

  • Children and Young People
  • Social and Welfare Issues
  • Health

Research expertise keywords

  • Behavioural ecology
  • Biological anthropology
  • Comparative biology/ecology
  • Evolution and biological anthropology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Evolutionary demography
  • Evolutionary medicine
  • Intergenerational transmissions
  • Life history theory
  • Longevity
  • Parental investment
  • Parental investment theory
  • Primate behavioural ecology
  • Sociobiology
  • Family ecology
  • Timor-Leste


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  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Worldwide trends in underweight and obesity from 1990 to 2022: a pooled analysis of 3663 population-representative studies with 222 million children, adolescents, and adults

    NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), 29 Feb 2024, In: The Lancet. 403, 10431, p. 1027-1050 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
  • Diminishing benefits of urban living for children and adolescents’ growth and development

    NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), Mishra, A., Zhou, B., Rodriguez-Martinez, A., Bixby, H., Singleton, R. K., Carrillo-Larco, R. M., Sheffer, K. E., Paciorek, C. J., Bennett, J. E., Lhoste, V., Iurilli, M. L. C., Di Cesare, M., Bentham, J., Phelps, N. H., Sophiea, M. K., Stevens, G. A., Danaei, G., Cowan, M. J., Savin, S., & 231 othersRiley, L. M., Gregg, E. W., Aekplakorn, W., Ahmad, N. A., Baker, J. L., Chirita-Emandi, A., Farzadfar, F., Fink, G., Heinen, M., Ikeda, N., Kengne, A. P., Khang, Y. H., Laatikainen, T., Laxmaiah, A., Ma, J., Monroy-Valle, M., Mridha, M. K., Padez, C. P., Reynolds, A., Sorić, M., Starc, G., Wirth, J. P., Abarca-Gómez, L., Abdeen, Z. A., Abdrakhmanova, S., Ghaffar, S. A., Abdul Rahim, H. F., Abdurrahmonova, Z., Abu-Rmeileh, N. M., Garba, J. A., Acosta-Cazares, B., Adam, I., Adamczyk, M., Adams, R. J., Adu-Afarwuah, S., Afsana, K., Afzal, S., Agbor, V. N., Agdeppa, I. A., Aghazadeh-Attari, J., Aguenaou, H., Aguilar-Salinas, C. A., Agyemang, C., Ahmad, M. H., Ahmadi, A., Ahmadi, N., Ahmadi, N., Ahmed, I., Ahmed, S. H., Ahrens, W., Aitmurzaeva, G., Ajlouni, K., Al-Hazzaa, H. M., Al-Lahou, B., Al-Raddadi, R., Al Hourani, H. M., Al Qaoud, N. M., Alarouj, M., AlBuhairan, F., AlDhukair, S., Aldwairji, M. A., Alexius, S., Ali, M. M., Alkandari, A., Alkerwi, A., Alkhatib, B. M., Allin, K., Alvarez-Pedrerol, M., Aly, E., Amarapurkar, D. N., Etxezarreta, P. A., Amoah, J., Amougou, N., Amouyel, P., Andersen, L. B., Anderssen, S. A., Androutsos, O., Ängquist, L., Anjana, R. M., Ansari-Moghaddam, A., Anufrieva, E., Aounallah-Skhiri, H., Araújo, J., Ariansen, I., Aris, T., Arku, R. E., Arlappa, N., Aryal, K. K., Aseffa, N., Aspelund, T., Assah, F. K., Assembekov, B., Assunção, M. C. F., Aung, M. S., Auvinen, J., Avdičová, M., Avi, S., Azevedo, A., Azimi-Nezhad, M., Azizi, F., Azmin, M., Babu, B. V., Jørgensen, M. B., Baharudin, A., Bahijri, S., Bakacs, M., Balakrishna, N., Balanova, Y., Bamoshmoosh, M., Banach, M., Banegas, J. R., Baran, J., Baran, R., Barbagallo, C. M., Filho, V. B., Barceló, A., Baretić, M., Barkat, A., Barnoya, J., Barrera, L., Barreto, M., Barros, A. J. D., Barros, M. V. G., Bartosiewicz, A., Basit, A., Bastos, J. L. D., Bata, I., Batieha, A. M., Batista, A. P., Batista, R. L., Battakova, Z., Baur, L. A., Bayauli, P. M., Beaglehole, R., Bel-Serrat, S., Belavendra, A., Ben Romdhane, H., Benedics, J., Benet, M., Rolandi, G. E. B., Bere, E., Bergh, I. H., Berhane, Y., Berkinbayev, S., Bernabe-Ortiz, A., Bernotiene, G., Carrasola, X. B., Bettiol, H., Beutel, M. E., Beybey, A. F., Bezerra, J., Bhagyalaxmi, A., Bharadwaj, S., Bhargava, S. K., Bi, H., Bi, Y., Bia, D., Biasch, K., Lele, E. C. B., Bikbov, M. M., Bista, B., Bjelica, D. J., Bjerregaard, A. A., Bjerregaard, P., Bjertness, E., Bjertness, M. B., Björkelund, C., Bloch, K. V., Blokstra, A., Magnazu, M. B., Bo, S., Bobak, M., Boddy, L. M., Boehm, B. O., Boer, J. M. A., Boggia, J. G., Bogova, E., Boissonnet, C. P., Bojesen, S. E., Bonaccio, M., Bongard, V., Bonilla-Vargas, A., Bopp, M., Borghs, H., Bovet, P., Boymatova, K., Braeckevelt, L., Braeckman, L., Bragt, M. C. E., Brajkovich, I., Branca, F., Breckenkamp, J., Breda, J., Brenner, H., Brewster, L. M., Brian, G. R., Briceño, Y., Brinduse, L., Brito, M., Brophy, S., Brug, J., Bruno, G., Bugge, A., Buntinx, F., Buoncristiano, M., Burazeri, G., Burns, C., de León, A. C., Cacciottolo, J., Cai, H., Caixeta, R. B., Cama, T., Cameron, C., Camolas, J., Can, G., Cândido, A. P. C., Cañete, F., Capanzana, M. V., Čapková, N., Hayes, A. J., Hobbs, M., Jamrozik, K., Judge, D. S., Le, T. D., Lo, W. C., Malhotra, R., Nguyen, Q. N., Spencer, P. R., Stratton, G., Wong, A. & Wong, E. B., 30 Mar 2023, In: Nature. 615, 7954, p. 874-883 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    7 Citations (Scopus)
  • The seasonal relationships between household dietary diversity and child growth in a rural Timor-Leste community

    Guizzo Dri, G., Spencer, P. R., da Costa, R., Sanders, K. A. & Judge, D. S., Jul 2022, In: Maternal and Child Nutrition. 18, 3, e13363.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
  • 63 Downloads (Pure)
  • Relationships of Resource Strategies, Family Composition, and Child Growth in Two Rural Timor-Leste Communities

    Spencer, P. R. & Judge, D. S., Jul 2021, In: Social Sciences. 10, 7, 11 p., 273.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    2 Citations (Scopus)