School of Animal and Veterinary Science
Faculty of Sciences
Dr Natasha Speight is a lecturer at the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences and is a registered veterinarian. Her current research focuses on the biology, health and diseases of South Australian populations of koalas, particularly oxalate nephrosis.
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
Koalas in South Australia have been found to be affected by oxalate nephrosis, chlamydiosis, koala retrovirus and mange. Oxalate nephrosis is a chronic kidney disease in which crystals of calcium oxalate form in the tubules of the kidneys and cause tubule dilation, inflammation and scarring. This is associated with signs of kidney failure, such as koalas drinking lots of water and having dilute urine. Oxalate nephrosis affects many koalas in the Mount Lofty Ranges population in South Australia, but the reason for this is yet to be determined. Research to describe this disease is ongoing to increase understanding of its epidemiology and impact on populations. In addition to this research focus, Natasha has supervised many other koala disease projects including those describing prevalence and pathology of Chlamydia, koala retrovirus, thyroid gland abnormalities and sarcoptic mange infestation.
Date Position Institution name 2009 Lecturer University of Adelaide
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2014 Award 2014 CL Davis Foundation Journal Award American College of Veterinary Pathologists United States —
Date Institution name Country Title — University of Adelaide Australia PhD — University of Adelaide Australia Honours — Murdoch University Australia BVMS — Murdoch University Australia BSc (Vet Biology)
Year Citation 2019 Speight, N., Colella, D., Boardman, W., Taggart, D., Haynes, J., & Breed, W. (2019). Seasonal variation in occurrence of oxalate nephrosis in South Australian koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Australian Mammalogy, 41(1), 92-98.
2019 Fabijan, J., Caraguel, C., Jelocnik, M., Polkinghorne, A., Boardman, W., Nishimoto, E., . . . Speight, N. (2019). Chlamydia pecorum prevalence in South Australian koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations: Identification and modelling of a population free from infection. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 11 pages.
2019 Speight, K., Houston-Francis, M., Mohammadi-Dehcheshmeh, M., Ebrahimie, E., Saputra, S., & Trott, D. (2019). Oxalate-degrading bacteria, including Oxalobacter formigenes, colonise the gastrointestinal tract of healthy koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) and those with oxalate nephrosis. Australian Veterinary Journal, 97(5), 166-170.
2019 Taggart, P., Fancourt, B., Fabijan, J., Peacock, D., Speight, K., Caraguel, C. G., & McAllister, M. M. (2019). No evidence of toxoplasma gondii exposure in South Australian Koalas (phascolarctos cinereus). Journal of Parasitology. 2018 Olagoke, O., Miller, D., Hemmatzadeh, F., Stephenson, T., Fabijan, J., Hutt, P., . . . Timms, P. (2018). Induction of neutralizing antibody response against koala retrovirus (KoRV) and reduction in viral load in koalas following vaccination with recombinant KoRV envelope protein. npj Vaccines, 3(1), 30-1-30-8.
2018 Sarker, N., Fabijan, J., Emes, R., Hemmatzadeh, F., Meers, J., Moreton, J., . . . Tarlinton, R. (2018). Identification of stable reference genes for quantitative PCR in koalas. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 8 pages.
DOI Scopus4 WoS1 Europe PMC1
2018 Speight, K., Hicks, P., Graham, C., Boardman, W., Breed, W., Manthorpe, E., . . . Woolford, L. (2018). Necropsy findings of koalas from the Mount Lofty Ranges population in South Australia. Australian Veterinary Journal, 96(5), 188-192.
DOI Scopus4 WoS3 Europe PMC1
2017 Speight, K., Whiteley, P., Woolford, L., Duignan, P., Bacci, B., Lathe, S., . . . Stevenson, M. (2017). Outbreaks of sarcoptic mange in free-ranging koala populations in Victoria and South Australia: a case series. Australian Veterinary Journal, 95(7), 244-249.
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2017 Fabijan, J., Woolford, L., Lathe, S., Simmons, G., Hemmatzadeh, F., Trott, D., & Speight, N. (2017). Lymphoma, Koala Retrovirus Infection and Reproductive Chlamydiosis in a Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). Journal of Comparative Pathology, 157(2-3), 188-192.
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2016 Speight, K., Polkinghorne, A., Penn, R., Boardman, W., Timms, P., Fraser, T., . . . Woolford, L. (2016). The prevalence and pathological features of Chlamydia pecorum infections in South Australian koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 52(2), 301-306.
DOI Scopus7 WoS7 Europe PMC5
2015 Speight, K. N., Kokkinn, M. J., & Breed, W. G. (2015). The gastrointestinal tract of the Australian water rat (Hydromys chrysogaster) – its morphological adaptations to a carnivorous diet. Australian Mammalogy, 38(1), 52-57.
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2015 Jelocnik, M., Bachmann, N., Kaltenboeck, B., Waugh, C., Woolford, L., Speight, K., . . . Polkinghorne, A. (2015). Genetic diversity in the plasticity zone and the presence of the chlamydial plasmid differentiates Chlamydia pecorum strains from pigs, sheep, cattle, and koalas. BMC Genomics, 16(1), 893-1-893-14.
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2014 Speight, K., Haynes, J., Boardman, W., Breed, W., Taggart, D., Rich, B., & Woolford, L. (2014). Plasma biochemistry and urinalysis variables of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) with and without oxalate nephrosis. Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 43(2), 244-254.
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2014 Graham, C., Woolford, L., Johnson, L., & Speight, K. (2014). Age-dependent changes in gross and histological morphology of the thyroid gland in South Australian koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Australian Journal of Zoology, 62(5), 360-365.
2013 Speight, K., Breed, W., Boardman, W., Taggart, D., Leigh, C., Rich, B., & Haynes, J. (2013). Leaf oxalate content of Eucalyptus spp. and its implications for koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) with oxalate nephrosis. Australian Journal of Zoology, 61(5), 366-371.
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2013 Breed, W., Leigh, C., & Speight, K. (2013). Coevolution of the male and female reproductive tracts in an old endemic murine rodent of Australia. Journal of Zoology, 289(2), 94-100.
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2013 Speight, K., Boardman, W., Breed, W., Taggart, D., Woolford, L., & Haynes, J. (2013). Pathological features of oxalate nephrosis in a population of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in South Australia. Veterinary Pathology, 50(2), 299-307.
DOI Scopus15 WoS13 Europe PMC10
2016-17 Morris Animal Foundation Wildlife Project Grant for koala retrovirus and Chlamydia field study
2016 Nature Foundation SA grant for an Honours student project investigating genetic basis for oxalate nephrosis in koalas
2012 Nature Foundation SA grant for an Honours student project investigating koala thyroid gland structure and function
2008-09 Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment grants for koala oxalate nephrosis PhD research
Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology II and III, with topics including urinary system anatomy and histology, connective tissue types, respiratory system anatomy and histology, nervous system anatomy and histology, anatomy of the eye and liver histology. Involved in extensive anatomy practical session teaching and co-ordinator of the interactive learning activities (clinical case studies).
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2018 Principal Supervisor Oxalate Nephrosis in Koalas Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kyneta Bhoola 2016 Co-Supervisor Molecular Pathogenesis of Oncogenesis in KoRV Infected Koalas Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Tamsyn Louise Stephenson 2015 Co-Supervisor The Koala Retrovirus and Chlamydia pecorum in the Koala Population in the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Jessica Helen Fabijan
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