Ross Tellam

By Colin WardMarch 28th, 2011


Dr Ross Tellam received primary and secondary education in Toowoomba and gained his PhD from the University of Queensland in 1980. He has held research positions at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis (1980-82) and the Departments of Physical Biochemistry and Experimental Pathology at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra (1982-87).


He joined CSIRO Tropical Animal Production (Brisbane) in 1987 and is currently a CSIRO Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Livestock Industries with an appointment as an adjunct associate professor at Griffith University. His research interests centre on the relationships between gene and function and encompass the molecular events contributing to livestock production traits.

Dr Tellam has led a number research projects and co-led the international Bovine Genome Sequencing, Annotation and Analysis Consortium which culminated in a series of scientific publications in 2009. The Consortium involved over 300 people from 25 countries. The information generated in this international effort has been used by others to develop enabling genetic tools that are being employed in the livestock industries to accelerate the selective breeding of animals with the most desirable production traits.

Research interests

Dr Tellam’s research interests include:

  • interpreting and using the bovine genome sequence
  • the role of epigenetics in livestock development and responses to environmental stimuli including the determination of the role of microRNA in muscle function, changes in chromatin and DNA methylation architecture, and more generally genomic imprinting
  • increasing livestock feed conversion efficiency – producing more meat, milk and wool for less forage input, i.e. increasing production efficiency whilst minimising the environmental foot print of the industry
  • discovery of genes and proteins involved in muscle development, muscle hypertrophy and adipose tissue formation
  • identification of bioactives in milk
  • characterisation of the innate immune responses of mammary tissue to mastitis
  • discovery of biomarkers for sub-clinical mastitis in dairy cattle
  • discovery of new therapies for treatment of mastitis
  • development of vaccines against ectoparasites.

Ross Tellam is an inventor on five patents and has published over 110 scientific articles comprising peer reviewed scientific papers in international journals and book chapters. Web of Science indentifies 85 of these and records 2 187 citations, with an average of 26 citations/publication and an h-index of 25.

Honours and awards


2010 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal (Livestock Genomics Team)
2009 CSIRO Newton Turner Award
2007 CSIRO Livestock Industries Project Award
2005 Gardiner Foundation Project Award

Positions held

1987 – Senior Research Scientist, Principal research Scientist, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Tropical Animal Production/Livestock Industries, Brisbane, QLD
1982 – 87 Research Scientist, Departments of Physical Biochemistry and Experimental Pathology, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra, ACT
1980 – 82 Research Scientist, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Missouri, US


  • Tellam RL, 2010, Personal communication.

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