Helen Chatterjee

Helen Chatterjee

Head of Research and Teaching

Museums and Collections
University College London
London WC1E 6BT


Helen Chatterjee is Head of Research and Teaching in UCL Museums & Public Engagement and a Senior Lecturer in Biology at University College London. After completing a BSc in Natural Environmental Science and an MSc in Palaeoanthropology at the University of Sheffield, Helen moved to UCL to undertake a PhD and took up the role of Curator at the Grant Museum of Zoology. Helen stayed at the Grant Museum for 10 years and took up the post of Deputy Director of UCL Museums (now Head of Research and Teaching) in 2006. In UCL Biosciences she teaches mammalian evolution and field biology, and has research interests in evolutionary anatomy and the impact of environmental change on biodiversity.

Her museological research interests include touch and value of object handling, the role of museums in healthcare and the integration of museum object handling in university teaching and research.


  • 1996-2001 - PhD Phylogeny and biogeography of gibbons, Genus Hylobates. University College London
  • 1994-1996 - MSc. (with Distinction) Palaeoanthropology. University of Sheffield
  • 1991-1994 - BSc. Natural Environmental Science. University of Sheffield


  • 2006-Present – Lecturer in Biology and Deputy Director, UCL Museums & Collections
  • 1995-2006 - Research Fellow and Curator, Grant Museum of Zoology

Research interests

  • Mammal evolution (phylogeny and biogeography, particularly Southeast Asian mammals)
  • Touch and value of object handling (particularly ‘object therapy’ in hospitals and Object Based Learning at tertiary level)


Helen has published two books and numerous articles in journals:

  • Chatterjee, H. J. and Noble, G. (2013) Museums, Health and Wellbeing. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Farnham, UK; Burlington USA.
  • Chatterjee, H. J. (2008). Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling. Berg Publications.

For a list of publications visit:


  • Chatterjee, H.J., Ho, S.Y.W., Barnes, I., Shore, R. & Groves, C. (In review). A New Combined Molecular Phylogeny for the Order Primates, with Relaxed-Clock Estimates of Divergence Times using Multiple Fossil Calibrations. Molecular Biology and Evolution.
  • Chatterjee, H. J. (2008) Evolutionary relationships among the gibbons, a biogeographic perspective. In: The Gibbons: New Perspectives on Small Ape Socioecology and Population Biology, Lappan, S. M., Whittaker, D. J. and Geissmann, T. (eds) Springer Press.
  • Chatterjee, H. J. (2007). Staying Essential: Articulating the Value of Object Based Learning. UMAC Conference Paper 2007. http://publicus.culture.hu-berlin.de/umac/2007/Chatterjee_07.pdf
  • Chatterjee, H. J. (2006). Phylogeny and Biogeography of gibbons: A dispersal-vicariance analysis. International Journal of Primatology. 27 (3). 699-712.
  • Chatterjee, H. J. Barnes I, Upchurch P, & Shore, R (2006). Primate Evolution in South East Asia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 129 [S42], 74-75.
  • Parker, S. E (2006). Robert Edmond Grant (1793-1874) and his Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy. Edited by H. J. Chatterjee and J. Cain. Grant Museum Special Publication Series, UCL. London.
  • Chatterjee H. J, Barnes I, Upchurch P, & Shore, R (2005). Biogeographic Evolution of South East Asian Primates. Primate Eye. 87, 22.
  • Levey, S. & Chatterjee, H. J. (2005). Virtual Education Resources for the Biosciences. Centre for Bioscience Bulletin, HE Academy. Edition 16 Autumn.
  • Chatterjee, H. J. & Parr, W. (2004). Locomotor adaptations in primates and other mammals. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Supplement 38, 74.
  • Chatterjee, H. J. (2002) Biogeography of Gibbons: Congruence testing with other South East Asian Primates. The Proceedings of the 19th Congress of the International Primatological Society. 115
  • Chatterjee, H. J. (2002) Morphology versus Molecules: Compatibility or Conflict in Reconstructing Primate Evolution. General Anthropology. 8 (2), 1-5.
  • Chatterjee, H. J. (2001) Phylogeny and Biogeography of Gibbons, Genus Hylobates. Unpubl. PhD Thesis, University of London.
  • Chatterjee, H. J., Collard, M, Aiello, L. C. & Thomas, M. (2000). Historical Biogeography of Gibbons. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Supplement 30, 122.
  • Chatterjee, H. J., Barnes, I., & Thomas, M. (1999). Hylobatid Systematics: An analysis based on morphological and molecular data. American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 28, 105.


  • Associate of the Museums Association