Lab Members

Students are an important part of any active research lab, and I have been fortunate enough to work with many graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. You can read a little bit about students currently working in my lab and their projects below.

Current Students

Kanvaly Bamba Kanvaly Bamba
PhD Student
Kanvaly is studying South American (caviomorph) rodents. Specifically, he is looking at variation in the dentition of modern chinchillids to better understand expected variation in fossil populations. He will then apply those principles to the study of extinct middle to late Miocene chinchillids to determine how many and which species are present. Kanvaly’s dissertation will also include a study of whether shape-based morphometric techniques can be used to identify teeth of chinchillids.
Angeline Angeline Catena
PhD Student
Angeline came to CWRU after earning a M.S. at Ohio U. studying modern lizard trackways and ancient soils (paleosols) and tracks (ichnofossils). For her PhD thesis, Angeline is applying her expertise to two sites in Bolivia: Cerdas and Quebrada Honda. She will use additional approaches to better understand the ancient environments and habitats of Quebrada Honda. Angeline’s study of Cerdas was published in 2016, and her study of Quebrada Honda was published last year.
BethC2 Beth Carroll
MS Student
Beth came to CWRU in the fall of 2014. Her undergraduate honors thesis reviewed studies of locomotion in extinct mammals, and her MS thesis focuses on limb structure and locomotion in Hemihegetotherium trilobus, an hegetothere notoungulate from Quebrada Honda, Bolivia. Beth has cleaned (prepared) and made casts of some well-preserved specimens of Hemihegetotherium  at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and presented a poster at the 2016 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting.
Russell Russell Engelman
MS Student
Russell has been working with me since he was a senior at West Geauga High School. He graduated from CWRU in 2015 and won the prestigious Michelson-Morley prize in Biology during his senior year. He is now a Master’s student at CWRU. Russell’s research focuses on extinct marsupials of South America, mainly paucituberculatans (extinct relatives of shrew-opossums) and sparassodonts (carnivorous marsupials). He has authored four papers thus far and has several others in preparation or review. Most of these have dealt with specimens from Quebrada Honda, Bolivia, but his thesis will also include several specimens from central Chile.
Smruthi Maganti
Smruthi is an undergraduate Biology student who joined my lab at the beginning of her junior year. She is working to identify several astrapothere teeth that our team discovered at Quebrada Honda, Bolivia. These large ungulates were first reported from the site in 1987, but no dental remains have ever been described, so the exact identity of the species there has yet to be determined.
Elizabeth Tobin
Elizabeth is a senior undergraduate Biology student who is completing her Capstone project in my lab. She describing three mylodontid sloth teeth from Quebrada Honda, Bolivia, trying to determine both their position (e.g., whether they are upper or lower teeth) and to which genus and species they pertain. She is also collaborating with other researchers to study the microscopic pits and scratches on the teeth in order to determine what type of plant material the species probably consumed.
Nick Whalen
Nick is a junior Biology student and is studying a large sample of teeth of the the rodent Neoreomys from the early Miocene (about 18 million-year-old) site of Pampa Castillo in southern Chile. Nick’s goals are to determine to which species of Neoreomys the teeth pertain and to describe how this animal’s teeth changed with age, an undertaking that will help others researchers more confidently identify isolated specimens.

Past Students

  • Maria Murphy, High School Intern (Summer 2017)
  • Catherine Taylor, Undergraduate (2014-16)
  • Brian Barbieri, Undergraduate (2014-15)
  • Andy McGrath, Undergraduate (2012-15)
  • Joanna Sherman, High School Intern (Summer 2015)
  • Valentine VolkMS Student (2014-15)
  • Cara Anderson, Undergraduate (2013-14)
  • Danielle Thornsberry, Undergraduate (2013-14)
  • Pat Guder, Undergraduate (2012, 2014)
  • Tara Kelloway, MS Student (2012-14)
  • Niki Perez, MS Student (2012-13)
  • Maeve Kolk, High School Intern (Summer 2013)
  • Katie Prybyla, High School Intern (Summer 2013)
  • Nicholas Drew, MS Student (2011-13)
  • Alix Prybyla, High School Intern (Summer 2012)
  • Stephanie Sang, Undergraduate (Summer 2010, 2012)
  • Melissa Sameh, Undergraduate (2010-11)
  • Andrew Franco, Undergraduate (2010-11)
  • Diane Moon, Undergraduate (2010-11)
  • Marie Brosovich, High School Intern (Summer 2010)
  • Jen Chick, MS Student (2007-10)
  • Tatiana Dolgushina, Undergraduate (2009-10)
  • David Parker, High School Intern (Summer 2009)
  • Kyle Niemi, Undergraduate (Spring 2009)
  • Leah Anderson, MS Student (2004-07)
  • Thomas Sheppard, Undergraduate (Spring 2007)
  • Deborah Rook, Undergraduate (Spring 2007)
  • Megan Burns, Undergraduate (Summer 2005)
  • Susan Grana, Undergraduate  (Summer 2005)