Evolution of the head and neck: My research focuses on the evolution of the head and neck. Specifically, I am interested in phenotypic integration, or covariation between traits due to shared genetic, developmental, and functional interactions between them. These shared genetic and developmental mechanisms, as well as shared functions, result in parallel or coordinated responses to forces such as selection, nutrition, or mechanical stress, both at evolutionary and developmental scales.
My dissertation focused on evolution of craniofacial and cervical structures in relation to locomotion and posture, and this work has been presented at the meetings of the Paleoanthropology Society, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and the American Association of Anatomists, among others. Parts of this research have been published at the Journal of Human Evolution, Anatomical Record, and Evolution.
Currently, I am working on projects related to the evolution of phenotypic integration in the cranium, in addition to developing new projects investigating character displacement in craniofacial traits and integration between hard and soft tissues in primates. I also have ongoing projects related to the morphology and integration of the vertebral column.
Evolution of the hylobatids: I was involved in a series of collaborative projects focused on taxonomy and evolution of the hominoid dentition, particularly in hylobatids. This group includes the gibbons and siamangs, small-bodied apes from eastern and southeastern Asia. This work was published in PLOS ONE and Anthropological Science.
Vertebral variation: Previously I have worked on vertebral formula variation and the vertebral canal in hominins with the goal of clarifying the anatomy of the Homo erectus fossil Nariokotome Boy (KNM-WT 15000). I also have a small project on spondylolysis in the Inuit individuals from Point Hope, Alaska, that is in revision at the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Some of the data gathered for these projects was published in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology and presented at the annual meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.