I am an Assistant Professor in the University of Southern California’s Department of Integrative Anatomical Sciences. My research uses hard tissue histology to study the effects of environment on growth patterns and physiology in mammals, their extinct synapsid forebears, and other groups of living and fossil vertebrates.
My aims are to promote an appreciation of deep-time and macroevolutionary patterns in the fossil record through field- and lab-based methods, focusing on the classical ‘reptile’ to mammal transition. Our lab is presently investigating two major physiologic innovations in vertebrate evolution: (1) the evolution of small body size and mammal-like growth patterns in non-mammalian synapsids of the Permian and Triassic periods; and (2) increased aerobic capacity in Triassic synapsids and archosauromorphs (the group that includes crocodylians, birds, and their extinct dinosaurian kin). In doing so, we are working to better understand how unpredictable and resource-limited environments shaped the physiology of land-living vertebrates during major Earth transitions, and which life history traits promoted their success.