People

Learn more about the people present and past who have worked with us.  And find us on Evolution Tree as well.

Evolution Tree

Current members

Professor and department chair

Phone: +1 (812) 855-7994

Email: pdpolly@indiana.edu

Website: pollylab.com


David is a vertebrate paleontologist who studies the evolution of mammals and other vertebrates in the fossil record.  

Allison K. Bormet

PhD candidate


Allison's research is on the ecomorphology of artiodactyl mammals. 

Ricardo Ely Arunda

PhD candidate


Email: rcely@iu.edu 


Ricardo's research is on phylogenetic comparative methods and the role of morphological modularity in constraining ecological specialization.

Sierra M. Lopezalles

PhD student


Email: slopezal@iu.edu 


Sierra is interested in the evolution of mammals and morphometrics.  Before coming to IU, she received a bachelor's degree at Caltech.

Alannah Pearson

PhD candidate


Email: alannah.pearson@anu.edu.au

Website: https://archanth.cass.anu.edu.au/people/ms-alannah-pearson 


Alannah is a PhD Candidate through Australian National University studying cerebrocranial temporal evolution in extant and fossil primates, including humans.

Charles CJ Salcido

PhD candidate


Email:csalcido@iu.edu 


CJ's research is on the function morphology and evolution of the skull and mandibles of mammals.  

Kat Sestrick

PhD student


Email:ksestric@iu.edu 


Kat Sestrick is a Ph.D. student in the Evolution, Ecology and Behavior program of the Biology Department at Indiana University. She is interested in the evolution of animal phenotypes, especially the roles of developmental processes and their biases.  

Past members

Silvia Ascari

PhD, Indiana University, 2015-2021


Email:silvia.ascari@alumni.iu.edu 


Silvia's PhD research was on the functional morphology of dinosaurian claws, especially of the dromaeosaurs. She also did a Masters degree at IU on isotope paleoecology of vertebrates at the early Pleistocene Olduvai Gorge site.  She now works for the Paleontology Team at PaleoWest heritage management firm.  

Rituparna Bose

PhD, Indiana University, 2006-2011


Email: rbose@wiley.com 


Ritu's research is on paleoecology of brachiopods and other Paleozoic marine invertebrates.  She is now an Editor with John Wiley and Sons and the American Geophysical Union.  

Tamsin Burland

Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow, Queen Mary, 2002-2003


Tamsin's research was on the molecular evolution of Chiroptera and she now works in research management.  She is now Senior Co-Design Manager at JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee).

Richard Bykowski

PhD, Indiana University, 2009-2014


Rich is a paleontologist who studies the ecomorphology and phylogenetics of dinosaurs and other vertebrates.

Henry Z. Fulghum

Masters, Indiana University, 2021-2023


Email: hfulghum@iu.edu 


Henry is interested in how functional traits and morphology impact mammalian evolution.  He is now a graduate student with the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at University of Chicago.

Stefan N. Gabriel

PhD, Queen Mary, 2002-2007


Email: Stefan.Gabriel@manchester.ac.uk

Website:https://www.research.manchester.ac.uk/portal/stefan.gabriel.html


Stefan's research is in mammalian anatomy and functional morphology.  He is now a Lecturer in Anatomy based in the Division of Evolution and Genomic Sciences at University of Manchester.

Anjali Goswami

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Queen Mary and NHM, 2005-2007


Email: a.goswami@nhm.ac.uk

Website: https://www.goswamilab.com/anjali 


Anjali's research is on the evolution of modularity in mammals and other vertebrates.  She is now Research Leader at the Natural History Museum in London.

David M. Grossnickle

Masters, Indiana University, 2012-2013


Email: dmgrossn@uw.edu

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/davidgrossnickle/home 


David is a vertebrate paleontologist interested in how functional traits influence macroevolution.  He is currently a post-doc at University of Washington with Sharlene Santana.

Jason J. Head

NSF Bioinformatics Fellow, Queen Mary, 2002-2005


Email: jjh71@cam.ac.uk

Website: https://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/directory/dr-jason-head 


Jason is a vertebrate paleontologist with interests in evolutionary developmental biology and conservation paleobiology and is now a professor at Cambridge.

Spencer M. Hellert

PhD, Indiana University, 2014-2019


Email: shellert@colum.edu 

Website: https://www.colum.edu/academics/liberal-arts-and-sciences/science-and-mathematics/faculty 


Spencer completed a PhD with the Polly lab in 2019 on the role of modularity in the evolution of flight.  She is now a assistant professor at Columbia College and a research associate at the Field Museum in Chicago.

Blaire Hensley-Marschand

PhD, Indiana University, 2007-2017


Blaire's research is on the faunal context of early humans in eastern Asia.  She is now a lecturer at Fairfield University in Connecticut and research affiliate at the Yale Peabody Museum.

Mackenzie Kirchner-Smith

BS, Indiana University, 2009-2013


Mackenzie's research is on the functional morphology and evolution of bird postcrania.  She is now a PhD student at University of California, Berkeley.

Anne Kort

PhD, Indiana University, 2019-2023

Masters, Indiana University, 2017-2019


E, mail: annekort@umich.edu 

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/anne-kort 


Anne's research is on the functional morphology and evolution of the vertebrate skeleton, with a focus on the diversification of locomotion in the early radiation of placental mammals during the Paleogene.  She is now a Fellow of the Michigan Society and an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  

A. Michelle Lawing

PhD, Indiana University, 2007-2012


Email: alawing@tamu.edu

Website: https://eccb.tamu.edu/people/lawing-a-michelle/  


Michelle studies the response of vertebrates to climatic change in the fossil record and modern world.  She is now an Associate Professor in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Texas A&M University.

Steven Le Comber

Postdoctoral Researcher, Queen Mary, 2003-2006


Obituary: https://jzoblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/in-memoriam-steven-clive-le-comber-19-june-1966-14-september-2019/ 


Steve Le Comber was an evolutionary biologist with interests in molecular evolution and geographic profiling.  He was a Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London until he passed away in 2019.

Allison Nelson

Masters student


Allison is interested in mammalian evolution and paleoecology and is working on a thesis on North American wolves.

Sílvia Pineda-Muñoz

Postdoctoral Researcher, Indiana University, 2020-2022


Email: spinedam@iu.edu 

Website: https://spineda-munoz.biology.gatech.edu/ 


Silvia is a paleoecologist who studies the effects of perturbations like urbanization, extirpations or climate change on ecosystems past and present. She is now a grant writer at Amazon Conservation Association and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at IU.

Beth Reinke

BS, Indiana University, 2008-2012


Email: E-Reinke@NEIU.edu

Website: https://www.bethreinke.com 


Beth's research is on the evolution and physiology of animal coloration.  She is now an assistant professor at Northeastern Illinois University.

Daniel P. Rhoda

BS, Indiana University, 2016-2020


Email: danielrhoda@chicago.edu


Daniel is interested in the role played by modularity in evolution and ecological turnover events.  He is now pursuing a PhD with the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago.

Michael R. Smith

PhD, Indiana University, 2009-2017


Michael R. Smith's project was on the restructuring of mammal faunas during Quaternary.  He is now science expert at Cloud Imperium Games.

Wesley Vermillion

Masters, Indiana University, 2011-2016


Wesley's project on the morphometrics, biogeography and post-glacial differentiation of the North American turtle Chrysemys picta.  

Undergraduate Research Students

Graduate Committees

Examiner, PhD Dissertations