Bio & CV
I grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, where my favorite activities were reading, swimming, singing, playing piano, and digging in vain for dinosaurs on the playground. My love of paleontology started early, but it wasn't until high school that I discovered a professional passion for the life sciences. Not knowing exactly how paleontology and biology would intersect, I chose to major in Biology as an undergrad at Illinois College. After finishing college, I decided to pursue paleontology seriously. This decision led me to begin my Master's in Biology at Western Illinois University under the direction of Dr. Matthew Bonnan (now a professor at Richard Stockton College). My Master's thesis centered on examining extant archosaur tooth margins for evidence of soft tissues in order to inform inferences of extra-oral tissues in dinosaurs. Cranoifacial soft-tissue reconstruction is very much the realm of Dr. Larry Witmer, and so I sought to join his lab when my thesis was completed. I joined the WitmerLab in 2010 and graduated in summer 2016 with a doctoral degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My dissertation work focused on the evolution of dinosaur brain and brain region size. Today, as Assistant Professor of Anatomy in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis, I am continuing my research on dinosaur brain evolution, as well as teaching gross anatomy to first-year medical students.