Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology Faculty and Staff

Faculty

Holly Ballard

Holly Woodward Ballard, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Office: 918-561-8263
holly.ballard@okstate.edu

Research interests: Using large-sample osteohistology to assess growth dynamics, individual variability, and survivorship in dinosaurs and other extinct vertebrates, while utilizing the bone microstructure of extant vertebrates to provide a framework for paleohistologic inferences.

O'BrienHaley O'Brien, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anatomy

Research interests: Paleophysiology, or how unique thermoregulatory capabilities have influenced the evolution of large mammals across Cenozoic climate change. She uses a phenomenon called “selective brain cooling,” which is common to many large, Laurasiatherian mammals, as a model system for generating inferences regarding the interface between an organism’s physiology and its environment over geological time. Her primary data collection involves radiopaque latex injection of ungulate cranial vasculature and CT-scan examination. The osteological correlates established through these methods can then be sought in fossil skulls to directly infer evolution of this physiology from the fossil record.

Paul Gignac

Paul Gignac, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Office: 918-561-8265
paul.gignac@okstate.edu

Research interests: Musculoskeletal and dental biomechanics, cranial evolution and paleobiology of feeding in crocodilians and theropod dinosaurs, and contrast-enhanced micro-CT imaging techniques.

Kent Smith

Kent S. Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for the Office for the Advancement of American Indians in Medicine and Science
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Office: 918-561-8246
kent.smith@okstate.edu

Research interests: Paleobiology, biogeography, and systematics of late Neogene and Quaternary mammals of the North American southern Great Plains, Colorado Plateau, and Great Basin.

Dr. Smith is the co-founder of the Native Explorers Foundation, an organization dedicated to the advancement and education of Native Americans in earth science, natural science, biomedical science, and medicine through mentorships with professional colleagues. Graduate and medical students at OSU-CHS and the College of Osteopathic Medicine have the unique opportunity of interacting with this exceptional organization. Funding opportunities are available for qualified students.

Anne Weil

Anne Weil, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Office: 918-561-8266
anne.weil@okstate.edu

Research interests: Early mammalian evolution, phylogeny & biogeography of multituberculate mammals, terrestrial recovery after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and evolutionary constraints on biotic response to extinction at large spatiotemporal scales

Staff

Lindsey T. Yann, Ph.D.
Senior Research Assistant
Vertebrate Paleontology Volunteer Coordinator
Office: 918-561-1429
Fax: 918-561-5798
lindsey.yann@okstate.edu

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