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

Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology

Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology Track

Paleontological research at OSU-CHS spans the Mississippian to the Recent, fossil bone microstructure to long-term patterns in paleobiodiversity, and turtles to mice.  Faculty research interests are currently concentrated in Mammalia and Archosauria.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Field WorkWe seek students in two new labs and in two that are more established. As we are in an enriched environment with respect to biomedical techniques, projects incorporating biomedical approaches to paleontological questions are encouraged.

Students in the Anatomy and Paleontology track receive structured training to equip them for careers teaching Medical Gross Anatomy, Development, Histology, and Neuroanatomy. Taking courses alongside the first-year Medical students and progressing into teaching assistantships, graduate students develop and hone their anatomical knowledge and instructional skills.

Degrees offered are in Biomedical Sciences; we offer Masters of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. There is no non-thesis Masters offered on the Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology Track.

Research Opportunities

Contact a faculty member for more information on research opportunities.

Financial Information

Ph.D. students are eligible to receive a stipend. Stipends are competitive and do not require a teaching load. To be considered for a stipend, applications must be completed by February 1.

Upon successful completion of coursework, teaching assistantships in Gross Anatomy are available. Students are also encouraged to apply for NSF predoctoral funding and other grants.

Facilities and Field Work

Lab FacilitiesOur vertebrate paleontology faculty members are actively building collections as a part of their research. Field work beyond basic techniques is not required for graduate projects, however Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology track students have the opportunity to pursue field projects. (We do not maintain a research collection at OSU, but work cooperatively with several institutions that do.)

We have moved into expanded research labs, including space allowing comparative dissections, fossil preparation and recovery, paleohistology, and 3-D image processing.  We have an active vertebrate paleontology volunteer program that assists on research projects and provides opportunities for student and faculty outreach.

Regional Resources

We have close affiliations with the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman, OK (~2.5 hrs. drive). We are also within 4.5 hrs. drive of the University of Kansas collection in Lawrence.  We have a good relationship with the Boone Pickens School of Geology at OSU’s main campus in Stillwater, and may ask students to do some coursework there. (The Big Orange Bus (BOB) runs regularly between the two campuses.)

Current Graduate Students

  • Ian Browne, M.S. – Ph.D. candidate
    Dissertation topic: Small mammals of the Barstow Formation: biotic response to climatic change at the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum
  • Leigha King, M.S. – Ph.D. aspirant
    Research interest: How populations of carnivorans change through time, both molecularly and morphologically
  • Andrea Blair, M.S. - Ph.D. aspirant
  • Christian Heck - M.S. aspirant
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