Graduates

CARTA has 36 anthropogeny specialization graduates:

Jason Adams's picture
Neurosciences
Jason Adams is a Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego Department of Neurosciences and the lab of Dr. Alysson Muotri. Jason is particularly interested in how microscopic neurological systems, such as neuronal structural and functional interconnectivity, manifest as macroscopic phenomena, including memory, cognition, and behavior. In addition, he is interested in neural structure across the lifespan, from development to degeneration.
Julia Adrian's picture
Cognitive Science
I am a fifth year PhD candidate in cognitive science. What I love about cognitive science and the anthropogeny specialization is their interdisciplinarity​. I myself went through multiple research fields, starting with studying protein expression of cells following heavy ion irradiation (TU Darmstadt, Germany), brain development of young rats exposed to fluctuating oxygen levels (NTNU, Norway) and now cognitive and brain development of preterm and full-term born children during childhood at UC... more
Vanessa Bateman's picture
Visual Arts
Vanessa Bateman is a doctoral candidate in Art History, Theory, and Criticism at UC San Diego. Currently, her dissertation research focuses on visual representations of hunting in the early twentieth century; connecting hunting practices to technological developments in visual media that were concurrent with the conservationist movement in the United States (1890-1920). Although Vanessa focuses on the modern, she situates the subjects of hunting and animals through their place in the... more
Melanie Beasley's picture
Anthropology
Melanie Beasley is a graduate student in anthropology at UC San Diego and successfully completed the program requirements for the Anthropogeny Specialization in 2014. Melanie is interested in paleodiet and paleoecolgical reconstruction of hominins, stable isotope analysis research, bioarchaeology and California archaeology. Melanie received a BS in anthropology from UC-Davis in 2003 and went on to receive her MA in anthropology from CSU-Chico, a nationally top-rated forensic anthropology... more
Matthew Boisvert's picture
Neurosciences
How do neurons form and maintain connections, and how does the variable activity of these connections lead to thought, action, and, ultimately, consciousness? As a Neuroscience PhD student in Nicola Allen’s lab at the Salk Institute, I hope to slowly chisel away at these questions through investigating the role of astrocytes in the formation and maintenance of synapses. Astrocytes, long overlooked as star-shaped brain glue, have recently been shown to be so much more than that, engulfing... more
Emily Verla Bovino's picture
Visual Arts
Emily Verla Bovino is a doctoral candidate in the Visual Arts department at UC San Diego.  Emily is an artist, writer, urbanist, and art historian whose projects often circulate under the anagrams Mobile Irony Valve, Nimble Love Ivory and Inviolably Remove. She earned her undergraduate degree from Barnard College, Columbia University in urban studies, with a concentration in political science and anthropology in 2002; she received a master's degree in Art History, Theory and Criticism from UCSD... more
Alison Caldwell's picture
Neurosciences
Alison Caldwell completed her Ph.D in Neurosciences in 2019 at UC San Diego, where she was a member of Dr. Nicola Allen’s lab at the Salk Institute. Alison worked to answer questions about the role of astrocytes in synaptogenesis: How do astrocytes time their release of synaptogenic factors? What are the identities of these factors? How are they secreted by the astrocytes? What are the neuronal receptors responding to them? How do genetic mutations affect astrocyte function and how do those... more
Ben Cipollini's picture
Cognitive Science
Ben Cipollini is Vice President of Software Engineering and Data Science at FluentPet. While getting his Ph.D. in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego, Ben was interested in human behavior through another lens: how does having asymmetrically structured and functioning brains make us human? He used computational modeling of development to understand how brain asymmetries can explain why the visual system parsing a visual scene asymmetrically (with the left hemisphere more focused on details, and... more
Leela Davies's picture
Biomedical Sciences
I am a physician-scientist currently completing my training in adult infectious disease. I completed my MD and PhD degrees at UCSD in 2015. My graduate work in the laboratory of Ajit Varki, studying the evolutionarily conserved exclusion of the sialic acid Neu5Gc from the vertebrate brain. I subsequently completed my clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Currently, I work as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Galit Alter at the Ragon Institute in Cambridge, MA... more
Kyle Fischer's picture
Neurosciences
Kyle Fischer is a graduate student in neuroscience at UC San Diego and a member of Dr. Ed Callaway’s lab at the Salk Institute.  Kyle is developing viral tracing tools for unraveling the “neural knot” that characterizes our nervous system, which is made up of trillions of neurons that fall into distinct morphological, molecular, and physiological classes. These cells form synaptic connections with specific partners both within their local neighborhood and across the brain. This complex network... more
Whitney Friedman's picture
Cognitive Science
I'm a postdoctoral scholar working at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara, in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy. These days my passion for both marine ecology and human origins has lead more and more into the future. My current work focuses on the relationship between sustainable marine ecosystems and resilient coastal communities in context of climate change, including socially and ecologically driven solutions to marine resource... more
Anupam Garg's picture
Neurosciences
Anupam Garg is an MD/PhD student currently in graduate school in Professor Ed Callaway's laboratory at the Salk Institute. Within both medicine and science, Anupam's interests are closely related to understanding the function and mechanisms of the visual system. More specifically, he is a neuroscience graduate student and looks at the role and mechanism of inhibition of various cell types and how they affect neuronal circuit connectivity and visual information processing. Clinically, he is... more
Sara Goico's picture
Anthropology
Sara Goico is a graduate student in Anthropology at UC San Diego and is interested in how research on homesigners can provide information on the origins and evolution of language. Homesigners are deaf individuals who have grown up isolated from other deaf individuals and sign languages. In order to communicate, they develop idiosyncratic gesture systems known as homesigns. How different are these homesigns across individuals?  How complex can homesigns become when a language model is not... more
Kiri Hagerman's picture
Anthropology
Kiri Hagerman is a Ph.D student in anthropology at UC San Diego. Kiri has been a student of archaeology for over eight years and has participated in archaeological projects in Syria, Belize, Mexico, and the United States. Her undergraduate degree from Princeton University was in Art and Archaeology with a focus on Amarna period art in Ancient Egypt. In 2009, she came to UC San Diego to pursue a doctorate in Anthropological Archaeology with a focus on Mesoamerica. For her M.A. thesis, she... more
Kari Hanson's picture
Anthropology
Kari Hanson is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Institute for Neural Computation at UCSD. Her research explores human brain evolution from the perspective of examining interspecific variation in neuroanatomy in extant humans and non-human primates on one hand, and intraspecific variation targeting extraordinary variations of the human mind from the perspective of neurodiversity in autism spectrum disorders and Williams syndrome on the other. Kari's ongoing projects in the Laboratory for... more
Caroline Horton's picture
Anthropology
Caroline Horton is a graduate student in anthropology at UC San Diego. Caroline completed her BA with double majors in Integrative Biology and Anthropology at UC Berkeley.  While at Berkeley, she worked on a range of projects involving the skeletal remains of early hominins and ancient anatomically modern humans with Dr. Gary Richards at the Human Evolution Research Center. Her graduate education is in comparative neuroanatomy at UC San Diego, where she studies under Dr. Katerina Semendeferi in... more
Javier How's picture
Neurosciences
Javier How is a Ph.D. student in Neurosciences at UC San Diego and in Saket Navlakha’s lab at the Salk Institute. He is currently collaborating with Shrek Chalasani to study how odors are encoded in the nervous system of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. To that end, he is using calcium imaging on half of the worm’s brain in order to describe how the network distinguishes between attractive and aversive odors, and how the representation of an odor changes with learning. He hopes to find that... more
Stephen Johnston's picture
Neurosciences
Stephen Johnston is a graduate student in neuroscience at UC San Diego.  He is interested in knowing how we differentiate similar events from each other while at other times make disparate events seem familiar. In one case, your brain may tell you, despite obvious differences, you've experienced something before, as in deja vu. In another case, despite the repetitivity of an event, like daily parking your car, your brain can very efficiently segregate the event as a new memory. This recognition... more
Jeremy Karnowski's picture
Cognitive Science
My interest is in multi-agent coordination and communication. My data mining efforts focus on creating a massive dataset concerning the link between bottlenose dolphin vocalizations, behavior, and social configuration. My modeling efforts focus on the problem of how decentralized agents should coordinate through the use of their bodies and sounds to achieve certain joint goals.  Bottlenose Dolphin Signature Whistles: Variation and Context Understanding dolphin communication involves studying... more
Megan Kirchgessner's picture
Neurosciences
Megan Kirchgessner is a Ph.D. student in Neurosciences at UC San Diego and in the Callaway Lab at the Salk Institute.  Each of our 86 billion neurons makes thousands of connections with other neurons, allowing them to come together to create something immensely greater than the sum of its parts - the human brain. Megan is fascinated by how different neurons in the cortex - the outer sheath of the brain - connect up with each other in a remarkably organized way, forming "circuits" that underlie... more
Landon Klein's picture
Neurosciences
Landon Klein is a graduate student in neuroscience in the lab of Dr. Mark Geyer at UC San Diego.  His research explores the obscure topic of hallucinogens, which have been used for thousands of years in ritualistic/religious, therapeutic, and recreational contexts to produce profound alterations in consciousness. Nonetheless, we understand remarkably little about how these substances produce their characteristic perceptual effects.  He is investigating the mechanism of hallucinogen action from... more
Emily Little's picture
Psychology
Emily Little is a graduate student in psychology at UC San Diego studying cultural variation in parent-infant interaction and the related implications for early social and cognitive development. Advanced social cognition and communication skills are often highlighted as human-specific, universal acquisitions, and we emphasize the ability of human infants to display a sense of self awareness, be sensitive to the emotions of others, share attention and engage in cooperative play, and make... more
Hope Morgan's picture
Linguistics
Hope Morgan is a graduate student in linguistics at UC San Diego and in 2013 successfully completed the program requirements of the Anthropogeny Specialization. Her research focuses on the sub-lexical structure (i.e., phonology) of sign languages. Similar to spoken languages that use the tongue and vocal tract to create words, sign languages use configurations of the hands and face in structured, systematic, and language-specific ways. Hope is interested in the composition of signs and how... more
Corinna Most's picture
Anthropology
Corinna Most is a graduate student in anthropology at UC San Diego.  Corinna’s focus is on the origins, evolution, and development of social cognition, and her approach is broadly interdisciplinary. She applies theories and methods not only from within the field of Anthropology, but also from others such as developmental psychology, cognitive sciences, and education studies. The goal of her research is to identify factors that affect the development of social skills in infant baboons, animals... more
Catie Profaci's picture
Neurosciences
Most neuroscientists’ work revolves around neurons—their activity, the molecules that underlie their function, the networks that they form, and the behaviors that they mediate. Other neuroscientists champion the underestimated importance of glial cells and their role in the development and maintenance of neural function. With the spotlight on neurons and glia, most neuroscientists completely overlook the central nervous system's vast and intricate network of blood vessels. These blood vessels... more
Hector Reynoso's picture
Neurosciences
Sequoyah Reynoso is a Ph.D student in neuroscience at UC San Diego.  Sequoyah’s research interest include sexual attraction and selection and he is currently studying cell-surface molecules on sperm cells in the lab of Pascal Gagneux. Whereas many think that winning a mate signals the end in the game of sexual selection, there are actually many more biological obstacles for a pair of organisms to hurdle in order for successful procreation. For instance, compatibility between male and female... more
Tim Sainburg's picture
Psychology
Tim is a PhD student in the Gentner Lab at UCSD. His research interests touch on the evolution, computation, and development of communicative systems, both in humans and non-humans. Of particular interest is how these systems differ, both from each other and from other cognitive mechanisms. His PhD is currently focused on sequence learning in songbird species, and developing techniques for communication analysis that draw on approaches in computational neuroscience, machine learning, operant... more
Andrew Schork's picture
Cognitive Science
Andrew Schork is a graduate student in cognitive science at UC San Diego. Andrew is interested in the origins of cognition across many scales, be they evolutionary or developmental.  As an undergraduate, he studied anthropology, focusing on human evolution and evolutionary psychology, and applied mathematics.  During this time, Andrew developed a deep philosophical interest in understanding where thoughts come from, focusing on how evolution shaped humans to support our very unique cognitive... more
Nina Semushina's picture
Linguistics
I am a graduate student in Linguistics at UCSD, and work with professor Rachel Mayberry in the Laboratory of Multimodal Language Development. My specialization is Sign Language Linguistics and I currently work on Russian Sign Language (RSL) and ASL. One line of my research is related to numeral systems and time expressions and in sign languages around the world. I did research on numeral incorporation (when a calendric term simultaneously combined with numeral) - a typologically frequent... more
Heidi Sharipov's picture
Neurosciences
 I am a neuroscientist interested in the developing visual system. I am currently studying the response and recovery after neural injury in the optic tectum (a region analogous to the mammalian superior colliculus) of Xenopus laevis tadpoles. By studying the effects of altered gene expression of a highly conserved gene such as Candidate Plasticity Gene 15 (CPG15), I can begin to understand the differences between neural injury response in the adult system versus the developing system. Since... more
Robert Thomas's picture
Biomedical Sciences
I was born in San Diego, California. I attended Santa Clara University and majored in Chemistry. In 2007, I entered the MD/PhD program at UCSD. I am currently working towards my PhD in Dr. Åsa Gustafsson’s laboratory. We are interested in mitochondrial integrity and autophagy in the setting of heart disease. Mitochondrial research lends itself readily to questions about human origins, prompting me to join the anthropogeny specialization track in 2012. I am interested in mitochondrial... more
Camille Toarmino's picture
Psychology
Camille is a graduate student in psychology who studies animal behavior in the laboratory of Dr. Cory Miller at UC San Diego. Her research focuses on the social rules that govern nonhuman primate communication systems, in particular how perturbations to those rules effect ongoing vocal signaling. Another aspect of her research involves examining communication in a naturalistic network of individuals, and determining what prompts an individual to vocalize in these settings.
Michael Vaill's picture
Biomedical Sciences
Michael is a graduate student in the lab of Ajit Varki. He completed his undergraduate work in biochemistry at the University of Georgia. At UGA he studied archaeal CRISPR-Cas defense systems in the lab of Mike Terns, and O-GlcNAc glycosylation in the lab of Lance Well. He then went on to study leptin signaling in Ruth Harris’s lab at the Medical College of Georgia before arriving at UC San Diego to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences with a specialization in anthropogeny. His current... more
Linnea Wilder's picture
Anthropology
Linnea Wilder is a PhD student in anthropology at UC San Diego working under Dr. Katerina Semendeferi in the Laboratory of Human Comparative Neuroanatomy. Her research interests lie in the evolution and development of the brain, and in defining neuroanatomical features and developmental patterns that are either unique to humans or shared with our closest living relatives, the great apes. Her current project focuses on the development of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is critically... more
Haleh Yazdi's picture
Psychology
Haleh Yazdi is a Ph.D student in psychology at UC San Diego who explores how individuals across cultures develop prosocial behaviors such as sharing, altruism and cooperation.  Her current research investigates this with two main questions: (1) Do children across cultures begin life as innately prosocial or are these developmentally acquired? And (2) How are prosocial tendencies affected by social and environmental factors such as socioeconomic status and cultural obligations?  From an... more
Rachel Zarndt's picture
Biomedical Sciences
Rachel Zarndt is a graduate student in biomedical sciences at UC San Diego and in 2014 successfully completed the program requirements of the Anthropogeny Specialization. Rachel’s research aims to determine novel genetic pathways underlying physiologic adaptations to hypoxia through an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach. Using a unique population of hypoxia-adapted fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), she investigates key genetic pathways underlying physiologic response of the heart... more