Graduates

CARTA has 36 anthropogeny specialization graduates:

Jason Adams's picture
Neurosciences
Jason Adams is an MD/PhD student at UC San Diego. He completed his PhD in the 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. He is currently completing the final... more
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 completed a PhD in Art History, Theory, and Criticism with a Specialization in Anthropogeny from the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) at UC San Diego in 2022. Her work analyzes the representation of animals in North American art and visual culture from the nineteenth century until the present, informed by the environmental humanities and animal history. Vanessa is a postdoctoral researcher at Maastricht University (Netherlands) on the project “... 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 currently a resident physician in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University. At UCSD, Anupam was a student in the MD/PhD program and completed 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... 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, PhD, is a perinatal health educator, researcher, and advocate, and is the Founder and Executive Director of Nurturely (nurturely.org). She completed her PhD in experimental psychology at University of California, San Diego where she combined approaches from anthropology, psychology, and public health to explore infant-caregiver interaction and perinatal health systems. Her community-based research continues at Nurturely with the end goal of improving policies and societal... 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 postdoc at Harvard Medical School. He completed his PhD in the Psychology department at UCSD with Tim Gentner, alongside a specialization in Anthropogeny. His research interests sit at the intersection between biology, cognition, and machine intelligence. His research experiences range from computational approaches, such as machine perception and statistical modeling, to behavioral approaches, such as field ethology with chimpanzees and operant conditioning with songbirds, to... more
Andrew Schork's picture
Cognitive Science
I was a CARTA fellow during my PhD studies in the Cognitive Science Department at UCSD, graduating in 2016. I am currently a Research Leader at the Institute of Biological Psychiatry, a part of the Copenhagen University hospital system, and an Associate Professor at the GLOBE institute at Copenhagen University.  My research uses large, population biobanks and medical records to describe the genetic contributions to psychiatric disorders.  My research group pursues both gene-mapping studies to... more
Nina Semushina's picture
Linguistics
Nina Semushina has completed her Ph.D. in Linguistics in 2021, and her advisor was Rachel Mayberry. At UCSD, Nina worked in Mayberry Lab for Multimodal Language Development, where she studied sign languages, language evolution, the relationship between language and number, and the impact of delayed language exposure on the adult's language abilities. Currently, she is a postdoctoral scholar at the Psychology Department of University of Chicago, Goldin-Meadow Laboratory, where she studies how... 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 earned her PhD in 2017. Today, she lives in Colorado and is the Head of Data Science at a company using natural language processing and computer vision to solve complex problems around document classification, annotation, and quality control. She leads a team of nine primates that are working to revolutionize outdated, archaic processes in the real estate space. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, yoga, and playing in the mountains. Her graduate work was in Experimental... more
Michael Vaill's picture
Biomedical Sciences
Michael completed the Anthropogeny Specialization while he was a student in the UCSD Biomedical Sciences graduate program (PhD, 2021). During his doctoral studies in Ajit Varki's lab, he found that human lineage-specific changes in sialic acid genes affect the structures of polysialic acids and sialic acid receptor signaling. As a student in CARTA's training program, Michael participated in the Africa field course in 2017, and especially enjoyed the symposia and research rounds. He is currently... 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