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Undergraduate Research Experience

 Where primates changed my view of life and science.

As a sophomore in college I took an introductory course in biological anthropology in which I learned about the diverse array of human and non-human primate research being conducted in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon (UO). I immediately fell in love with the field and sought involvement in the department's research. Under the suggestion of Dr. Nelson Ting I joined the Primate Osteology Lab. With Dr. Frances White as an advisor, I helped develop a method to calculate finger length ratios on primates. A year later I took an evolutionary genomics course with Dr. Kirstin Sterner and became interested in how primate immune systems respond to viral infection. Shortly after I joined the Molecular Anthropology Group and I’m currently a member of the Sterner Lab.

Undergraduate Research Projects

As a Member of the Molecular Anthropology Group in the Sterner Lab

2019
Testing the centromere-drive hypothesis in primates

To test if kinetochore-associated proteins evolve rapidly in other animals, we examined the sequence of CENP-A and CENP-C and their associated protein complexes.

*Click on image for full PDF document

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Research Advisor

Kirstin N. Sterner 

Associate Professor - Department of Anthropology
Associated Faculty - Institute of Ecology and Evolution

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As a member of the Primate Osteology Lab

Research Advisor

Frances White

Professor & Department Head - Department of Anthropology

Curator of Primate Osteology, Museum of Natural and Cultural History

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2017
Comparing post-mortem and osteological measures of primate 2D:4D digit ratios

Testosterone loading in uterus can be measured by taking the ratio length of digit two and digit four in a fully fleshed hand. Based on results from previously

developed method, when hands in this physical state are not available disarticulated phalangeal bones with the epiphyses reattached give the most accurate result. This project tests this hypothesis by increasing sample size to eleven primates. The results confirmed the previously formulated hypothesis.

*Click on image for full PDF document

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2018
Comparing post-mortem and osteological measures of primate 2D:4D digit ratios for sex determination

Testosterone loading in utero can be measured by taking the ratio of digit two and four lengths in a fully fleshed hand. Based on previous research, disarticulated phalangeal bones with the epiphyses reattached give the most accurate measurement to fully fleshed hands. Because testosterone levels vary between females and males, the measurements calculated by the previously developed methods were used for sex determination of unknown individuals. Results yield ratios with similar accuracy to specimens with known sex.

*Click on image for full PDF document

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2016
Measuring finger ratios in hands and bones: Testing reliability and accuracy of post mortem methods of 2D:4D assessment in primates

Testosterone loading in uterus can be measured by taking the ratio length of digit two and digit four in a fully-fleshed hand. This project focused on developing a method that will give an accurate

measure of proximity when studying hands that are not in a fully-fleshed state. Results suggest the most accurate measurement when compared to a fully-fleshed hand is

disarticulated phalangeal bones with the epiphyses reattached. 

*Click on image for full PDF document

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