Institute for the Science of Origins

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Student Research Opportunities

 Check out research opportunities with the following Origins faculty members. Many other opportunities exist in addition to those listed here. If you are a student looking for a research opportunity in an area not listed here, feel free to email origins or evolution to inquire!

Eben Alsberg
This research focuses on engineering functional biologic replacements to repair damaged or diseased tissues in the body:

Michael Benard
There are many kinds of opportunities for students to work with Dr Benard, whose research deals with natural selection, evolutionary diversification, and the structure of ecological communities:

Jurgen Bosch
Dr Bosch’s research addresses the Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria. Using a targeted structure-based drug design approach, his lab employs X-ray crystallography, virtual library screening (VLS), and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) methods to study important key players of these plasmodial mechanisms, with the ultimate aim to develop novel, drug-like compounds for future therapeutic use:
Corbin Covault
Dr Covault has diverse interests, including Experimental Particle Astrophysics, Gamma-Ray Astronomy, Ultra-high Energy Cosmic Rays, and extraterrestrial intelligence:
Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández
Dr Crespo is Associate Professor of Chemistry and Co-director of the Center for Chemical Dynamics. His interests include Ultrafast Spectroscopy, Analytical Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Energy, Photochemistry, Physical Chemistry, Chemical Dynamics and Kinetics, Computational Chemistry, and Time-Resolved Spectroscopy
Darin Croft
Dr Croft is a paleontologist who specializes in extinct South American mammals. He works with many undergraduate researchers.

Michael Decker

Dr Decker’s current research in the laboratory of cerebral blood flow & metabolism is based on the study of the molecular mechanisms that regulate capillary structure/function as a component of the neurovascular unit:

Ralph Harvey
Dr Harvey is the Principal Investigator for the Antarctic Search for Meteorites program. His interests are diverse, including among other things various processes on Earth and Mars and the geochemical and climatological limits on biological activity in cryogenic settings:

Andy Jones
Dr Jones is Director of Science, William A. and Nancy R. Klamm Endowed Chair of Ornithology, and Curator and Head of Ornithology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  He is an expert on birds and their evolutionary history. He specializes in comparative phylogeography, a field that compares the geographic patterns of genetic variation among populations of a species with those of other species occupying the same habitat. Dr. Jones can involve students in diverse areas of research in both the museum and the field, for varying lengths of time. He can also help point students to other areas of research available at the museum.

Joseph LaManna
Dr LaManna’s current research in the laboratory of cerebral blood flow & metabolism is based on the study of the molecular mechanisms that regulate capillary structure/function as a component of the neurovascular unit:

The Manot Cave Dig
The Manot Cave is a unique archeological site located in northwest Israel. It contains what may well be indications of Neanderthal and H sapiens cross-breeding. It is an active karstic cave with remains of human occupation during the Middle and Upper Paleolithic periods. These remains document the dispersion of modern humans from Africa to Eurasia and seeks to uncover the physical and cultural affinities of the ancient dwellers in the cave, through a multi-disciplinary research project involving an international and diverse group of scholars.
Contact: Project coordinator, Yvonne McDermott

Mongolia Dinosaur Expedition 
Partial funding may be available to help a student go on the Dinosaur Expedition to the Gobi, Mongolia with Dr Michael Ryan and Dr Patricia Princehouse
Contact: Dr Princehouse 

Harsh Mathur
Dr Mathur’s interests involve Theoretical Physics: Condensed matter physics, Particle-Astrophysics and Cosmology:

Claudia Mizutani
Dr Mizutani’s work addresses how gene expression patterns arise and how they evolve to produce different tissues and life forms:
Michael Ryan
Dr Ryan is Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. His on-going expeditionary research includes remote locations in Africa, South America, Canada, and Mongolia, with a focus on ceratopsian dinosaurs.
Beverly Saylor
Dr Saylor’s research focuses on reconstructing and interpreting stratigraphic patterns, both as recorders of past environmental and tectonic change, and as transport pathways and reservoirs for fluids.
Glenn Starkman
Dr Starkman’s interests lie in Theoretical Physics: Cosmology, Particle Physics and Astrophysics, including issues such as challenges to and the sufficiency of the standard model, dark matter, and the microwave background.

Wanda Strychalski
Dr Strychalski’s Research interests include mathematical biology, scientific computing and computational fluid dynamics

Peter Thomas
The goal of Dr Thomas’s research is understand signal transduction from a biophysical and information theoretic point of view.

Michael Weiss
Dr Weiss is the Cowan-Blum Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Biochemistry & Medicine (Endocrine Division). His  investigations focus in two areas of molecular endocrinology: (a) insulin, insulin signaling, and diabetes mellitus; and (b) sex determination and infertility.:


Mark Willis
The Willis lab studies mechanisms of insect behavior, especially how animals use odors to locate mates, food, etc.Ands also how moths’ nervous systems coordinate with their flight muscles while they are flying in order to begin to understand how the central nervous system controls flight.


Origins Fellows not participating this year but who plan to in the future:

Chris Cullis
Dr Simpson is the Francis Hobart Herrick Professor of Biology. He uses plants as model systems to investigate the mechanisms by which DNA within the cell can change rapidly, particularly in response to external stimuli.

Scott Simpson
Dr Simpson is a paleoanthropologist in the Dept of Anatomy, who also works closely with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He is involved with the Gona project in Ethiopia and a member of the scientific team that analyzed Ardipithecus, mankind’s earliest ancestor. The group’s work was chosen as Science magazine’s “Science Breakthrough of the Year.” that has “rewritten the book on human evolution.”
Contact him:

Roy Ritzmann
Dr. Ritzmann’s research is aimed at determining how animals move through the kinds of complex terrain found in natural settings. A great model organism has been the cockroach. His data are also used in efforts to design and build hexapod robots that can navigate extreme environments on earth and other planets.

Focco van den Akker
The goal of Dr van den Akker’s research is to elucidate the molecular intricacies of enzyme mechanism and receptor activation and use that knowledge to develop inhibitors and activators for pharmaceutical purposes.

James van Orman
Dr van Orman’s research concerns geochemistry and mineral physics, including planetary interiors and the evolving early solar system:


Page last modified: February 8, 2017