Lab group
Lab group Spring 2012

Front from left: Susan Motch Perrine, Talia Pankratz, Chris Percival, Nandini Singh, Kevin Flaherty

Back from left: John Starbuck, Yann Heuzé, Tiffany Kim, Joan Richtsmeier, Cristina Kelbaugh, Hongseok Kim
Photo Album

Lab Members

Joan Richtsmeier
Joan's Photo

Dr. Richtsmeier is Distinguished Professor of
Anthropology at the Pennsylvania State University and a member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Molecular Cellular and Integrated BioSciences (MCIBS) at Penn State. Dr. Richtsmeier is Adjunct Professor in the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD and a member of the faculty of the the Collaboration for Craniofacial Development and Disorders at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Richtsmeier received her Bachelor's degree from St. Mary's College in 1977, her Master's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1979 and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 1986. She conducted post-doctoral research at Northwestern University Medical School before joining the faculty of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as Assistant Professor in 1987. She became Full Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy in 1999. Dr. Richtsmeier moved her laboratory to the Department of Anthropology at the Pennsylvania State University in 2000.

Dr. Richtsmeier's interests include craniofacial growth and evolution, quantitative morphology, the relationship between ontogenetic mechanisms and phylogenetic change, and the molecular basis of craniofacial development. Her current research focuses on phenotype-genotype correlations in craniosynostosis and craniofacial dysmorphology in Down syndrome. The lab uses image data from patients and data from animal models created to mimic human disease.


Yann Heuzé
Yann's Photo

Yann Heuzé is a biological anthropologist working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Richtsmeier lab since 2008, where his main focus is to study normal and pathological craniofacial development and growth. He particularly focuses on the craniosynostosis genotype-phenotype relationships in humans and mouse models using X-ray and MR imaging and geometric morphometrics. More generally, he researches craniofacial and dental development from an integrative perspective, analyzing the various relationships between different craniofacial units in extant and extinct hominids.


Susan Motch Perrine
Susan's Photo

Susan Motch Perrine is a postdoctoral researcher in the Richtsmeier lab, where she focuses on the physiology and genetics of craniofacial development and dysmorphology. She obtained her PhD in Physiology in 2010 studying aging, the physiology of stress, and heat shock proteins 70 and 90. Some of her work involved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), methods of interest in the Richtsmeier laboratory. She is currently involved in several projects and hopes to work across human and animal models. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding, painting, playing piano and guitar, and gaming.


Nandini Singh
Nandini's Photo

Nandini Singh is a physical anthropologist working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Richtsmeier lab. She uses morphometric techniques to address questions related to phenotypic variation and variability in the mammalian skull. She is currently working with mouse models to understand how certain genotypes correspond to phenotypic changes in the mouse skull. Her main research interests include primate evolution, morphological integration and geometric morphometrics.


Kevin Flaherty Kevin's Photo
Kevin Flaherty is a second year graduate student in biological anthropology at Penn State. His interests include normal and pathological development of cranial bones in humans and other mammals, the interaction between genotype and phenotype in bone development, and the evolution of the cranium. Currently, he is involved in researching the development of cranial vault bones in mice using fluorescent calcein staining and two photon laser scanning microscopy.

Christina Ryder Christina's Photo
Christina Ryder is a third year undergraduate student studying biology and biological anthropology. She is interested in the normal and pathological development of the skull, as well as the evolution of the human skull. Her other interests are the biological development of humans in comparison to other species, and hominid evolution. In lab she spends her time analyzing human models of craniosynostosis using geometric morphometrics.

Katie Rhodes Katie's Photo
Katie Rhodes is a second year undergraduate student majoring in Biological Anthropology and Biology. She studies human evolution and development and is particularly interested in normal and pathological development of the skull and evolutionary genetics. She is also interested in geometric morphometrics and 3D reconstruction. In lab, she works on phenotypic analysis of Craniosynostosis in mouse models.

Hongseok Kim Hongseok's Photo
Hongseok Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science & Engineering Department. He has joined Dr. Richtsmeier's Lab since May 2011. He is assisting the research lab with database administration and medical image processing. His major research fields are interesting features detection and 3D reconstruction in computer vision.


Roger Reeves, PhD

Subhash Lele, PhD

Theodore Cole, III, PhD

Simeon Boyadjiev Boyd, PhD

Kenneth M. Weiss, PhD

Alan Walker, PhD

James M. Cheverud, PhD

Jeff Rogers, PhD

Kristina Aldridge, PhD

Valerie DeLeon, PhD

Cheryl Hill, PhD

Ethylin W Jabs, PhD

Lab Alumnae
Kristina Aldridge
Kris's Photo

Kristina received her Ph.D degree from the Functional Anatomy and Evolution program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2004. She is now Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences at the University of Missouri. Kristina's interests include development and evolution of the brain, genetic and epigenetic influences on brain morphology, and genotype-phenotype correlations in the craniofacial complex. Her current research focuses on patterns of organizational change in the brain across human evolutionary history and the interaction of skeletal and neural tissues over the course of human development.

Valerie DeLeon
Valerie's Photo

I am a faculty member at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where I completed my doctorate in 2004. My work in Dr. Richtsmeier’s lab as a student sparked my interest in growth and development of the juvenile skull at both morphological and cellular levels. My current research interests include morphological integration, fluctuating asymmetry as an indication of developmental stability, brain dysmorphology in autism and related disorders, and morphometric methods and software.

Cheryl Hill
Cheryl's Photo

Congratulations to Cheryl, who defended her thesis this summer and is now a postdoc in Kristina Aldridge's lab at the University of Missouri! Cheryl's interests include the development and evolution of the skull, phenotype-genotype correlations, and craniofacial dysmorphology in Down syndrome. Her dissertation work analyzed temporal bone pneumatization across Hominine evolutionary history and throughout human development.

Anita Lubensky
Anita's Photo

Anita finished her dissertation "Three-Dimensional Analysis of Age-Related Change in the Adult Craniofacial Skeleton" in 2004, earning her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Since leaving Baltimore she has taught biology at San Diego City College. Anita received her B.A. in anthropology from the University of Kansas in 1995. Her interests include age-related change in adult craniofacial morphology, atlanto-axial instability (AAI) associated with Down Syndrome, and osteopathology. Anita also loves teaching, traveling, reading, writing, gardening, and boogie-boarding.

Katherine Willmore Kat's Photo
Although Kat has physically moved back to her Canadian homeland, she continues her research with the lab remotely. She uses morphometric techniques to address questions related to the evolution and development of the mammalian skull.  Recent projects have coupled measures of craniofacial phenotypic variation with specific developmental-genetic disruptions to gain a better understanding of how the genotype is translated into the phenotype.  Her research in the Richtsmeier lab is an extension of this previous work, focusing on the genetic basis of cranial variation and its role in anthropoid cranial evolution.

Satama Sirivunnabood Satama's Photo
Satama got his PhD degree from the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State in Summer 2010. He worked for the lab as a programmer and database analyst from January 2007 to August 2010. His research interests are applications of IT and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) in supply chain networks, manufacturing, and service industries. Now he is enjoying his life and career in his hometown, Thailand!!

Peng Yan
Peng's Photo

Peng got her Master's degree from the Computer Science and Engineering department at Penn State in spring 2005. She spent several years as the lab's chief programmer and database manager. Her own reasearch involves mobile database systems and database management.

Peng enjoys cooking and playing with her adorable kids.

Jie Zhang
Jie's Photo

I am a PhD candidate in the department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. Currently I am working in the Richtsmeier Lab as a database manager and programmer. My work mainly involves database administration, website maintenance, and developing specific purpose programs for other researchers. My own research interests include Wireless Sensor Networks, Complex Networks, and Inventory Management in Supply Chain Systems. My dissertation research is developing energy aware routing protocol for distributed wireless sensor networks. I like playing basketball, travel and photography in my spare time.


Neus Martínez-Abadías
Neus's Photo

I am a postdoc in the Richtsmeier lab, where I study the genetic and developmental bases of the skull to understand their role in human cranial evolution. In my doctoral dissertation I used geometric morphometrics and quantitative genetic analyses to explore the evolutionary patterns of the human skull. I obtained my PhD in December 2007 (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain) and I moved to Penn State in October 2008. Here I'll be working with craniosynostosis mouse models in order to explore the genotype-phenotype correspondence in this skull disease.


Brenda Frazier Brenda's Photo
I am an advanced graduate student in the Richtsmeier Lab. My primary research interests involve the evolution and development of the skull in living and fossil primates. My dissertation research focuses on the changes in craniofacial morphology associated with reduced body size in mammals, and with pathologically reduced brain size in humans.


John Starbuck John's Photo
John graduated with his PhD in Anthropology in May of 2012. John’s doctoral dissertation research used morphometric methods to explore facial shape variation in humans with trisomy 21 and craniofacial variation in a Down syndrome mouse model. John now holds a post-doctoral research position in the department of Orthodontics and Oral Facial Genetics at the Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis, IN.


Chris Percival Chris' Photo
Chris completed his PhD in the Richtsmeier Lab in 2013 and moved to the University of Calgary to complete a postdoc with Benedikt Hallgrímsson and Ralph Marcucio. Chris remains interested in how changes to the development of craniofacial bones can produce evolutionarily relevant changes in the skull. He will continue to work with animal models in an effort to elucidate bases of craniofacial variation; including variation in gene expression and the role of angiogenesis during intramembranous osteogenesis.