in joining WitmerLab?
Students and their
research are what keeps WitmerLab moving forward and on the cutting
edge. There are many research opportunities for students
at all levels.
Graduate students: We offer both Doctoral
(PhD) and Masters (MS) degrees, although our existing
funding mechanisms make it easier for us to support PhD
students. Students are admitted to
Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB),
and are automatically affiliated with the
Ohio Center for
Ecology and Evolutionary Studies (OCEES). The Witmer
lab offers a diverse range of possible research topics
in both the modern and fossil realms (hence our
"pick-and-scalpel" logo). Although we may be best known
for our research on dinosaurs and other fossil
archosaurs, we've published many articles on extant archosaurs and even several
article on mammals.
The point is that we're very open to diverse topics.
That said, it's generally a good idea for student
research projects to draw on existing resources and
techniques simply so that we can best serve those
projects. We have
excellent space in a research building
that opened in 2002. I was fortunate to be able to
design all of our research spaces to suit our needs.
We're well equipped both in terms of the low-tech
anatomical side of our research (e.g., a walk-in freezer
bursting with interesting carcasses, everything from
scalpels to band- and chain-saws to take the carcasses
apart) and the high-tech side (e.g., numerous fully
loaded computer visualization workstations). Our CT
scanning capabilities are excellent in that we have a
great relationship with our local hospital as well as a
dedicated microCT scanner (OUÁCT).
We have an enormous stockpile of CT datasets, most of
which are available for student projects (some have
strings tied to external collaborators). We're very
proud of the high level of student research in our lab,
as well as our excellent placement record of finished
students accepting great postdocs, faculty positions, or
doctoral slots elsewhere. We are indeed a biology
program. We strongly emphasize the biological aspects of
paleontology, and we generally ask biological questions
about extinct animals. That said, Ohio University has
great soft-rock geology, invertebrate paleontology, and
paleobotany, and so we've got the bases covered there,
as well. Grad students in the Witmer Lab are generally
required to take the full medical gross anatomy
curriculum in the medical school. Human gross anatomy
provides critical high-level anatomical training,
turning our students into very sophisticated "complete"
anatomists, which serves them very well as
paleontologists and comparative anatomists. I posted on
our Pick-and-Scalpel blog about
how medical gross anatomy relates to our research lab. The full
requirements of the program can be seen on the EEB web
site linked above. Graduate student slots in the lab are generally
highly competitive, particularly if prospective students
are seeking full funding.
Undergraduate students: Ohio University
undergraduates of course get priority access to research
in our lab, but students at other universities are
welcome to enquire about opportunities. Undergrads
should read the grad student section above to find out
about the general focus and direction of the lab.
Although we've had numerous wonderful undergrads in the
OU Honors Tutorial
College, other undergrads are also very
welcome. Undergrads can sign up for research credit, as
well as do senior research projects. Volunteering is
also a possibility.
Area public school students: Select students
from area public schools are also welcome to enquire
about research opportunities.
Check us out...we're worth a look! --Larry