Interested in joining the lab?   We welcome students interested in learning more about ape and human evolution and/or functional anatomy, learning new techniques, and working with our team.  Students looking to earn a PhD can apply through MU's Integrative Anatomy program (also check out the Integrative Anatomy Students' Association).  Undergraduates can work with us through include sponsored research programs through campus (e.g. LSUROP, McNair, honor's thesis programs, etc.), volunteering, doing research for course credit, or occasionally there are paid employment opportunities.  Email Dr. Ward for more information.

Graduate Students

Sharon Kuo joined the lab in the Fall of 2014.  She came to us with an M.S. in forensic anthropology from Mercyhurst University, and before that received her B.A. in anthropology from Boston University where she worked on trabecular architecture in the calcaneus in relation to the presence of an Achilles tendon.  She has studied feather rachis strength in penguins and an Australopithecus afarensis metatarsal from Hadar, Ethiopia. 

Sharon is most interested in the functional morphology of the hominoid foot.  

Her dissertation research is combining some of the first-ever XROMM images from a macaque during locomotion with morphometrics and comparative analysis to explore tarsal joint motion and function during locomotion.  She is also describing original Miocene fossils of Oreopithecus, Afropithecus and

new specimens from Napudet. 

She has been to the field in

Kenya with the West Turkana

Paleo Project at the Pliocene

site of Kanapoi.  

Sharon can open beer bottles

using only another bottle.

Our newest student Faye McGechie joined the lab during the fall of 2015.  She finished her B.A. degree working with Bill Kimbel at Arizona State University, and now holds an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  She completed an undergraduate honor’s thesis there on the ontogeny of the cranial base in humans.  She also worked on developmental cascades in the development of dentition, and has worked on the paleoecology of Anapithecus at Rudabanya, Hungary.  She also

has attended field schools in Ethiopia and South

Africa, and was part of the field team at Lomekwi. 

Faye's dissertation research is using novel 3D

digital methods to study the internal geometry

and biomechanics of nuchal muscles in anthropoid

primates with different head, neck and body postures

to better understand the evolution of the neck and

neck posture in early hominins.  Faye also especially 

enjoys cats, cats, cats, and accessorizing animals.

Austin Lawrence is in his second year at MU.  Austin obtained his BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He is interested in hip joint morphology and orientation in human evolution and its relation to femoracetabular impingement in archeological and clinical human populations.  He is now testing some of the assumptions about nonmetric traits in human hips used in bioarcheological analysis through research with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery that explores these traits in patients with different hip joint disorders.  Austin's pseudonyms include Larry and Al, and he is known about the department for asking broad, sweeping questions.

Undergraduate Research

Ward lab undergrads are the best.  We have had many students working in the lab helping collect data and segment CT scans and more. Four of our undergrads have presented their original research at professional meetings at professional meetings such as the American Association of Anatomists and American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and on campus at Life Sciences Week and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Forum.  

Ward Lab hits the AAA 2016 meeting in San Diego:  Blake, Faye, Emily, Carol, Morgan & Nathan.

Blake's poster was a bit behind a large pole, and apparently he thought Morgan's practice talk by the pool was a bit boring....

Annie Wallach presented her research "Thoracic vertebral morphology and locomotor adaptation in anthropoids primates" at the American Association of Anatomists meeting.  Blake was also awarded the "2016 Award for Excellence in Research in Life Sciences" at MU award in 2016.  Annie also went to Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016 to work with Faye on a large faunal database from West Turkana in collaboration with Carol et al.

Nathan Bauer presented his research "Dental wear, molar shape and diet in earliest Australopithecus" at the American Association of Anatomists meeting.

Morgan Alwell presented her research "Sternum morphology and locomotor adaptation in anthropoids primates" at the American Association of Anatomists meeting.  She has graduated, and is now working with Sharon to segment CT and surface scan images of primate tarsal bones, in addition to working as an EMT, training other EMTs, and is currently a medical student at Des Moines University.

Blake Sarrazin, now a second year medical student at Mizzou, presented his research "Thoracic vertebral morphology and locomotor adaptation in anthropoids primates" at the American Association of Anatomists meeting.  Blake was also awarded the "MU Outstanding Junior in Biological Sciences" award in 2016.  

Ward Lab Integrative Anatomy program alumni

Dr. Ashley Hammond
Assistant Curator of Biological Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History
Assistant Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Ashley Hammond joined MU after completing an MA and BA

from Florida Atlantic University.  Her dissertation research

manipulated 3D polygonal models of pelves and femora to

reconstruct hip joint mobility in extant primates, and

validated her work using live animals.  She has applied this

work to understanding locomotor adaptation in Miocene

hominoids.  Since graduate school, she joined the faculty of the Koobi Fora Field School as their biological anthropologist, and published widely on Oligocene primates, early modern humans, hip joint soft tissue anatomy in modern apes, neandertals, and more.  Ashley spends weeks in the field looking for Plio-Pleistocene fossils in East Turkana, Kenya.  She completed postdoctoral positions at Stony Brook University and George Washington University, and is now at the AMNH.

Elizabeth Moffett completed her dissertation in 2016 on sexual dimorphism of the primate pelvis in relation to both obstetric adaptation and body size dimorphism using 3D methods, and studying the effects of obstetric selection on pelvic form in anthropoids.  Elizabeth has published on sexual dimorphism of the sacrum in extant primates and on quantifying fontanelles in human infants. Before coming to the Elizabeth received her B. A. in Anthropology at Louisiana State University in 2011.  She joined us in the field at Kanapoi in 2013.  At the end of her program at MU, she also served as an Instructor at Stony Brook University teaching anatomy.  She now teaches anatomy at Rocky Vista in Colorado.

Dr. Elizabeth Moffett
Assistant Professor
Rocky Vista College of Osteopathic Medicine

© 2019 by Carol V Ward