On Saturday, February 24 BMO Stadium will host LAFC vs. Seattle Sounders. Kickoff is at 1:30pm. This event may impact traffic, parking, and wayfinding in the area. Please consider riding the Metro Expo Line and exiting at USC/Expo station.

Students standing on a mountain ridge, with one looking across to the other side and the other pointing their phone at the camera

Dinosaur Institute Fellowship Fund

The NHMLAC Dinosaur Institute Fellowship Fund endowment supports Postdoctoral research scientists and advanced graduate students conducting original research in the Dinosaur Institute. It aims to expand our research, training, and outreach missions and increase the total representation of PhD scientists and graduate students among the ranks of NHMLAC's Research & Collections, cementing our crucial role as an incubator for future museum scientists.

The training and professional development of these researchers enhance NHMLAC's efforts in shaping the future of paleontology and museum science, and program alumni are extending the Museum’s intellectual footprint as they continue their professional careers. Postdoctoral scientists at NHMLAC benefit from the diverse collections, laboratory/analytical, and fieldwork-based resources of the Dinosaur Institute and Museum. Graduate students are primarily supported through a partnership with USC’s Department of Earth Sciences.

Researchers are supervised and mentored by Gretchen Augustyn Director of the Dinosaur Institute, Dr. Luis Chiappe, and Curator of the Dinosaur Institute, Dr. Nathan Smith. The endowment was created through the generous philanthropy of an anonymous donor.
 


Current Postdoctoral Researchers:

Zach Morris holding a gator with water and a cloudy blue sky in the background

Dr. Zachary Morris (2024–)
Dinosaur Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

“Integrating developmental, anatomical, and paleontological perspectives into the origins of convergence in the reptile skull”

WEBSITE
 

Head and shoulders portrait of Hank Woolley pointing at a brush

Dr. Hank Woolley (2023–)
NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow

“Assessing the quality of the fossil record using a phylogenetic approach”

WEBSITE

 


CURRENT PHD STUDENTS:

Head and shoulders portrait of Paul Byrne with mountain terrain in the background

Paul Byrne (2020–)
NHMLAC Graduate-Student-in-Residence

“The origin of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity and complex pulmonary systems in early archosaurs”
 


 

Head and shoulders portrait of Paul Emily Patellos holding a snake

Emily Patellos (2021–) 
NHMLAC Graduate-Student-in-Residence

“Phylogenetic and ecological signals in archosauromorph osteoderm morphology”
 

 

 


POSTDOCTORAL ALUMNI:

Dr. Keegan Melstrom

Dr. Keegan Melstrom (2020–2022)
Assistant Professor, Biology
University of Central Oklahoma, Biology

WEBSITE

 

 

Dr. Pedro Mocho

Dr. Pedro Mocho (2016–2018) 
Instituto Dom Luiz, Faculdade de Ciências
Universidade de Lisboa

WEBSITE



 

Head and shoulders portrait of Dr. Rachel Racicot holding a fossil

Dr. Rachel Racicot (2015–2017)
Department of Messel Research
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum

WEBSITE


 

Dr. Alyssa Bell

Dr. Alyssa Bell (2013–2021) 
Senior Paleontologist
Stantec

WEBSITE

 

 

Dr. Becky Wu

Dr. Becky Wu (2022–2023)
Research Associate, The Dinosaur Institute
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 
 

 

 

 


GRADUATE STUDENT ALUMNI:

Dr. Becky Wu

Dr. Becky Wu (2018–2022) 
Dinosaur Institute Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
 

 


 

Head and shoulders portrait of Dr. Nathan Carroll in

Dr. Nathan Carroll (2014–2020) 
Curator of Paleontology
Carter County Museum

WEBSITE

 

 

Dr. Alyssa Bell

Dr. Alyssa Bell (2007–2013) 
Senior Paleontologist
Stantec

WEBSITE

 

 

Head and shoulders portrait of Dr. Jingmai O’Connor holding a fossil

Dr. Jingmai O’Connor (2004–2009)
Associate Curator of Fossil Reptiles
The Field Museum of Natural History

WEBSITE

 

 

Head and shoulders portrait of Hank Woolley pointing at a brush

Dr. Hank Woolley (2017–2023)
NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow

“Assessing the quality of the fossil record using a phylogenetic approach”

WEBSITE
 
 

Head and shoulders portrait of Kiersten Formoso with fossils on a table

Kiersten Formoso (2018–2023) 
Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
Rutgers University

WEBSITE
 
 


Contact Us:

For information about the NHMLAC Dinosaur Institute Fellowship Fund, and Postdoctoral and graduate training opportunities in the Dinosaur Institute, contact Dr. Nathan Smith.

Postdocs and Students at work and in the field:

Alyssa Bell at the Gnatalie Quarry
Hank Woolley in an Antarctica landscape
[Hank Woolley at Dino Fest
Jingmai O’Connor with her head in her hand and other arm on a table with a fossil in front of her
Paul Byrne at the Gnatalie Quarry

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