Graduate Bulletin

Spring 2018

Multidisciplinary Graduate Program in Anatomical Sciences

The Department of Anatomical Sciences, within the Health Sciences Center, offers a multidisciplinary graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree. Students receive comprehensive training to prepare them for teaching and research in the areas of evolutionary morphology, systematics, functional morphology, musculoskeletal biology, and vertebrate paleontology. Graduate students are guided through a program of courses designed for their particular needs. In this regard, the Department of Anatomical Sciences interacts not only with other departments in the School of Medicine but also with those in the College of Arts and Sciences (e.g., Anthropology, Geosciences, and Ecology and Evolution), as well as other regional doctoral programs (City University of New York, American Museum of Natural History, Richard Gilder Graduate School).

The program trains students in the analysis and interpretation of gross vertebrate structure with the goal of testing hypotheses in systematics, paleoecology and adaptation. Training and research focus on applying an evolutionary perspective to the study of morphology, including functional morphology and phylogenetic systematics. Field-based projects for the discovery of new fossils are typically underway every year. Both the locomotor and the craniodental anatomical systems are regions of current interest and investigation within the program. Several faculty in the department specialize in the application of experimental and quantitative techniques to the analysis of the relationship between form and function. Studies of skeletal adaptations are also facilitated by collaboration with the Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory of the Department of Orthopaedics. Questions of systematics are approached at different levels, ranging from alpha taxonomy to higher-order relationships and we provide training and contemporary methods for phylogenetic systematics and biogeography. Students in the program have the opportunity to master a variety of research methods and analytical strategies: electromyography, cineradiography, kinematics and kinetics, in vivo bone strain measurement, quantitative morphology including scaling (allometry) and multivariate morphometrics, phylogenetic systematics, biogeography, scanning electron microscopy and tandem-scanning, CT-based anatomical reconstructions, reflected-light microscopy, behavioral ecology, and principles of paleontological fieldwork.