Lab members and collaborators


photo of Wang lab group

Here's the lab preparing to dig into lunch at Axum Ethiopian Restaurant in Indianapolis during the Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting 2018. From L to R: Melissa Zavez '20, Haochen Wang '20, Steve, Harsha Sen '19, Clara Habermeier '17, and Madison Shoraka '20

You can also read about our trips to Denver for GSA 2016 and to Baltimore for GSA 2015.





Students and alumni


photo of Zoey Werbin
Zoey Werbin '17 (Fall 2015—Fall 2018)

Zoey is working on a project she designed on comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions. We were awarded an NSF grant based on preliminary work she did as an undergrad and are continuing this work. Zoey presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2016) and is a co-author of three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3) Zoey majored in biology with a minor in environmental studies. She is now a graduate student in microbial ecology at Boston University.



photo of Melissa Zavez
Madison Shoraka '20 and Melissa Zavez '20 (Summer 2018, Fall 2018)

Melissa (right) and Madison (left) are working on methods for estimating the duration of a mass extinction. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018) and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Melissa is majoring in computer science with a minor in statistics. Madison is majoring math as well as peace and conflict studies.



photo of Pravadh Singh
Pravadh Singh '19 (Fall 2018)

Pravadh is working on comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions. He is majoring in math (with a statistics emphasis).





photo of Richard Conti
Richard Conti '19 (Fall 2018)

Richard is working on methods for assessing career and peak WAR (Wins Above Replacement) for baseball players. He is majoring in math and economics.





photo of Haochen Wang
photo of John Wojchiehowski
Haochen Wang '20 and John Wojchiehowski '19 (Summer 2018)

John and Haochen are working on comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions. Haochen presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018). Haochen and John are co-authors of two GSA abstracts (1, 2) John (right) is majoring in math and theater. Haochen (left) is majoring in math (with a statistics emphasis) and computer science.


photo of Clara Habermeier
Clara Habermeier '17 (Spring 2018, Summer 2018)

Clara is working on comparing the selectivity of modern and past extinctions. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018) and is a co-author of two GSA abstracts (1, 2) She majored in economics with a minor in math.




photo of Harsha Sen
Harsha Sen '19 (Fall 2017, Spring 2018)

Harsha is working on data analysis for the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion. He presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, 2018) and is a co-author of a GSA abstract. He is majoring in biology and economics.




photo of Becky Tang
Becky Tang '18 (Fall 2017)

Becky worked on methods for accounting for dating uncertainty in paleontological analyses. She is a co-author of a GSA abstract. Becky is majoring in computer science and math (with a statistics emphasis). She is now a graduate student in statistics at Duke University.




photo of Lan Ngo and Jason Lin
Jason Lin '18 and Lan Ngo '19 (Summer 2017)

Lan and Jason worked on methods for combining confidence intervals. They presented a poster at the Joint Statistical Meetings (Baltimore, 2017). They are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Lan is majoring in math; for more info on Jason, see below.




photo of Mayank Agrawal
Mayank Agrawal '18 (Fall 2016)

Mayank worked on selectivity of origination. He majored in computer science and philosophy with a minor in math. He is currently a graduate student in neuroscience at Princeton University.



photo of Jason Lin and Tuan Nguyen
Jason Lin '18 and Tuan Nguyen '18 (Summer 2016)

Tuan (right) and Jason (left) worked on methods for estimating the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2016) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2016), and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Jason majored in math and computer science; he is now a graduate student in statistics at UCSD. For more info on Tuan, see below.


photo of Katrina Midgley and Tuan Nguyen
Katrina Midgley '17 and Tuan Nguyen '18 (Spring 2016)

Tuan (right) and Katrina (left) worked on methods for estimating the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2016) and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Katrina majored in computer science with a minor in statistics, and is now working in the software industry. Tuan majored in math (with a statistics emphasis) and computer science, and is now working in the software industry.



photo of Tushar Kundu
Tushar Kundu '17 (Spring 2015, Spring 2016)

Tushar is studying the phenomenon of "dead clade walking" after mass extinctions. He presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2016) and is a co-author of a GSA abstract. He majored in economics with a minor in statistics, and is working in economics research at USC.




photo of Heather Zhou and Daniel Wang
Daniel Wang '17 and Heather Zhou '16 (Summer 2015)

Heather (left) and Daniel (right) worked on methods for estimating the tempo and duration of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) and are co-authors of two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Daniel majored in math with a minor in computer science, and is now working in the insurance industry. For more info on Heather, see below.



photo of Leonie Cohen
Leonie Cohen '16 (Spring 2015)

Leonie worked on a project she designed on the evolution of catarrhine primates, specifically the divergence of Hominoidea and Cercopithecoidea. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) She is the lead author on a paper currently in preparation with Steve and Philip Gingerich, and is also a co-author on two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Leonie majored in biological anthropology and is currently working in education.



photo of Meghana Ranganathan and Brandon Chow
Brandon Chow '17 and Meghana Ranganathan '17 (Fall 2014–Spring 2015)

Meghana (right) and Brandon (second from right) implemented Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) algorithms to study the end-Permian mass extinction and its effects on food webs. This project was in collaboration with Peter Roopnarine of the California Academy of Sciences (left) and Ken Angielczyk of the Field Museum (not shown). They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) and are co-authors of a GSA abstract. Meghana majored in math and is now a PhD student in atmospheric sciences at MIT. Brandon majored in math (with an emphasis in statistics) and computer science and is now a PhD student in statistics at Yale.



photo of Heather Zhou
Heather Zhou '16 (Spring 2015)

Heather worked on two projects: (1) estimating the duration of the Cambrian explosion, and (2) confidence intervals on stratigraphic ranges when recovery potential is not uniform. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, 2015) and is a co-author on a 2016 paper in Paleobiology. She is also a co-author on three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3). Heather majored in math and economics; she is currently a graduate student in statistics at UCLA



photo of Richard Liang and Ben Xie
Richard Liang '15 and Ben Xie '16 (Spring 2014)

Ben (right) and Richard (left) worked on parallelizing the algorithms for estimating the number of pulses in a mass extinction. Ben majored in computer science with minors in statistics and English literature, and currently works in software engineering. Richard majored in computer science and math and also currently works in software engineering.




Linda Gai '15 and Chengying Wang '15 (Summer 2013)
photo of Linda Gai and Chengying Wang

Chengying (second from right) and Linda (right) worked on estimating the tempo of the Cambrian explosion. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2013) and are co-authors on four GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3, 4). Chengying majored in math and computer science and is currently working in the insurance industry. Linda is majored in math (with emphasis in statistics) and minored in biology and is currently a PhD student in biostatistics at Johns Hopkins. At left is the rest of our research group: Adam Maloof (Princeton), Susannah Porter (UCSB), and a friend (Late Jurassic). (Not in photo: John Moore, UCSB.)



photo of Peter Gao
Peter Gao, Strath Haven High School '13 (Summer 2013)

Peter studied the effectiveness of visualizing complex datasets using Chernoff faces. He is currently an undergradute at the University of Chicago.






Ling Zhong '13 (Summer 2011, Spring 2013)
photo of Ling Zhong

Ling worked on three projects: (1) assessing the population size of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered large cetacean species, (2) estimating the number of pulses in a mass extinction, and (3) the effect of incomplete preservation in estimating the incidence of drilling predation on bivalves. She presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Minneapolis, 2011) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2011). She is a co-author of a 2018 paper in Paleobiology, and a co-author of two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Ling majored in math and economics and is currently a PhD student in economics at Yale University.




photo of Sally Chang Sally Chang '11 (Spring 2011)

Sally worked on extinction selectivity in mass extinctions. She majored in biology and medieval studies at Swarthmore and went on to earn a PhD in evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas. She is currently at the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute.






Brendan McVeigh '11 and Aaron Zimmerman '11 (Summer 2010)
photo of Brendan McVeigh and Aaron Zimmerman

Aaron and Brendan worked on confidence intervals for estimating the duration of a mass extinction. They presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Denver, 2010) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2010). They are co-authors of a 2012 paper in Paleobiology and a GSA abstract. Brendan majored in math with a minor in physics and is currently a PhD student in statistics at Carnegie Mellon. Aaron majored in math and engineering and is currently a PhD student in statistics at the University of Washington.




Brianna Rego, Stanford MS '10 (as second reader; Primary advisor: Jonathan Payne)
photo of Brianna Rego

Brianna worked on the evolution of body size in foraminifera and the effect of mass extinctions and recoveries on size trends. She is the lead author of a 2012 paper in Paleobiology and a co-author of a 2016 paper also in Paleobiology. She is also a co-author of four GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3, 4). Brianna earned her PhD in history of science at Stanford University and is currently a science writer.





Heidi Wong '10 (Summer 2008)
photo of Heidi Wong

Heidi worked on two projects: (1) confidence intervals for estimating the duration of a mass extinction, and (2) visualizing complex datasets using Chernoff faces. For the first topic, she presented a poster at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Portland, 2009) and is a co-author of a 2012 paper in Paleobiology and two GSA abstracts (1, 2). For the second topic, results from our work were presented by Steve at the Harvard Quintessential Contributions conference, and further work is ongoing. Heidi majored in cognitive science with a minor in statistics. She earned an M. Arch. in architecture and an MS in information (human-computer interaction) from the University of Michigan and currently works in interaction design at Google.




Dasol Park '10 (Summer 2008)
photo of Dasol Park

Dasol worked on confidence intervals for stratigraphic ranges when recovery potential is non-uniform. He presented posters at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Houston, 2008) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2008). He is a co-author of a 2016 paper in Paleobiology and three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3). Dasol majored in math and computer science and currently works in finance.




Libin (Geoffrey) Sun '10 (Summer 2008)
photo of Geoffrey Sun

Geoffrey worked on Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithms for estimating extinction levels in the end-Permian extinction. He presented posters at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting (Houston, 2008) and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2008). He is a co-author of a GSA abstract. Geoffrey majored in math and computer science. He earned a PhD in computer science at Brown University and currently works in imaging.




Michael Karcher '07 (Summer 2006, Summer 2007)
photo of Mike Karcher

Mike worked on Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithms for estimating extinction levels in the end-Permian mass extinction. He presented posters at the Geological Society of America (Philadelphia, 2006), the Joint Statistical Meetings (Salt Lake City, 2007), the Smithsonian-UPenn Geobiology Symposium (Washington, DC, 2007), and the Sigma Xi poster session (Swarthmore, 2007). He is a co-author of two GSA abstracts (1, 2). Mike majored in math with a minor in English and earned a PhD in statistics from the University of Washington.




David Chudzicki '07 (Summer 2007)
photo of David Chudzicki

David worked on confidence intervals for stratigraphic ranges when recovery potential is non-uniform. He is a co-author of a 2009 paper in Paleobiology and a 2016 paper also in Paleobiology. He is also a co-author of three GSA abstracts (1, 2, 3). David majored in math with a minor in linguistics. He earned an MS in mathematics from the University of Chicago and currently works in data science.





Current and former collaborators


Ken Angielczyk, Field Museum (photo below)

Richard Bambach, Smithsonian

Steve Brusatte, University of Edinburgh

Robert Brandon, Duke

Andy Bush, Connecticut

Peter Dodson, UPenn

Andrew Du, University of Chicago

Phil Everson, Swarthmore

Seth Finnegan, UC Berkeley

Jessica Todd Harper, Jessica Todd Harper Photography

Noel Heim, Stanford

Andrew Knoll, Harvard

Matthew Knope, Hawaii

Michal Kowalewski, Florida

Graeme Lloyd, Leeds (UK)

Charles Marshall, UC Berkeley

Adam Maloof, Princeton

Dan McShea, Duke

John Moore, UC Santa Barbara

Phil Novack-Gottshall, Benedictine U.

Sophia Passy, U. of Texas-Arlington

Jon Payne, Stanford (photo above)

Susannah Porter, UC Santa Barbara

David Roberts, U. of Kent

Peter Roopnarine, California Academy of Sciences (photo at left)

Ellen Schaal, DePaul U.

Felisa Smith, U. of New Mexico

Stephanie Smith, Field Museum

Andrew Solow, Woods Hole

Working group on body size macroevolution and macroecology, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center




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