The Carney 3D Lab • Digital Dinosaurs & Diseases

Dept. of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida


Digital Dinosaurs

Our research is sponsored by software donations from:


prototypes for surveillance and control

of mosquito-borne diseases

  • Postdocs with experience in AI, epidemiologyGIS, programming, and/or spatial statistics can contact 


  • USF awards Prof. Carney the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award

for "excellence, innovation and effectiveness in teaching in our undergraduate programs”

(Digital DinosaursComparative Vertebrate Anatomy, advising)

  • New paper: Evidence corroborates identity of isolated fossil feather as a wing covert of Archaeopteryx 

Ryan M. Carney, Helmut Tischlinger & Matthew D. Shawkey Press: National Geographic, New York Times, USF

  • Carney Lab receives NSF grant to develop technologies for fighting mosquito-borne diseases 

$900,000. PI Ryan Carney; Co-PIs Sriram Chellappan, Anne Bowser, Russanne Low Press: Tampa Channel 10USF

  • Carney Lab receives USF grant to develop spatial-temporal prediction models for COVID

$25,000. PI Ming Ji; Co-PIs Ryan Carney, Ran Tao; Co-Is Russell Kirby, Joey Lin


Lab members:


Phil Morris, PhD  CV

Postdoctoral Researcher, Digital Paleontology


Dr. Phil Morris has a diverse background including archaeology, vertebrate anatomy, functional morphology and biomechanics, and enjoys exploring all aspects of the functions and evolution of skeletal anatomy. This has taken him from the bioanthropological examination of bones from Viking burials to the virtual analysis of rodent jaws. He settled into a firm fascination in biomechanics and functional morphology of the jaws and masticatory apparatus whilst studying for his PhD at the Hull York Medical School, United Kingdom. After successfully completing his doctorate, he moved to the University of South Florida to undertake a postdoctoral research project on the anatomy and biomechanics of cranial kinesis and jaw apparatus in extant and fossil birds.


Phil’s research is primarily concerned with the skulls of birds and mammals and how they are shaped by evolution and function. He’s particularly interested in how the demands of behaviours making use of the masticatory apparatus and jaws, in both feeding and specific interactions with the environment, influence the morphology of the skull. In the past Phil has made use of a range of methods related to biomechanics and functional morphology, such as geometrics morphometrics and finite element analysis, and is particularly interested in the use of virtual models of anatomical structures to explore the anatomy of extant and extinct vertebrates. He is particularly fond of research involving rodents and species which share their distinctive masticatory apparatus, as well as many other members of the Euarchontoglires, but has recently begun to explore the anatomy and evolution of the skulls of modern birds and their extinct relatives.

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Alex Kirk  CV

Ph.D. Student, Integrative Biology - Physiology and Morphology


TA: Digital Dinosaurs, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

I joined the Carney Lab in Fall 2017 after graduating here at USF with a B.S. in Environmental Biology. I am using novel techniques to digitally reconstruct the skeletal anatomy of Archaeopteryx, and using this 3D data to investigate various properties of the pedal morphology. 

Disha Jain

M.P.H. Student, College of Public Health


Disha Jain is a graduate student studying Global Health Practice since Fall 2018. She is also a Dental practitioner with over 6 years of clinical and community-based service experience in domestic settings. Her research interests include infectious disease surveillance and monitoring with geospatial technology, predicting outbreaks, detecting clusters and analyzing spread patterns; that would facilitate evidence-based interventions in communities across the globe. She has worked on various research projects at USF including epidemiologic evaluation of Quadrivalent vaccines for influenza with COPH-Panama Program as part of her International Field Experience in Summer 2020, neuromarketing study to assess online message effectiveness for smoking study among adolescents and adults.

Sebastian Alvarez de Araya

B.S. Student, Environmental Biology, Mathematics minor


Sebastian is a Senior Undergraduate student currently studying Environmental Biology with a minor in Mathematics at USF, who joined the Carney lab during the Summer of 2020. Sebastian became interested in joining the Carney lab after taking Digital Dinosaurs taught by Dr. Carney and gaining an appreciation for the complex relationship between variations in morphology and its driving factors. His research interests focus on evolutionary anatomy of bone and muscle as well as the ecology of extinct and extant systems. Currently, Sebastian is working on quadrate morphology analysis using GMM for 3D digital modeling and analysis in avians. He is set to graduate in the spring of 2021, and plans on attending graduate school once he completes his degree. 

Alec Baines  CV

B.S. Student, Integrative Biology, Geosciences minor


Alec Baines’ main research interests include vertebrate paleontology, paleoneurology, archosaur evolution, and digital visualization. He was a Student Ambassador for the Paleontological Society and a member of The Geological Society of America’s On to the Future cohort in 2016. His current research focuses on cranial morphology of archosaurs and digital visualization of fossils for preservation and educational outreach.


Sarah Guzinski  CV

B.S. Student, Integrative Biology


Sarah Guzinski is a senior undergraduate student currently studying integrative animal biology at USF who joined the Carney lab in Summer 2020. She became interested in becoming part of the team after taking the Digital Dinosaurs course taught by Dr. Carney. Her research interests include vertebrate morphology with a focus in evolutionary anatomy of bone and muscle. Currently, Sarah is working on investigating the forelimb anatomy of Rhea americana using 3D digital modeling and analysis. Set to graduate in Fall 2020, Sarah plans to attend graduate school once her degree is completed.


Kristen Hodne

B.S. Student, Honors College / Biomedical Sciences and Public Health


Kristen is an undergraduate student at USF studying Biomedical Sciences and Public Health. She is interested in evolutionary biology and the applications of physics within biology and medicine. Her research focus is examining the humerus in primates and birds from kinematics and GMM perspectives and looking at the impacts the humerus can have on motion.

Connor Mapes.jpg

Connor Mapes  CV

B.S. Student, Honors College / Environmental Science and Policy, GIS minor


Connor is an undergraduate majoring in Environmental Science and Policy and minoring in Geographic Information Systems and Technology. He joined the Carney Lab in Spring of 2018 and was drawn by its spatial epidemiology work. Connor's main interests are now the convergence of urban health and urban ecology, more specifically how aspects of infrastructure and planning affect disease vectors and broader public health. He is currently working on an Honors College thesis that will seek to understand which areas of the Tampa Bay Region of Florida have the highest risk of harboring consistent populations of Dengue-carrying mosquitos. 

Israel Rivera-Molina

B.S. Student, Geosciences


I am a Junior undergraduate student majoring in Geology. I joined Carney Lab in the Fall of 2019, my interests include dinosaur morphology and evolution. I plan on pursuing a PhD and conducting research in the field of vertebrate paleontology.

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Kaleb Smallwood  CV

B.S. Student, Geosciences, Spanish minor


Kaleb Smallwood is an undergraduate student of the University of South Florida currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Geology (BS) with a minor in Spanish. He graduated high school with an IB diploma in 2019. His work ethic and flexibility in both group and solo work environments are often lauded by his peers. Currently, he assists Dr. Phil Morris in the Carney Lab in his research on the skulls of birds and the influence of evolution on their shapes, which he began in his first year of college in 2019. This work involves the segmentation of CT scans of avian skulls in the Avizo software. Interested in all aspects of paleontology, Kaleb readily accepts any opportunity to gain experience in the field to help him on his projected path of obtaining a Ph.D and later a career in paleontology performing research on his own vertebrate fossil findings.

Mary Williams  CV

B.S. Student, Honors College / Engineering


Mary Elizabeth Williams is studying Corporate Finance and Cell & Molecular Biology. In her free time, Mary volunteers at the PARC organization, attends student organization meetings, goes to local sporting events, and explores her new home of Tampa. She was drawn to being a part of the team creating an augmented reality app to reduce transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, because she is passionate about advising society about zoonotic diseases and improving the United States’ public health structure. She believes that analyzing other countries’ information dissemination systems during past epidemics will lead the United States to a better system, thus allowing more crucial information to reach the public in a more timely manner. Mary wants to continue to study the failures of the United States’ information dissemination systems during times of public health crises with hopes of convincing policymakers and the general public to switch their thinking from reactive responses to precautionary ones. After she graduates, Mary plans to pursue a Ph.D or an M.D., with hopes of eventually managing hospitals and working to fix the relationship between upper level management and their hospital staff.

Lab alumni: Jim Mirzakhalov, Toni Panaou, Ahmed Abd-Elrahman