The Carney 3D Lab • Digital Dinosaurs & Diseases

Dept. of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida

BSC 4454C:

Digital Dinosaurs

Our research is sponsored by software donations from:


prototypes for surveillance and control

of mosquito-borne diseases

Welcome to the Carney Lab! We use cutting-edge digital technologies to explore scientific questions that capture our fascination with dinosaurs from the ancient world, or that have practical application to diseases in the modern world:

Dinosaurs. This research primarily focuses on extant dinosaurs and the icon of evolution, Archaeopteryx. Methodologies include 3D modeling, analysis, and animation -- along with a joint surface-based approach (topological coordinate systems) -- to investigate functional morphology and the evolution of motions such as the avian flight stroke. We also work in the virtual reality and augmented reality space, translating our research into visualizations for pedagogy and outreach.

Diseases. Our epidemiology research program primarily focuses on the surveillance and control of mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, and Zika. Through an NSF-funded global research project and collaborators at NASA and the CDC, we identify disease-spreading and invasive mosquitoes using artificial intelligence, along with citizen science data from three partner apps: iNaturalist, Mosquito Alert, and Mosquito Habitat Mapper. Our research also leverages geographic information systems, remote sensing, and spatial modeling techniques like the DYCAST early warning system, to model vector habitats, detect disease hot spots, and enable the strategic targeting of control efforts.

  • Postdocs with experience in AI, epidemiology, GIS, programming, and/or spatial statistics: job posting will be made available in Fall 2021; in the meantime feel free to contact


  • USF awards Prof. Carney the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award

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

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

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

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

$916,000. 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:

Ryan Carney, PhD, MPH, MBA

Assistant Professor of Digital Science


Spring courses: Digital Dinosaurs (BSC 4454C), Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (ZOO 3713C)

Bio and CV

Graduate students


Sarah Guzinski  CV

M.S. Student, Integrative Biology


Sarah Guzinski is an incoming masters student, who previously studied integrative animal biology at USF and 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.

IMG_7562_Alex SVP poster cropped2.JPG

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. 

Undergraduate students

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.


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 avian humerus from kinematic and GMM perspectives, and looking at the impacts humeral morphology has on motion.

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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 mosquitoes. 

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Karlene Rivera  CV

B.S. Student, Honors College / Biomedical Sciences, Psychology minor


Karlene Rivera is an undergraduate student who joined the lab in Spring 2021 after taking interest in the anatomy of mosquitoes responsible for the dispersion of diseases like dengue and malaria. She is currently working on her Honors Thesis with Dr. Carney, and has recently received a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates grant for this research. Karlene has previously presented on the effects of dengue fever and H1N1 on India at the 2020 USF Undergraduate Research Conference. Her research interests also include ecology and its relation to psychological sciences and medicine.

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.

Kaleb Smallwood.jpg

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 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.

Lab alumni:

Phil Morris, Disha Jain, Alec Baines, Mary Williams, Ahmed Abd-Elrahman, Toni Panaou, Jim Mirzakhalov