top of page

The Carney 3D Lab • Digital Dinosaurs & Diseases

Dept. of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida

DYCAST software, papers:

Carney Lab 2021__21MB.jpg

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. Our research primarily focuses on the iconic Archaeopteryx and extant dinosaurs. Methodologies include 3D imaging, modeling, analysis, and animation -- along with a joint surface approach and scientific motion transfer -- 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 next-generation visualizations that bring dinosaurs "back to life" for outreach and pedagogy.

Diseases. Our epidemiology research 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 collaboration with NASA and the CDC, we identify disease-spreading and invasive mosquitoes using artificial intelligence, along with citizen science data from three partner apps integrated into our team's Global Mosquito Observations Dashboard ( 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.

Carney Lab logo.png


  • Mosquito research featured by local and international news amid Florida malaria cases  ABC (video), EFEUSF

  • USF awards Prof. Carney the CAS Liberal Arts Teaching Award for innovations in pedagogy

  • Lab hosts Make-A-Wish child Sebastian  video

  • Carney Lab receives NSF REU grant to support mosquito research by underrepresented undergraduates

Ae_scapularis_crop__credit Lawrence Reeves, UF.jpeg

Join our team!

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


Johnny Uelmen_exported photo.png

Johnny Uelmen, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am fascinated with infectious diseases. The resiliency of pathogens never ceases to amaze me. To begin to understand how pathogens survive (and thrive) in a given disease system, techniques and methods across multiple scientific disciplines must come together. I am an Epidemiologist at the core, but my background includes Ecology, Entomology, Geography (and GIS), Environmental Studies, and Biology. I work best collaborating with members not just in Public Health, Epidemiology, GIS, and Entomology, but also in Chemistry, Physics, both Veterinary and Human Medicine, and Informatics, to name a few! Please do not hesitate to send an email to say hi!

Graduate students


Sarah Guzinski  CV

M.S. Student, Integrative Biology - Physiology and Morphology

My name is Sarah and I am a new graduate student in the Integrative Biology department, currently pursuing my master's degree in Dr. Carney's lab. I intend to complete my thesis on the morphology and kinematics of flightless bird wings. I will be using digital 3D reconstruction techniques in order to create models of the anatomy, as well as implementing joint surface analysis to better understand the kinematics. As the transition between flightless to flying birds (and vice versa) is a key evolutionary landmark, taking a look into the anatomy of extant ratites may help bridge the gap in research of this kind.

2021-08-28__IMG_3547__Theron Kantelis.jpeg

Theron Kantelis

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

I’m a first-year PhD student in the Carney Lab. My research will be on the dentition and diet of Archaeopteryx, making use of a variety of methodologies, both morphological and functional. I previously earned my MS in Geosciences concentrating in vertebrate paleontology at East Tennessee State University, where I studied brown and black bears using geometric morphometrics of their teeth and ecological niche modeling.

IMG_7562_Alex SVP poster cropped2.JPG

Alex Kirk  CV

Ph.D. Candidate, 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. 


Elise Samuelson

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

I am currently a PhD student who joined the Carney lab as an undergraduate during the summer of 2021. Topics that are of particular interest to me include studies relating to anatomy, phylogeny, and morphology. I also have special skills and interests in 3D modeling, 3D printing, and digital art, and hope to be able to incorporate these into my work. I am planning to form my dissertation around alligator locomotion, specifically looking into forelimb walk cycles by reconstructing the anatomy in a 3D digital environment. With this, my findings can be used to infer and compare forelimb movement in both extinct and extant species of archosaurs.

Undergraduate students

Sebastian Alvarez De Araya_edited.jpg

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.

Karlene Rivera_edited.jpg

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:

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

bottom of page