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Allison Machnicki Completes Internship at Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Posted Oct. 18, 2010

Allison MachnickiAllison Machnicki, anthropology major, began working with Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy, her faculty advisor, during the summer of 2010. At the same time, she received an internship in the Physical Anthropology Department of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Since the curator of the department was abroad, Dr. Lovejoy stepped in to oversee her research project at the museum.

Allison studied the mobility of lumbar vertebrae as they relate to locomotion in primates using skeletal data from the museum’s Hamann Todd Collection and dissection data from specimens she dissected with the help of Dr. Linda Spurlock at the museum. At the end of the internship, she presented a poster of the results of her research. She went on to submit an abstract as first author in collaboration with other researchers to the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in hopes that they will select it to be a poster presentation at their annual meeting in the spring of 2011.

This fall, Allison has been working with Dr. Chi‐Hua Chiu in the anthropology department analyzing the genetic basis behind the development and changes to the lumbar vertebral column in order to add a genetic component to her study. She will also be dissecting two more spider monkeys later this semester with Dr. Spurlock.

This project she began over the summer has continued throughout the fall and will become the topic that she will use for her Senior Honors Thesis which she will begin in the spring of 2011 with Dr. Lovejoy as her advisor.