Welcome to my personal webpage! 
 

1. Molecular Paleobiology: an emerging field of science

As a Molecular Paleobiologist I work towards advancing our understanding of the chemical mechanisms and environmental requirements involved in biomolecule fossilization, and I apply this knowledge to develop new proxies which allow reconstructing the physiology, relationships, and behaviors of long extinct organisms. I combine data for fossil and living taxa, and interpret this information in a macroevolutionary framework to learn more about how life on our planet came to be, reacted to past environmental change, and evolved into its modern-day diversity. Ultimately, my research aims at exploring to which extent we can truly integrate molecular data for extinct and modern life forms. 

 

I am particularly interested in applying molecular proxies to the topics of prebiotic and extraterrestrial organic chemistry, the evolution and nature of animal biomineralized tissues, the amniote metabolism, and archosaur reproduction. To do so, I rely on the power of large and diverse fossil and modern sample sets that are analyzed via non-destructive in situ methods for patterns in their molecular composition. My research is located at the interface of chemistry, biology, and geology, and stretches across the entire tree of life.

OVERVIEW

Geology

Chemistry

Biology

2. The building blocks of life in deep time: biomolecule fossilization

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Biomolecules generate all organismic form and function, and are therefore particularly informative for reconstructing the history of life. It was long assumed that biomolecules decay rapidly postmortem. However, my research revealed that proteins, lipids, sugars, and certain pigments leave characteristic traces in the fossil record. Different classes of biomolecules undergo characteristic chemical alterations during diagenesis, and tend to transform into more stable compounds which can survive in the geological record for more than 500 million years.

RESEARCH

2a. The mechanism of biomolecule fossilization

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During early diagenesis (days to years postmortem), oxidative conditions trigger the formation of Reactive Carbonyl Species (RCS) from lipids and sugars. Oxidative conditions are prevalent in, i.e., fluvial, alluvial, and shallow marine sediments. Lipid- and sugar-RCS show distinct affinities for exposed amino acid residues of omnipresent proteins. Primary targets are nucleophilic amino acid residues, such as arginine, lysine, histidine, and cystein, as well as the protein N-terminus. Observed fossilization reactions include primarily C-C-bond forming reactions, such as transition metal-catalyzed additions. The resulting crosslinking products fall either in the category of Advanced Lipoxidation End Products (ALEs), or Advanced Glycoxidation End Products (AGEs). ALEs and AGEs are composed of N-, O-, S-heterocyclic polymers – compounds that are water-insoluble, indigestible to microbes, and energetically stable. There does not seem to be an age limit for the preservation of N-, O-, S-heterocyclic polymers in the geological record!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protein fossilization products tend to coordinate available transition metals, such as iron, stabilizing the resulting coordination complex against temperature, pressure, and dissolution stress. While advanced crosslinking consumes peptide bonds, my research provided the first evidence for intact peptide bonds in fossil organic matter. Intact peptide bonds do not imply the presence of unaltered protein or peptide fragments, since attached amino acid residues may well be chemically transformed and can, therefore, not be sequenced.

Biomolecule fossilization

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This figure is part of Wiemann et al. 2020.

Biomolecule fossilization
 

2b. Assessing the degree of diagenetic alteration

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I developed a new proxy based on the ratio of peptide bonds (chemically trans - amides) to crosslinking products of amine-bearing amino acid residues (cis - amides). This proxy allows to assess the degree of protein alteration in a fossil sample. My data suggest that biomineralized tissues shield contained biomolecules better against diagenetic alteration than non-biomineralized tissues.

2c. The ChemoSpace: how to rule out contamination

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To rule out exogenous sources of organic matter associated with fossils, I analyzed more than 100 fossils and associated sediments in a ChemoSpace. The composition of animal organic matter is significantly different from the composition of (primarily protist-derived) sedimentary fossil organic matter. Thioethers, S-heterocycles, and peptide bonds are significantly more abundant in animal fossil organic matter than in sedimentary organic matter. An endogenous source of fossil organic matter allows for the exploration of molecular biological signals preserved in deepest time.

ChemoSpace

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Fossil organic matter, Raman spectroscopy
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2d. Organic matter permineralization

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Early diagenetic mineralization is often considered a key process in preserving fossil soft tissue morphologies and storing organic carbon in deep time. I analyzed more than 300 fossils and sediments to understand the mechanisms involved in phosphatization, pyritization, silicification, and clay mineral precipitation to identify endogenous or exogenous sources of mineral building blocks, potentially present bioinorganic interactions evidencing templating of organic matter, and biological and environmental parameters determining the mode of diagenetic tissue mineralization.

More information is coming soon!

Pyritized fossil

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3. The biological significance of fossil organic matter

Proteins, lipids, and sugars in fresh tissue samples contain information on biomineralization, tissue composition and identity, metabolism, and organismal relationships – and so do their fossilization products. Listed below are the latest insights into the nature of these biosignatures, details on how they fossilize, and assessments of the biosignal quality through geological time.

Jump to the applications:

Archosaur eggshell biomineralization and homology

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3a. The biomineralization signal

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The most prominent biological signal preserved in fossil organic matter identifies whether a fossil tissue was originally biomineralized or not.

In a biomineralized tissue, abundant coordinating or chelating amino acid residues on the surface of a structural protein interact with ions of the biomineral phase. Non-biomineralized tissues lack comparable quantities of coordinating and/or chelating amino acid residues. My research showed that originally biomineralized fossil tissues cluster separately from originally non-biomineralized fossil tissues, and revealed more abundant coordinating and/or chelating ligands as key feature of originally biomineralized tissues. This signal preserves even in temperature- and pressure-matured Cambrian fossils from the Burgess Shale.

 

I currently investigate the evolution and homology of biominerals in all stem- and crown-animals ([Stem-] Metazoa].

[More information is coming soon!]

This proxy has the potential to fundamentally advance our understanding of the nature and evolution of biomineralized tissues, as exemplified in our recent study on eggshell evolution in Nature.

Turtle eggshell

RESEARCH

Archosaur eggshell biomineralization
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3b. The tissue type signal

The tissue type signal groups tissues of the same type in a ChemoSpace. By using a training data set of fossil tissues with a known identity, fossil tissues of unknown type can efficiently and non-destructively be identified.

Different tissues contain characteristic relative amounts of proteins, lipids, and sugars. These compositional fingerprints preserve in the relative amounts of lipoxidation and glycoxidation end products: during early diagenesis, lipids generate characteristic Reactive Carbonyl Species (RCS) which differ from those formed by sugars. Depending on their relative abundance in a tissue, lipid- and sugar-derived RCS crosslink with omnipresent proteins, preserving the original abundance of proteins, lipids, and sugars in the resulting composition of N-, O-, S-heterocyclic polymers in a fossil. This is the second most prominent signal in an animal tissue ChemoSpace.

Being able to unambiguously identify tissues in fossils can provide informative characters that help resolving phylogenetic affinities, as shown in our recent study on the phylogenetic affinity of the enigmatic tully monster, published in Geobiology.

Jump to the applications:

Tully monster tissue composition is consistent with chordates

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Tully monster biochemistry
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3c. The metabolic signal

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Metabolic stress leaves molecular traces. Such metabolic markers preserve in deep time and can be quantified to reconstruct the metabolic rates of long extinct animals. Vascularized and cellular tissues, such as bone, preserve metabolic modifications in their originally proteinaceous phase.

The metabolic proxy requires the use of homologous structures (due to intraskeletal/tissue-dependent variation) and is currently developed for amniote bone (femora). Current research is focused on expanding the phylogenetic applicability of the proxy and discriminating between minute differences in metabolic signals (i.e., true endotherms versus seasonal endotherms). Upcoming innovations include:

  • Clade-specific metabolic calibrations (to account for divergent strategies in ROS-scavenging across the vertebrate phylogeny)

  • Development of the metabolic signal for dentine (to collect complementary molecular metabolic and isotope-based paleothermometry data from the same sample)

  • Development of the metabolic signal for vertebrae (to include limbless [femoral proxy] and edentulous [dentine proxy] taxa)

Since aerobic mitochondrial respiration is older than the animal clade, ongoing projects explore the manifestation of molecular metabolic signals in invertebrates and extinct Neoproterozoic organisms.

Learn more about the approach:

 

 

 

 

Once calibrated based on skeletal metabolic markers of living animals, the abundance of metabolic stress markers can be translated into a metabolic rate (= the amount of oxygen respired relative to the body mass, in one hour of time). This is the most prominent biological signal in a fossil bone ChemoSpace.

Skeletal metabolic markers allow for the direct integration of modern and fossil data:

Understanding the metabolism of extinct animals allows to directly trace how organisms physiologically reacted to past environmental and ecological change, including mass extinction events. To make informed decisions on biodiversity conservation in times of global climate change, we need to trace the evolution of animal metabolism in response to comparable events recorded in the geological record of life.

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Check out our ScienceInsider Documentary:

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3d. The phylogenetic signal

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The phylogenetic signal relies on the compositional differences of amino acid-specific crosslinks in N-, O-, S-heterocyclic polymers. Even though no sequence information can be obtained, the similarity in the relative amino acid composition of homologous tissues provides insights into animal relationships.

Proteins represent translation products of the genetic code. A codon composed of a nucleotide triplet encodes for one out of 21 (for eukaryotes, 22 for all organisms) proteinogenic amino acids. While the sequencing of fresh tissues yields information on organismal relationships, diagenetic alteration of (most) peptide bonds in fossil N-, O-, S-heterocyclic polymers prevents the sequential cleavage of units through any conventional method. However, some amino acid residues do not engage in crosslinking chemistry during fossilization and can preserve without alteration, while others crosslink in characteristic ways: amine- and thiol-bearing amino acid residues yield diagnostic fossilization products. When comparing N-, O-, S-heterocyclic polymers of the same tissue type and from similar depositional settings, a cluster analysis of the fossil composition reflects organismal relationships. This is the least prominent biological signal in fossil organic matter, and preserves best in biomineralized tissues.

The ability to complement morphological assessments of organismal relationships with molecular data has the potential to resolve controversial nodes in the tree of life.

[More contents are coming soon!]

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Jump to the applications:

Phylogenetic signals in fossil organic matter

Phylogenetic signal in fossil organic matter
Phylogenetic signal

4. Applications: from molecules to macroevolution

Below, I provide links to relevant publications for some of my current key research questions (this list is not exhaustive). For a more complete overview, please reach out for my Research Statement.

 

How did life on Earth come to be, and is there life on other planets?

I investigate the chemical interactions between minerals and omnipresent simple organic molecules to understand how the replicator unit and its building blocks ancestral to all life on our planet evolved, and what this implies for the potentially independent emergence of life in Space.

 

I also explore the preservation of biological and environmental signatures in extraterrestrial carbonaceous materials.

 

The combined study of biomolecule fossilization on Earth and in Space provides a new perspective for the systematic search for extraterrestrial life.

The theoretical context for this work is available here:

Wiemann et al. 2020. Panbiota. In Phylonyms: a companion to the PhyloCode. Berkeley, University of California Press.

Here is the       to the book chapter!

Wiemann et al. 2020. Biota. In Phylonyms: a companion to the PhyloCode. Berkeley, University of California Press.

Here is the       to the book chapter!

More coming soon!

 

What is the material nature of modern & fossil biomineralized tissues, and how did they evolve?

Characterizing the biocomposite nature of modern and fossil animal skeletons and assessing their homology has the potential to provide spectacular insights into how life reacted to past environmental and ecological challenges. However, the geological record of biomineralized tissues can be difficult to read due to alterations and loss of the biomineral phase in fossils. Biomineralization signatures in carbonaceous fossil remains provide a powerful solution to this challenge.

 

The first insights into the preservation of biomineralization signatures, the fossilization of mineral-organic systems, and eggshell homology assessments are available here:

 

Wiemann et al. 2018. Fossilization transforms vertebrate hard tissue proteins into N-heterocyclic polymers. Nature Communications.

Here is the       to the paper!

 

Wiemann et al. 2020. Phylogenetic and physiological signals in metazoan fossil biomolecules. Science Advances.

Here is the       to the paper!

Norell*, Wiemann*, et al. 2020. The first dinosaur egg was soft. Nature.

Here is the       to the paper!

 

More coming soon!

 

How did the amniote metabolism respond to past environmental perturbations?

I apply my recently developed metabolic rate proxy to trace how key extrinsic events in the evolutionary history of amniotes impacted their physiology, and how physiological responses relate to extinction.

Current projects target:

  • The relationship of fully aquatic adaptations and metabolism in modern and fossil marine reptiles

  • The role of the P/T mass extinction in the evolution of mammalian endothermy

  • Metabolism and megafauna extinction

  • Cross-methodological assessments of the extreme variation in metabolic and thermoregulatory capacities in ornithischian dinosaurs

  • Metabolism and gigantism: sauropod evolution

  • The role of mass extinctions in the exploration of physiological capacities leading to the evolution of endothermy (warm-bloodedness)

An introduction to the proxy and its application to the evolution of the avian metabolism is available here:

Wiemann*et al. 2022. Fossil biomolecules reveal an avian metabolism in the ancestral dinosaur. Nature, 10.1038/s41586-022-04770-6. 

Here is the link to the paper!

More coming soon!

 

The dinosaur-bird transition: can reproductive features explain why birds are the only dinosaurs to survive into the modern?

 

The survival of mass extinction events and subsequent diversification is, at least in vertebrates, directly tied to the reproductive strategy. Analyzing organic matter preserved in fossil eggshells, I investigate how avian reproductive features evolved from their dinosaur ancestors. So far, I discovered that birds inherited colored eggs, open nests, and brooding behaviors from their maniraptoran dinosaur ancestors, and that the theropod lineage of calcified eggs evolved independently, just like calcified eggs in ornithischian and sauropod dinosaurs, from an ancestrally soft-shelled dinosaur egg. I am broadly interested in understanding how reproductive traits may have contributed to the survival of birds into the modern, as the only extant lineage of dinosaurs.

 

My work on this topic is available here:

Wiemann et al. 2017. Dinosaur origin of egg color: oviraptors laid blue-green eggs. PeerJ.

Here is the       to the paper!

Wiemann et al. 2018. Dinosaur egg color had a single evolutionary origin. Nature.

Here is the       to the paper!

Yang, Chen, Wiemann et al. 2018. Fossil eggshell cuticle elucidates dinosaur nesting ecology. PeerJ.

Here is the       to the paper!

Wiemann et al. 2019. Reply to: egg pigmentation probably has an archosaurian origin. Nature.

Here is the       to the paper!

Yang, Wiemann, et al. 2019. Reconstruction of oviraptorid clutches illuminates their unique nesting biology. Acta Paleontologia Electronica.

Here is the       to the paper!

Norell*, Wiemann* et al. 2020. The first dinosaur egg was soft. Nature.

Here is the       to the paper!

More coming soon!

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Biomineral

Coming soon:

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RESEARCH

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Deinosaur eggs and nests
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5. Methodological advancement:

efficient & customizable proxies

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A key challenge of geochemical approaches to the history of life is the destructive nature of most analytical routines, as well as the lack of exploratory analyses which do not require prior assumptions or knowledge of the sample composition. Fossils represent unique evidence of past life, and the trade-off between novel data and fossil specimen conservation often restricts geochemical studies to small sample sets.

 

I am dedicated to the exploration and optimization of non-destructive, exploratory chemical methods that allow the rapid and inexpensive molecular characterization of paleontological and geological samples.

 

My current efforts focus on in situ Raman microspectroscopy and Fourier-Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, two complementary non-destructive approaches that yield complete information on functional groups in organic matter, crystallinity and lattice properties in minerals, bioinorganic interactions in metal-organic systems, and hierarchical superstructures in more complex organic frameworks. Thereby, the total composition of heterogenous samples (such as fossils and sediments) can be comprehensively characterized. Spectral fingerprinting allows to perform compound presence/absence tests (compare: mass spectrometry), and individual bands or sets of bands can be mapped out over sample surfaces. The resulting spectral data can be analyzed by means of multivariate statistics (i.e., the ChemoSpace approach), following clinical standard procedures.

Here is a link to the standard strategies and procedures for analyzing spectroscopic data collected for biological materials.

 

Cross-validation of in situ Raman signatures via Fourier-Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectroscopy: Deconvoluted spectral signals match

 

Raman and FT-IR spectroscopy reveal the same patterns in biomolecule fossilization: the FT-IR fossilization net enrichment plot

 

 

Spectral reproducibility

Spectral fingerprints of modern and fossil biological and geological materials have so far been replicated with various instruments:

  1. Horiba LabRam 800 (notch filter) in Yale EPS

  2. Horiba LabRam Evolution (edge filter) in Yale MCC

  3. Agilent ATR FT-IR in Yale Chemistry

  4. Renishaw Invia (ULF & edge filters) in Caltech GPS Mineralogy

  5. StellarNet homebuilt Raman (edge filter) in Caltech GPS Planetary

  6. Nicolet ATR FT-IR in Caltech GPS Mineralogy

  7. WITec alpha 300 (edge filter) at the Chicago Field Museum

The power of the ChemoSpace

Ordination methods, such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) or Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA), are clinical standard tools celebrated for their power in (1) spectral denoising and (2) informative feature extraction. I have modeled and quantified the impact of different signal-to-noise ratios, variant and invariant sinusoidal noise of different frequencies, baselines, and normalization procedures on ChemoSpace (PCA & CCA) biosignatures. ChemoSpace clustering is not significantly affected by any of these factors. 

[More information is coming soon!]

Raman ChemoSpace biosignatures applied by other labs

It is very exciting to see how colleagues around the globe are exploring and applying the phylogenetic and physiological signals evidenced in Raman spectral fingerprints of carbonaceous fossils! I use this part of my homepage to showcase recent ChemoSpace applications (updated on a regular basis).

 

 

 

 

I am looking forward to expanding my methodological work in the future!

 

Curious? Try out my protocols!

In situ Raman microspectroscopy

Organic phase extraction: porphyrins

Liquid chromatography ESI Q-ToF mass spectrometry

 

Here is a link to the awesome spectroscopic software SpectraGryph which is freely available for students.

Tang et al. 2021: The authors use our tissue-type signal in Neoproterozoic
carbonaceous fossils to identify epibionts on organisms!
Ahmmed et al. 2021: ChemoSpace analyses recover phylogenetic and other signals even when some Raman spectra contain etaloning effects.
Dhiman et al. 2021: The authors corroborate our 2018 discovery of N-heterocycles as protein fossilization products in dinosaur eggshell via Pyrolysis GC/GC ToF Mass Spectrometry!
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RESEARCH

Raman maps: click to enlarge!

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Raman spectroscopy: principle
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6. Curriculum vitae

Jasmina Wiemann

Date of birth: 02/22/1992

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EDUCATION

PhD Earth & Planetary Sciences - Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Focused in Molecular Paleobiology and Organic Geochemistry, awarded in 2021.

Thesis: A fundamental exploration of the interactions between minerals and life’s building blocks in deep time.

Supervised by Prof. Derek Briggs.

Committee: Profs. Mark Norell (AMNH), Jacques Gauthier, Jason Crawford (Yale Chemistry), Pincelli Hull.

Chapter 1: Fossilization transforms vertebrate hard tissue proteins into N-heterocyclic polymers. (Nature Comm.)

Chapter 2: Phylogenetic and physiological signals in metazoan fossil biomolecules. (Science Advances)

Chapter 3: The metabolic signal and its application to the evolution of thermal strategies. (Nature)

Chapter 4: The impact of organic matter on authigenic mineralization. (Coming soon)

Chapter 5: Formation mechanisms of complex organic matter on Earth and beyond. (Coming soon)

Minor research discourse: Dinosaur egg color had a single evolutionary origin (with Mark Norell, AMNH).

Publication: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0646-5

 

MPhil Geology & Geophysics – Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Focused in Paleobiology and Taphonomy, May 2018. Five Honors.

Supervised by Prof. Derek Briggs.

 

MSc Organismic & Evolutionary Biology – University of Bonn, Germany

Focused in Paleobiology and Molecular Biology, May 2016.

Thesis title: A molecular approach to the mechanisms of fossilization in bones, eggshells, and teeth

Supervised by Prof. P. Martin Sander.

 

BSc Geosciences – University of Bonn, Germany

Focused in Paleontology and Mineralogy, May 2014. 1,3 = GPA 3.8.

Thesis title: Paleobiology of tetrapyrrolic color pigments in eggshells and their fossilization potential

Supervised by Prof. P. Martin Sander.

 

Chemistry & Chemical Biology – Technical University of Dortmund, Germany

Non-degree Program for high school students through Excellence Student Scholarship: 2007 - 2011.

12 certificates earned.

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CURRENT APPOINTMENTS

Agouron Institute Fellow University of Chicago

2022 – now; Department of Geophysical Sciences; Chicago, IL, USA.

Research Affiliate Field Museum of Natural History

2022 – now; Department of Geology; Chicago, IL, USA.

Trimble & Barr Postdoctoral Fellow in Geobiology – California Institute of Technology      

2021 – 2022; Department: Geological and Planetary Sciences; Pasadena, CA, USA.

 

Research Associate – Natural History Museum LAC and Dinosaur Research Institute

2021 – 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA.

 

Human Frontier Science Program Cross-disciplinary Fellow – University of Oxford

Offer declined.

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OVERVIEW

Research focus: The cross-disciplinary application of molecular biosignatures to evolution 

 

  • Competitive funding offered (total): $ 2.774 Million

  • Peer-reviewed publications (in review/revision/press, published): 19 (2017 - 2022)

  • Total number of citations: 380; h - factor: 11; i10 - factor: 11

  • High-profile journals: Nature (6), Nature Communications (1), Science Advances (1).

  • Lead or corresponding author: Total number (12); Nature (5), Nature Communications (1), Science Advances (1).

  • Mentorship experience: 9 undergraduate, postgraduate, graduate and postdoctoral projects.

  • Teaching experience: 19 undergraduate and graduate classes/seminars/courses taught

  • Workshops and seminars attended: 13 (university & industry) + 13 (DEIA-centered)

CURRICULUM VITAE  

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2015 - 2022

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YALE

PEABODY

MUSEUM

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PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Teaching Experience & Employment

2020 - 2022: Invited lectures on how non-destructive analyses revive and enhance historical museum collections in EVST 040 “Collections of the Peabody Museum” (D. Skelly, Director of the Peabody Museum).

2020: Teaching Assistant for lectures and class projects in EPS 355/655 “Extraordinary Glimpses of Past Life” (D.E.G. Briggs) at Yale University. 7 participating students.

2020: Affiliate of the Yale Carbon Containment Laboratory to develop new approaches which permanently seal carbon in form of dead wood through surface passivation (inspired by permineralization processes).

2019: Teaching Assistant in G&G 125 “History of Life” (D.E.G. Briggs, & B.A.S. Bhullar) at Yale University. 42/5 (lecture/laboratories) participating students.

2018: Teaching Assistant in G&G 274 “Fossil Fuels and World Energy” (M. Oristaglio) at Yale University. 105 participating students.

2018: Teaching Assistant for lectures and laboratories in G&G 125 “History of Life” (D.E.G. Briggs, P. Hull, & B.A.S. Bhullar) at Yale University. 65/12 (lecture/laboratories) participating students.

2016: Teaching Assistant for lectures and laboratories in G&G 125 “History of Life” (D.E.G. Briggs, P. Hull, & B.A.S. Bhullar) at Yale University. 70/12 (lecture/laboratories) participating students.

2012-2015: Part-time Research Assistant in the Crystallography & Crystal Chemistry Laboratory (H. Euler), Division of Geochemistry & Mineralogy at the University of Bonn (Germany).

2015: Teaching Assistant for the lecture series “Paleontology” (P.M. Sander) at the University of Bonn (Germany). 120 participating students.

2015: Teaching Assistant for lectures and laboratories in “Applied Mineralogy” (A. Bechtel, R. Hoffbauer) at the University of Bonn (Germany). 40 participating students.

2015: Teaching Assistant for lectures and laboratories in “Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry” (H. Euler) at the University of Bonn (Germany). 96 participating students.

2014: Lecturer for the introductory course “Chemistry for Geoscientists” (J. Wiemann) at the University of Bonn (Germany). 85 participating students.

2014: Teaching Assistant for lectures and laboratories in “Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry” (H. Euler) at the University of Bonn (Germany). 110 participating students.

2013: Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology Plön with D. Tautz & A. Schunke (Geometric Morphometrics & Quantitative methods).

2013: Teaching Assistant for lectures and laboratories in “Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry” (H. Euler) at the University of Bonn (Germany). 125 participating students.

 

Laboratory Experience & Workshops

2019: Workshop on “Geometric Morphometrics” organized by D. Polly in the Department of Geology & Geophysics, Yale University.

2014, 2015, 2016: International Paleohistology Course organized and sponsored by the Division of Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Bonn (Germany).

2010: Advances in Drug Design” workshop offered and sponsored by the Bayer Crop Science Center in Monheim (Germany).

2010:Soil Analyses” workshop offered and sponsored by the Jülich Research Center in Jülich (Germany).

2009:Synthesis of Nanocoatings” workshop offered and sponsored by the BASF Coatings GmbH in Bergkamen (Germany).

2009:Drug Interactions and Bayer Applications” workshop offered and sponsored by the Bayer Crop Science Center in Monheim (Germany).

2008:Genetics and Health: New Methods in Biotechnology” workshop offered and sponsored by Bayer Leverkusen in Cologne (Germany).

2008: Workshop on “Nanotronics, Analytical Chemistry, and Applications of Technical Polymerization Products” offered and sponsored by the ChemPark Marl in Marl (Germany).

2007: Workshop on “Natural and Synthetic Dyes/Organic Food Colorants” offered and sponsored by the Ruhr University Bochum in Bochum (Germany).

2007: Workshop on “Research, Organization, and Company Structuring” offered and sponsored by Bayer Leverkusen in Cologne (Germany).

2007:Applications in Chemistry” workshop offered and sponsored by the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany).

 

SKILLS AND EXPERTISE

Organochemical & biochemical methods

  • (Confocal) Raman Microspectroscopy Point Analysis, Line Mapping, 2-D and 3-D Mapping

  • Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

  • High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) & HPLC ESI Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (HPLC ESI ToF MS)

  • Gas Chromatography (GC) & GC Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GC ToF MS)

  • Matrix-assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI ToF MS)

  • UV/Vis Spectrophotometry & Plate Reader Setups

  • Interpretation of 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra, and 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra

  • Immunochemistry, including Enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assays (ELISA) & Western Blots

 

Natural product extraction

  • Extraction and purification of DNA, proteins, lipids, and pigments

  • Gel electrophoresis and Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) 

 

Mineralogical and geochemical methods

  • Powder X-ray Diffraction, Rietveld Analyses, and diffractogram processing in EVA (XRD)

  • Environmental and regular (sample-coated) Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of fresh and fossil tissues

  • Electron Microprobe Analysis (EMPA)

  • Energy- and Wavelength-dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS/WDS) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)

  • Petrographic and histological thin-sectioning, polarized and regular light microscopy

 

Software, Computing & Data Visualization

  • Chemistry: LabSpec 5 Software (Horiba), Spekwin 32 (Freeware) & SpectraGryph 1.2 software (Freeware), EVA (Bruker), LAS 5 (Leica).

  • Phylogeny: Mesquite 3.4 (Freeware), TNT (Freeware).

  • Data Analyses: MATLAB/Simulink (MathWorks), Paleontological Statistical Software PAST 3 (Freeware), Excel (Microsoft), MorphoJ (Freeware), ImageJ (Freeware), Prism (Graphpad), SpectraGryph 1.2 (Freeware).

  • Visualization: Illustrator (Adobe), Photoshop CS5 Professional (Adobe), Powerpoint (Microsoft), Publisher (Microsoft), CorelDraw (Corel).

 

FIELD EXPERIENCE, EXCAVATIONS, & EXPEDITIONS 

Fieldwork (total of 15 different sites; age range: Cambrian to Eocene)

2019: Cretaceous sediments of the Las Hoyas locality in Cuenca, Spain.

2018: Triassic sediments of the Petrified Forest, Arizona, USA.

2017: Triassic sediments of the Petrified Forest, Arizona, USA.

2015: Jurassic sediments of the Coastlines of Great Britain.

2015: Triassic sediments of the Augusta Mountains, Nevada, USA.

2015: Cretaceous sediments of the Two-Medicine Formation on Egg Mountain, MT, USA.

2012: Paleozoic to Cenozoic rocks of El Pont de Suerte, Catalan Pyrenees, Spain. Geological mapping and hydrogeological assessment over approximately 6 km2, 800 m altitudinal difference, marine-to-fluviatile sediment succession, intensively folded and faulted, with ophitic intrusions.

Field Trips

2019: Cretaceous in situ dinosaur nesting site in the Quinglongshan Natio