Koobi Fora Field School: Faculty and Staff

Learn fieldwork from the experts in their field.

Dr. David R. Braun is a Professor of Anthropology in the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology. He has conducted fieldwork in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Mozambique and Guinea. His research focuses on the origins of technology in hominins and the implications for the evolution of our genus. His research incorporates a variety of excavation techniques as well as geochemical approaches. 


Dr. Emmanuel K Ndiema (Senior Research Scientist and Head of Archaeology, National Museums of Kenya) is an Archaeologist who has worked in the Turkana Basin for more than 19 years. His field work in East Turkana has been focused on investigating human cultural responses to climatic variability during the last 10,000 years. He is particularly interested in the subsistence and land use patterns among pastoralist communities.


Dr. Ashley Hammond (Biological Anthropology curator, American Museum of Natural History) is a paleoanthropologist and functional morphologist who has worked in the Turkana Basin for more than 10 years. Her field work in East Turkana has been focused on reconstructing Pliocene and early Pleistocene hominin evolutionary history and paleoenvironments.


Dr. Asher Rosinger (Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University) is a human biologist who has worked with the Daasanach pastoralist population in Northern Kenya since 2017. His field research is designed to understand how humans meet their water needs, how this relates to perception, environmental resources, and water insecurity, and the resulting health, hydration, and disease consequences. 


Dr. Herman Pontzer (Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University) is a human evolutionary biologist who works with hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and other small-scale societies to investigate connections between lifestyle, diet, physiology, and health. His work with the Koobi Fora Field School centers on biological and ecological research with the Daasanach pastoralist community in the East Turkana region.


Dr. Matthew Douglass works at the University of Nebraska as the STEM Education Development Specialist for the Master of Applied Science Program. His research expertise concerns the study of long-term human environmental interaction. He characterizes human movement patterns and land-use within semi-arid landscapes. He has recently initiated a study of changing pastoralist land use in the East Turkana Basin. He coordinates the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) component of the REU program.


Maryse Biernat is a graduate student with the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and The Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University studying paleoecology.  She has participated in field research at Koobi Fora for the past 5 years, focusing on reconstructing and understanding changing Plio-Pleistocene mammalian communities through time. 


Andrew Barr is an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department and the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology at The George Washington University. He studies the paleoenvironmental context of human evolution.  He has conducted paleoanthropological field research in the Turkana Basin and in the Afar Depression of Ethiopia since 2009.


Dr. Rahab Kinyanjui (Senior Research Scientist, Palynology & paleobotany section, Earth Sciences Dept., National Museums of Kenya) is a palynologist & paleobotanist, and have been engaged in various research projects in the Turkana  Basin for more than 10 years. Her main focus is application of phytolith studies in reconstructing vegetation during Plio-Pleistocene and Holocene environments of the east Turkana Basin.


Amanda McGrosky is a graduate student at Arizona State University's Institute of Human Origins who is broadly interested in the influence of environment on human and non-human primate evolution and life history. Prior to joining Koobi Fora in 2017, she worked at paleontological and bioarchaeological sites in Europe and South America.


Dr. Frances Forrest is the Physical Anthropology Educator for the Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History. Her research interests focus on reconstructing the ecology of Early Stone Age hominins in Africa by exploring the relationship among the hominins, the adjacent mammalian community, and the physical environment. In particular, she is interested in the significance of meat in the diet of early members of the genus Homo and the degree to which environmental conditions may have influenced hominin access to large herbivores. 


Dr. Kathryn Ranhorn is an assistant professor and core faculty member in the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. She has conducted field work in the Turkana Basin since 2013 leading efforts to find, date and excavate Late Pleistocene archaeological sites. Her research focuses on the technological and social behaviors of early Homo sapiens, as well as community archaeology. 


Dr. Jonathan Reeves is a post-doctoral research at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. His work focuses on using quantitative methods to understand the links between Early Stone Age stone tool variability, hominid behavior, and ecology.


Dr. Susana Carvalho is a primatologist and palaeoanthropologist who is passionate about discovering more about our own behavioural evolution. She has spent the last decade chasing chimpanzees and baboons in Africa, while also digging some of the oldest technological sites in the cradles of humankind. Carvalho's work is at the foundation of a new academic sub-discipline: non-human primate archaeology. In 2016 Carvalho was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (Oxford University) and an Associate Director for Palaeoanthropology and Primatology at the Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, where she coordinates the long-term interdisciplinary ‘Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa’.


Dr. Sarah Hlubik (Postdoctoral Fellow, George Washington University) is an archaeologist and paleoanthropologist who has been working in the Turkana basin for 10 years. Her research is focused on the origin of fire technology in the archaeological and the changes that had on the biology and evolution of the genus Homo and the landscapes in which human ancestors lived.



Other staff members include:


Purity W. Kiura
René Bobe
Paleoenvironmental Analysis

Anna K. Behrensmeyer
Paleoecology Taphonomy
Jack Harris
Paleolithic Archaeology, Paleoanthropology
Stephen Merritt
David B. Patterson Paleoecology, Paleoenvironments
Russel Cutts Archeology, Origins of Pyrotechnology