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Brandon P. Hedrick

Functional Morphologist | Evolutionary Biologist | Paleontologist | Ecologist

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor, Cornell University

Emory University B.S. 2010

University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. 2015


University of Massachusetts (Dumont Lab)

Harvard University (Pierce Lab)

University of Oxford (Benson Lab)


Lab Members


Andrew Orkney (Postdoctoral Research Scholar)

Andrew is an early career researcher with wide-ranging interests across the biological sciences, reflected in a publication record that spans satellite monitoring of Arctic plankton blooms to the inference of ecological attributes in Dinosaurs from fossil bone histology. His main field of interest is ecomorphological adaptation, evolvability and anatomical organisation of the vertebrate skeleton. 

His responsibilities, working in the Hedrick Lab, include the production of 3-D skeletal models from CT-scan data and downstream geometric morphometric analyses, taking advantage of sophisticated mathematical methods. This work will increase understanding of the intersection between aerial and dietary ecology and limb skeleton morphology across bats, in the context of large inter-specific variation in body mass. This will help illuminate the evolutionary solutions employed by bats to transcend mechanical constraints and rule the night!


Oliver Ljustina (Ph.D. Student)

Oliver is an instructor in the Biology Department at Southeastern Louisiana University where he earned his MS in 2018. He has a long standing passion for reptiles and amphibians, especially those species that make themselves at home in human dominated landscapes. In his free time, he enjoys fishing and spending time with friends and family.


Oliver is currently pursuing a PhD at Louisiana State University through the Department of Renewable Natural Resources, where he is co-advised by Dr. Michael Kaller and Brandon Hedrick. His dissertation work examines morphological and trophic shifts in watersnakes (genus: Nerodia) associated with their feeding on invasive fishes in urban Miami and Everglades National Park.

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William Hooker (Class of 2024)

Will is an Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) major with a concentration in Geological Science and a minor in Biology. His interests include vertebrate paleontology, fossil collecting, and paleoart. To share his enthusiasm about Earth science, Will founded the Pangea Club at Cornell. Will's experience ranges from exhibition design at the American Museum of Natural History to running high-temperature geochemical experiments in the EAS Department. 


In the Hedrick Lab, Will is examining cranial data using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics to assess the degree of asymmetry in the mammal-like reptile Diictodon (Synapsida, Therapsida) and explore how taphonomic processes alter interpretation of the fossil record.


Tram Huynh (Class of 2024)

Tram is a Junior studying Biology and is interested in exploring evolution through statistical analysis by identifying patterns and visualizations of data. At Cornell, she is an active mentor in YOURS and CCRI, and is an avid ping pong and tennis player. Her goals are to attend optometry school post-undergrad as well as try all the foods in the Ithaca area.

Tram is working in the Hedrick Lab to examine how bat forelimb bone asymmetry is associated with different landing styles. She is working with microCT data of bat skeletons and landmarking software.

Olivia Li (Class of 2026)

Olivia is an undergraduate studying Biology and is interested in understanding the mechanisms behind mammalian flight. She is a member of BEI and PATCH at Cornell, and in her free time, she enjoys singing, playing guitar, and hanging out with her friends. In the future, she hopes to work in the healthcare field.

In the Hedrick Lab, Olivia is aiming to better understand muscle activation patterns during bat flight by quantifying limb movement using high-speed videography and relating that to EMG data.

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Lauren Essner (Class of 2023 at Ithaca High School)

Lauren is a senior in high school and is a part of Cornell’s New Visions Program where high schoolers are able to work in labs or participate in veterinary rotations during the school day. She is looking forward to studying Animal Science as a major with Animal Genetics as a minor to use in a career devoted to animal conservation and rehabilitation either as a veterinarian or via research. Currently, her two dogs, Athena and Harley Quin, her flock of chickens, and her guinea pig Mowgli take up her extra time. 


Lauren’s work in the Hedrick lab is enveloped by a study on the astragalus bone’s locomotor relationships to a species' phylogenetics and environment using CT scans. 

Elizabeth Augustin (Class of 2025)


Elizabeth is a biological sciences major in the College of Arts and Sciences with a focus in computational biology. She aims to use statistics and data analysis to make ecological information more accessible and useful to the general public in order to increase participation in and appreciation for ecology and the environment, in addition to impacting policy. In her free time she likes to explore her passion for the performing arts, specifically through dance and modeling, and is a dedicated member and secretary of Cornell’s Caribbean dance team (CCSADE). She aspires to give rise to a field that allows her to integrate her love for the arts with her dedication to science. 

In the Hedrick Lab, she is working to better understand how bat sternum shape is impacted by bat flight style and body mass.

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Stephen Bredin (Field Technician)

Stephen is a herpetologist interested in applied ecology and passionate about reptile and amphibian conservation. His work has included tracking Burmese pythons in the Everglades, studying giant garter snakes in agricultural landscapes in California, surveying for indigo snakes in North Florida, and studying the reproduction of Oregon Spotted Frogs in Washington. He has a broad interest in applied research, management, and conservation outreach. In a world increasingly impacted by humans, Stephen is interested in finding solutions to issues affecting reptiles and amphibians, and is excited to contribute to the study of the red backed salamander at Cornell.

Stephen is joining the Hedrick Lab as a field assistant studying red backed salamanders (P. cinereus) as part of the SPARCnet Salamander research network. Red backed salamanders are one of the most abundant terrestrial vertebrates across much of the North-East United States and are excellent ecological indicators. 

Lab Alumni

Luke Pruett (2022)​ (Class of 2022 at LSU): 

Project: The effects of cranial asymmetry on bite force in the green anole (Anolis carolinensis) 

Farid Abou-Issa (2021-2022)​ (Class of 2025 at LSU School of Medicine):

Project: Locomotion Fabrication: 3D printing evolutionarily unique proximal forelimbs for effective educational outreach

Karine Abazajian (2020-2022)​ (Class of 2022 at Tulane University): 

Project: Skull asymmetry in urban and rural Virginia Opossums in Louisiana

Marc Merriman Jr. (2020-2022)​ (Class of 2022 at Xavier University): 

Project: A comparative outlook of 2D vs 3D geometric morphometrics in the Virginia Opossum

Currently Marc is a Master's student at UConn.

Alexandra Magee (2020-2021)​ (Class of 2024 at Xavier University):

Project: The influence of limb asymmetry on anole locomotion

Erin Sheehy (2020–2021)​ (Class of 2021 at Tulane University):

Project: Skull shape divergence across three species of Louisiana bats with similar diets.

Currently Erin is a Master's student in Tulane's EEB Program

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