American Museum of Natural History

All NYCEP students have the opportunity to study the natural history collections of the American Museum of Natural History and consult with core and resource faculty based at the AMNH. Select students in the Richard Gilder Graduate School of the AMNH (the first museum-based Ph.D. program in the USA) participate in the NYCEP program. With fundamental courses in evolution, ethics and communication, systematics and biogeography, as well as immersive elective courses in genomics, conservation biology, earth sciences, organismal biology and paleontology, the RGGS program expands museum- and field-based research in areas that complement the rest of NYCEP.

The Richard Gilder Graduate School enrolled its first students in Fall 2008 with a faculty of approximately 40 curators and other colleagues.

Core Faculty


John Flynn

Frick Curator Fossil Mammals American Museum of Natural History Dean Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: Evolution of mammals and Mesozoic vertebrates, Geological dating, Plate tectonics, Biogeography

Resource Faculty


George Amato

Director Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology Columbia University Affiliated Professor Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: Conservation genetics and genomics, molecular ecology, cryptic biodiversity, wildlife forensics, conservation biology


Mary Blair

Director, Biodiversity Informatics Research Center for Biodiversity and Conservation American Museum of Natural History Affiliated Professor Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: Conservation biology and genetics; evolutionary ecology; ecological niche modeling; molecular phylogenetics; landscape genetics and ecology; biogeography


Rob DeSalle

Curator of Entomology Division of Invertebrate Zoology Principal Investigator Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics Professor Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: molecular systematics, molecular evolution, population and conservation genetics, and evolutionary genomics


Ross MacPhee

Curator & Professor Mammalogy/Vertebrate Zoology Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: paleobiogeography, extinction, and cranial developmental morphology


Jin Meng

Curator-in-Charge of Fossil Mammals Division of Paleontology Professor Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: morphology, systematics, and evolution of early mammals in Asia, dental morphology, inner ear morphology, biochronology


Xijun Ni

Research Associate Division of Vertebrate Paleontology American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York Deputy Director Deparment of Paleomammalogy, Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology Chinese Academy of Sciences

Research interests: vertebrate paleontology, evolutionary history of early mammals and early primates


Michael Novacek

Senior Vice President and Provost of Science Curator, Division of Paleontology Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: mammalian evolution, vertebrate paleontology in Mongolia


Robert Rockwell

Research Associate Ornithology Department American Museum of Natural History Professor Department of Biology City College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: migratory waterfowl, ecology, statistics


Ian Tattersall

Curator Emeritus Division of Anthropology American Museum of Natural History Professor Emeritus Richard Gilder Graduate School, AMNH Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Human and nonhuman primate evolution; origin of Homo sapiens; integration of evolutionary and systematic theory with the human fossil record; systematics, behavior, and ecology of the strepsirhine primates


John Wahlert

Professor and Chair Department of Natural Sciences Baruch College City University of New York Professor Department of Biology/EEB The Graduate Center City University of New York Research Associate Vertebrate Zoology, Mammalogy American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: vertebrate paleontology; cranial morphology of rodents


Ward Wheeler

Curator Division of Invertebrate Zoology, Computational Sciences Principal Investigator Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics Professor Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor Department of Biology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: systematics, comparative biology, computational biology, phylogenetics, evolutionary history of metazoa


Julia Zichello

Manager Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: Primate population genetics, cranial evolution, the role of genetic drift in shaping morphological diversity, Hylobatid evolutionary history