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Dr Laura Porro
Anatomy Building
Gower Street
Dr Laura Porro profile picture
  • Lecturer
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago where I completed BSc degrees in Biological Sciences and Earth and Environmental Sciences, supervised by Roy Plotnick. In 2004, I received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship allowing me to pursue my PhD in Earth Sciences under the supervision of David Norman and Emily Rayfield. I used anatomy, biomechanical modelling, and tooth wear to understand feeding mechanism and diet in the earliest dinosaurs. From 2008 - 2012, I conducted research and taught human anatomy at the University of Chicago, working with Callum Ross to understand feeding in lizards and crocodilians using in vivo experiments and finite element modelling. I returned to the UK as Marie Curie Fellow, working at the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge with Jennifer Clack to model function in the tetrapod lower jaw across the water-land transition. I then worked for three years with Chris Richards at the Royal Veterinary College looking at the evolution of locomotion in frogs before briefly returning to Bristol as a Senior Research Associate. I joined UCL and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology as a lecturer in anatomy in 2018.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

My research explores the link between animal form, function and large-scale evolutionary events, such as environmental changes, mass extinctions, and adaptive radiations. I use a combination of techniques, including medical imaging, 3D visualization, and biomechanical modelling methods such as finite element and musculoskeletal modelling. 

Additionally, I collect data from living animals, including high-speed and X-ray video, bite and footfall forces, and biological material properties. I work across a range of vertebrate taxa, and my work encompasses both living and fossil animals. In recent years, my work has been funded by NERC, the European Commission and Wellcome.

Teaching Summary

I am lecturer for the UCL Medical School, primarily for the second year Movement and Musculoskeletal Biology module. I teach in additional anatomy courses within the Faculty of Life Sciences and Biomedical Sciences, such as ANAT0001 and ANAT0004.

SEP-2018 Lecturer Cell and Developmental Biology University College London, United Kingdom
OCT-2017 – AUG-2018 Senior Research Associate School of Earth Sciences University of Bristol, United Kingdom
OCT-2014 – SEP-2017 Postdoctoral Researcher Structure and Motion Laboratory Royal Veterinary College, United Kingdom
OCT-2012 – SEP-2014 Marie Curie Fellow School of Earth Sciences University of Bristol, United Kingdom
AUG-2008 – SEP-2012 Postdoctoral Scholar Organismal Biology and Anatomy University of Chicago, United States
Academic Background
2019   ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow  
2010   Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge
2004   Bachelor of Science University of Illinois at Chicago
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