HYMS Chair of Anatomy Professor Paul O’Higgins has won a prestigious international award for excellence in morphometric methods and applications.
Prof O’Higgins, who is also head of the HYMS Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences, is the 2013 recipient of the Rohlf Medal which recognises the excellence of his work in the development of geometric morphometric methods and software tools that have wide application in the biological and biomedical sciences, including evolutionary biology, population biology, physical anthropology, imaging and medicine.
The award is in recognition that Prof O’Higgins has expanded the boundaries of paleoanthropology through his long-standing interest in the quantification of biological form to understand animal function and evolution.
He has been an innovator in methods that merge cutting-edge technologies of imaging and biomechanics with statistical methods of shape analysis.
He is currently exploring the use of computed tomography and bioimaging to investigate the effects of stress on the shape of anatomical structures. His empirical research explores links between variation in skeletal structure, evolutionary history, function, and development.
Professor O’Higgins has also devoted considerable effort to developing software that makes these approaches accessible to other investigators in the field. Throughout his career, he has trained numerous scholars in quantitative morphology, including the latest morphometric approaches.
The medal is awarded every two years and the last winner was from the Universities of Vienna and Washington.
The Rohlf Medal was established in 2006 by the friends and family of F. James Rohlf, Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolution and long-time State University of New York, Stony Brook faculty member, to mark his 70th birthday.
The term "morphometrics" is includes multivariate statistical analysis of the form of biological structures and their covariation with other variables. The award recognizes advancements in the mathematical or statistical theory underlying morphometric methods, new software that implements or visualizes new or existing methods, or specific new biological findings that rely crucially on contemporary morphometric methods.
Prof O’Higgins said: "This is a real honour, and I thank my mentors, colleagues and students for their support and efforts over the years."
The medal will be presented to him on 24 October at Stony Brook University at which Prof O’Higgins will give a lecture entitled ‘The measure of things: pattern process and morphometry’ outlining his contributions to the field.
See Paul O'Higgins Rohlf Medal Poster