Lab News

Lia Gavazzi’s new publication

December 2020 – Ph.D. student Lia Gavazzi published an article in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Her work focuses on the evolutionary history of the wrist of whales during the land-to-sea transition. Congratulations Lia!

The wrist of the ancient walking whale “Ambulocetus natans” based on CT scans of the original bones.

New publication

July 2020 – A new edited volume focused on the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is in final production phases. PI Cooper and co-author Vera Gorbunova co-authored a chapter focused on the molecular biology of bowheads. The volume was edited by Craig George and Hans Thewissen.

New Publication

July 2020: The Cooper Lab published a new article focused on the molecular biology of aging in the rib bones of bowhead whales. Lisa Cooper and Hope Ball are co-first authors. Co-authors include Chris Vinyard (NEOMED), Fayez Safadi (NEOMED), Craig George (North Slope Borough) and Hans Thewissen (NEOMED).

Lia Gavazzi celebrates

July 2020 – Graduate student Lia Gavazzi passed her candidacy exams and has her first journal article in press with the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Well done, Lia!

Welcome summer research fellows Joshua Coovert and Vincent Hensperger!

June 2020 – Joshua and Vincent will be working in the Cooper and Vinyard labs to quantify bone shape and biomechanics in bats and whales. Welcome to the team!

Joshua Coovert

Graduate student Lia Gavazzi presents at the SICB conference in Austin, TX.

January 2020 – Graduate student Lia Gavazzi presents her developmental work at the SICB conference in Austin, Texas.

Manas presented his research as part of the NEOMED Summer Research Fellowship Program

August 2019, Manas Nair (left) presented his work on protein signaling in the fluke of beluga whales as part of NEOMED’s Summer Research Fellowship Program. Manas worked in the Cooper and Thewissen Labs with graduate student Lia Gavazzi (right). Well done Manas and Lia!

Bone and Muscle Interactions: the Mechanical and Beyond Musculoskeletal Health Conference

August 2019. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lisa was a seminar speaker for the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health

August 2019 – Lisa was a seminar speaker at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The Cooper Lab is looking forward to working with fantastic researchers within the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health. Thank you Alex Robling and Dave Burr for making this possible!

International Bat Research Conference, Phuket

July-August 2019: Lisa presented a poster and talk
on how the skeleton of bats changes with age.

International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Prague

July 2019 – The Cooper Lab’s work was presented by Tobin Hieronymus and Lia Gavazzi at the ICVM conference in Prague. Tobin presented his work on collagen fiber anisotropy and aging in the bat and mouse skeleton. Lia presented her work on the morphology of the wrist of ancient whales. Thanks Tobin and Lia!

Manas Nair is our 2019 Summer Research Fellow

  • Summer 2019 – Manas and Lia will be exploring fluke development in dolphins!

Ryan Stapin presented his work at the NEOMED Bio-Science Academy

May 2019 – Ryan Stapin gave a presentation as part of his Senior Apex Project with the Bio-Med Science Academy. This marks the end of Ryan’s internship in the Cooper and Vinyard Labs. In the Fall he will begin coursework as an undergrad at the University of Akron to become a chemical engineer. Best of luck, Ryan!

Bat Workshops at Walls Elementary School!

May 2019 – The Cooper Lab hosted bat workshops at Walls Elementary School for kindergarten through 5th graders. About 450 kids were able to learn all about bat mechanobiology, echolocation, natural history and conservation! Volunteers helping run hands-on workstations were Lia Gavazzi (NEOMED), Molly Simonis (Wright State University), Ryan Stapin (intern, NEOMED’s Biomed Science Academy high school), and Tobin Hieronymus (NEOMED). Thank you Walls!

Seminar and visit with the Department of Biological Sciences at Wright State University

April 2019 – Dr. Lynn Hartzler and graduate student Molly Simonis hosted Lisa for a seminar. Fantastic organismal biology!


Seminar and visit with the Biology Department of the University of Akron


November 2018 – Henry Astley’s lab hosted Lisa as a seminar speaker.  Great science and people!

Lisa gave a talk at NASBR in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

October 2018 — Lisa attended the North American Society of Bat Research conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  She gave a talk on integrative skeletobiology.  Co-authors were Hope Ball, Fayez Safadi, and Chris Vinyard.
See you next year at Kalamazoo, MI!

High school intern Ryan Stapin joins the lab!

20171026_152540 (1)

September 2018 – Ryan joined the lab as part of a high school internship while enrolled in NEOMED’s Bio-Med Science Academy.  He is working on a collaborative project with the Cooper Lab and the biomechanics lab of Dr. Chris Vinyard to compare the bending mechanics of the bones of bats and terrestrial mammals.

Feature article on Lilly Cook and Hope Ball

August 2018 – High school intern Lilly Cook (left) was featured in an article highlighting her internship in the lab. Lilly worked with Hope Ball (right) to collect molecular data and designed this website.

Aspin Makadia presented his research as part of NEOMED’s Summer Research Fellowship Program.


August 2018 – Aspin completed a comparative study of cartilage biology in bats and presented his findings at NEOMED’s poster session for summer fellows.  Congratulations Aspin!

Hope Ball accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with the Haqqi Lab at NEOMED!


July 2018 –  Hope accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Tariq Haqqi at NEOMED.  Hope was a shared postdoctoral fellow in the Cooper, Vinyard and Safadi labs as part of a National Science Foundation grant focusing on the mechanobiology of bone.  Her new position in the Haqqi Lab will focus on expanding her research into the molecular underpinnings of cartilage health in humans.  Good luck!

Lisa Cooper presented on signaling of bone cells in bats at the Novel Aspects in Bone Biology Conference

June 2018 – Lisa Cooper presented the lab’s work on gene expression associated with the bone extracellular matrix at the 2018 Keystone Conference, Novel Aspects of Bone Biology in Snowbird, Utah.  Other authors on the talk include postdoctoral fellow Hope C. Ball and collaborator Fayez Safadi.

Aspin Makadia joined the lab as a Summer Research Fellow.

Hope Ball published a new article  on how metabolites within the feces of long-lived bats change with age


May 2018 – Postdoctoral fellow Hope Ball, Lisa Cooper, and Michel Aliani published a study of fecal metabolites from young and elderly big brown bats.  The analysis revealed these long-lived bats may modify Tryptophan metabolism to increase immune surveillance and delay senescence with age.

The lab hosted bat workshops at McDowell Elementary School.

April 2018 – The Cooper Lab ran 7 workshops for about 250 third-graders at McDowell Elementary School in Hudson, Ohio.  The workshops focused on the mechanobiology and conservation of bats, as well as using the scientific method.  Participants included Dr. Tobin Hieronymus, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Hope Ball, collaborator and science educator Dr. Bridget Mulvey, and PI Lisa Cooper.

The Cooper Lab published a new article with Dr. Christine Crish establishing a link between bone and brain tissues in Alzheimer’s disease.


April 2018 – Collaborator Christine Crish worked with postdoc Hope Ball and PI Cooper to establish that molecular dysregulation of gene expression in the limb bones appears before brain pathologies in laboratory mice with Alzheimer’s Disease.  The article entitled “Evidence of Wnt/β-catenin alterations in brain and bone of a tauopathy mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease” was published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.  Li Lin and Kimberly Novak are also authors.

Lia Gavazzi joins the Cooper and Thewissen labs as a Ph.D. student.


March 2018 – Lia Gavazzi, M.S. completed her master’s degree in Anthropology at Penn State and will join the Cooper and Thewissen labs in the Fall of 2018 as a doctoral student.

Lisa Cooper received NEOMED’s Junior Faculty Award.


March 2018 – Lisa Cooper received the Junior Faculty Award for exemplary performance and contributions to NEOMED.  Also pictured is the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Research Award Recipient, Dr. Rebecca German, and Postdoctoral Fellow Hope Ball.

Lisa Cooper presented at the Team-Based Learning Collaborative Conference, in San Diego, CA.


March 2018 – Lisa Cooper gave a presentation at the TBLC Conference on the efficacy of using TBL methods in the histology labs of medical students.  Other authors included Dana Peterson, Fayez Safadi, and Chris Vinyard.

Dr. Tobin Hieronymus presented evidence of torsion resistance in the wing bones of bats and birds at the national SICB Conference


January 2018 – Tobin Hieronymus presented a talk at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference (link).  Our work quantified the orientation of the collagen fibers in bat and bird wing bones.  By understanding the shape of the bone, as well as the pattern of collagen within the matrix, we can better understand how the bones of birds and bats resist torsion.  To establish these data, Drs. Hieronymus and David Waugh created a new method to visualize and quantify the birefringence of the matrix of bone as a means of identifying collagen orientation.  Other authors included Drs. Lisa Cooper, Hope Ball, and David Waugh.


Lisa Cooper published two articles in the 3rd edition of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. 


November, 2017 – Lisa Cooper published two articles in the newest edition of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals (link).  One article focused on the forelimb anatomy of marine mammals, and the other was a collaborative paper on the Histology of Bones and Teeth co-authored by Mary Maas.

The Cooper Lab hosted bat workshops at Evamere Elementary School, Hudson, Ohio.

Lilly Cook

November, 2017 – The Cooper lab (Dr. Lisa Cooper, Dr. Hope Ball, and Lilly Cook) and Dr. Tobin Hieronymus hosted hands-on workshops about bat mechanobiology, natural history, and conservation at Evamere Elementary School. Over 1300 students attended the Cooper Lab’s workshops in 2017!

Chris Dijanic presented a poster at AAA Conference on the material properties of bat wing bones.


November 2017 – Summer research fellow and medical student Chris Dijanic presented his research on tissue-level mechanical properties of the bones of bats and mice at the American Association of Anatomists  meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (link). Other authors included Drs. Hope Ball, Chris Vinyard, and Lisa Cooper, as well as Andrew Skrinyer, and Matthew Mullins.

Lisa Cooper’s new article on the evo-devo of dolphin flippers was published!


November 2017 – Lisa Cooper published an article limb development in dolphins.  Results, published the journal Genesis, showed bats and dolphins independently evolved similar molecular pathways to modify the mammalian limb into wings and flippers.  Other authors include Karen E. Sears, Brooke A. Armfield, Bhavneet Kala, Merla Hubler, and J.G.M. Thewissen.  Bhavneet Kala collected data on limb development of mice as part of his senior thesis as an undergraduate at Hiram College.

Lisa Cooper gave talks at three conferences regarding new findings on age-determination in bats based on fecal metabolomics.


October 2017 – Lisa Cooper presented the lab’s research on methods to determine the age of bats at the Ohio Physiological Society Conference at NEOMED (link), the Midwest Regional Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology at the University of Akron (link), and the North American Society of Bat Research (link).  Other authors include Drs. Hope Ball and Michel Aliani.

Lisa Cooper presented at the North American Society for Bat Research.

October 2017 – Lisa presented the lab’s research on the material properties of bat and mouse forelimb bones throughout their lifespan. Other authors included Drs. Hope Ball & Chris Vinyard, and Andrew Skrinyer, Chris Dijanic, and Matthew Mullins.

Urmil Patel presented a poster at NEOMED’s Summer Research Fellowship’s Annual Poster Day


August 2017 – Summer Research Fellow and medical student Urmil Patel presented a poster on some of his findings on unusual patterns of gene expression in the bones of long-lived bowhead whales. Other authors included Hope Ball, J.G.M. Thewissen, Fayez Safadi, and Lisa Cooper.

July 2017 – Radio spot on the lab’s aging research was part of the Exploradio Series by WKSU’s Jeff St. Clair. Hear Lisa Cooper discuss the implications of the lab’s aging research. NEOMED Researchers Seek the Fountain of Youth by Studying Bats. Radio Spot.

The Cooper Lab published an article on the care and husbandry of small bats.


Seba’s short-tailed bat (Carollia perspicillata). Photo credit, Dr. Chris Vinyard

June 2017 – Research Assistant Andrew Skrinyer published an article for animal care professionals on the care and husbandry of small-bodied bats with an emphasis on big brown (Eptesicus fuscus) and short-tailed (Carollia perspicillata) bats.  Other authors included Drs. Paul Faure, Stan Dannemiller, Hope Ball, K.H. Delaney, Rena Orman, and Mark Stewart.  This is Andrew’s first publication.

Postdoctoral Fellow Hope Ball presents at an NIH conference on Chronic Kidney Disease


March 2017 – Postdoc Hope Ball attended the conference FGF-23: An Interdisciplinary Dialog for Chronic Kidney Disease on the National Institutes of Health Campus in Bethesda, MD and presented her work on the bone-kidney axis in bats.  She showed how genes that are known to function in aging in bones and kidneys sustain unique levels of expression compared to mice.  Other authors included Drs. Lisa Cooper, Michel Aliani, and Fayez Safadi.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close