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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Student Directory

Kathleen Clardy

Degree Program: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Major Professor: Dr. Roger Sawyer
Mann-Simons Site, Columbia SC. 2008

My interests are clinical pathology, forensic pathology, forensic anthropology, archaeology, electron and light microscopy, and advancement of medical and biology education through technology (distance education, new software, etc). Currently, my research is focused on utilizing electron microscopy to analyze the subperidermal layer of alligator integument in order to compare it to embryonic layers found in avian skin. Dr. Roger Sawyer's lab specifically focuses on the evolutionary development of beta (β) keratin, which is a type of protein found in avian and reptilian claws, scales, and feathers. The presence of β-keratin in reptilian skin is indicative of a genetic precursor to the feather, which is largely constructed of these specific proteins. Being able to show genetic and physical evidence of feather development in ancient reptiles is essential for documenting the evolution of the feather. By using the Transmission Electron Microscope, I hope to be able to show physical evidence of β-keratin arranged such that it closely resembles β-keratin in chicken embryos, which would support recent evidence that β-keratin genetic precursors for feathers exist in reptilian skin. In addition, I currently assist pathologists on forensic autopsies at Richland Hospital. I also collaborate with clinical pathologists at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine on an educational project focusing on utilizing costless technology (free source code) to develop programs that assist pathologists in teaching pathology to medical students. With the number of enrolled medical school students increasing every year and budgets becoming tighter, it is essential that many educational departments begin using free resources to develop programs which cater to their needs, while also allowing them to own the rights to the programs and resources they are developing. Specifically we are developing a website using free software and free source code, which provides the technology that allows students to view hundreds of pathology slides digitally, rather than on the microscope, so that students are able to have better access to slides for study and research. Education: B.A. in Anthropology (2008), University of South Carolina