What we do
The Gold lab specializes in molecular geobiology, meaning we use data from living organisms to ask question related to the fossil and geologic record. We also study biological systems from the perspective of deep, geologic time (how systems are shaped over hundreds of millions of years). Most of this work is centered on the origin of animals, but Dr. Gold has worked on projects as ancient as the evolution of photosynthesis and as recent as DNA preservation in mammoth bones. Our work is highly interdisciplinary, touching on marine biology, genomics, biological regeneration, conservation ecology, and evolution. Our laboratory spaces include the main campus of the University of California, Davis as well as the Bodega Marine Laboratory.
Main Areas of Research
A Commitment to Inclusion
The Gold lab is committed to improving diversity and opportunity in the geosciences. This includes a combination of outreach / retention activities as well as the study of science’s historical role in the development of racist ideologies. Our research emphasizes community engagement and the integration of indigenous forms of knowledge. Dr. Gold is a strong proponent of empiricism and the scientific method, but he accepts its fundamental limitations and the role society plays in shaping research. Our lab believes that increasing diversity inherently improves the scientific enterprise.
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Last month, Dr. Gold initiated a UCD Crowdfund to bring a Tyrannosaurs rex skull replica to campus. We stomped past our goal thanks to 120 contributors, making us the most popular crowdfund! This is the first step towards a mini-museum sharing our UCD’s fossil collection.
Hannah has received a prestigious, postdoctoral California Sea Grant State Fellowship! As a fellow Hannah will be partnered with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, learning how this government agency works and how to develop coastal environmental policy.
Dr. Gold was recently interviewed by Quanta Magazine’s Yasemin Saplakoglu for her article on the discovery of abundant protosteroids in ancient rocks. You can read the story for free at Quanta’s webiste.
It’s a big milestone for the lab, as our first graduate student, Noemie Sierra, has received her PhD! Congratulations Dr. Sierra!
From the UCD press release: In 2022, a team led by Yale University researchers used traces of biomolecules from fossils to measure metabolism in animals that died millions of years ago. Their data showed, they claimed, that endothermy evolved even before dinosaurs appeared, in the common ancestor of both dinosaurs and the flying reptiles, pterosaurs. Now a new analysis of the data by paleontologists from UC Davis challenges this interpretation. The study is published Sept. 6 in Nature.” A great collaboration from the whole paleo team at UC Davis–myself, Dr. Motani, Dr. Carlson, and Dr. Vermeij!
The New York Times covered research on some of the oldest jellyfish fossils yet discovered. What does Dr. Gold think about this discovery? You can find out using this link.
Congratulations to Liyu for receiving an NSF Jumpstart award! This award provides two months of funding to help her get started before she officially starts this fall in Dr. Alyssa Griffin’s lab!
Congratulations to Tessa and Chris for receiving Durrell awards for the 2023/2024 academic year!
We are thrilled to announce that Malory Brown will be joining the lab as a new postdoctoral researcher this fall! Malory comes from the Welander lab at Stanford. We’re looking forward to adding her skills in protein functional analysis to the lab.
Congratulations to Tessa for receiving a Paleontological Society Research Grant! This will fund field work in the Wheeler Shale. So excited to see the results!
Thanks for Current and Past Support