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

As a scientist, my goal is to understand the natural world as it really is; as a person, my goal is to help others. 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 developing racist ideologies. I am a strong proponent of empiricism and the scientific method, but I accept its fundamental limitations and the role society plays in shaping research. Our lab believes that increasing diversity inherently improves the scientific enterprise, and we strive to meet that belief with action.

Latest News

(Click Stories for Additional Info & Links)

Award: Bilinski Fellowship for Chris

Congratulations to Chris for receiving a Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship at the Bodega Marine Laboratory! This fellowship will fund his research at BML for a quarter, and allow him to develop a really exciting collaboration with local citizen scientists. I look forward to sharing more details soon!

Dr. Banker starts a faculty job at Providence College

I am thrilled to announce that our ex-postdoc, Roxanne Banker, has accepted a faculty job in the Department of Biology at Providence College. Congratulations Dr. Banker! Good luck on the big move and I know you have a wonderful career ahead! You can learn more about Dr. Banker’s work at https://roxannebanker.weebly.com/

Tessa accepted to Stratigraphic Paleobiology Field Conference

Congratulations to Tessa for being accepted to the 2024 Stratigraphic Paleobiology Field Conference. This NSF-funded program is organized by paleontologists Mark Patzkowsky and Steven Holland, and teaches participants modern stratigraphic principles and quantitative analytical methods to study the fossil record. Have fun Tessa; I’m jealous I can’t come too!

Hannah Kempf

Congratulations Dr. Kempf

Hannah Kempf has received her PhD! She will be sorely missed, but we are excited that she will be close by as she starts her postdoctoral fellowship with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership. Congratulations Hannah!

UC Davis T.rex Crowdfund a dino-sized success

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 Kempf

Congratulations Hannah, CA Sea Grant State Fellow!

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 featured in Quanta Magazine

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.  

Noemie Sierra

Congratulations Dr. Sierra!

It’s a big milestone for the lab, as our first graduate student, Noemie Sierra, has received her PhD! Congratulations Dr. Sierra!

New Paper: Reanalysis Shows Dinosaurs Not So Warm-Blooded

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!

Dr. Gold Interviewed in The New York Times

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.

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