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Cal State LA researcher receives a National Science Foundation fellowship

November 17, 2020

By Margie Low | Cal State LA News Service

Anna Ragni, a postdoctoral researcher at Cal State LA, is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

Portrait of Anna Ragni.As part of her fellowship, Ragni will be working with Ashley Heers, a faculty member in Cal State LA’s Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. Ragni’s research will focus on the evolution of walking on two feet, or bipedalism. 

“My current research is [aimed at] creating a biomechanical model of the 3.2-million-year-old ‘Lucy’ skeleton to simulate its locomotor capabilities and better understand the evolution of fossil hominin locomotion,” said Ragni, a resident of Long Beach. “My doctoral dissertation explored the impact of locomotion on internal trabecular bone structure in great apes.”

Ragni received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Hendrix College, master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Arkansas and Ph.D. in comparative biology from Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History. She also completed a Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Ragni is among 23 early-career scientists who will spend a year embarking on research projects that explore a range of topics critical to daily lives and communities as NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellows.

“We’re excited to provide support for the next generation of scholars conducting cutting-edge research,” said Josie Welkom, director of SBE’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship program. “With the mentorship of top scientists in their fields, the fellows represent the future of the social, behavioral and economic sciences.”

In addition to funding research, the NSF program seeks to support recipients from groups that are underrepresented in the sciences, and to help prepare its fellows for careers in academia, government and industry.

Photo: Cal State LA postdoctoral researcher Anna Ragni. (Photo courtesy of Anna Ragni)

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