Vanessa Young

Faculty Profiles

Vanessa Young

Vanessa Young

Assistant Professor
264 Science Hall



My research broadly examines questions related to organismal form and function, with particular focus on locomotor structures. By integrating the of fields comparative morphology, biomechanics, ecology, and evolution, we can answer questions about the evolution of organismal structures and their functions in a variety of habitats.

I am committed to promoting diversity and equity in science and academia, and pledge to uphold anti-racist and inclusive principles in order to build a supportive and welcoming lab environment and community.


PhD, Clemson University
MS, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
BS, Erskine College

Areas of Expertise 

  • Functional Morphology
  • Comparative Biomechanics
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Herpetology
  • Vertebrate Biology

Research Interests 

  • Functional Morphology
  • Comparative Biomechanics
  • Vertebrate Locomotion

Courses Recently Taught 

  • Comparative Vertebrate and Human Anatomy
  • Foundations of Form and Function
  • Animal Biomechanics
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I

Creative and Scholarly Work 

  • Kloepper, L. N. and V. K H. Young. 2021. Foundations of form and function: a synthesis-based curriculum for introductory level organismal biology. Ecology and Evolution: 1-10.
  • Smith, S. K. and V.K H. Young. 2021. Balancing on a limb: effects of gravidity on locomotion in arboreal, limbed vertebrates. Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi:10.1093/icb/icab035.
  • Young, V. K H., M. K. Starner, J. A. Baeza, and R. W. Blob. 2021. Thinking inside the box: comparative limb bone shape in emydid turtles. Journal of Herpetology 55: 112-118.
  • Blob, R. W., T. Baumann, K. M. Diamond, V. K H. Young, and H. L. Shoenfuss. 2020. Functional correlations of axial muscle fiber type proportions in the waterfall-climbing Hawaiian stream fish Sicyopterus stimpsoni. Journal of Anatomy. doi:10.1111/joa.13169.
  • Young, V.K H., J. A. Baeza, and R. W. Blob. 2019. Comparative limb bone scaling in turtles: phylogenetic transitions with changes in functional demands? Journal of Morphology 280: 593-603. doi: 10.1002/jmor.20968.
  • Young, V. K H., C. E. Wienands, B. P. Wilburn, and R. W. Blob. 2017. Humeral loads in swimming and walking turtles: implications for morphological change during aquatic reinvasions. Journal of Experimental Biology 220: 3873-3877. doi:10.1242/jeb.156836.

Professional Memberships 

  • Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
  • International Society of Vertebrate Morphology
  • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society