Paul M. Gignac, PhD

Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Associate Professor, School of Information
Director, Physician Assistant Anatomy, College of Health Sciences
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History

2004 B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut

2010 Ph.D. in Biological Science, Florida State University

2010-2013 Postdoctoral Scholar, Stony Brook University Medical School

2013-2019 Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

2019-2022 Associate Professor, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

2022-Present Associate Professor, University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson

Research Interests: 

Dr. Gignac develops and deploys advanced 3D imaging techniques to investigate dental, muscular, and neural systems. He is especially interested in the origins of tissue-level material properties, muscle and musculoskeletal biomechanics, and multisensory integration in the cerebellum. He probes these domains by testing hypotheses about the ontogeny and evolution of anatomical complexity.

Exemplar Publications (click here for a comprehensive list of scholarly publications

Gignac, P. M., N. J. Kley, J. A. Clarke, M. W. Colbert, A. C. Morhardt, D. Cerio, I. N. Cost, P. G. Cox, J. D. Daza, C. M. Early, M. S. Echols, R. M. Henkelman, A. N. Herdina, C. M. Holliday, Z. Li, K. Mahlow, S. Merchant, J. Müller, C. P. Orsbon, D. J. Paluh, M. L. Thies, H. P. Tsai, and L. M. Witmer. 2016. “Diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT): An emerging tool for rapid, high-resolution, 3-D imaging of metazoan soft tissues.” Journal of Anatomy, 228: 889–909. [doi: 10.1111/joa.12449]

Gold, M. E. L., D. Shulz, M. Budassi, P. Vaska, P. M. Gignac, and M. A. Norell. 2016. “Flying starlings and PET lend insights on the evolution of volant dinosaurs.” Current Biology, 26: R265–R267 [doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.02.025]

Gignac, P. M. and N. J. Kley. 2018. “The utility of diceCT imaging for high-throughput comparative neuroanatomical studies.” Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 91: 180–190. [doi: 10.1159/000485476]

Watanabe, A., P. M. Gignac, A. M. Balanoff, T. L. Green, N. J. Kley, and M. A. Norell. 2019. “Are endocasts good proxies for brain size and shape in archosaurs throughout ontogeny?” Journal of Anatomy, 234: 291–305. [doi: 10.1111/joa.12918]

Ksepka, D. T., A. M. Balanoff, A. Smith, G. S. Bever, B-A. S. Bhullar, E. Bourdon, E. L. Braun, G. Burleigh, J. A. Clarke, M. W. Colbert, J. R. Corfield, F. J. Degrange, V. L. De Pietri, C. M. Early, D. J. Field, P. M. Gignac, M. E. L. Gold, E. D. Jarvis, R. T. Kimball, S. Kawabe, L. Lefebvre, J. Marguán-Lobón, A. Morhardt, M. A. Norell, R. C. Ridgely, P. Scofield, C. P. Tambussi, C. R. Torres, M. van Tuinen, S. A. Walsh, A. Watanabe, L. M. Witmer, A. K. Wright, L. E. Zanno, and J. B. Smaers. 2020. “Tempo and pattern of avian brain size evolution.” Current Biology, 30: 1–11. [doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.03.060]

Schwab, J. A., M. T. Young, J. M. Neenan, S. Walsh, L. W. Witmer, Y. Herrera, R. Allain, C. A. Brochu, J. N. Choiniere, J. M. Clark, K. N. Dollmann, S. Etches, G. Fristch, P. M. Gignac, A. Ruebenstahl, S. Sachs, A. H. Turner, P. Vignaud, E. W. Wilberg, X. Xing, L. E. Zanno, and S. L. Brusatte. 2020. "Inner ear sensory system changes as extinct crocodylomorphs transitioned from land to water." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(19): 10422–10428. [doi: 10.1073/pnas.2002146117]

Gignac P. M., T. L. Green, D. Oehler, J. Malatos, C. Hollinger, and J. A. Pare. 2021. “Diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography as a necropsy aid in veterinary medicine and wildlife biology: A case study evaluation respiratory disease in Macrocephalon maleo.” Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 52(1): 406–412. [doi: 10.1638/2020-0086]

Gignac, P. M., H. D. O’Brien, J. Sánchez, and D. Vazquez-Sanroman. 2021. "Multiscale visualization of a single brain by an iterative and reversible imaging workflow." Brain, Structure & Function, 226(7): 2153–2168. [doi: 10.1007/s00429-021-02316-6]

Watanabe, A., A. M. Balanoff, P. M. Gignac, M. E. L. Gold, and M. A. Norell. 2021. "Novel neuroanatomical scaling define avian brain shape evolution and development." eLife, 10:e68809. [doi: 10.7554/eLife.68809]

Feldman, K. M., Y. A. O'Keefe, P. M. Gignac, H. D. O'Brien. 2022. "Highest resolution microCT scan of the human brainstem reveals putative anatomical basis for the infrequency of Medial Medullary Syndrome." NeuroImage: Clinical, 36: 103272 [doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2022.103272]

Watanabe, A., S. Marshall, P. M. Gignac. 2023. "Dumbbell-shaped brains of Polish crested chickens as a model system for the evolution of novel brain morphologies." Journal of Anatomy, 243: 421–430. [doi: 10.1111/joa.13883]

Gray, J., P. M. Gignac, E. L. Stanley. 2023. "The first full body diceCT dataset and teaching materials for a member of the Testudines." The Anatomical Record, In press. [doi: 10.1002/ar.25282]

Straight, P. J., P. M. Gignac, W. J. Kuenzel. 2023. "Mapping the avian visual tectofugal pathway using 3D reconstruction." Journal of Comparative Neurology, In press. [doi: 10.1002/cne.25558]

Cultivating Scientific Communities:

Diffusible Iodine-Based Contrast-Enhanced Computed Tomography (diceCT), a 3D imaging technique to capture and share high-resolution anatomy
The Non-Clinical Tomography Users Research Network (NoCTURN), an NSF-funded FAIR and Open Science community
The MicroCT Imaging Consortium for Research and Outreach (MICRO), a microCT scanning facility for scientists and educators

Molecular Medicine Grad Program: