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Faculty Directory

Marc Spencer Marc Spencer
Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Office Phone: 202-994-1155
Email: Email
Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology


  • B. S., SUNY-Binghamton, 2002
  • M.S., Bowling Green State University, 2007
  • Ph.D., University of Iowa, 2013


Dr. Spencer is a vertebrate paleontologist devoted to teaching, student mentoring, research, and outreach. Because of his background in the Earth sciences, and because his research questions are rooted in evolutionary biology, it allows him to approach topics of life in the past in multiple ways. He is an interdisciplinary scientist addressing questions of evolutionary biology and deep time using morphological, ecological, and temporal data. Using the same approach when teaching, he interweaves physiology, embryology, and histology to create a more complete picture of anatomy. He highlights connections between different scientific disciplines in his teaching, just as they form the core of his professional development.

Teaching Interests

As with his research, Dr. Spencer’s teaching interests highlight the interconnectedness of multiple disciplines. Whether teaching neuroanatomy, gross anatomy, or embryology, he attempts to teach broad physiological and/or structural concepts within an anatomical context. Relating these concepts to real world or clinical scenarios help bring them to the forefront of students’ minds.


Dr. Spencer’s research program explores empirical and theoretical issues in morphological evolution, phylogeny estimation, systematics, and biogeography. He works primarily with archosaurian reptiles (particularly dinosaurs), using phylogenetic systematic methods to determine evolutionary relationships, rates of origination and diversification, and patterns of morphological variation through time.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None