UCL Division of Biosciences

Dr Sandra Martelli

Dr Sandra Martelli

Associate Professor (Teaching)

Cell & Developmental Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st May 2010

Research summary

I have been investigating how the hominoid vertebral column (and to some extent the sacrum and pelvis) varies throughout evolution in relation to different functional demands (e.g. bipedal gait and arboreal locomotion) as well as to variations within (sexual dimorphism) and between recent and fossil hominoids. Currently I am involved in investigating how the vertebral column covaries with pelvic and thoracic morphology in humans, modern great and lesser apes and fossil hominins. Another stream of projects concerns itself with the investigation of how the vertebral column reaches its adult configuration postnatally in both fossil and modern hominoidea.

The second line of investigations concerns the variation in larynx and vocal tract anatomy (both hard and soft tissues) observed in various recent hominoids (humans and great and lesser apes). I am investigating these variations in relation to the presence or absence of speech and language faculties and what this can tell us about speech abilities in relation to anatomical constraints of fossil taxa such as the Neanderthals. In relation with this I am also investigating the postnatal ontogeny of the hominoid cranial base and how this covaries with the morphology of the vocal tract and pharynx.


Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow |
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ01 - Successfully completed an institutional provision in teaching in the HE sector |
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2015
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2005
Universitat Zurich
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1999
Universitat Zurich
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1995