Teacher of the Month: September

Honors would like to introduce our teachers to you! Honors faculty are featured monthly so you can get to know your instructors.

David Lukaszek, Ph.D. Candidate

David Lukaszek, portrait used in publications
David Lukaszek

David Alexander Lukaszek is currently an adjunct instructor and Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in the Anthropology Department at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He holds a M.A. in Anthropology (University of Montana), B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology and Philosophy (Canisius College), and two technical associate degrees. He has given presentations and lectures in the United States and Moscow, Russia. David’s publications include both anthropological and philosophical articles in journals, chapters in books, and entries for SAGE in the award-winning Encyclopedia of Anthropology, Encyclopedia of Time, and 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, David’s arrival at UAF is a continuation of his academic and professional development. His unorthodox and unique approach to osteology (metric and trait selection) and evolutionary studies emerged from his diverse academic background and invaluable insights encouraged by academic committee members. Under the direction of Dr. H. James Birx (professor of anthropology at Canisius College and distinguished visiting professor at the University of Belgrade), David had awoken from his dogmatic slumber to give preference to and hold appreciation for empirical evidence and evolutionary materialism over theological interpretations. Changing sub-disciplines from cultural anthropology to physical (biological) anthropology, additional encouragement by director Dr. Randall Skelton (University of Montana) provided an opportunity to use cladistical analysis in exploring osteological traits based on variables within a developing epistemological framework. Expanding on his previous interests, the University of Alaska offers David a critical juncture in his research studies. Chaired by Dr. Joel Irish (UAF emeritus and now at the Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University), David's work continues to strengthen his academic and professional development by emphasizing hands-on experience, a multi-disciplinary approach, and the further development of his open-ended philosophical perspective grounded in evolutionary naturalism.

David’s current project explores and quantifies the relationships among the cranial base, vertebrae, and spinal curvature as a complete unit for humans and apes, as well as comparing these relationships to fossil hominin skeletal elements. Furthermore, the addition of the cranial position will provide additional insights on the relationship among skeletal elements in respect to the emergence of bipedal locomotion. Using 3-D technology, cranial and vertebral elements will be scanned, a virtual 3-D spinal column will be constructed, and a combination of previously tested and newly untested measurements taken with state of the art CAD software. Expanded additional research will eventually include associated skeletal elements, e.g., the orientation of the iliac blade and acetabulum with the femoral bicondylar angle (X, Y, and Z planes). This unique aspect will enrich the fields of anthropology, osteology, anatomy and medicine.

David wishes to acknowledge and thank his current committee members for their ongoing encouragement and support (in discipline /sub-discipline order):

Chair: Dr. Joel Irish (Biological Anthropology)

Dr. Kara Hoover (Biological Anthropology)

Dr. Ben Potter (Archaeology)

Dr. Patrick Druckenmiller (Geology, Curator of Earth Science, University of Alaska Museum of the North)

3D technology and analysis, Osteology Lab, UAF.
3D technology and analysis, Osteology Lab, UAF.
David lecturing at a conference, University of Montana, Missoula.
David lecturing at a conference, University of Montana, Missoula.
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