Richard Benjamin Sulser

Research Associate, Former Graduate Student Richard Gilder Graduate School

My research focuses on the evolution of the mammal sensory system. How are shifts in neuroanatomy related to functional anatomy and ecology? How does the mammal brain respond to ecological transition? Among living mammals, the enigmatic family of mammals known as tenrecs contain an exceptional range of sensory specializations, including arboreal, fossorial, semiaquatic, and even echolocating ecomorphotypes. My dissertation research examines the neuroanatomy underpinning this disparity using a holistic approach: bone morphometrics, soft tissue anatomy, and whole-genome sequencing. 


  • Ph.D. in Comparative Biology, Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History, anticipated 2021.
  • B.S. of Science in Biological Sciences (specialization: Ecology and Evolution), University of Chicago, 2016.

Research Interests

Ben is a biologist whose research focuses on the evolution of the mammalian sensory system, and how it responds to ecological transition. Previously, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Chicago, where he studied unique synapomorphies within the inner ear of the two clades of bats, the Yinpterochiroptera and the Yangochiroptera. Currently, Ben is based in New York, and is now a PhD fellow at the American Museum of Natural History where he hopes to continue his work on mammal sensory systems making full use of modern techniques and collections-based research.

Teaching Experience

  • Human Anatomy - Graduate Level - Medical School (Icahn School of Medicine)
  • Systematics - Undergraduate Level (Richard Gilder Graduate School)
  • Desert Ecology, Tropical Ecology, Insect Ecology - Undergraduate Level (University of Chicago)
  • Standardized Test Tutor, Academic Approach, Chicago IL, 2017. Taught courses in Chicago Public Schools and one-on-one tutoring: SAT Biology, SAT Calculus, ACT, SAT.
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2016–2017. Teaching assistant for undergraduate Biology courses.