Current members

Spring 2019 Lab Group

Seated from left to right are: Sara Kelley, Safra Shakir, Tanner Ortery, Alby Musaelian, Kristen Speer. In back is lab director Doug Gaffin with Joe Camel. (Photo by M. Hoefnagels)


Dr. Doug Gaffin
I lead this wonderful group of scientists. My interest in scorpions goes back to my time under the scorpion biologist Dr. Phillip Brownell at Oregon State University, where I did my PhD. I am particularly interested in the chemosensory organs called pectines on the bottom of all scorpions. This work stems from my longstanding questions about navigation in bees, scorpions, and other other invertebrates. I currently serve as Interim Dean of the Honors College. When I am not in the lab or office, I love to play volleyball, play the banjo, and spend time with my wife, Dr. Marielle Hoefnagels. Contact me at ddgaffin [at] Curriculum vita.
Alby Musaelian
Alby is an honors mathematics student from Denver, CO. His work in the lab is focused on developing computer simulations of the scorpion navigation by chemo-textural hypothesis. He presented his ongoing research at the 2019 Undergraduate Research Day and won a grand prize in the biology section. In his limited spare time Alby plays percussion in some bands and develops computer apps.
Safra Shakir
Safra just completed her first year at OU. She is an honors pre-med student from Oklahoma City. Safra’s research involves using electrophysiological techniques to understand synaptic interactions among neurons in the peg sensilla on ground-directed chemosensory organs on scorpions called pectines.
Tanner Ortery
Tanner is a senior undergraduate biology major. He maintains the lab's extensive collection of arachnids. He also volunteers at the SNOMNH Department of Herpetology. When he's not in the lab or in class, he enjoys caring for his own personal collection of amphibians and tropical plants. Tanner plans to attend graduate school to study herpetology.