My educational background reflects a somewhat non-traditional trajectory. I began my graduate education at the University of Bonn, Germany, where I received a Diplom (MSc equivalent) in Geology and Paleontology. My main interest back then, sparked by Martin Sander, was the evolution and anatomy of ichthyosaurs, arguably one of the most successful groups of Mesozoic marine reptiles. I subsequently went on to get my PhD in Geology from UC Davis, working with Ryosuke Motani. My research shifted from traditional paleontology to functional morphology, studying mainly dinosaurs. During a postdoc with Peter Wainwright, I internalized the mechanistic approach to understand the evolution of form and function, paired with phylogenetic comparative methods. My current research program reflects this educational trajectory: I am interested in studying how the environment influences evolution, ranging from retina physiology to bony eye structures, spanning geological time. My long-term goal is to help facilitating the synthesis of phylogenetic comparative biology and quantitative paleobiology. A unification of these two distinct disciplines is expected to reconcile many of the conflicting conclusions and result in an improved understanding of evolutionary patterns and processes.