Dr Imran Rahman

Email: imran.rahman@oum.ox.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1865 272 996
College profile page: Junior Research Fellow, St Cross College
Twitter: @VirtualPalaeo
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Research summary

Dr Rahman’s research uses echinoderms as a model group for uncovering the origin and early evolution of animals more broadly. His work is focused on Palaeozoic fossils, which document the earliest steps in the evolution of the echinoderm body plan. Fossils are analysed with the aid of high-resolution X-ray tomography and computer simulations (e.g. computational fluid dynamics), providing new insights into their morphology, systematics and function. This has informed rigorous tests of long-standing hypotheses concerning the mode of life, phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of early echinoderms, with implications for understanding the Cambrian explosion and the emergence of animals more generally.

Related research interests include Ediacaran organisms and their ecosystems, the anatomy and development of deuterostomes and techniques for three-dimensional visualization and analysis of fossil and modern specimens.



Imran Rahman is Deputy Head of Research at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and is currently supported by a Museum Research Fellowship. He is also a Junior Research Fellow at St Cross College. Prior to this, Imran was supported by an 1851 Research Fellowship split between the University of Bristol and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Imran obtained an MSc in Palaeobiology from University College London and a PhD on Palaeozoic fossil echinoderms from Imperial College London under the supervision of Dr Mark Sutton. After his PhD, Imran undertook an MSc in Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics at the University of Manchester to gain practical experience in molecular biology and bioinformatics. This was followed by a NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship split between the Universities of Birmingham and Bristol.

Featured publications

  • A new ophiocistioid with soft-tissue preservation from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte, and the evolution of the holothurian body plan.

    Rahman, IA, Thompson, JR, Briggs, DEG, Siveter, DJ, Siveter, DJ, Sutton, MD
  • The Cambrian Substrate Revolution and the early evolution of attachment in suspension-feeding echinoderms

    Zamora, S, Deline, B, Javier Álvaro, J, Rahman, IA
  • Cambrian cinctan echinoderms shed light on feeding in the ancestral deuterostome.

    Rahman, IA, Zamora, S, Falkingham, PL, Phillips, JC
  • Suspension feeding in the enigmatic Ediacaran organism Tribrachidium demonstrates complexity of Neoproterozoic ecosystems

    Rahman, IA, Darroch, SAF, Racicot, RA, Laflamme, M
  • Early post-metamorphic, Carboniferous blastoid reveals the evolution and development of the digestive system in echinoderms.

    Rahman, IA, Waters, JA, Sumrall, CD, Astolfo, A
  • More
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