Ornithology Staff

Jason Weckstein

Dr. Jason Weckstein
Associate Curator of Ornithology


Jason Weckstein is an associate professor in Drexel's BEES department and associate curator in the department of Ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Jason obtained his B.S. degree in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan in 1993, his M.S. in Zoology from the University of Minnesota and his PhD from Louisiana State University in 2003. After obtaining his Ph.D. Jason was a postdoctoral fellow at the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where he stayed on as a staff scientist until joining the BEES faculty. Jason has decades of experience working in natural history museums and has conducted research on birds and their parasites in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Brazil. In addition to his teaching, training, and research, Jason's additional interests at the Academy of Natural Sciences include collections building, curation and public outreach. Click here to see my researchgate profile.

Nate Rice

Dr. Nate Rice
Collection Manager of Ornithology

215-299-1182 (fax)

Nate Rice is the collection manager of the Ornithology Collection. Nate’s primary responsibility is the care and maintenance of the ornithology collection and is your primary contact for questions about the Ornithology collection. Nate obtained his B.S. in Zoology and Wildlife Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas. He conducts research investigating the evolutionary biology of various Neotropical bird groups including the ground antbirds (Formicariidae) and their relatives. Nate has field and collecting experience in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Click here to see my researchgate profile.

Janice Dispoto

Janice Dispoto
Ornithology Laboratory Manager


Janice Dispoto was hired in 2015 to manage and operate the Ornithology Department’s molecular and parasitology labs. She is actively involved in all aspects of research and the day to day activities in the department and is most currently involved in the sequencing and sequence analysis of data from haematozoan parasites of Neotropical and Nearctic avian hosts. She earned her BS in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia and her MS in Biology from the University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. Janice is also involved with the training of both Drexel and visiting undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-docs in laboratory protocols and procedures. Janice also manages the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolution (LMSE), a multiuser facility for the collection of molecular genetic data for biodiversity research.

Dan Thomas

Dan Thomas
VIREO Collection Manager


Dan Thomas joined the Academy as the Collection Manager for VIREO in 2008, with the primary responsibilities of maintaining and growing this premier collection of taxonomically curated bird photographs, which are available for educational and commercial use. In addition to the astounding photos of the VIREO Collection, Dan also manages the historic and rare images of the Academy’s Library and Archives Collections. Prior to joining the Academy, Dan spent 13 years as an educational publishing professional and studied Anthropology and Computer Science at Rutgers University.