The Hanken Lab studies the evolution of morphology, developmental biology and systematics. Most work focuses on amphibians but otherwise addresses a wide range of topics, taxa and methodologies. The latter range from laboratory-based molecular and experimental analyses to field inventories. 

Current subjects include the evolution of craniofacial patterning in vertebrates; the developmental basis of life-history evolution; systematics, taxonomy and evolution of neotropical frogs and salamanders; and digital imaging of museum collections. Active field programs are maintained in Mexico and Brazil.