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Postdoctoral researchers

Allison Arnold

Allison Arnold

Research Interests:
dynamic actions of muscles during human and animal locomotion; simulation-based treatment planning for movement disorders; accuracy of muscle forces estimated from biomechanical models; medical/technical writing and editing for diverse audiences

Background and Current Work:
My research career has spanned the field of neuromuscular biomechanics in pediatric orthopedics, rehabilitation, sports, and comparative biology. I earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering at MIT, and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Northwestern University. From 2000-07, I conducted research in Scott Delp's lab at Stanford University, where I helped create and analyze the team's first muscle-driven simulation of a child with stiff-knee gait. I am now collaborating with biologists at the Concord Field Station to test and improve predictions of in vivo muscle forces from such models. Specifically, I am:

  • creating computer simulations that characterize bone geometry, joint kinematics, mass and inertial characteristics, and muscle moment-generating properties of the goat hindlimb.
  • comparing predictions of the simulations to in vivo and in situ measurements of muscle-tendon forces, length changes, and EMG activity.

This work will advance the state of biomechanical simulation, and could have implications in orthopaedics, rehabilitation, and comparative biology.

Recent Publications:
Arnold, Schwartz, Thelen, and Delp (2007). Contributions of muscles to terminal-swing knee motions vary with walking speed. Journal of Biomechanics, 40:3660-3671.
Delp, Anderson, Arnold, Loan, Habib, John, and Thelen (2007). OpenSim: open-source software to create and analyze dynamic simulations of movement. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 54(11):1-11.
Arnold, Liu, Schwartz, Ounpuu, Dias, and Delp (2006). Do the hamstrings operate at increased muscle-tendon lengths and velocities after surgical lengthening? Journal of Biomechanics, 39:1498-15-6. Recipient of the Clinical Biomechanics Award, American Society of Biomechanics.
Arnold, Asakawa, and Delp (2000). Do the hamstrings and adductors contribute to excessive internal rotation of the hip in persons with cerebral palsy? Gait and Posture, 11:181-190. Recipient of the Best Paper Award, Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society.

Contact Information: aarnold[at]oeb.harvard.edu

 
Maria de Boef

Maria de Boef

Research/Teaching Interests:
the use of bone microstructure as a tool in paleontology and ecology; muscle physiology and its impact on in vivo performance; the impact of ecology and evolution on bone and muscle physiology; effective undergraduate pedagogy in classrooms, teaching labs and research labs.

Background:
I completed my undergraduate degree in the biology department at McGill University specializing in organismal biology. I remained at McGill to complete my Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Hans Larsson. My dissertation, entitled "Effects of phylogeny, physiology, and function on bone microstructure in extant endothermic vertebrates", was completed partly at McGill and partly in collaboration with Dr. Biewener at the Concord Field Station.

As a graduate student, I was a teaching fellow in great variety of courses at both McGill and Harvard including cell and molecular biology, human evolutionary anatomy and physiology, genetics, and organismal biology. As a postdoc, I have continued to teach Anatomy and Physiology through Harvard's extension school. I have also had opportunity to supervise a number of undergraduate research projects and look forward to supervising an honors thesis at Harvard this coming year.

Current Work:
I am now part of a long-term collaborative project that aims to improve the quality of understanding and assessment of neuromotor performance that can be obtained through the use of electromyographic (EMG) recordings of muscle activity patterns and Hill-type muscle models. By combining direct in vivo recordings of muscle force (via tendon buckles), fascicle length change (via sonomicrometry), and neural activation (via EMG electrodes) in an animal model (goat hind limb muscles), quantitative measures of in vivo contractile performance will be used to validate and improve the fit of four different Hill-type muscle models based on muscle activation and architecture. My role is to relate changes in muscle architecture (length, fiber orientation, bulging, mechanical advantage) to changes in performance (force, moment) in vivo.

Recent publications:
Lee, S.S.M., de Boef Miara, M., Arnold, A.S., Biewener, A., and Wakeling, J.M. (2011) EMG analysis tuned for determining the timing and level of activation in different motor units. Journal of electromyography and kinesiology. 21(4): 557-65.
Wilson, L.E., and de Boef Miara, M. (In Press) Database Standardization. In K. Padian (Ed). Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods.
Padian, K., de Boef Miara, M., Larsson, H.C.E., Wilson, L., and Bromage, T. (In Press) Research Applicatios and Integration. In K. Padian (ed.) Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods.
de Boef, M. and Larsson, H. C. E. (2007) Bone microstructure: quantifying bone vascular orientation. Can. J. Zool. 85(1): 63-70.

 
Huai-Ti Lin

Huai-Ti Lin

Research Interests:
I am always fascinated by the fundamental elements of intelligence in biomechanical systems. I believe that the emerging intelligence in animal locomotion comes from very simple rules and elegant mechanics. I also have a personal interest in flight control and aerial robotics.

Currently, my research focuses on visual guidance in flying animals. Specifically navigation in a cluttered environment requires real-time integration of visual cues and good coordination of body movements. My research explores the trajectories birds take to fly through an unknown cluttered environment and the factors that affect birds making such trajectories. We train pigeons to fly through an artificial forest in an indoor flight track and challenge the bird with different obstacle formations. Using inertial sensors and a high speed camera array, we can accurately determine the bird's body trajectory as well as its head orientations. A micro wireless head-mounted camera also helps us reconstruct what the bird sees in each instance and test different navigation models based on visual tracking and obstacle avoidance strategies.

Background:
Previously, I was studying mechanics in soft-bodied animal locomotion and control strategies in soft-bodied robots at Tufts University. Through measuring ground reaction forces in crawling caterpillars and designing soft robots I strengthened my skills in mechanical design, material modelling, data acquisitions, wireless control and telemetry.

Contact Information:
You can find my CV and research updates from my research blog at: http://intuitiveflight.blogspot.com/
Or contact me at: huaiti.lin[at]gmail.com

 

Graduate students

Carolyn Eng

Carolyn Eng - G5

Research interests:
I am fascinated by the development, plasticity, and functional relevance of muscle and tendon architecture. Through my research, I hope to contribute to our understanding of how the structure of muscles and tendons influences their dynamic function in vivo. Furthermore, I hope to use these structure-function relationships to better understand the selective pressures driving muscle and tendon adaptation.

Currently, I am performing experiments to examine the function of tendons and fascia in a goat model to better understand how their structural and material properties determine in vivo performance. I will use these data to predict the function of the many unique fascial and tendinous structures that evolved in the human body.

Background:
I received my B.S. from Duke University in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy. At Duke, I did an honors thesis comparing jaw muscle architecture in gouging and non-gouging Callitrichid monkeys with Dr. Andrea Taylor. Before beginning graduate school, I spent two years working with Dr. Richard Lieber and Dr. Samuel Ward in the Muscle Physiology laboratory at the University of California, San Diego.

In Fall 2011, I am a teaching fellow for Life Sciences 2: Evolutionary Human Physiology and Adaptation. I have taught this course previously and have also been a teaching fellow for Human Evolutionary Biology 1420: Human Evolutionary Anatomy and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 139: Evolution of the Vertebrates.

Website

 
Ivo Ros

Ivo Ros - G4

Research interests:
We at the Concord Field Station are interested in how and why animals move the way they do on land, in water, and through the air. Avian maneuvering flight is of particular interest to me, and I am trying to tackle this complex behavior at various levels: from musculoskeletal architecture, neuromuscular control, and subsequent aerodynamic and inertial mechanical outputs, to the integration of feedback provided by the sensory systems. I believe that a thorough understanding of behaviors leads to new insights in general principles that guide evolution. Furthermore, a thorough understanding of complex behaviors allows us to answer the many 'why' questions (of both ourselves and curious kids) in great detail.

Background:
At the University of Groningen in the Netherlands I obtained a B.S. in biology, after which I joined the Marine Zoology department under the supervision of Eize Stamhuis and John Videler for a M.Sc. degree. With Eize and John I studied aquatic legged locomotion in crayfish and fluid motion during flapping flight of physically modeled swiftlets. Subsequently, I transitioned to the Concord Field station, and, during a year as a research technician, I worked with Andy Biewener (my current PI) and David Lee to understand the mechanics of quadrupedal gaits and stability.

 
Glenna Clifton

Glenna Clifton - G2

Research interests:
I am broadly interested in studying the underlying physics that governs terrestrial locomotion. More specifically, I would like to investigate how the muscles and structure of the body function to produce extreme movements. I am interested in understanding if species that participate in sporadic but critical behaviours have experienced evolutionary pressure to adapt for these performances.

I am currently researching the muscle control of leg swing in Wild Turkeys over a range of speeds and in response to leg perturbation. By examining the dynamics of these trials, we hope to better understand how the muscles of the swing leg contribute to locomotion. During the Fall 2011 semester, I will be a teaching fellow for the Life Sciences 2 course on Evolutionary Human Physiology and Anatomy.

Background:
I graduated from Barnard College in 2010 with a degree in dance and physics and a minor in chemistry. My previous research experiences include quantifying ozonesonde response-time delays with John Merrill at URI School of Oceanography and studying the orbits around spinning black holes under Janna Levin at Columbia University. In my free time I dance with the Harvard Ballet Company.

Contact Information: gclifton[at]fas.harvard.edu

 
Talia Moore

Talia Moore - G2

Research interests: I am fascinated with the biomechanics of terrestrial locomotion and how it drives the evolution of novel morphologies. I am currently studying the dynamics, kinematics, and ecological implications of bipedal locomotion in Jaculus jaculus, and comparing my findings to other bipedal species. My biomechanical research is performed under the supervision of Professor Andy Biewener, and my evolutionary research is performed under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Losos.

I am the teaching fellow for OEB 173- Comparative Biomechanics in Spring 2012 with Professors Andy Biewener and Jacques Dumais.

I spent two years as a research assistant with Professor Robert Full in the PolyPEDAL Lab at UC Berkeley studying neural and mechanical dynamic systems control theory.

Website

 

Research associates

Jen Carr

Jen Carr

Researcher and instructor of Life Sciences courses at Harvard.

 

Undergraduate researchers

Casey Boyle

Casey Boyle

Casey is a Junior at the University of Michigan (class of 2013) majoring in mechanical engineering. During the summer of 2010, Casey researched skeletal adaptation to mechanical loading at Cornell University. This summer he is working with Carolyn Eng and Allison Arnold-Rife to better understand energy storage in tendons during human locomotion. At Michigan, Casey is the manager of the Michigan Varsity Track and Field Team as well as a research assistant in one of the biomechanics labs on campus. In his free time Casey enjoys running, traveling and being with family and friends. Upon graduation, Casey would love to work for a sneaker company where he can design sneakers for all to enjoy. Graduate school is also in his immediate plans.

 
Ana Karen Ortiz Ilizaliturri

Ana Karen Ortiz Ilizaliturri

Ana graduated from Harvard College in 2011 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and a secondary in Global Health and Health Policy. During her undergraduate years she was a program coordinator with Health Leads, the president of Latinos in Health Careers, and a Ballet Forklorico dancer. Under the supervision of Maria Miara, she is currently investigating distal hind limb muscle performance in vivo in the Sprague-Dawley rat in response to different locomotor conditions. She is broadly interested in quantitative physiology and bio-inspired engineering. In the future, Ana plans to attend medical school to become a doctor and continue doing research.

 
Caroline Vloka

Caroline Vloka

Caroline is a senior at Harvard University (class of 2012) where she studies Human Evolutionary Biology with a secondary in Slavic Languages and is part of the varsity fencing team. Under Maria Miara, she is studying action of muscles with an interest in pennation angle in muscles in the lower limb in an effort to understand the changes in muscle morphology during locomotion and the implications on how these changes affect the action done by the muscle.

 

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