Biomechanics and Physiology

What we do:

We use the principles of physics, chemistry, and engineering to analyze the basic functions of life to shed light on the ecological significance and evolutionary history of organismal design.

OEB has a strong program in biomechanics and physiology, with expertise in microbes, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates, and has a wide array of facilities for studying organismal function in the laboratory and in the field.

Current areas of research include:

  • Water transport in plants
  • Physiology and biochemistry of deep sea microorganisms
  • Hydrodynamics of locomotion in fishes
  • Flight biomechanics and energetics in birds
  • Maneuvering locomotion on land
  • Bone biomechanics
  • Human locomotion
  • Biomechanics of vertebrate feeding systems
  • Ecological mechanics of insect flight
  • Mechanics of plant development



OEB Faculty with work in Biomechanics and Physiology:

Andrew A. Biewener
Peter R. Girguis
Noel Michele Holbrook
George V. Lauder
L. Mahadevan

Faculty in other Departments:

Arthur L. Lage (Harvard Medical School)
Daniel E. Lieberman (Human Evolutionary Biology)
Rob Wood (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)


Selected courses in Biomechanics and Physiology:

Life Sciences 2. Evolutionary Human Physiology and Anatomy
OEB 52. Biology of Plants
OEB 106. Plant Development and Differentiation
OEB 120. Physiology of Plants
OEB 126. Vertebrate Evolution
OEB 130. Biology of Fishes
OEB 173. Comparative Biomechanics
OEB 191. Physiological and Biochemical Adaptation
OEB 211r. Form, Function, and Evolution
OEB 212r. Advanced Topics in Plant Physiology

MCB 223 Laboratory in Engineering and Physical Biology

Freshman Seminar 21j. Human Evolution.

Human Evolutionary Biology 11345. Human Structure

Engineering Sciences 53. Quantitative Physiology as a Basis for Bioengineering
Engineering Sciences 145. Physiological Systems Analysis
Engineering Sciences 149. Neural control of movement
Engineering Sciences 159. Introduction to Robotics

Course Spotlight

Life Sciences 2: a new course in evolutionary human anatomy and physiology.