Postdoctoral position available: A postdoctoral researcher position is available in the Anderson lab in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The Anderson lab seeks a post-doctoral scholar with a strong interest in some combination of the following: biomechanics, fracture mechanics, impact dynamics, mathematical modeling and/or evolutionary analyses. The applicant will work alongside the PI and lab members to assess how physical principles underlying functional performance influence evolutionary processes. The focus of this specific project is how energy flow through biological puncture events impacts the evolution of these systems (e.g. teeth, spines and stingers).
The research goals are to 1) execute a comprehensive series of controlled puncture experiments at variable dynamic scales, 2) establish a set of energy balance equations that model how shape, material and kinematic variables influence the energetics of puncture, and 3) use these models to examine the evolution of puncture systems across several lineages. Download the full job advertisement here.
About the lab: We are a team of evolutionary biomechanists and paleontologists exploring the evolution of functional systems at multiple scales. Our research utilizes a range of experimental, theoretical and analytical methods from biology, paleontology and engineering to address a variety of questions. At the core of our work is the idea that the fundamental laws of physics have influenced evolutionary processes over the last billion years and we can learn a great deal about modern biodiversity by exploring the relationship between physics and biology. We are located on the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois.
Current Research in the Anderson Lab includes:
- Analyzing the biomechanics of puncture in a variety of organisms including vertebrates, invertebrates and plants.
- Exploring mechanical sensitivity in multi-part biomechanical systems at both the mechanism and evolutionary scales.
- Comparing strike kinematics and mechanisms across insects.
- Cataloguing the potential mechanical function of fossil agnathans (jawless vertebrates) during their rise and fall in the Paleozoic.
- Investigating the how material properties and structure affect feeding mechanics in amphibians.
Interested in joining the lab?
Graduate students: While I am not actively seeking graduate students at this time, I am happy to discuss the possibility with prospective students whose interests fit the lab. I currently advise students through the Department of Animal Biology. The department website has details for applying to graduate school. Application deadlines are in December.
Undergraduate students: Students interested in potential research experience should contact me to set-up a time to chat about possibilities. I advise undergraduate research for credit through two courses IB390 and IB490.