I’m a biological anthropologist with interests in human evolution, anatomy and movement. I study the interaction between musculoskeletal variation and locomotion using a combination of experimental biomechanics and medical imaging to develop hypotheses about how anatomy affects performance in both living humans and extinct hominins.
I received my PhD in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis where my research focused on the relationship between pelvic shape, muscle function and the energetic cost of walking and running. The purpose of my study was to provide empirical evidence to evaluate one of the claims of the “obstetrical dilemma” that the female pelvis represents a natural selection trade-off between efficient locomotion and the demands of birthing large brained infants. I also addressed the effect of differences in pelvic shape on hip abductor mechanics and locomotor cost in extinct hominin taxa.
Currently, I’m a postdoctoral research fellow and lecturer at Harvard where I’m extending my study of hip abductor function to more directly address the mechanics of mediolateral balance of the body during locomotion. The dynamics of frontal body balance are not well understood and it is unclear how body shape and individual kinematics contribute to stabilization during walking and running. Additionally, I’m involved in several other projects on foot mechanics, running injury, locomotor energetics, and gait rehabilitation after hip surgery. I also co-teach courses on experimental biomechanics and am an advisor to undergraduates completing their honors theses. At home, I expend significant locomotor energy in chasing my two adorable little boys.