Lab members

Thomas Roberts, Professor

My training is in biomechanics and comparative physiology. I received my B.A. in Biology from the University of Chicago and my Ph.D. from the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department at Harvard University. In my graduate work I used a broad comparative approach to examine the link between musculoskeletal morphology and the metabolic energy cost of running. As a postdoctoral fellow at Northeastern I focused on the physiological and mechanical behavior of skeletal muscle. My research program aims to integrate our understanding of muscle physiology with modern approaches in functional morphology and biomechanics.

Postdoctoral Research Associates

David Sleboda

PhD, Brown University                                                                                                                                     B.S., Zoology, Michigan State University

I am broadly interested in how animals use the laws of the physical world to their advantage. I earned an undergraduate degree in zoology from Michigan State University, where I focused on comparative anatomy and physiology. My current work in the lab explores how bones and other connective tissues influence muscle shape changes during contractions.



Mary Kate O'Donnell

I completed my dissertation at University of South Florida, studying cling performance in plethodontid salamanders, particularly the adhesive properties of salamander mucus, and how surface roughness and wetness impact salamander attachment. I'm broadly interested in animal feeding and locomotory performance, and in how physiological or physical mechanisms determine performance in the context of ecologically relevant environmental parameters, like temperature, or substrate characteristics.


Graduate Students

Jarrod Petersen

I am predominantly interested in studying how structure governs function in organisms. I focused on comparative anatomy during my undergraduate education at Westfield State University where I earned a degree in Biology. Currently, my work in the Roberts Lab examines muscle gearing and the elastic properties of muscle-tendon units.




Amy Rutter

After graduating from Penn State with a B.Sc. in wildlife and fisheries science, I spent several years working as a field biologist and environmental educator. Now back in the lab, I’m exploring muscle physiology and biomechanics in order to better understand vertebrate locomotion and musculoskeletal morphology.




Undergraduate student

Ethan Wold

I’m interested in muscle and connective tissue morphology and biomechanics in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Currently, I’m working on giant acorn barnacles as a model system to study fluid pressure and muscle shape change at the single-cell level.





Lab Manager, Erika Tavares






Lab alumni

Annette Gabaldon, Colorado State University

Michael Llewellyn, Roseburg, Oregon 

Arriane Cease, Arizona State University

Jeff Scales, California State University

Frank Nelson, Temple University

H. Tonia Hsieh, Temple University

Brian Higginson, Gonzaga University

Greg Sawicki, Georgia Tech 

Manny Azizi, University of California

Emily Abbott, Georgia Tech

Nicolai Konow, UMass Lowell

Angela Horner, California State University

Henry Astley, University of Akron

Nicholas Gidmark, Knox College

Roy Ruttiman, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Radiology  

Chris Anderson, University of South Dakota

Chris Arellano, University of Houston

Ariel Camp, University of Liverpool

Kris Stover, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

Jillian Oliver, Latner Thoracic Surgery Research Labs at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute

Michael Rosario, West Chester University

Carolyn Eng, Yale University