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 fellows

Nicolai Konow

Ph.D., James Cook University; B.S., M.S., Univeristy of Copenhagen.

My main research aim is to understand the evolutionary role of structural innovations, like for instance novel skeletal joints and architectural changes to muscle-tendon systems. I also study the role of structural innovation in the evolution of functional disparity in distinct ecological groups. Currently, I focus on the role of tendon elasticity when muscles function as brakes in locomotion, and on the evolution of food processing across jaw-bearing vertebrates. In both projects, I integrate measurements from many biological determinant levels in order to characterize the form-function relationships in organisms. These determinant levels include bony morphology, joint biomechanics, and patterns of muscle length-change, connective tissue elasticity, and neuromotor control. Click here to visit Nicolai Konow's website.

Christopher V. Anderson

Ph.D., University of South Florida; B.S., Cornell University

I am interested in research questions aimed at understanding the morphological, biomechanical and physiological mechanisms underlying animal movement. In particular, I am interested in how these mechanisms change through evolution and vary across diverse natural environments. My previous research has focused on comparing environmental effects on the performance of elastic-recoil-powered and muscle-powered movements associated with high-powered ballistic feeding in chameleons and salamanders. Currently, my research focuses on muscle contractile physiology and tendon mechanics associated with different movement types. In addition to my research in the Roberts lab, I teach gross anatomy at the Brown Alpert Medical School. Click here to visit Chris Anderson's Website <>.

Christopher J. Arellano

Ph.D, Univserity of Colorado, Boulder; M.S., University of Houston; B.S., University of Texas

I have a broad interest in understanding the biomechanics and energetics of both human and animal locomotion. I earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering) at the University of Texas at Austin and a M.S. in Biomechanics/Motor Control at the University of Houston. My Ph.D. work focused on human running emphasizing medio-lateral foot placement and arm swing as primary balance control strategies. Before arriving to Brown University, I completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado’s Neurophysiology of Movement laboratory where I studied the antagonist muscle coactivation (feedforward) and spinal reflex (feedback) control strategies used by young and old adults when maintaining a steady contraction. In the Roberts laboratory, my research examines the significance of muscle-tendon shape changes across an array of locomotor behaviors by making direct measurements that link mechanics, function, and performance. 


Carolyn Eng

Ph.D., Harvard University; B.S. Duke University

I am interested in the influence of elastic connective tissues on the energetics and mechanics of movement. In my PhD work, I explored the role of fascia in movement by studying its biaxial material properties andin vivo strain patterns. I used these data to incorporate the iliotibial band into a musculoskeletal model of the human lower limb to understand its role in human locomotion. With my postdoctoral research in the Roberts lab, I am exploring the role of aponeurosis in modulating muscle function. By modifying aponeurosis properties, I will directly examine the role of aponeurosis in modulating muscle shape changes and test how similar alterations occurring after surgical intervention or with injury, age, or disease influence the mechanics of muscle contraction.

Ph.D. students


David Sleboda

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.



Kris Stover

B.S., Ohio University; M.S. College of Charleston

I am interested in the effects of domestication on locomotion and its implications for morphological changes, performance and the structural organization of muscle. Artificial selection has lead to faster growth in order to decrease time to market and large increases in muscle mass in some species. I am using the turkey to examine these relationships by comparing wild, heritage and broad breasted white breeds.


Research Assitant

Benjamin Scott       

   B.S. Bioengineering, Union College 

I am interested in tissue-regeneration engineering using pluripotent stem cells in scaffolds and bioprinters. I received my B.S.-BG from Union College in 2014 from a program that focused on bone regeration using external fixators and osteoblasts. In the lab, I assist other members with their variuous muscle experiments in turkeys, frogs, and mice.                                       



Former lab members

Angela Horner California State University

Henry Astley Georgia Tech University

Manny Azizi University of California

Greg Sawicki University of North Carolina

H. Tonia Hsieh Temple University

Frank Nelson University of Washington

Annette Gabaldon Colorado State University

Ariel Camp 

Roy Ruttiman Brown University