My research aims to understand the origin of locomotor systems and complex structures in nature — specifically, how selection drives the emergence of complex functional systems (e.g., insect flight) from simple ancestral forms. I have a life-long interest in natural history, especially for invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles, and I have worked with multiple non-traditional model systems across a wide range of size scales.
Evolutionary biomechanics of insect flight
The evolutionary transition between wingless and full-winged insects consists of complex organization of functional modules across multiple levels. I developed a model system using the stick insects (Phasmatodea) to address various questions regarding the evolution of insect flight. A recently published work addresses the evolution of wing size in stick insects (link). More is coming soon.
Biomechanics and ecology of controlled aerial behaviors
How do wingless animals achieve aerodynamic agility via controlled aerial behaviors, such as aerial righting? How do these behaviors evolve and how they may contribute to the evolution of flapping flight?
Evolutionary biomechanics of jointed locomotor systems
Interfacial fluid mechanics and evolution of novel morphologies
Aggregate-based locomotion in microorganisms. See more at https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-020-01300-w