Dr. Olga Panagiotopoulou BA (Hons), MSc, Ph.D
Head of the Moving Morphology and Functional Mechanics Laboratory
Senior Lecturer in Anatomy, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology
Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Clayton Campus, 10 Chancellor’s Walk, Wellington Road
Home page: http://www.dr-opanagiotopoulou.com/
I am a functional anatomist and evolutionary morphologist by training. My research focuses on the mechanical, developmental and physiological determinants of the locomotor and masticatory systems in vertebrates from clinical, conservation and evolutionary perspectives.
I received my BA at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2003, my MSc on Human Osteology and Palaeopathology from the University of Bradford, UK in 2006 and then I obtained my PhD at the University of York, UK in 2010, funded by Marie Curie and the Bakalas Institution. Following my PhD, I joined the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College as a 3 year Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Postdoctoral Fellow, where I worked on comparative locomotor mechanics of large mammals. In the last two years of my postdoctoral appointment, I received a EU Marie Curie Reintegration Fellowship on chewing mechanics, during which I rounded my training working closely with Professors Callum Ross (University of Chicago) and Paul Dechow (Texas A&M University College of Dentistry). On March 2013, I relocated to Australia to start my first academic appointment as a Lecturer in Anatomy at the School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland and in 2016 I received my tenure.
On February 2018 I relocated to Monash University, where I currently hold a Senior Lectureship in Anatomy and serve as the Head of the Moving Morphology and Functional Mechanics Laboratory. My lab focuses on two major programmes a) Functional Comparative Feeding Mechanics and b) Animal Locomotion, with the scope to address the following overarching research questions: Why does the vertebrate musculoskeletal system vary so widely- or in other words, what are the functional and developmental consequences of anatomical variation? Evolutionary history has played an important role in shaping musculoskeletal form, but how do developmental changes in musculoskeletal mechanics and scaling factors during ontogeny constrain and/or direct the morphology and the composition of musculoskeletal design?
To address our research questions my team combines biomechanics and functional anatomy in innovative ways using state-of-the-art experimental methods, computer simulation techniques and mathematical models.
My lab consists of passionate young researchers who share a love for science and challenging projects. We work with humans, non-human primates and impressive gigantic animals (elephants, rhinos, giraffes, primates and more) from safari parks across the globe.