My research in feeding mechanics seeks to determine the function of the non human primate chewing apparatus as it relates to dietary ecology, dental morphology and development in adulthood and during ontogeny.
The morphology of the lower jaw in non-human primate lineages displays considerable variation inter and intra-specifically. The cause of such variation is multifactorial, yet the functional adaptation of the lower jaw to different dietary categories is thought to be important. Whilst the biomechanical determinants of chewing kinematics and kinetics are important design parameters in the feeding system, poor understanding of those dynamics have made it difficult to address evolutionary and clinical hypotheses on functional mandibular anatomy and chewing mechanics.
Using in vivo experimental techniques, material testing, musculoskeletal simulations and mathematical models I study how the modulation of muscle activity influences the motion of the jaw and how this interaction affects the mechanics of the mandible and the dental tissues.
This exciting project is in collaboration with Dr. Jose-Iriarte Dias and Prof. Ross (University of Chicago), Dr. Wilshin (The Royal Veterinary College), Prof. Dechow (Baylor School of Dentisty) and Prof. Taylor (Duke University).