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Sandy Kawano

My research applies biomechanics and physiology as explanatory tools to address the origins and maintenance of biodiversity. Specifically, I integrate physics and engineering with anatomy to study the performance of biological systems in response to the physical demands placed by the environment. How physiological features of the musculoskeletal system drives whole-organismal performance can then be used to answer fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. Fishes have been an important study system in my research due to their impressive diversity, but my research is driven by the scientific question.

I apply interdisciplinary approaches involving theoretical and empirical methods, including:

  • Evaluating biological form-function relationships on living animals with biomechanical experiments, 
  • Deriving the physical principles of complex biological systems with mathematics and statistics, 
  • Developing computational models of the musculoskeletal system to determine how animals perform different behaviors, and 
  • Estimating phenotypic selection with methods from quantitative genetics.