My primary research interest is the function and evolution of the vertebrate skeletal system. I seek to better understand and interpret the tremendous diversity and range of adaptation in design of vertebrate, particularly the mammalian skeletons.
Sharon received her undergraduate training in Biology and Anthropology/Sociology at Oberlin College, graduating with Highest Honors in 1981. After time away from school, she went on to graduate study in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at The University of Chicago, and completed her doctorate in 1988, focusing on biomechanical approaches to understanding evolutionary patterns in the mammalian limb skeleton. In 1987, she joined the faculty of Northwestern University in the interdisciplinary Primate Biology Graduate Program. Around this time, she turned her attention from primate locomotion to bat flight, while maintaining active interests in fundamental aspects of size and scale in the architecture of bones. Her work on bats includes studies of mechanical properties of tissues of the bat wing, dynamics of wing movements during flight, fluid dynamics of highly flexible airfoils, and aerodynamics and energetics of bat flight, and her active collaborations link biology to engineering, computer science, and mathematics.
SHARON SWARTZ, PHD
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