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Gary B. Gillis
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA 01075
Phone:413-538-3319; Fax:413-538-2548; email

Curriculum Vitae



1990: B.S. Biology, B.A. History, Pacific Lutheran University

1997: Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine

Postdoctoral Training

1998-2001: NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Concord Field Station, Harvard University

Research Interests

1. Biomechanics and neuromuscular control of vertebrate locomotion

2. Musculoskeletal design, physiology and evolution

3. Ecological and evolutionary transitions between aquatic and terrestrial environments

4. Functional morphology of vertebrate feeding system

Major Research Grants

2003-2006 NSF 0316418 “RUI: Body size, limb posture and muscle strain during terrestrial locomotion” ($201,486-Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology)

1998-2001 NIH NRSA F32 AR08559-01 “Plasticity of limb muscle function during locomotion” ($94,236-National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications Since 2000

Gillis, G.B., Bonvini , L.A. and D.J. Irshick. In Press. Losing stability: the impact of caudal autotomy on jumping in the arboreal lizard Anolis carolinensis. J. Exp. Biol.

Gillis, G.B. 2007.  The role of hindlimb flexor muscles during swimming in the toad, Bufo
marinusZoology 110:28-40.

Gillis, G.B., *Flynn, J.P. McGuigan, P. and A.A. Biewener. 2005.  Patterns of strain and
activation in the thigh muscles of goats across gaits during level locomotion. J. Exp. Biol. 208:4599-4611.

Gillis, G.B. and A.A. Biewener. 2003.  The importance of functional plasticity in the design and  control of the vertebrate musculoskeletal system.  In Vertebrate Biomechanics and Evolution (ed. V.L. Bels, J.P. Gasc, and A. Casinos).  Bios Scientific Publishers Ltd., Oxford.

Azizi, E. G.B. Gillis, and E.L. Brainerd.  2002.  Morphology and mechanics of myosepta in a swimming salamander (Siren lacertina). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 133:967-978.

Gillis, G.B. and A.A. Biewener.  2002.  Effects of surface grade on proximal hindlimb muscle strain and activation during rat locomotion.  J. Appl. Physiol. 93:1731-1743.

Ashley-Ross, M.A. and G.B. Gillis. 2002. A brief history of functional morphology. Integ. and Comp. Biol. 42: 183-189.

Gillis, G.B. and R.W. Blob. 2001.  How muscles accommodate movement in different physical environments: aquatic versus terrestrial locomotion. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 131:61-75.

Gillis, G.B. and A.A. Biewener. 2001.  Hindlimb muscle function in relation to speed and gait: in vivo patterns of strain and activation in a hip and knee extensor of the rat (Rattus norvegicus). J. Exp. Biol. 204:2717-2731.

Gillis, G.B. and A.A. Biewener. 2000.  Hindlimb extensor muscle function during jumping and swimming in the toad (Bufo marinus). J. Exp. Biol. 203:3547-3563.

Gillis, G.B. 2000. Patterns of muscle activity during terrestrial locomotion in the American eel (Anguilla  rostrata).  J. Exp. Biol. 203:471-480.


Popular Science Publications

2008            Are the kids weighing you down? J. Exp. Biol. 211 (17) iv.

2008            Shifting shape improves escape. J. Exp. Biol. 211 (5) vii.

2007            Stressed lizards run further. J. Exp. Biol. 210 (23) vi.

2007            Snail trails. J. Exp. Biol. 210 (17) iv.           

2007            Fast fathers father more. J. Exp. Biol. 210 (11) vi.

2007            Chimp power. J. Exp. Biol. 210 (3) iv.

2006             How to tell whose bite is biggest. J. Exp. Biol. 209 (21) v-vi.

2006            Big jumpers can’t last. J. Exp. Biol. 209 (15) iv.

2006            Not your typical baby’s rattle. J. Exp. Biol. 209 (9) v.

2006            We got the beat.  J. Exp. Biol. 209 (3) iv.

2005            Flying lizards fall fast. J. Exp. Biol. 208 (21) v.

2005            Look out below. J. Exp. Biol. 208 (15) vi.

2005            Sticky but clean. J. Exp. Biol. 208 (8) v.

2005            Snakes eating more than their tails. J. Exp. Biol. 208 (3) v.

2004            Leaping lizards. J. Exp. Biol. 207 (23) v.

2004            Swinging is more costly than we thought. J. Exp. Biol. 207 (11) v-vi.

2004            Walk on four legs not on two. J. Exp. Biol. 207:713-714.

2003    Row, row, row, your wings. J. Exp. Biol. 206:4187.

2003            Pedestrians pay to push. J. Exp. Biol. 206:2907.

2003            Swimming with the larval fishes.  J. Exp. Biol. 206:1768.

2003            Evolving couch-potatoes and endurance athletes. J. Exp. Biol. 206:790.

Book Reviews

2003 Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle. By Steven Vogel. Quarterly Review of Biology. 78:87.

2003 Chance in Biology. By Mark Denny and Steven Gaines. Journal of Experimental Biology. 206:2300-2301