Gary B. Gillis, Ph.D.

Professor of Biological Sciences and

Associate Dean of Faculty

Curriculum Vitae.pdf


B.A., B.S., History, Biology, Pacific Lutheran University, 1990
Ph.D., Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of California, Irvine 1997

Postdoctoral Training

Dept. of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 1998-2002

Research Interests

  1. Biomechanics and neuromuscular control of vertebrate locomotion
  2. Design and function of the musculoskeletal system
  3. Aquatic-to-terrestrial transitions
  4. Evolution of vertebrate feeding mechanisms


  • Bio 145 Comparative Vertebrate Physiology (fall)
  • Biology 321  Biomechanics  (spring, odd years)
  • Biology 335  Mammalian Anatomy  (spring, even years)

Selected Publications

Ekstrom, L. and G.B. Gillis. 2015. Pre-landing wrist muscle activity in landing toads. J. Exp. Biol. 218:2410-2415.

*Schnyer, A., *Gallardo, M. Cox, S. and G.B. Gillis. 2014. Indirect Evidence for Elastic Energy Playing a Role in Limb Recovery During Toad Hopping. Biology Letters. 10(7):1-6.

Gillis, G.B., Ekstrom, L. Azizi, E. 2014. Biomechanics and control of landing in toads. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 54(6):1136-1147.

Gillis, G.B., Kuo, C. and D.J. Irschick. 2013. The impact of tail loss on stability during lizard jumping. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 86(6):680-689.

Gilman, C.A., Bartlett, M. Gillis, G.B. and D.J. Irschick. 2012. Total recoil: Perch compliance alters jumping performance and kinematics in green anole lizards (Anolis carolinensis). J. Exp. Biol. 215:220-226.

Kuo, C., Gillis, G.B. and D.J. Irshick. 2011. Loading effects on jump performance in green anole lizards (Anolis carolinensis). J. Exp. Biol. 214:2073-2079.

*Akella, T. and G.B. Gillis. 2011. Hopping isn’t always about the legs: Forelimb muscle activity patterns during toad locomotion. J. Exp. Zool. A. 315A:1-11.

Gillis, G.B., *Akella, T., and *Gunaratne, R. 2010. Do toads have a jump on how far they hop? Pre-landing activity timing and intensity in forelimb muscles of hopping Bufo marinus.  Biology Letters. 6:486-489.

Gillis, G.B., *Bonvini , L.A. and D.J. Irschick. 2009. Losing stability: the impact of caudal autotomy on jumping in the arboreal lizard Anolis carolinensis. J. Exp. Biol. 212:604-609.

Gillis, G.B. 2007. The role of hindlimb flexor muscles during swimming in the toad, Bufo marinus. Zoology 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. 2005 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.

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.

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. 1998. Neuromuscular control of anguilliform locomotion: patterns of red and white muscle activity during swimming in the American eel (Anguilla rostrata). J. Exp. Biol. 201:3245-3256.

Gillis, G.B. 1997. Anguilliform locomotion in an elongate salamander (Siren intermedia): effects of speed on axial undulatory movements. J. exp. Biol. 200:767-784.

Lauder, G.V. and G.B. Gillis. 1997. Origin of the amniote feeding mechanism: experimental analyses of outgroup clades. In Amniote Origins: Completing the Transition to Land (ed. S. Sumida and K. Martin), pp. 169-206. Academic Press, San Diego.

Gillis, G.B. 1996. Undulatory locomotion in elongate aquatic vertebrates: anguilliform swimming since Sir James Gray. American Zoologist 36:656-665.