Wall Lab


Christine Wall, Ph.D.

chris wall may 2012My research is primarily lab-based and focused on the biomechanics of mastication and incision.  I want to understand how feeding structures work and how variation in function is related to variation in form.  This information can then be applied to understanding the adaptive diversity of living and fossil animals.  To do this, I use in vivo methods to observe structures at work, and combine these observations with detailed morphological data.  I am particularly interested in muscular, skeletal, and dental specializations to breaking down foods that differ in structural and material properties.  An important focus of this work has been to understand (1) the interactions between size and feeding biomechanics, (2) jaw and tooth movements during chewing and other feeding behaviors, and (3) the patterns of activation of the chewing muscles.  A new research direction for the lab is to collect data on the energetic costs of feeding to generate links between what we know from lab-based studies about the morphology and physiology of the feeding apparatus and what we know from field-based studies about feeding ecology and diet.

Megan Holmes, Ph.D.

My research focuses on the study of the development and function the feeding apparatus in primates.

Maxx Toler, graduate student

My dissertation research is a study of the kinetics and energetics of wood gnawing and seed predation in Daubentonia madagascariensis, the aye-aye.

Duke Undergraduates and High School Research Assistants

  • Kavita Jain - senior undergrad, microCT, iodine staining and three-dimensional architecture of jaw muscles of lemurs and Saimiri sciureus
  • Aidan Fitzsimons - high school senior, conservation of motor pattern and EMG signal processing

Lab Alumni

  • Dr. Janine Chalk -  Assistant Professor, Mercer School of Medicine
  • Annie Chen - University of North Carolina Dental School
  • Amalia Cong - University of Toronto Dental School
  • Dr. Anne Claire Fabre - Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, FUNEVOL, Paris
  • Sachin Govil
  • Dr. Jennifer Hotzman - Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Kim Le - M.S., Department of Anthropology, University of Florida
  • Michael McLennon – University of Maryland Dental School
  • Matt O'Neill
  • Courtney Orsbon - M.D./Ph.D. student, University of Chicago
  • Gowri Ramachandran, M.D. - Department of Psychiatry, George Washington University
  • Emma Santoianni - undergraduate, University of Wisconsin
  • Ben Schwartz - M. D. student
  • Daisy Song - M.S. Biomedical Sciences, Mississippi State University
  • Dr. Elizabeth St. Clair, Center for Functional Antomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University
  • Christine Wu – M. D. student, Wake Forest University
  • Rex Ying - Ph.D. student, Computer Sciences, Stanford University