Kier Lab

People in the Kier Lab

William M. Kier

I received my Ph.D. in Zoology in 1983 at Duke University, where I was a student of Stephen A. Wainwright.  After leaving Duke I was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA.  Following my postdoc at WHOI, I was a National Science Foundation-NATO Postdoctoral Scholar and worked at the Marine Biological Association of the UK Laboratories in Plymouth, England and the Stazione Zoologica in Naples, Italy.  I joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985. For additional information, please see my CV.

Students / Postdocs

Jessica Kurth, Ph.D. Student

I am a Ph.D. student interested in how the physical properties of soil constrain soft-bodied burrowers.  My dissertation has focused on the effects of body size on soil resistance, morphology, and burrowing mechanics in the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. I am attempting to relate size-dependent changes in soil properties to ontogenetic difference in burrowing kinematics, kinetics and allometry in the hydrostatic skeleton.
Proposed Title of Ph.D. Dissertation:  The effects of body size on soft-bodied burrowers.

Julia M. Olszewski, M.S. Student

Julia is interested in the structure, function and evolution of obliquely striated muscle.  This muscle fiber type occurs in over a dozen invertebrate phyla but the functional and mechanical significance of the oblique striation pattern is unclear.  She is currently reviewing the literature and developing a mathematical model that will allow her to explore the implications of the oblique striation pattern for the length-tension behavior of this important muscle fiber type.

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Former students and postdocs

Dr. Andrew M. Smith

Professor and Chair, Department of Biology, Ithaca College
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation: Adhesion and the Tensile Strength of Water in Nature, 1992

Dr. Sönke Johnsen

Professor, Department of Biology, Duke University
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation: The Optical Design of the Photic System of Ophiuroids, 1996

Dr. Joseph T. Thompson

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Franklin and Marshall University
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation: The Ontogeny of Mantle Structure and Function in the Oval Squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana (Cephalopoda, Loliginidae), 2000

Dr. Diara D. Spain

Associate Professor, Department of Natural Science & Mathematics, Dominican University of California
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation: Peristaltic Locomotion in Holothuroids: Morphology and Movement, 2002

Dr. Rebecca Price

Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences,  University of Washington, Bothell
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation: The Function, Macroevolution, and Macroecology of the Internal Ornamentation in Neogastropods, University of Chicago, 2003.
SPIRE Postdoctoral Scholar, UNC Chapel Hill, 2004-2006

Dr. Jennifer R.A. Taylor

Assistant Professor, Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation: Hydrostatic Skeletons in the Crustacea:  Support During Molting in an Aquatic and a Terrestrial Crab, 2007

Dr. Theodore A. Uyeno

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Valdosta State University
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation: The Morphology and Biomechanics of the Muscle Articulation: A New Class of Soft Tissue Joint, 2007

Dr. Justin F. Shaffer

Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine
Title of Ph. D. Dissertation: Interactions between cardiac myosin binding protein-C and actin contribute to the regulation of muscle contraction, University of Washington, 2010
SPIRE Postdoctoral Scholar, UNC Chapel Hill, 2010-2013