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Ph.D position in Biomechanics at University of Northern Colorado

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  • Ph.D position in Biomechanics at University of Northern Colorado

    The Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Northern Colorado is seeking a doctoral student to fill a teaching assistantship starting fall 2012. The Biomechanics program is designed to be completed within three years, and consists of coursework primarily in biomechanics and research methods & design. However, students will also be encouraged to take complimentary coursework in areas such as exercise physiology, sport sociology and psychology, statistics, and computer programming. In addition to coursework, students will be expected to be involved in a variety of on-going research projects within the Biomechanics Laboratory.

    Overview of Research Program:
    Broadly, the research interest of the Biomechanics Lab relates to understanding of the mechanics and energetics of locomotion. The research paradigm of the lab relies on both experimental and musculoskeletal modeling techniques to address research questions related to 1) amputee locomotion, 2) dynamic and static postural stability, and 3) effects of cancer treatments.

    Lower extremity amputees are one population that the lab continues to research in an attempt to better understand mechanisms underlying functional limitations associated with prosthetic use. One project is investigating the effects of different types of lower extremity amputation on functional outcomes following amputation. Another project is investigating the effects of prosthesis inertia on amputee locomotion patterns. A third project is attempting to improve our current models of amputee locomotion by better approximating the motion of the prosthetic ankle during locomotion.

    Another interest of the lab at the moment includes research related to static and postural stability in multiple populations. For example, one project focuses on mechanisms underlying dynamic stability in athletes and possible relationships to risk of injury in athletes. Another project is studying dynamic and static postural stability in unilateral amputees to better understand mechanisms related to functional limitations of this population and the influence of perceived risk of falling on the postural steadiness measures.

    In collaboration with colleagues in exercise physiology, we are investigating the effects of exercise on mitigating side effects of cancer treatments, which include a loss of balance. We currently use both a rat model and human model to answer questions in this area. In the rat model, we are investigating the effects of cancer treatments on the mechanics and energetics of locomotion to understand the consequences of isolated muscle dysfunction due to cancer treatments. In cancer survivors, we assess postural steadiness at various stages of treatment and are investigating the influence of exercise on improving balance and posture in this population. Future work with cancer survivors will also be focusing on gait patterns in this population.
    For further information on research focuses of faculty in the biomechanics program please visit the following pages:

    Jeremy Smith, Ph.D.
    Gary Heise, Ph. D.

    Admissions Criteria:
    The primary considerations for admission include:
    1) Research interest and research experience of the applicant
    2) Obtained a master’s degree before fall 2012
    3) Academic background (with emphasis on physics, mechanics, programming and mathematics)
    4) Quantitative and verbal GRE scores.

    At the doctoral level, it is important that the student and mentor have similar research interests in order for the education and training of the student to be as successful as possible. Thus, the most important consideration given to any applicant will be the research interest. Students with backgrounds in biology, physics, engineering, and/or exercise science are encouraged to apply. The graduate school’s admission criteria can be found at ( However, note that although the minimum requirements for the graduate school with regards to the GRE are a combined score of at least 1000, the biomechanics program generally prefers to see quantitative scores on the GRE in at least the 600s.

    Admissions process for the program can be found at:

    Review of applications will begin February 1st, 2012.


    Teaching assistants are expected to contribute to undergraduate lab instruction in Biomechanics and Anatomical Kinesiology. Teaching experience in these areas would be beneficial, but is not required. In addition to the teaching responsibilities, students on assistantship will be expected to be continuously involved in ongoing research in the lab.

    Teaching assistantships require a separate application from the graduate school’s admission application. A link to this application can be found at:

    If you have any questions regarding the position or application procedures, please contact:

    Jeremy D. Smith, Ph.D.
    School of Sport & Exercise Science
    University of Northern Colorado
    Campus Box 39•Gunter 2790
    Greeley, CO 80639
    Office: 970-351-1761
    Last edited by Jeremy Smith; January 6, 2012, 05:28 PM. Reason: updated link