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NSF-Funded Computational Ph.D. Position Focused on Evolution of Human Bipedalism at the University of Michigan

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  • NSF-Funded Computational Ph.D. Position Focused on Evolution of Human Bipedalism at the University of Michigan

    We have an exciting NSF-funded opportunity for a Ph.D. student to work on a project focused on adaptations in musculoskeletal traits that enhanced bipedal walking and running capabilities in the evolution of our hominin ancestors. This is a computational project that will primarily involve musculoskeletal modeling, computer simulation, optimization, and other numerical techniques, such as Monte Carlo methods.

    The student will enroll in a unique joint Ph.D. program in Movement Science and Scientific Computing. Applicants should have completed a master’s degree in a relevant field. Occasionally, students with a bachelor’s degree and substantial independent research experience are admitted directly to the doctoral program.

    Consideration is open to students from a range of backgrounds. Candidates from the physical sciences may need to complete coursework in anatomy and physiology, human evolution, biomechanics, and sensorimotor neuroscience. Candidates from the life or health sciences will need to have an adequate background to succeed in a rigorous computational science curriculum (i.e., strong math and computer programming background).

    The student will work with Prof. Brian Umberger as their primary mentor, and will collaborate with other members of an interdisciplinary team that includes anthropologists and anatomists. The University of Michigan offers an intellectually stimulating environment in which to pursue graduate studies and is consistently ranked among the top public research universities in the U.S. The doctoral programs in the School of Kinesiology were recently ranked #1 in the U.S. by the National Academy of Kinesiology. This is an especially exciting time to join our group as we move into a brand new, start-of-the-art building in Winter 2021, with dedicated biomechanics and computational research spaces.

    Please contact Prof. Umberger with any questions (

    Information about the Movement Science Ph.D. program:

    Information about the Scientific Computing Ph.D. program:

    Note that the first link above indicates a Dec 1 deadline to be considered for funding. There will be flexibility on that deadline as this particular funding only recently became available.