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Ty in AKTy Hedrick – Professor/Lab PI – Curriculum VitaeGoogle Scholar Profile

Ty Hedrick began studying biomechanics and animal locomotion as a undergraduate at Brown University in 1997 where he worked in Dr. Sharon Swartz’s laboratory. After a two year detour in the software industry, he began a Ph.D. in Biology at Harvard University where he worked under Dr. Andrew Biewener at the Concord Field Station. After completing his thesis, Aerodynamics, biomechanics and neuromuscular control of avian flight, he received a Ph.D. in June of 2004. He then worked as a postdoctoral research assistant with Dr. Thomas Daniel at the University of Washington with funding from the National Science Foundation and DARPA. Ty started his latest job as an Assistant Professor in the University of North Carolina Department of Biology in July, 2007.


Laura MendezLaura Mendez – Graduate student

Experiencing the challenges of moving in water as a swimmer shaped my interest in biomechanics and the effects of the environment on animal locomotion and behavior. This journey has taken me to study the muscle form-function relationship in wasps, and humans. After completing an M.Sc. at Penn State and working on spinal cord injury research at the University of Louisville, I joined the lab to continue with my original interests. Currently, I am working on understanding the mechanical power required for aquatic takeoff in birds and the effects of flying close to the water surface.

Current undergraduate researchers and technicians:

Yseult Hedlund, Justin Killi




Sonja Friman Sonja Friman – Former Postdoctoral researcher

After completing her PhD in environmental physics at Heidelberg University, Germany, Sonja joined the lab to work on a project which ideally combines her expertise in flow visualization techniques and her longtime fascination for birds: Sonja’s project focuses on how birds interact with turbulence, especially the wake of another bird, e.g. in formation and or even murmuration type flight and uses a variety of measurement techniques to quantify the aerodynamics and energetics of European Starlings flying as a group and in controlled turbulence in the Brown University animal flight wind tunnel. Sonja is now a postdoctoral researcher at Lund University’s Animal Flight Lab.


Jonathan Rader – Former Graduate student

Jonathan joined the lab after completing an M.Sc. at the University of Wyoming on the morphology and ecology of Cinclodes ovenbirds. He is broadly interested in the mechanics, physiology and ecological consequences of animal movement, and in the evolutionary forces that have shaped them. He is especially interested in form-function relationships, and major evolutionary transitions in vertebrate locomotion and hopes to study these in the context of the flight apparatus.Jonathan is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Matute lab at UNC.


Pranav Khandelwal – Former Graduate student

Pranav Khandelwal recently defended his PhD thesis “How Do Animals Glide In Their Natural Habitat? A Holistic Approach Using the Flying Lizard Draco Dussumieri” and is now a postdoc at the Max Plank Institute for Intelligent Systems.



other Lab Alumni:

Alaowei Amanah, Evan Bluhm, Pavel Chtcheprov, Aaron Corcoran, Nick Deluga, Brad Dickerson, Ellis Driver, Dennis Evangelista, María José Fernández, Hanna Gardner, Mariah Goodman, Jeremy Greeter, Ming Guo, Lucy Herrero, Jaime Isetts, Shannon Jones, Brandon Jackson, Amanda Lohmann, Alisha McGriff, Thuy Nguyen, Almir Omerspahic, Victor Ortega, Raghuvara Padma, Meera Parikh, Laura Pianowski, Sathish K. Raja, Shanthi Ravi, Dylan Ray, Alice Robinson, Alva Ronn, Colton Sanders, Rikki Schroeder, Ryan Shelton, Katherine Sholtis, Dwight Springthorpe, TJ Tkacik, Nathan Roach, Laura Vollenweider, Sarah Wright, Sarah Yaghoubi, Stephanie Yu