Doug Altshuler

Associate Head, Full Professor

Our research questions focus on the mechanisms of animal flight. We use approaches in visuomotor control, biomechanics, and muscle physiology.

One of the most remarkable adaptations in animals is the ability to fly. Birds, bats and insects are among the most successful of terrestrial organisms, and their colonization of diverse habitats and ecological roles provides a rich context for studies of animal behavior and ecology. The study of how animals fly is an intrinsically multidisciplinary field that involves aspects of aerodynamics, physiology, and neuroscience. Although most flight research concerns either mechanisms or ecological interactions, flight behavior provides a powerful yet experimentally tractable system with which to merge reductionist and comparative approaches to understand how complex locomotion is accomplished, and how variation in locomotor performance influences higher-order behaviors. In my laboratory, we aim to integrate approaches ranging from laboratory experiments to evolutionary comparisons because understanding the mechanisms of flight control also requires understanding the historical forces that have shaped it. Conversely, to evaluate the mechanisms by which ecological changes result in biological adaptations requires a well-described system that can be studied in different environments.

23rd Annual Lawrence R. Blinks Memorial Lecturer in Physiology, Stanford University

2018
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For Research

UBC Killam Faculty Research Fellowship, Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Fund for Advanced Studies

2017
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For Research

Peter Wall Scholar

2016
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For Research

Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies

Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Awardee

2013
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For Research

George A. Bartholomew Award

2007
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For Research

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology