Skip to Main Content

Nicolai Konow

IMAGE OF Nicolai Konow
Dr. Nicolai KonowAssistant Professor

Research Interests

Form-function-mechanics relationships | movement integration and coordination | Muscle contraction and tendon elastic action | Ecological diversification | Evolutionary transitions | Feeding | Locomotion


  • BS, University of Copenhagen - Denmark
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: The evolutionary origin of tetrapod vertebrates
  • MS, University of Copenhagen - Denmark
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Retinal specializations in deep-sea fishes
  • Ph D, James Cook University - Australia
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Feeding ecomorphology of biting reef fish


In my lab, we seek to understand how biological movements, like those seen during feeding and locomotion arise from mechanical interactions between contracting muscles, springy tendons and jointed skeletons. We combine tools from biomechanics, functional morphology and muscle physiology in a program of relevance for students interested in organismal biology, ecology and evolution, or biomedical and health-care careers. Our current projects aim to determine how changes in movement patterns impact ecological transitions and we also study how muscle-tendon mechanics change through the life of organisms, with direct implications for questions in human health.

Selected Publications

  • Kessler, S.E., Rainbow, M.J., Lichtwark, G.A., CRESSWELL, A.G., D'Andrea, S.E., Konow, N., Kelly, L.A. (2019). A Direct Comparison of Biplanar Videoradiography and Optical Motion Capture for Foot and Ankle Kinematics. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 7 199.
  • Heiss, E., Schwarz, D., Konow, N. (2019). Chewing or not? Intraoral food processing in a salamandrid newt. Journal of Experimental Biology, 222(6) jeb189886.
  • Shehaj, A., Rimkus, B., Konow, N. (2019). Differences in Stress-strain and Power-velocity Properties between Muscles with Distinct Fiber Type Composition, Architecture and Mechanical Function (59: pp. E406--E406).
  • Rimkus, B., Shehaj, A., Konow, N., Umass, L. (2019). Do Muscles with Distinct Fiber Architecture, Fiber-type Composition, and Mechanical Function have Different Modulatory Scopes for Power and Work Production? (59: pp. E395--E395).
  • Arellano, C.J., Konow, N., Gidmark, N.J., Roberts, T.J. (2019). Evidence of a tunable biological spring: elastic energy storage in aponeuroses varies with transverse strain in vivo. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286(1900) 20182764.
  • Witzmann, F., Brainerd, E., Konow, N. (2019). Eye movements in frogs and salamanders--testing the palatal buccal pump hypothesis. Integrative Organismal Biology.
  • Heiss, E., Schwarz, D., Konow, N. (2019). Flexibility of intraoral food processing in newts (59: pp. E97--E97).
  • Schwarz, D., Konow, N., Heiss, E. (2019). Functional Morphology of the Chewing Mechanism in a Neotenic Sirenid Salamander (280: pp. S215--S216).
  • Lin, Y., Konow, N., Dumont, E.R. (2019). How moles destroy your lawn: the forelimb kinematics of Eastern moles in loose and compact substrates. Journal of Experimental Biology, 222(4) jeb182436.
  • Putra, C., Rimkis, B., Shehaj, A., Gage, M., Konow, N., Mangano, K. (2019). Impact of Dietary Protein Source on Muscle Performance: An in-vivo Behavioral Assay (OR26-05-19). Oxford University Press
  • Ravi, S., Noda, R., Gagliardi, S., Kolomenskiy, D., Combes, S., Liu, H., Biewener, A., Konow, N. (2019). Modulation of Flight Muscle Recruitment and Wing Rotation Enables Hummingbirds to Mitigate Aerial Roll Perturbations. CURRENT-BIOLOGY-D-19-00783.
  • Konow, N., Winchester, J.M., Boyer, D.M., Wallace, I.J. (2019). New methods for quantifying entheseal shape and adaptation to functional loading (168: pp. 129--130).
  • Schwarz, D., Heiss, E., Konow, N. (2019). Three-dimensional mandibular movements during chewing in a salamander (59: pp. E208--E208).
  • Konow, N. (2019). When Things Get Bendy-Evolution of Vertebrate Skull Kinesis (280: pp. S23--S23).
  • Ahn, A., Konow, N., Tijs, C., Biewener, A. (2018). Different segments within vertebrate muscles can operate on different regions of their force--length relationships. Integrative and comparative biology, 58(2) 219--231.