Dr Olga Panagiotopoulou

Lecturer

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
o.panagiotopoulou@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 54443

Overview

I am an evolutionary morphologist, functional anatomist and biomechanist interested in assessing the mechanical and physiological determinants of the locomotor and the masticatory systems in mammalian vertebrates from clinical and evolutionary perspectives.

I received my BA at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2003, my MSc on Human Osteology and Palaeopathology from the University of Bradford, UK in 2006 and then I obtained my PhD at the University of York, UK in 2010. Straight after my PhD I joined John Hutchinson's team at the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College as a 3 year BBSRC postdoc on comparative locomotor mechanics and pathology. The last two years of my postdoc appointment, I received a Marie Curie Reintegration Fellowship on chewing mechanics during which I rounded my training working closely with Callum Ross (University of Chicago) and Paul Dechow (Baylor School of Dentistry). Currently I am a lecturer in Anatomy and Head of the Moving Morphology & Functional Mechanics Laboratory at the School of Biomedical Sciences.

My team consists of passionate young researchers who share a love for science and challenging projects. We work with humans, non-human primates and impressive gigantic animals (elephants, rhinos, giraffes and more) from safari parks across the globe. My research projects involve extensive field work and the application of ground-breaking experimental techniques, mathematical models and computer simulations to better understand how the musculoskeletal system works.

Happy surfing and also visit the Moving Morphology and Functional Mechanics Lab pages

Research Interests

  • Locomotor mechanics and pathology
    • The interaction between foot form, substrate properties, habitat, size, locomotor mechanics and pathogeneses in large quadrupedal mammals and humans. • The effect of obesity on human and animal locomotor mechanics • Musculoskeletal anatomy and muscle physiology • Fracture mechanics and trauma • Dynamics and mechanics of locomotion using XROMM and computer simulations finite element analysis and computer simulations • Foot pressures in locomotion • Implant design • Muscle physiology
  • Feeding mechanics in mammals
    • Functional significance of morphological variation of the mammalian and primate feeding apparatus • Jaw material properties • The effect of feeding behaviour and food material properties on chewing mechanics • Jaw pathogenesis in relation to mechanics • Muscle physiology
  • Novel 3D integration techniques in Anatomy teaching
    3D virtual reconstruction; Computer animation; Computer Simulations

Research Impacts

Olga's research on animal foot pressures has been widely covered in the media. Following her recent work on African elephant foot pressures she was invited to become a Research affiliate at the Rory Hensman Elephant Research Unit in South Africa.

Olga's recent paper on the sperm whale forehead has ranked in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric and has been featured in several news outlets e.g (UQ news, Science AAAS, Science news, The Huffington Post, The New Daily, Science Daily, Plos Ecology Blog, Discovery News, Telegram, Eurekalert, Radio New Zealand, New Zealand Herald, Washington Post, Heritage Daily, Business insider Australia, Dailymail.co.uk, Live Science, Phys Org, Science World Report, The Reddit Journal of Science, Canada Journal and more).

For more information about Olga's media engagement, research impact and awards visit her Homepage.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts (Honors), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Master of Science, University of Bradford
  • Doctor of Philosophy, York(UK)

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Exciting Hons project in collaboration with the Schools of Biomedical and Biological Sciences.

    Extant vombatiform marsupials (koalas and wombats) are the only survivors of an extensive radiation of mostly terrestrial vombatiforms dating back to the late Oligocene. This mammalian “megafauna” ranged in size from the ~6 kg koalas alive today to the 3000 kg Diprotodon optatum and exhibited a wide variety of skull shapes and sizes to exploit different ecological niches. Extant wombats and koalas are highly adapted for either grazing or browsing, respectively. Within wombats, the northern hairy-nosed wombat (NHNW) and common wombat live in moister habitats and vegetation than the southern hairy-nosed wombat (SHNW), which is confined to an arid environment. Nearly all extinct vombatiforms are expected to have been fallen along the dietary spectrum delimited by the koala and wombat. This study uses 3D virtual reconstructions and 3D geometric morphometric analysis to perform shape comparisons in the lower jaw (mandible) in 20 koalas, and 60 Wombat individuals (20 Northerns, 20 Commons, 20 Southerns) and fossil vombatiforms.

    We are looking for a passionate student with basic anatomical knoweldge and experience in using R software. The student will be co-supervised by Dr. Olga Panagiotopoulou (School of Biomedical Sciences) (50%) and Dr. Vera Weisbecker (School of Biological Sciences) (50%). If you are interested in learning more about 3D modelling and vombatiform functional anatomy please contact Olga (o.panagiotopoulou@uq.edu.au) and Vera (v.weisbecker@uq.edu.au) for an interview.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Panagiotopoulou, Olga (2008). Bone: a structure - function approach. In Interdisciplinary approaches to reconstructing the past (pp. 93-114) York, United Kingdom: University of York.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Exciting Hons project in collaboration with the Schools of Biomedical and Biological Sciences.

    Extant vombatiform marsupials (koalas and wombats) are the only survivors of an extensive radiation of mostly terrestrial vombatiforms dating back to the late Oligocene. This mammalian “megafauna” ranged in size from the ~6 kg koalas alive today to the 3000 kg Diprotodon optatum and exhibited a wide variety of skull shapes and sizes to exploit different ecological niches. Extant wombats and koalas are highly adapted for either grazing or browsing, respectively. Within wombats, the northern hairy-nosed wombat (NHNW) and common wombat live in moister habitats and vegetation than the southern hairy-nosed wombat (SHNW), which is confined to an arid environment. Nearly all extinct vombatiforms are expected to have been fallen along the dietary spectrum delimited by the koala and wombat. This study uses 3D virtual reconstructions and 3D geometric morphometric analysis to perform shape comparisons in the lower jaw (mandible) in 20 koalas, and 60 Wombat individuals (20 Northerns, 20 Commons, 20 Southerns) and fossil vombatiforms.

    We are looking for a passionate student with basic anatomical knoweldge and experience in using R software. The student will be co-supervised by Dr. Olga Panagiotopoulou (School of Biomedical Sciences) (50%) and Dr. Vera Weisbecker (School of Biological Sciences) (50%). If you are interested in learning more about 3D modelling and vombatiform functional anatomy please contact Olga (o.panagiotopoulou@uq.edu.au) and Vera (v.weisbecker@uq.edu.au) for an interview.