faculty

Laura Macesic Ekstrom

Assistant Professor of Biology

Departments

Biology

Programs

Biology, Neuroscience

Contact

Mars 1130

Tuesday & Thursday: 11:00am - 12:00pm, and by appointment

(508) 286-3940

(508) 285-8278

About

Courses Taught

BIO 112: Cells & Genes

BIO 244: Introductory Physiology

BIO 255: Vertebrate Evolution & Anatomy

BIO 298: Biology of Sharks & Their Relatives

BIO 330: Comparative Biomechanics

Research Interests

Biomechanics and control of locomotion in vertebrates

Evolution of skeletons

Morphological plasticity

Wheaton Women in STEM

Assoc. Prof. Rachelle DeCoste and I co-founded and organize the Wheaton College Summit for Women in STEM to provide support, celebrate, and connect local undergraduate women to potential mentors, employers, and colleagues.  Our 2nd Summit will be on March 24, 2018.  More information will be provided shortly!

 

Degrees

Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University
B.Sc. with Honours, McMaster University

Research Interests

I am interested in locomotion in a variety of animals. Currently, I use the cane toad as a model organism with which to explore how the vertebrate body stabilizes itself upon impact and how muscle responds to repeated eccentric and concentric contractions.  I am also interested in benthic locomotion in stingrays and more broadly, examining the development of cartilaginous skeleton of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays).  Tools used to investigate these topic include: electromyography, high-speed video, force analysis, and histology.

Publications

Dean M, Ekstrom LJ, Ornan EM, Ballantyne J, Witten PE, Riley C, Habraken W, & Omelon S. 2015. Mineral homeostasis and regulation of mineralization processes in the skeletons of sharks, rays and relatives (Elasmobranchii). Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.10.022

Ekstrom, LJ & Gillis, GB. 2015. Pre-landing wrist muscle activity in hopping toads. Journal of Experimental Biology. 218: 2410-2415.

Gillis, G, Ekstrom, L, & Azizi, E. 2014. Biomechanics and Control of Landing in Toads. Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi: 10.1093/icb/icu053.

Ekstrom, LJ & Kajiura, SM. 2013. Pelvic girdle shape predicts locomotion and phylogeny in batoids. Journal of Morphology. 275: 100-110.

Bilecenoglu, M & Ekstrom, LJ. 2013. Pelvic fin walking and punting behaviour of Raja radula Delaroche, 1809 observed in the Sea of Marmara. Mediterranean Marine Science. 14: 158-161.

Macesic, LJ, Mulvaney, D, & Blevins, EL. 2013.  Synchronized Swimming: Coordination of pelvic and pectoral fins during augmented punting by freshwater stingray Potamotrygon hystrix.  Zoology. 116: 144-150.

Macesic, LJ & Summers, AP. 2012. Flexural stiffness and composition of the batoid propterygium as predictors of punting ability. Journal of Experimental Biology. 215: 2003-2012. (with cover and an Inside JEB feature)

Curtis, TH & Macesic, LJ. 2011. Observations of breaching behavior in juvenile bull sharks, Carcharhinus leucas. Florida Scientist. 74(4): 253-257.

Macesic, LJ & Kajiura, SM. 2010. Comparative punting kinematics and pelvic fin musculature of benthic batoids. Journal of Morphology. 271(10):1219-1228.

Macesic, LJ & Kajiura, SM. 2009. Electric organ morphology and function in the lesser electric ray, Narcine brasiliensisZoology. 112: 442-450.

Kajiura, SM, LJ Macesic, TL Meredith, KL Cocks, & LJ Dirk. 2009. Commensal foraging between double-crested cormorants and a Southern stingray. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 121: 646-648.

Student Projects

Student Theses:

2018 Rebecca Olivieri: Long-term adaptations of muscle composition and structure to function.

2018 Doug Werry: The role of vision in the kinematics of landing in cane toads.

2015 Janine Kopeski: Kinematics and muscle activity during punting in freshwater stingrays.

2014 Christopher Panzini: The role of vision in the ability of cane toads (Bufo marinus) to dissipate three-dimensional forces.