Dr. Dennis Bramble - 2012 Huffines Discussion Scholar

Dr. Dennis Bramble, Ph.D

Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Utah

"Can Grandma Run? An Evolutionary Perspective on Human Exercise, Aging and Endurance Performance"

Dr. Dennis Bramble received his undergraduate degree (zoology) from the University of California, Davis and his graduate training in vertebrate paleontology at U. C. Berkeley.  His research has been primarily in the area of functional vertebrate morphology, in which he has used engineering approaches to better understand the relationships between morphological structure and function, especially those involving locomotion.  He has subsequently used the results of this research to gain additional insight into patterns of morphological evolution as revealed in the fossil record.  Bramble's studies have explored a variety of topics involving an assortment of vertebrate animals (e.g., turtles, jackrabbits, horses and dogs), but most recently his attention has turned to the problem of running and its influence on human origins and evolution.  The initial phase of this work (co-authored by Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University) appeared as a featured cover article in the journal Nature in 2004 and was widely covered in the popular press, including a front-page piece in the New York Times.  It also provided some of the inspiration for Christopher McDougall’s very popular book, Born to Run (2009).  Other of his studies have appeared in leading scientific journals and scholarly books, including Science magazine; he is also a co-author of the book Functional Vertebrate Morphology.  Bramble has been a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. He joined the faculty of the Biology Department at the University of Utah in 1976 and currently serves as Emeritus Professor of Biology.