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John H. Long, Jr. Professor of Biology and Cognitive Science on the John Guy Vassar Chair and Cognitive Science Department Chair

A vertebrate physiologist specializing in biomechanics, John has expanded his research program to examine the locomotor evolution of early vertebrates. New techniques include robotics, cognitive science, physics-based computer simulation, and evolutionary analysis. This cross-disciplinary approach has been made possible by collaborators at Vassar, Lafayette College, Shriners Hospital for Children, University of California, University of North Carolina, Nekton Research, and Duke University. Also essential have been research grants provided by the National Science Foundation and the Office for Naval Research. Foremost, John has benefited from the enthusiasm, brilliance, and creativity of Vassar undergraduates, some of whom have presented the lab’s research at international scientific meetings and in scientific publications.

  • BA, College of the Atlantic; PhD, Duke University
  • At Vassar since 1991

Contact

Research and Academic Interests

  • Robotics

Courses

  • BIOL 380. Biomechanics

Selected Publications

  • Long, J.H. Jr., Engel, V.*, Combie, K.*, Koob-Emunds, M. and T.J. Koob (2006). “A target for biomimetics and synthetic biology: The notochord of the Atlantic hagfish.” Myxine glutinosa. The Bulletin, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, 45, 78-81.
  • Long, J.H. Jr., Schumacher, J.*, Livingston, N. and M. Kemp (2006). “Four flippers or two? Tetrapodal swimming with an aquatic robot.” Bioinspiration & Biomimetics (Institute of Physics) 1, 20-19.
  • Summers, A.P. and J.H. Long Jr. (2006). “Skin and bones, sinew and gristle: the mechanical behavior of fish skeletal tissues.” Pp 141-177 In Fish Biomechanics (Editors R.E. Shadwick & G.V. Lauder, volume 23, Fish Physiology; series editors A.P. Farrell & C.J. Brauner). Academic Press.
  • Kemp, M., Hobson, B. and J.H. Long Jr. (2005). “Madeleine: an agile AUV propelled by flexible fins.” In Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Unmanned Untethered Submersible Technology (UUST). Autonomous Undersea Systems Institute, Lee, NH.
  • Long, J.H. Jr., A.C. Lammert *, C.A. Pell,, M. Kemp, J. Strother, H.C. Crenshaw, and M.J. McHenry (2004). “A navigational primitive: biorobotic implementation of cycloptic helical klinotaxis in planar motion.” IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering 29(3), 795-806.
  • Hale, M.E.,Long, J.H Jr., M.J. McHenry, * & M.W. Westneat. (2002). “Evolution of behavior and neural control of the fast-start escape response.” Evolution 56(5), 993-1007.
  • Long, J.H. Jr., B. Adcock * & R.G. Root. (2002). “Force transmission via axial tendons in undulating fish: a dynamic analysis.” Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A, 133, 911-929.
  • Long, J.H. Jr., M.,Koob-Emunds, B. Sinwell, * & T.J. Koob. (2002). “The notochord of hagfish, Myxine glutinosa: viscoelastic properties and mechanical functions during steady swimming.” Journal of Experimental Biology. 205, 3819-3831.

* Student author

Photos

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Photo: Karl Rabe / Vassar College
  • PhD 1991 Zoology, Duke University
  • BA 1986 Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic

Research Interests

A vertebrate physiologist specializing in biomechanics, John has expanded his research program to examine the locomotor evolution of early vertebrates. New techniques include robotics, cognitive science, physics-based computer simulation, and evolutionary analysis. This cross-disciplinary approach has been made possible by collaborators at Vassar, Lafayette College, Shriners Hospital for Children, University of California, University of North Carolina, Nekton Research, and Duke University. Also essential have been research grants provided by the National Science Foundation and the Office for Naval Research. Foremost, John has benefited from the enthusiasm, brilliance, and creativity of Vassar undergraduates, some of whom have presented the lab’s research at international scientific meetings and in scientific publications.

Teaching Interests

In the Biology Department, John teaches courses in animal physiology, animal diversity, introductory biology, biomechanics, and evolutionary theory. In the Cognitive Science Program, he teaches course in Perception & Action and Mind-Brain Architecture. In the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, John teaches introduction to neuroscience & behavior. In the Environmental Studies Program, he has taught a course on whales & whaling.

John is particularly keen on teaching individual students in independent studies and senior theses. These customized, one-on-one courses function as hands-on research apprenticeships.



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