Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Faculty & Staff

David Lin

2023 David Lin Headshot

David Lin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Integrated mechanical properties of skeletal muscle and spinal reflexes

Office: 211 Wegner Hall 📞509-335-7534

The Gene and Linda Voiland
School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
1505 Stadium Way, Room 105
P.O. Box 646515
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6515

Research Interests

Dr. Lin is interested in the integrated mechanical properties of skeletal muscle, tendon, and spinal reflexes. Specifically, he studies how the individual components making up the peripheral neuromuscular system interact to stabilize posture or movements while encountering a perturbation, such as stepping off a curb unexpectedly. More generally, his research advances the concepts in the nascent field of Morphological Computing, in which the embedded intelligence of actuators and sensors lessen the computational burden of the controlling components.

Dr. Lin’s recent research has focused on elucidating how kangaroo rats are able to hop seamlessly over variable and unpredictable terrain. This research uses a combination of in vivo measurements to observe the biomechanical behavior of the animals, in situ experiments to investigate the properties of the musculoskeletal system, and computational models to test mechanistic hypotheses. In addition, Dr. Lin also formulates mathematical models of skeletal muscle. Of particular interest to his laboratory are the multi-scale force-generating characteristics of skeletal muscle, from ensembles of motor protein to musculotendon function. These studies use a variety of experimental and modeling methods.

An application of his research is to incorporate the unique features of neuromuscular systems into engineered robotic systems. Unlike robots, humans remain stable while interacting with different environments, such as walking on a rocky surface. Implementing mechanical properties similar to muscle into the actuators of a robot may solve this problem.

Biographical Information

Dr. Lin received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. He completed the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1989 and 1997 respectively. From 1997 to 2000, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow both at Emory University in the department of Physiology and at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He accepted a joint appointment at Washington State University as assistant professor in the Departments of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology (now the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience) and Department of Biological Systems Engineering in 2001.

Selected Publications

  1. Javidi, M., McGowan, C.P., and Lin, D.C. Estimation of the force-velocity properties of individual muscles from measurement of the combined plantarflexor properties. Journal of Experimental Biology, 223: 2020. doi: 10.1242/jeb.219980
  2. Lin, D.C., McGowan, C.P., Blum, K.P. and Ting, L.H. Yank: the time derivative of force is an important biomechanical variable in sensorimotor systems. Journal of Experimental Biology. 222(18), September 2019. doi:10.1242/jeb.180414
  3. Javidi, M., McGowan, C.P., Schiele, N.R. and Lin, D.C. Tendons from kangaroo rats are exceptionally strong and tough. Scientific Reports. 9(1), 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-44671-9
  4. Javidi, M., McGowan, C.P., and Lin, D.C. The contributions of individual muscle-tendon units to the plantarflexor group force-length properties. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 47(11): 2168-2177, 2019. doi: 10.1007/s10439-019-02288-z
  5. Schwaner M.J., Lin D.C, and McGowan C.P. Jumping mechanics of desert kangaroo rats. Journal of Experimental Biology. Nov 12;221(Pt 22), 2018. doi: 10.1242/jeb.186700.
  6. Vasavada, A.N., Hughes, E., Nevins, D. D., Monda, S., and Lin, D.C. Effect of Subject-Specific Vertebral Position and Head and Neck Size on Calculation of Spine Musculoskeletal Moments. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. doi: 10.1007/s10439-018-2084-9, 2018.
  7. Rehwaldt J.D., Rodgers, B.D., and Lin, D.C. Skeletal Muscle Contractile Properties in a Novel Murine Model for Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2i. Journal of Applied Physiology. 123(6): 1698-1707, 2017.
  8. Maricelli, J.W., Kagel, D.R., Bishaw, Y.M., Nelson, O.L., Lin D.C., Rodgers, B.D. Sexually Dimorphic Skeletal Muscle and Cardiac Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2i . Journal of Applied Physiology 123(5): 1126-1138, 2017