Dr. John M. Gosline was the first professor to bring biomechanics research to UBC. In his 35 years at UBC, he made significant contributions to the field. Comparative biomechanics uses experimental and theoretical approaches from engineering and physics to address fundamental questions about the form, function, and evolution of organisms.
John M. Gosline joined UBC as an assistant professor in 1973, retired in 2008, and remained active as a Professor Emeritus. In his time at UBC, John developed a world-class research program in comparative biomechanics, and his contributions as a mentor and educator are equally impressive. He trained more than 35 graduate students, postdocs and research associates, and served on advisory committees for many more. Through his research, his teaching, and his administrative efforts, John helped to shape the Department of Zoology over 35 years.
After attending UC Berkeley (BA Hons, ’66), Duke University (PhD ’70), and spending three years at Cambridge University, John came to UBC in 1973, where he spent the rest of his career. John researched the structure and mechanical properties of biological materials as well as functional systems across a range of species, including: cnidarians, slugs, cephalopods, mussels, spiders, jellyfish, hagfish, cetaceans and other mammals. He is best known for his work on the mechanisms of elasticity in structural proteins such as spider silk, elastin, resilin, collagen, and keratin.
John’s research has resulted in more than 100 publications and several books and patents. An exceptional experimentalist, John is well known for his ability to formulate clear and insightful questions. Often, John’s key experiments were based on an apparatus he would fabricate himself.
John’s awards include:
• Senior Killam Fellow, 1983-84
• Killam Research Prize, 1999
• Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 1985
• Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada 1997
• Faculty of Science Achievement Award for Service, 2005
As much as John was admired for his intellect, he was valued even more for his kind and gentle manner and his infectious optimism, characteristics that defined him to his final day. John passed away on November 7, 2016.
Previous John M. Gosline Lecturers
|Year||Lecturer||Institution||Title of seminar|
|2023||Sheila Patek||Duke University|
|2022||Bob Shadwick||UBC Zoology||In the shadow of JMG: elastic adventures in the animal world|
|2021||Michael Dickinson||California Institute of Technology||Lessons from the cockpit of a fly: changing course is easy, flying straight is hard|
|2020||Margo Lillie||UBC||Fluking on a breath-hold:vascular adaptations in whales|
|2019||Andrew Biewener||Harvard University||Neuromechanics of movement: stability and navigation in complex environments|
|2018||Douglas S. Fudge||Chapman University||Slip, slither and slime: comparative biomechanics of hagfishes|
|2017||Emily Carrington||University of Washington||Only as strong as the weakest link: biomaterial performance informs the ecology and economy of marine mussels|
|2016||Mimi Koehl||University of California, Berkeley||Locomoting in a turbulent world|
|2015||Mark Denny||Stanford University||Ecological mechanics: the role of mechanism from molecules to communities|
|2014||John M. Gosline||University of British Columbia||Evolution and the structural design of insect cuticle|