Erin Simons, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Midwestern University
Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Department of Anatomy
Agave 201Y
19555 N 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (623) 572-3727
Lab: (623) 572-6088


BA Biology and Geology Gustavus Adolphus College 2000
MS Geological Sciences Michigan State University 2002
PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Ohio University 2009


My research is focused on developing a better understanding of the structure-function relationship in bone and how this relates to different flight modes in extant birds. My research has involved quantifying the morphology of the skeletal elements at several anatomical levels, including whole bone, cross-sectional, and histological.

I am interested in how the morphology of a bone has changed to withstand the different loading environments associated with different locomotor modes over evolutionary time. In addition, much of the skeleton has developed before significant external loads from locomotion are applied to it, suggesting that growth is an important constraint on bone structure. I am currently investigating the development of specific bone microstructure (laminarity) in a number of flighted and flightless birds.


Lee AH & Simons ELR. (2015) Wing bone laminarity is not an adaptation for torsional resistance in bats. PeerJ 3:e823.

Marelli CA & Simons ELR. (2014) Microstructure and cross-sectional shape of limb bones in Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks: how do these features relate to differences in flight and hunting behavior? PLOS ONE 9(8):e106094

Patel BA, Ruff CB, Simons ELR, Organ JM. (2013) Humeral cross-sectional shape in suspensory primates and sloths. Anatomical Record 296:545-556.

Brereton D, Plochocki JH, An D, Costas J, Simons ELR. (2012) The Effects of Glucocorticoid and Voluntary Exercise Treatment on the Development of Thoracolumbar Kyphosis in Dystrophin-Deficient Mice. PLOS Currents Muscular Dystrophy 10:4. doi: 10.1371/4ffdff160de8b.

Simons ELR & O'Connor PM. (2012) Bone laminarity and flight mode in the avian forelimb skeleton and its relationship to flight mode: testing functional interpretations. Anatomical Record 295:386-396.   

Simons ELR, Hieronymus TL, O'Connor PM. (2011) Cross sectional geometry of the forelimb skeleton in pelecaniform birds. Journal of Morphology 272:958-971.   

Simons ELR. (2010) Forelimb skeletal morphology and flight mode evolution in pelecaniform birds. Zoology 113:39-46.