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Personal profile


My research focuses on the mechanical, developmental and physiological determinants of the masticatory system in vertebrates from clinical, and basic science perspectives.  

I received my BA at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2003, my MSc on Human Osteology and Palaeopathology from the University of Bradford, UK in 2006 and then I obtained my PhD at the University of York, UK in 2010, funded by Marie Curie and the Bakalas Institution. Following my PhD, I joined the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College as a 3 year Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Postdoctoral Fellow, where I worked on comparative locomotor mechanics of large mammals. In the last two years of my postdoctoral appointment, I received a EU Marie Curie Reintegration Fellowship on chewing mechanics, during which I rounded my training working closely with Professors Callum Ross (University of Chicago) and Paul Dechow (Texas A&M University College of Dentistry. On March 2013, I relocated to Australia to start my first academic appointment as a Lecturer in Anatomy at the School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland and in 2016 I received my tenure.

On February 2018 I relocated to Monash University, where I currently hold a Senior Lectureship in Anatomy and serve as the Head of the Moving Morphology and Functional Mechanics Laboratory. At Monash I also serve as Deputy-Chair as the Monash Animal Research Platform 1. I am also Associate Editor for the journals Royal Society Open Science, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology and Frontiers in Zoology and member of the Editorial Board for the journals Anatomical Record and Scientific Reports.

My laboratory focuses on two major programmes a) Functional Comparative Feeding Mechanics  and b) Jaw fracture repair. Using a combination of in vivo experimental techniques, material testing, musculoskeletal simulations and mathematical models we study the function of the musculoskeletal system in healthy conditions and the effect of trauma and degenerative joint diseases on tissue function.

Visit my lab at: https://www.monash.edu/discovery-institute/panagiotopoulou-lab/home

Twitter @dropanagio

Research interests

  • Applied and computational mechanics
  • Fracture mechanics and trauma
  • Finite element analysis of anatomical tissues
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Functional anatomy
  • Oral and maxillofacial trauma and implant design.

Transferrable research skills

Our laboratory skills include: analysis and collection of in-vivo experimental data using electromyography, strain gauges and bite force transduction; dissection techniques, muscle physiological cross sectional (PCSA) analysis; medical imaging techniques including micro Computer Tomography, Magnetic Resonance; 3D virtual reconstruction (Aviso/Mimics); Finite Element Analysis (Abaqus); 3D animation (Maya); 3D kinematics (Vicons Nexus); 3D high-speed fluoroscopy and motion capture (XROMM).

Awarded grants & fellowships

2022-2023: Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute Career Continuity Grant, Monash University. CIA [Panagiotopoulou O]. $50,000.

2022-2024: FAPES-Monash University Collaboration Seed Program (FAMOUS). Determinants of jaw shape and function in Gnathostomata. 2020/14780-1. CIA [Panagiotopoulou O (CIA), Kohlsdorf T (CIA). $68,000

2018: Panagiotopoulou O (CIA), Monash University, Project Start Up Grant

2016: Panagiotopoulou O (CIA), Early Career research Travel Grant and School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland.

2016: Panagiotopoulou O (CIA),Dr Jose Iriarte-Diaz (CIA) Outreach Grant Society of Experimental Biology. Determinants of the mammalian feeding system design.

2015: Research Collaboration Seeding Grant, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences & Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland: CI. [Smith M., Tucker K., Panagiotopoulou O., Hatton A.]. Lower limb kinematics and muscle control after lateral ankle sprains. $23,927

2014: University of Queensland (UQ) Major Equipment and Infrastructure (MEI) & National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Equipment Grant – 2014000089 CI. [Hug F., Tucker K., Hodges P., Lichtwark G., Panagiotopoulou O., Cresswell A., Carroll T., Emerick Salomoni S., Crossley K., Barber L., Claus A.]. Quantification of muscle mechanical properties by an innovative shear wave elastography technique for basic and clinical science . $69,000.00

2013: University of Queensland, School of Biomedical Sciences-Project Start up Grant 

2010: EU Marie Curie FP7 Reintegration Fellowship (PI). MACACA project. Determinants of mandibular form during intra oral food processing. €30,000

2009: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Research Grant (Named Postdoc). Comparative biomechanics and pathology of mammalian feet. £433,077

Symposium Chair in International Conference

2017: Invited co-Editor with Dr. Iriarte-Diaz of a special issue on “Determinants of Mammalian Feeding System Design” in Zoology Volume 124

2016: The 11th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology (ICVM). Determinants of the mammalian feeding system design (co-chair with Dr. Iriarte-Diaz)

Supervision interests

My lab consists of passionate and highly motivated young scientists that share an insatiable desire for learning new skills in the field of functional anatomy and biomechanics. Integrating students into research is a necessity for enriching their academic experience beyond the classroom and for creating a vibrant laboratory atmosphere that provides learning opportunities for all.

I am always keen to work with positive students who love science and are open to exploring new experimental and simulation techniques. If this is you, please contact me for further discussion.

Available PhD projects, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

  1. How to fix a broken jaw: Biomechanical insigths of jaw fracture and fixation in adults and children.
  2. Feeding mechanics and bite force performance in sharks during development.
  3. The effect of feeding behaviour on the biomechanics of the primate jaw during ontogeny

My Team

Research Associate

1. 2022-Ongoing Dr Tahlia Pollock. Paediatric Jaw trauma and fixation. 

Higher Degree Research

1. 2022-Ongoing Harry George Driscoll (Associate Advisor). Primary Advisor: Prof Marcus Pandy, Department of Mechanical Engineering. The University of Melbourne.

Thesis Title: Development of an improved biomechanical model for simulation of full-body neuromusculoskeletal function during dynamic exercise.

2. 2020-ongoing Kathleen Garland (Associate Advisor). Primary Advisor: Associate Professor Alistair Evans, School of Biology, Monash University

Thesis title: The evolutionary and developmental mechanisms behind a universal power law for the growth and form of bird beaks."  

3. 2018-2022 Dr Silke Cleuren (Associate Advisor). Primary Advisor: Associate Professor Alistair Evans, School of Biology, Monash University

Thesis title. Effectiveness of a snake strike: Fang shape and sharpness, penetrative ability and strike performance

4. 2017- 2021: Dr Hyab Mehari Abraha (Primary Advisor, Monash University). Associate Advisors: Professor Callum Ross (University of Chicago); Professor Andrea Taylor (Touro University); Dr. Iriarte-Diaz (University of the South) 

Thesis title: Biomechanical insights into the repair of mandibular angle fracture.

5. 2015-2020: Dr Andreas Jannel (Associate Advisor). Primary Advisor: Dr Steve Salisbury, The University of Queensland, Australia.

Thesis title: Palaeoecological and biomechanical inferences of sauropodan dinosaur tracks from the Lower Cretaceous Broome Sandstone of the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia.                              

6. 2015-2018: Dr Tianyi Feng (Associate Advisor).Primary Advisor: Associate Professor Steve Johnson, The University of Queensland, Australia.

Thesis title: Spermatogenesis and Sperm Assessment in the Australian Giant Tiger Prawn, Penaeus monodon (Fabricius, 1798).         

7. 2010-2014: Dr. Sharon Warner (Associate Advisor). Primary Advisor: Professor John R Hutchinson The Royal Veterinary College, UK.

Thesis title: Basic principles of foot design, locomotor impact mechanics and disease in large mammals (funded by the Royal Veterinary College and BBSRC).                                                                                                    


MSc Veterinary Science 2015-2016: Christina Quah (Associate Advisor). Primary Advisor: Assoc. Professor Chiara Palmieri, School of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia

Thesis title: 3D reconstructed computer models of bone pathology in a koala and bridled nail tail wallabies and their potential application to veterinary education.                                                                                    


  1. 2022: Joshua Bland (Associate Advisor). Thesis title: The functional morphology and biomechanics of Devonian lungfish feeding mechanisms. Primary Advisor: Prof. John Long and Dr Alice Clemens.

  2. 2021: Claira Lee (Primary Advisor). Thesis title: Biomecanics of the human mandible post symphyseal fracture and fixation

  3. 2021: Nicholas Kong (Primary Advisor). Thesis title: Biomechanics of the human mandible post combined angle and symphyseal fracture fixation.

  4. 2018: Sarah Fung (co-Advisor). Thesis title: A functional analysis of the carabelli train in Australian Aboriginal dentition. Primary Advisor: Dr Luca Fiorenza, Monash University
  5. 2017: Kirby Pitt (Primary Advisor). Thesis titleThe effect of chewing on the deformations of the macaque craniofacial skeleton. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  6. 2017: Cruise Speck (co-Advisor). Thesis title: Mandibular shape variation in wombats (50-50% supervision with Dr Vera Weisbecker). School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  7. 2017: Laura Humphries (Associate Advisor). Thesis title: Reconstruction and biomechanics of the developing mammalian jaw joint and middle ear using 3D Imaging software in three marsupial species. Primary Advisor: Dr Vera Weisbecker, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  8. 2016: Chi Ying Ho (Primary Advisor): Thesis title: Distribution of locomotor foot pressures in Australian cows reared on natural substrates. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  9. 2015: Hyab Mehari Abraha (Primary Advisor): Thesis title: Determinants of bone properties on the mechanics of the primate jaw during chewing. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  10. 2015: Philippa Champerlain (Associate Advisor): Thesis title: Foot problems in captivity in mega-vertebratesPrimary Advisor: Dr Steven Salisbury, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  11. 2014: Grace Jauristo (Primary Advisor): Thesis title: Regional foot pressures during walking in Australian domestic dromedary camels. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  12. 2014: Madeleine Day (Primary Advisor): Thesis title: Foot pressure Locomotor mechanics in African elephants (Loxodonta africana). School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.
  13. 2014: Adrian Malisano (Primary Advisor): Thesis title: Foot distribution in domestic sheep during walking. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.

 2010-2012: BVet Med Hons students working on animal foot pressures during locomotion (Geekie CameronMurphy Joshua IanPhillipa DobbsLisa BrownKatherine JonesErin Carney); on subchondral bone density in horses (Amy Amelleney) and on material properties of mammalian foot tendons and ligaments (Gamston Timothy Allan) (Associate Advisor). Primary Advisor: Professor John R Hutchinson

Undergraduate research 

2022-Ongoing: University of Chicago medical student (Bryce Hendren-Santiago). Systematic Review on Jaw fracture.

2022: DEV3990, Research Project (Elizabeth Skvortsova) Monash University. Biomechanics of the Macaca mulatta juvenile mandible during chewing 

2021: DEV3990 Research Project (Zachary Dicker) Monash University. Biomechanics of the human jaw during chewing.

2020-2021: University of Chicago Pritzker medical student(Michelle Shang). Jaw fracture mechanics 

2020: University of Chicago Pritzker medical student (Pranav Haravu). Jaw fracture mechanics 

2019: DEV3990 Research Project (Natalia Zivcic) Monash University. Cortical thickness in the primate jaw.

2018: DEV3990 Research Project (Erin Jones) Monash University. The effects of developing dentitin on the biomechanics of the primate jaw.

2017: Anatomy and Function of foot muscles (Michael Valdinocci) Recipient of the School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland. Winter Scholarship.

2015-2016: Sheep Foot Locomotor Pressures (Manuel Wailan); 3D reconstruction of the elephant foot (Rebecca Morrison); Investigation of the pathological and non-pathological Bilby hock (Xavier Jovellanos)

2014-2015: BioMed students working on 3D reconstructions and foot joint kinematics (Jan Janzekovic, Vyjayanthi Kinhal, Cameron Sunderland, Philip Janowicz).

2013-2014: BioMed students working on mammalian foot kinematics (Esther McElrea, Philip Janowicz (recipient of the School of Biomedical Sciences Student Award), Cameron Sunderland, Peter Steyn.

Monash teaching commitment

  1. Coordinator of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology Honours Program.
  2. Co-Coordinator of BMS2011: Structure of the human body: An evolutionary and functional perspective

Teaching within Anatomy and Developmental Biology

BMS2011, Semester 1, Structure of the human body: An evolutionary and functional perspective

Modules:: Head & Neck; Thoracic Viscera; Abdominal Viscera; Pelvis 

RAD 1031, Semester 1, Radiographic Anatomy

Modules: Lower Limb

GMA1010, Semester 1&2, Foundations of Medical Practice

Modules: Pelvis & Abdomen

MED2031, Semester 1, Medicine

Modules: The nephron & posterior abdominal wall and kidneys

MED1022, Semester 2, Theme III Medical Curriculum 

Modules: Overview of thoracic cage and spaces; cardiovascular system; Abdomen; clinical anatomy of knee & leg; ankle and foot on bipedalism; Lower Limb III, Chest wall & diaphragm; cardiovascular systems

DEV2022, Semester 2, Human Anatomy and Development: tissues and body systems 

Modules: Anatomy of the skull; ontogeny of the skull

DEV3990, Semester 1&2, Research action in anatomy and developmental biology 




Research affiliate Rory Hensman Elephant Research Unit, South Africa

Mimics Materialise, software review



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

External positions

Lecturer in Anatomy, University of Queensland

Mar 2013Feb 2018

Marie-Curie Research Fellow, Royal Veterinary College, University of London

Jan 2010Dec 2012

BBSRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Royal Veterinary College, University of London

Dec 2009Dec 2012

Marie-Curie Research Assistant, University of York

Sep 2006Sep 2009

Research area keywords

  • Comparative animal tissue mechanics
  • Animal Locomotion
  • Feeding Biomechanics
  • Dental Implants
  • Foot form and Function
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Musculoskeletal Models
  • Implant fixations
  • 3D virtual reconstruction


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