Jose Iriarte-Diaz, Ph.D.

Assistant professor

Education & Career

  • University of Chicago, Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Postdoctoral scholar at the Ross Lab 2008-2013
  • Brown University, Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2008
  • Universidad de Chile, M.Sc., Biology, 2002
  • Universidad de Chile, B.Sc., Biology, 1998

Research Interests

I am interested in the relationship between morphology and organismal performance, particularly focused on the feeding and locomotor system of vertebrates. In my research I use an integrative approach, combining computational and theoretical models with biomechanical and physiological experiments (e.g., 3D kinematics, electromyography, energetics). I have studied several aspects of animal locomotion, from gait transitions in rodents to flight mechanics in bats, and how overall morphology affects locomotory abilities of organisms. Currently I am working on the biomechanics of feeding in mammals, focused on the relationship between functional complexity and the variability in performance of the feeding apparatus. For more information, visit my website.


  • OSCI 590 - Hominid Evolution, Dental Anthropology, and Human Variation


Craniofacial biomechanics

Porro LB, Metzger KA, Iriarte-Diaz J & Ross CF (2013) In vivo bone strain and finite element modeling of the mandible of Alligator mississippiensis. Journal of Anatomy 222: 195-227

Ross CF, Iriarte-Diaz J & Nunn CL (2012) Innovative approaches to the relationship between diet and mandibular morphology in primates. International Journal of Primatology 33: 632-660

Berthaume MA, Dechow PC, Iriarte-Diaz J, Ross CF, Strait DS, Wang Q & Grosee IR (2012) Probabilistic finite element analysis of a craniofacial finite element model. Journal of Theoretical Biology 300: 242-253

Iriarte-Diaz J, Reed DA & Ross CF (2011) Sources of variance in temporal and spatial aspects of jaw kinematics in two species of primates feeding on foods of different properties. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51: 307-319

Terhune CE, Iriarte-Diaz J, Taylor AB & Ross CF (2011) The instantaneous center of rotation of the mandible in non-human primates. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51: 320-332

Reed DA, Porro LB, Iriarte-Diaz J, Lemberg JB, Holliday CM, Anapol F & Ross CF (2011) The impact of bone and suture material properties on mandibular function in Alligator mississippiensis: testing theoretical phenotypes with finite element analysis. Journal of Anatomy 218: 59-74

Ross CF, Berthaume MA, Dechow PC, Iriarte-Diaz J, Porro LB, Richmond B, Spencer M & Strait D (2011) In vivo bone strain and finite-element modeling of the craniofacial haft in catarrhine primates. Journal of Anatomy 218: 112-141

Bacigalupe LD, Iriarte-Diaz J & Bozinovic F (2002) Functional morphology and geographic variation in the digging apparatus of cururos (Spalacopus cyanus, octodontidae). Journal of Mammalogy 83: 145-152

Bat flight

Iriarte-Diaz J, Riskin DK, Breuer KS & Swartz SM (2012) Kinematic plasticity during flight in fruit bats: individual variability in response to loading. PLoS ONE 7: e36665

Swartz SM, Iriarte-Diaz J, Riskin DK & Breuer KS (2012) A bird? A plane? No, it's a bat: An introduction to the biomechanics of bat flight. In: Evolutionary History of Bats: Fossils, Molecules and Morphology (Gunnell GF & Simmons NB, eds) Cambridge University Press, p. 317-352

Iriarte-Diaz J, Riskin DK, Breuer KS & Swartz SM (2011) Whole-body kinematics of a fruit bat reveal the influence of wing inertia on body accelerations. Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 1546-1553

Canals M, Iriarte-Diaz J & Grossi B (2011) Biomechanical, respiratory and cardiovascular adaptations of bats and the case of the small community of bats in Chile. In: Biomechanics in applications (Klika, V., ed) InTech doi: 10.5772/23599

Riskin DK, Iriarte-Diaz J, Middleton KM, Breuer KS & Swartz SM (2010) The effect of body size on the wing movements of pteropodid bats, with insights into thrust and lift production. Journal of Experimental Biology 213: 4110-4122

Iriarte-Diaz J & Swartz SM (2008) Kinematics of the slow turning maneuvering in the fruit bat Cynopterus brachyotis. Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 3478-3489

Riskin DK, Willis DJ, Iriarte-Diaz J, Hedrick TL, Kostandov M, Chen J, Laidlaw DH, Breuer KS & Swartz SM (2008) Quantifying the complexity of bat wing kinematics. Journal of Theoretical Biology 254: 604-615

Tian X, Iriarte-Diaz J, Middleton KM, Galvao R, Israeli E, Roemer A, Sullivan A, Song A, Swartz SM & Breuer KS (2006) Direct measurements of the kinematics and dynamics of bat flight. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 1: S10-S18

Canals M, Atala C, Grossi B & Iriarte-Diaz J (2005) Relative size of hearts and lungs of small bats. Acta Chiropterologica 7: 65-72

Canals M, Grossi B, Iriarte-Diaz J & Veloso C (2005) Biomechanical and ecological relationships of wing morphology of eight Chilean bats. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 78: 215-227

Iriarte-Diaz J, Novoa FF & Canals M (2002) Comparative wing morphology of two species of Chilean bats Tadarida brasieliensis and Myotis chiloensis, and their biomechanic consequences. Acta Theriologica 47: 193-200

Canals M, Iriarte-Diaz J, Olivares R & Novoa FF (2001) Comparación de la morfología alar de los quirópteros Tadarida brasiliensis (Chiroptera: Molossidae) y Myotis chiloensis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae), representantes de dos diferentes patrones de vuelo. Revista Chilena Historia Natural 74: 699-704

Terrestrial locomotion

Grossi B, Iriarte-Diaz J, Larach O, Canals M & Vásquez RA (in press) Walking like dinosaurs: Chickens with artificial tails provide clues about non-avian theropod locomotion. PLoS ONE

Ross CF, Blob R, Carrier DR, Daley MA, Deban SM, Demes B, Gripper JL, Iriarte-Diaz J, Kilbourne B, Landberg T, Polk J, Schilling N & Vanhooydonck B (2013) The evolution of locomotor rhythmicity in tetrapods. Evolution 67: 1209-1217

Iriarte-Diaz J, Bozinovic F & Vasquez RA (2006) What explains the trot-gallop transition in a small mammal? Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 4061-4066

Iriarte-Diaz J (2002) Differential scaling of locomotor performance in small and large terrestrial mammals. Journal of Experimental Biology 205: 2897-2908