Laura graduated from Liverpool University with a BSc in Human Anatomy and Cell Biology and a PhD in Primate Masticatory Biomechanics. She has joined HYMS as a lecturer in Anatomy after working for 4 years as a postdoctoral researcher at Hull York Medical School and the Medical and Biological Engineering Research Group at the University of Hull. Laura’s research focuses on masticatory biomechanics and the functional significance of morphological variation from a developmental and evolutionary perspective.
Lecturer in Anatomy at the Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences
Dr Fitton's research goal is to understand the functional significance of variations in craniofacial morphology of primates and other mammals from a developmental and evolutionary perspective. She aims to elucidate complex relationships between masticatory form and function and shed light on functional adaptations and evolutionary pathways within the primates. To achieve this she employs a variety of traditional methods such as morphometrics and dissection and novel analytical techniques from the field of engineering such as finite element analysis (FEA) and multibody dynamic analysis (MDA).
- Primate masticatory biomechanics
- Application and development of computer modelling techniques
- Ontogenetic changes in the primate masticatory apparatus
- Adaptations and constraints within the primate masticatory apparatus
- Virtual 3D reconstruction
- Reconstruction of Palaeodiets using biomechanical modelling
Fitton LC, ShiJF, Fagan MJ, O’Higgins P (2012) Masticatory loadings and cranial deformation in Macaca fascicularis: a finite element analysis sensitivity study. Journal of Anatomy, 221:55-68
O’Higgins P, Fitton LC, Phillips R, Shi JF, Liu J, Gröning F, Cobb SN, Fagan MJ (2012) Virtual functional morphology: novel approaches to the study of craniofacial form and function. Evolutionary Biology, DOI 10.1007/s11692-012-9173-8
Shi J, Curtis N, Fitton LC, O’Higgins P & Fagan M J (2012) Developing a musculoskeletal model of the primate skull: predicting muscle activations, bite force and joint reaction forces using multibody dynamics analysis and advanced optimisation methods, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 310: 21-30
Liu J, Shi JF, Fitton LC, Phillips R, O'Higgins P, Fagan MJ (2012) The application of muscle wrapping to voxel-based finite element models of skeletal structures. Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, 11: 35-47
Curtis N, Witzel U, Fitton LC, O’Higgins P, Fagan MJ (2011) The mechanical significance of the temporal fasciae in Macaca fascicularis: an investigation using finite element analysis. The Anatomical Record 294, 1178-1190.
O’Higgins P, Cobb SN, Fitton LC, Gröning F, Phillips R, Liu J, Fagan MJ (2011) Combining geometric morphometrics and functional simulation: an emerging toolkit for virtual functional analyses. Journal of Anatomy 218, 3-15.
Dr Fitton is the Programme Director of the MSc in Human Anatomy and Evolution. She is module lead for Virtual Anatomies and Human Evolutionary Anatomy and also teaches on Primate Ecology and Evolution module.