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HomeAcademic staffDr Michael Berthaume
Dr Michael Berthaume

Dr Michael Berthaume

berthaum@lsbu.ac.uk

Mechanical Engineering and Design

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1298-242X

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I am a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of Division in the Division of Mechanical Engineering and Design, School of Engineering. I also serve as treasurer to LSBU's LGBTQ+ organisation (SoNet), and sit on the School's Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee. I originally studied mechanical engineering and (biological) anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst before moving to Europe and completing postdoctoral researcher positions in both bioengineering and anthropology. These positions were at the University of Hull, the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Durham University, and Imperial College London. In September 2019, I joined LSBU.

Transdisciplinary research is the future, providing a holistic view of problems and challenges, enabling them to be addressed and solved in new, novel manners. My career goal is to establish the independent, transdisciplinary field of anthroengineering. Anthroengineering is an approach that uses theories, methods and/or data from both anthropology and engineering to address questions within and beyond both disciplines (https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2020.0056).

I use anthroengineering in three ways:

1. Primate evolutionary biomechanics: Here, I investigate how biomechanical forces affected primate and human evolution. I am most interested in how diet and masticatory forces have affected Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution. I used statistical shape analyses (e.g., geometric morphometrics, dental topography) and biomechanical models (e.g., finite element analysis (FEA) of biological systems)

2. Human biological variation: Humans come in various shapes and sizes, and this has biomechanical consequences. I am particularly interested in the role of sesamoid bones, especially the fabella, in human movement, and how factors like nutrition affect masticatory biomechanical performance. I have recently started an EPSRC funded project with a team of psychiatrists and physiotherapists investigating the masticatory biomechanics of individuals with eating disorders with the aim of helping them rebuild their atrophied chewing muscles.

3. Prosthetics in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs): I work primarily with war victims and diabetic amputees in Sri Lanka, focusing focus on the design and creation of prosthetics which fulfill end-user needs, using methods like ethnography, surveys, structured interviews, and database analyses.

I am a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) and member of the Exceed Research Network (ERN).

Courses taught

Mechanical Engineering - MEng / BEng (Hons)

Anthroengineering - MSc

Postgraduate Research Supervision
Current
Miss Nelly Alejandra Fragoso VargasFabella evolution and biomechanicsPhD
Miss Gemma Ann RansonAnalysis of Amputee Needs in Northern Sri LankaPhD
Mr Matthew John MorleyMechanics of food breakdown in herbivorous animals and relation to dental morphologyPhD
PGCHE

University of Falmouth, UK

2020
2020
PhD, mechanical engineering

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

2010
2013
MA, anthropology

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

2011
2014
BSc, mechanical engineering

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

2006
2010
PDRA
Department of Engineering, University of Hull

Constructed a finite element model of Legg-Calve-Perthes’ disease

Published a review on the biomechanics of Legg-Calve-Perthes’ disease

2013
2015
Education
PDRA
Max Planck Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Performed shape and biomechanical analyses of fossil hominin molars

Created a methodology for linking geometric morphometrics and finite element analysis, used method to investigate cranial sexual dimorphism in Pongo

2015
2017
Education
PDRA
Department of Anthropology, Durham University

Established the Anthroengineering Network

Helped develop and write Leverhulme and NERC grants

2017
2019
Education
PDRA
Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London

Designed an external fixator for low- to middle-income countries

Investigated the biomechanics of the fabella and variation in prevalence rates

2018
2019
Education
FunderYear wonProjectRole
British Council 2022Meeting the Challenges of Providing Therapeutic Footwear for People with Diabetes MellitusPrincipal Investigator
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)2022Guiding treatment for individuals with eating disorders and dementia using masticatory efficiencyPrincipal Investigator
Royal Society2021APEX Public Engagement Grant-Evolutionary noise in biomechanical data: what does it look like?Principal Investigator
BIG South London2021Plastop - BIG Innovation VoucherPrincipal Investigator
Royal Society2021Evolutionary noise in biomechanical data: what does it look like?Principal Investigator
Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)2019Provision of Innovative Flexible Prosthetic Devices to Limb-Difference Patients in Sri LankaPrincipal Investigator
ProposalProjectRoleFunderStatusStatus last updated
An affordable and flexible prosthetic socketAn affordable and flexible prosthetic socketPrincipal InvestigatorEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)OPEN SubmittedJun 2022
CMMI-EPSRC: Creation of pathways for transport, communication, and storage in structural components ( NSF-EPSRC)CMMI-EPSRC: Creation of pathways for transport, communication, and storage in structural componentsPrincipal InvestigatorEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)OPEN SubmittedJun 2022
American Association of Anatomists
2017
American Association of Physical Anthropologists
2010
European Society of Human Evolution
2014
Exceed Research Network
2020
Royal Anthropological Institute
2021
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Archives of Oral Biology
Bioinspiration and Biomimetics
Current Anthropology
Journal of Dental Research
Journal of the Royal Society Focus
Journal of the Royal Society Open Access
Methods in Ecology and Evolution
Paleobiology
Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties
Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Cannot add new reviewership to grants - Grant - the leakey foundation 2020+
Durham University
External examiner

External examiner for a MSc

September 2020
December 2020
Max Planck Weizmann Center for Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Continuing statistical analyses and write up of previous postdoc work

September 2017
December 2018
World Economic Forum, Global Future Leaders Council

Fellow - Attended yearly meeting in Dubai (Nov 2018), shaped the mission statement and goals of the innovative ecosystems council

Non-education public sector
September 2018
September 2019

Filter publications

Dental macrowear reveals ecological diversity of Gorilla spp.
Harty, T., Berthaume, M.A., Bortolini, E., Evans, A.R., Galbany, J., Guy, F., Kullmer, O., Lazzari, V., Romero, A. and Fiorenza, L. (2022). Dental macrowear reveals ecological diversity of Gorilla spp. Scientific Reports. 12 (1), p. 9203. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-12488-8

Molar biomechanical function in South African hominins
Berthaume, M. and Kupczik, K. (2021). Molar biomechanical function in South African hominins . Interface Focus. 11 (5), p. 20200085. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2020.0085

Introduction to the theme issue ‘Biological anthroengineering’
Kramer, P. and Berthaume, M. (2021). Introduction to the theme issue ‘Biological anthroengineering’. Interface Focus. 11 (5), p. 20210058. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2021.0058

Anthroengineering: an independent interdisciplinary field
Berthaume, M. and Kramer, P. (2021). Anthroengineering: an independent interdisciplinary field. Interface Focus. 11 (5), p. 20200056. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2020.0056

The effects of femoral metaphyseal morphology on growth plate biomechanics in juvenile chimpanzees and humans
Stamos, P. and Berthaume, M.A. (2021). The effects of femoral metaphyseal morphology on growth plate biomechanics in juvenile chimpanzees and humans. Interface Focus. 11 (5), p. 20200092. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2020.0092

Cyamella (a popliteal sesamoid bone) prevalence: A systematic review, meta‐analysis, and proposed classification system
Berthaume, M. and Bull, A. (2021). Cyamella (a popliteal sesamoid bone) prevalence: A systematic review, meta‐analysis, and proposed classification system. Clinical anatomy. pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1002/ca.23743

Unique myological changes associated with ossified fabellae: a femorofabellar ligament and systematic review of the double-headed popliteus
Berthaume, M. A., Barnes, S., Athwal, K.K. and Willinger, L. (2020). Unique myological changes associated with ossified fabellae: a femorofabellar ligament and systematic review of the double-headed popliteus. PeerJ. 8, pp. e10028-e10028. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10028

The landscape of tooth shape: Over 20 years of dental topography in primates
Berthaume, M., Lazzari, Vincent and Guy, Franck (2020). The landscape of tooth shape: Over 20 years of dental topography in primates. Evolutionary anthropology. 29 (5), pp. 245-262. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21856

Human biological variation in sesamoid bone prevalence: the curious case of the fabella
Berthaume, M. and Bull, A.M.J. (2019). Human biological variation in sesamoid bone prevalence: the curious case of the fabella. Journal of Anatomy. https://doi.org/10.1111/joa.13091

Effects of cropping, smoothing, triangle count, and mesh resolution on 6 dental topographic metrics
Berthaume, M., Winchester, J. and Kupczik, K (2019). Effects of cropping, smoothing, triangle count, and mesh resolution on 6 dental topographic metrics. PLoS ONE. 14 (5), p. e0216229. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216229

Ambient occlusion and PCV (portion de ciel visible): A new dental topographic metric and proxy of morphological wear resistance
Berthaume, M., Winchester, J. and Kupczik, K. (2019). Ambient occlusion and PCV (portion de ciel visible): A new dental topographic metric and proxy of morphological wear resistance. PLoS ONE. 14 (5), p. e0215436. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0215436

Fabella prevalence rate increases over 150 years, and rates of other sesamoid bones remain constant: a systematic review
Berthaume, M., Di Federico, E. and Bill, A. (2019). Fabella prevalence rate increases over 150 years, and rates of other sesamoid bones remain constant: a systematic review. Journal of Anatomy. 235, pp. 67-79. https://doi.org/10.1111/joa.12994

Dental topography and the diet of Homo naledi
Berthaume, M., Delezene, L. and Kupczik, K. (2018). Dental topography and the diet of Homo naledi. Journal of Human Evolution. 118, pp. 14-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.02.006

Extant ape dental topography and its implications for reconstructing the emergence of early Homo
Berthaume, M. and Schroer, K. (2017). Extant ape dental topography and its implications for reconstructing the emergence of early Homo. Journal of Human Evolution. 112, pp. 15-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.09.001

Functional and evolutionary consequences of cranial fenestration in birds
Gussekloo, S., Berthaume, M., Pulaski, D., Westbroek, I., Waarsing, J., Heinen, R., Grosse, I. and Dumont, E. (2017). Functional and evolutionary consequences of cranial fenestration in birds. Evolution. 71 (5), pp. 1327-1338. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13210

What did Hadropithecus eat, and why should paleoanthropologists care?
Godfrey, L., Crowley, B., Muldoon, K., Kelley, E., King, S., Best, A. and Berthaume, M. (2016). What did Hadropithecus eat, and why should paleoanthropologists care? American Journal of Primatology. 78 (10), pp. 1098-1112. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22506

Skeletal Immaturity, Rostral Sparing, and Disparate Hip Morphologies as Biomechanical Causes for Legg-Calve-Perthes’ Disease
Berthaume, M., Perry, D.C., Dobson, C., Witzel, U., Clarke, N.M. and Fagan, M. (2016). Skeletal Immaturity, Rostral Sparing, and Disparate Hip Morphologies as Biomechanical Causes for Legg-Calve-Perthes’ Disease . Clinical Anatomy. https://doi.org/10.1002/ca.22690

On the relationship between tooth shape and masticatory efficiency: a finite element study
Berthaume, M. (2016). On the relationship between tooth shape and masticatory efficiency: a finite element study. The Anatomical Record. 299 (5), pp. 679-687. https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.23328

Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods
Ledogar, J., Smith, A., Benazzi, S., Weber, G., Spencer, M., Carlson, K., McNulty, K., Dechow, P., Grosse, I., Ross, C., Richmond, B., Wright, B., Wang, Q., Byron, C., Carlson, K., de Ruiter, D., Berger, L., Tamvada, K., Pryor, L., Berthaume, M. and Strait, D. (2016). Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods. Nature Communications. 7 (1). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10596

Food mechanical properties and dietary ecology
Berthaume, M. (2016). Food mechanical properties and dietary ecology. Americal Journal of Physical Anthropology. 159, pp. 79-104. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22903

The Feeding Biomechanics and Dietary Ecology of Paranthropus boisei
Smith, A., Benazzi, S, Ledogar, J., Tamvada, K., Pryor Smith, L., Weber, G., Spencer, M., Lucas, P., Michael, S., Shekeban, A., Al-Fadhalah, K., Almusallam, A, Dechow, P., Grosse, I., Ross, C., Madden, R., Richmond, B., Wright, B., Wang, Q, Byron, C., Slice, D., Wood, S., Dzialo, C., Berthaume, M., van Casteren, A. and Strait, D. (2015). The Feeding Biomechanics and Dietary Ecology of Paranthropus boisei. The Anatomical Record. 298 (1), pp. 145-167. https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.23073

The effects of relative food item size on optimal tooth cusp sharpness during brittle food item processing
Berthaume, M., Dumont, E., Godfrey, L. and Grosse, I. (2014). The effects of relative food item size on optimal tooth cusp sharpness during brittle food item processing. Interface. 11 (101), p. 20140965. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2014.0965