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Welcome to my website

I'm a biologist originally from Taiwan who now study Ph.D in OEB program at UMass, USA. I recieved my BS degree in Zoology at National Taiwan University in 2005, then obtained my MS degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at National Taiwan University in 2009. In my master research, I studied the funtion of the sesamoid bone on the second thoracic vertebra in shrews. I worked with Dr. Lee on shrews' behavior and cooperated with Dr. Lu on biomechanical analysis of musculoskeletal system. Now I work with Dr. Dumont on the burrowing mechanism of American moles at UMass since 2011.


I am interested in the interdisciplinary research, especially the combination of biology and physics. I love sports which inspire my interests in biomechanics and functional morphology, which is a discipline investigating how the anatomical forms affect biomechnical performance. In my Ph.D study, I work on the burrowing mechanism of moles. I ask 1) how the morphological modifications, especially  the unique humeri and tendon-ligamentous system, promote the efficiency of this high energy-consuming locomotion and 2) how these changes consequently affect the digging behaviors and geographic distributions  among different mole species.


Yi-Fen Lin  Ph.D 

 Organismic & Evolutionary Biology (OEB)

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

321 Morrill Science Center II, Amherst, MA 01003

Latest News !

Using XR to study the burrowing mechanism of  Eastern moles

Comparing the burrowing performance of Eastern and Hairy-tailed moles

Jan 28 2014

Are you kidding me?!! This is my first reaction when I know that New York Times is interested in my mole study. During SICB 2014 at Austin, NYT interviewed me and made a "ScienceTake" video of my mole research - Uncovering the Secrets of Mole Motion.

**Following up:

RadioLab: Just some moles tunneling through couscous. No biggie.

Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist

First FEA model I build!

6th Annual Finite Element Modeling workshop started at July 28. After three days of efforts, I create my first FEA model of moles' humeri! Very excited about it! 

July 28 2013

The 6th Annual Finite Element Modeling in Biology workshop will be held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus, July 28 - August 3, 2013. Click here for more information, as well as results from previous workshops.

April 02 2013
My summer research project: Burrowing performance of North American moles is funded by Natural History Collections Summer Scholarship!!

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Research Projects

Biomechanics of burrowing


Burrowing is an unique form of locomotion that includes the processes of loosening and then removing soil as an animal tunnels. However, the mechanics of burrowing is largely unknown. Moles are an excellent system for studying the mechanics of burrowing. Their unique “lateral strokes” efficiently combine loosing and removing soil into a single movement, allowing simple examination of forelimb performance during burrowing.

Evolutionary novelty : function of the sesamoid bone in shrews

2005 - 2009

"Sesamoids provide a perfect system in which to study the interaction of genetics and epigenetics, or the modulation of genetic and developmental thresholds by the environment. Ironically, that two of the most intriguing aspects of their biology, their variability and their strong correlation with function, have led to their offhanded dismissal by many anatomists and evolutionary systematists." ~FINS into LIMBS~

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