John M. Gosline Biomechanics Fund

Photo Credit: John Gosline
Photo Credit: John Gosline

Dr. John M. Gosline was the first professor to bring biomechanics research to UBC. In his 35 years at UBC, he made significant contributions to the field. Comparative biomechanics uses experimental and theoretical approaches from engineering and physics to address fundamental questions about the form, function, and evolution of organisms. Your support of the John M. Gosline Biomechanics Fund will honour John’s achievements, and help UBC Zoology support our graduate students in biomechanics.

Through your support of this fund, our first goal is to establish The John M. Gosline Biomechanics Lecture, an annual talk from a world expert in comparative biomechanics. This lectureship will expand our research collaborations and enhance our graduate student experience. We seek to raise $85,000 of endowed funds to support the annual lecture.

Our second goal is to create The John M. Gosline Biomechanics Fellowship to recognize excellence in comparative biomechanics. The fellowship will support novel research endeavours at the interface of biology, physics, and engineering that would not otherwise be possible. The amount and frequency of the fellowship award will depend on funds raised, with an ultimate goal of another $165,000. This fellowship will only be possible through your support.

John M. Gosline joined UBC as an assistant professor in 1973, retired in 2008, and remained active as a Professor Emeritus. In his time at UBC, John developed a world-class research program in comparative biomechanics, and his contributions as a mentor and educator are equally impressive. He trained more than 35 graduate students, postdocs and research associates, and served on advisory committees for many more. Through his research, his teaching, and his administrative efforts, John helped to shape the Department of Zoology over 35 JMGyears.

After attending UC Berkeley (BA Hons, ’66), Duke University (PhD ’70), and spending three years at Cambridge University, John came to UBC in 1973, where he spent the rest of his career. John researched the structure and mechanical properties of biological materials as well as functional systems across a range of species, including: cnidarians, slugs, cephalopods, mussels, spiders, jellyfish, hagfish, cetaceans and other mammals. He is best known for his work on the mechanisms of elasticity in structural proteins such as spider silk, elastin, resilin, collagen, and keratin.

John’s research has resulted in more than 100 publications and several books and patents. An exceptional experimentalist, John is well known for his ability to formulate clear and insightful questions. Often, John’s key experiments were based on an apparatus he would fabricate himself.

John’s awards include:
• Senior Killam Fellow, 1983-84
• Killam Research Prize, 1999
• Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 1985
• Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada 1997
• Faculty of Science Achievement Award for Service, 2005

As much as John was admired for his intellect, he was valued even more for his kind and gentle manner and his infectious optimism, characteristics that defined him to his final day. John passed away on November 7, 2016.


Your gift to the John M Gosline Biomechanics Fund honours John’s remarkable career, and his significant contributions to the Department of Zoology.