Melanie Lott '04

Melanie Lott ’04

Associate Professor
Position Type
- Present

I joined the faculty at Denison in 2013 after receiving a Ph.D. in Physics from Bryn Mawr College and a M.S. in Kinesiology with a Biomechanics concentration from the University of Michigan. I enjoy teaching a variety of courses across the physics curriculum - from introductory physics to upper-level theory courses and the advanced experimental laboratory - and involving students in my research.

As a physicist specializing in biomechanics, I approach my research from a physicist’s perspective: taking complex questions or problems and simplifying them to the most crucial elements to gain an understanding of how, and especially why, things work. It just so happens that the “things” and their interactions with the physical world that I study are humans. Current research in my lab centers on how dancers maintain balance during pirouettes, which are a type of whole-body rotation around a vertical axis. While there are pedagogical implications for dance educators, I have a more fundamental curiosity related to how the human body senses and corrects for imbalance while rotating, and turns are necessary not only while dancing but in other, more everyday activities like changing direction during walking. Other recent, collaborative projects include investigations of the neuromechanics of overhand throwing and the design, testing, and production of a 3D printed lower-limb prosthesis for bicycle riding.

B.S., Denison University; M.S., University of Michigan; Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College


Experimental research on biophysics of human movement, specializing in the biomechanics of dance.




  • M.B. Lott and G. Xu, “Joint angle coordination strategies during whole body rotations on a single lower-limb support: An investigation through ballet pirouettes.” J. Appl. Biomech. 36, 103-112 (2020).
  • M.B. Lott, “Translating the base of support: A mechanism for balance maintenance during rotations in dance,” J. Dance Med. Sci. 23, 17-25 (2019).
  • K. Laws and M. Lott, “Resource Letter PoD-1: The Physics of Dance,” American Journal of Physics 81, 7 (2013).
  • M. Lott and K. Laws, “The Physics of Toppling and Regaining Balance during a Pirouette,” Journal of Dance Medicine and Science 16, 167 (2012).
  • M. Cluss, K. Laws, N. Martin, T.S. Nowicki, and A. Mira, The Indirect Measurement of Biomechanical Forces in the Moving Human Body,” American Journal of Physics 74, 102 (2006).


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