Dr Monica Daley

I am a Senior Lecturer in Locomotor Biomechanics  at The Royal Veterinary College in the Structure & Motion Lab, and an integrative physiologist whose research team investigates a number of questions in the area of Comparative Neuromechanics. We are interested in understanding the interplay of mechanics, energetics and neural control within the body, particularly how muscles function to allow economic, agile and stable movement in varied terrain conditions.

We use a range of experimental and modeling techniques to investigate potential trade-offs among factors such as stability, economy and agility. We use ground birds as a model system because they are diverse bipedal animals that span a large size range from tiny 35 gram painted quail to ostriches over 100 kg. We strive to reveal basic principles of how muscle-tendon architecture, leg morphology, body size and terrain environment influence bipedal locomotion. We also collaborate with engineers to work towards translating basic principles into biologically inspired technology such as prosthetics and legged robots.

The basic biomechanical and physiological principles revealed through this research approach can improve our understanding of morphological evolution, locomotor performance and musculoskeletal injury, and could lead to better robotic and prosthetic designs.