Dr Monica A Daley
About me: I often wonder why I fall down so much more than the animals I study! I have always been fascinated by animals, and by the diversity of animal form and function. I am an experimental physiologist, which means that I love to design experiments, make measurements and analyze data to reveal how and why animals move the way they do. When not doing science, I enjoy running, reading science fiction, exploring nature with my family, and making pottery.
Professional Biography: Monica earned her undergraduate degree in Biology at University of Utah. She was inspired to become a physiologist through her research on human running and breathing with Dennis Bramble and David Carrier. She then spent a year working as a research technician with Franz Goller, investigating motor control of singing in zebra finches. These experiences initiated a long-standing fascination with the complex interplay of mechanics and neural control. Monica earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, investigating muscle-tendon dynamics and biomechanics of bipedal locomotion. Her PhD research was supported by a Predoctoral Fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and supervised by Andrew Biewener. After her PhD, Monica trained in neuromechanics as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Dan Ferris at the University of Michigan. Daley was faculty in the Structure and Motion Lab at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) from 2008-2019 and joined the UCI Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in Summer 2019.
Tyler Whitacre is interested in the mechanics and control of bipedal locomotion, with a particular focus on analysis of stability. Tyler is responsible for the set up and running of biomechanics experiments and development of code to process and analyze datasets for research in the Neuromechanics lab.
PhD Student, Royal Veterinary College, London, UK
Kamila is using wearable sensor technology to develop novel approaches for quantitative monitoring of activity, gait and behavior in dogs for lifestyle and health assessment. Kamila completed her undergraduate degree at Imperial College London in Medical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. She is also interested in the application of emerging technology to both human and veterinary medicine, with a focus on long-term physiological monitoring devices.
Vittorio La Barbera
PhD Student, Royal Veterinary College, London, UK
Vittorio is investigating the relationship between morphology and locomotor behavior by synthesizing locomotor dynamics of anatomically realistic musculoskeletal models of exemplar bipedal and quadrupedal species (dog, ostrich, human, horse). Vittorio is collaborating with John Hutchinson and Yuval Tassa at Google DeepMind to use deep reinforcement learning techniques to synthesize full-body dynamic locomotor behaviors. The simulated behaviors will be compared to experimentally measured dynamics of complex locomotor tasks.
Omid Safavi Dehghan
Omid Safavi Dehghan became interested in neuromechanics from his passion and long involvement in fitness. He is investigating neuromechanics of human locomotion, with a focus on how training and experience influence muscle recruitment patterns.
Catalina Dentzel Helmy
Catalina Dentzel Helmy's interests include bird biomechanics specifically focusing on how gaits vary over different substrates. She is gathering and analyzing data on the mechanics and energetics of bird locomotion over different terrain conditions.
Zhiji Hu is interested in the hopping gaits of small birds. She is investigating how bipedal gait patterns vary with body size and leg morphology among passerine bird species.
Hayden Villandre is interested in the biomechanics of maintaining balance and stability during bipedal agility tasks. She is interested in the coordination of movement to avoid injury, as well as strategies of rehabilitation, especially for the application of these principles to dancers and athletes.
Moira Williams is interested in understanding how muscle activation and leg stiffness are controlled during human hopping tasks.
Flor Yanez is investigating how bipeds change their locomotor patterns on different substrates. She is measuring foot, leg and body dynamics of locomotion on varied substrates, to test how the birds adjust speed and gait to maintain stability, avoid falls and prevent injury.
Dr Jade Hall, PhD
Jade recently completed her PhD at RVC, investigating use of accelerometers to develop novel quantitative measures of bird personality and affective state for welfare monitoring, in collaboration with Dr Siobhan Abeyesinghe. Jade received her undergraduate degree in Biology at University of Kent, and her Masters in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation from Imperial College London. Jade is now working as a Science Policy Officer at Royal Society of Biology. She is interested in science communication and science policy to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM.
Masters Student, Royal Veterinary College, London, UK
Bradley’s research is focused on the sensory biomechanics and balance control of standing, perching, walking and flying in pigeons, in collaboration with Richard Bomphrey at RVC. He is particularly focused on using perturbation approaches to investigate the potential role of the avian lumbosacral organ (LSO) in balance control.