View Full Version : Four year PhD studentship in animal locomotion at the RoyalVeterinary College near London

06-09-2008, 01:58 AM
Biomechanical factors limiting athletic performance in racehorses

This studentship is a BBSRC industrial CASE award sponsored by TurfTrax
Group Ltd (www.turftrax.com) who record speed and position data from
horses during racing and measure the properties of horseracing surfaces.
The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of biomechanical
factors limiting equine athletic performance and the likely causes of
injury. Horseracing presents an excellent study system as racing takes
place on different surfaces, over different distances, slopes and over
jumps, and equine anatomy and physiology are already well studied.

The TurfTrax system consists of horse-mounted tags and data loggers
whose accuracy we have shown to outperform standard GPS (Spence et al.,
EVJ, in press). In this project the student will work with an
electronics design engineer to augment the tag system, incorporating
additional sensors such as accelerometers, and use high speed video to
record data from horses during racing. The data and subsequent analyses
by a variety of methods will be used to test current hypotheses and
develop new hypotheses on what limits equine athletic performance and
possible causes of injury.

The project will provide training in the appropriate techniques and
whilst an engineering background is not required the student should have
relevant interests and aptitudes in computing / engineering methods. A
2:1 degree in maths, engineering, zoology, veterinary medicine or
similar qualification is required.

As part of the CASE award the successful candidate will receive an
augmented stipend and gain commercial experience with TurfTrax in the
racing industry.

The Structure and Motion lab (www.rvc.ac.uk/sml) is a vibrant and active
group of about 30 researchers based in a rural location with good rail
links to central London. The lab has outstanding facilities for
biomechanics research on a wide range of animals and good technical
support in electronics design and the measurement methods we use.

For informal enquires contact Alan Wilson 01707 666259 awilson @

1. Usherwood JR, Wilson AM. (2006) Accounting for elite indoor 200 m
sprint results. Biology Letters; 2: 47-50.

2. Usherwood JR, Wilson AM. (2005) Biomechanics: no force limit on
greyhound sprint speed. Nature; 438: 753-754.

3. Pfau T, Witte TH, Wilson AM. (2005) A method for deriving
displacement data during cyclical movement using an inertial sensor.
Journal of Experimental Biology; 208: 2503-2514.

Alan M. Wilson BSc BVMS PhD MRCVS
Structure and Motion Lab
The Royal Veterinary College
Hawkshead Lane
tel +44 01707 666259
Mobile +44 07 90305070 3
Email: awilson @ rvc.ac.uk