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amwilson44
04-20-2009, 11:01 PM
Physiological and biomechanical assessment of free ranging sports dogs

Supervisors: Prof Alan Wilson, Prof Stephen Hailes (UCL Computer Science),
Dr Thilo Pfau Dr Alison Burdett (Toumaz)
Department: Veterinary Basic Sciences

This is a BBSRC CASE studentship based in the Structure and Motion Lab at
the RVC, University of London (www.rvc.ac.uk/sml) with co-supervision from
UCL computer Science (http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/s.hailes/) and Toumaz
(www.toumaz.com). The lab is based just outside the M25 some 20 minutes from
central London. There are some 30 people in the group with excellent
research facilities and three core funded technicians providing support in
electronics design, mechanics and other biomechanical measurement methods.

The studentship will provide research training in the biomechanics and
physiology of animal locomotion, design and application of sensor
technologies and commercialisation of innovative technology. The student
will spend a period of the studentship with Toumaz and they provide
additional financial support over standard PhD studentship rates.

This studentship is designed to build on our ongoing program of validating
and making measurements during field locomotion rather than in the
laboratory. Sports dogs are good models for studying locomotion since they
demonstrate adaptations for running (e.g. greyhounds) jumping (e.g. agility
dogs) and cooperative locomotion and lure trail following (e.g. foxhounds).

The project is timely due to recent developments in wireless sensor
technology which have created new opportunities to make physiological and
biomechanical measurements on animals in their natural environment rather
than in the laboratory. This project is sponsored by Toumaz who have
developed a novel technology platform that offers a number of benefits over
what is available at the moment. These include a very low power consumption,
small size and the ability to interface with a range of sensors. The student
will design and develop, with appropriate support, sensors for placement on
animals to address questions of biological and veterinary interest. The
design of these modules will address issues like battery life, localisation
(e.g. GPS) data logging and compression.

A technical background is not essential but aptitude in mathematical /
computer methods and a good first degree in a biological / mathematical /
engineering discipline and enthusiasm are.

The conditions of the funding mean that the student must have resided in the
UK for the last three years.

Relevant References

1. Usherwood JR, Wilson AM. Biomechanics: no force limit on greyhound
sprint speed. Nature; 438: 753-754. 2005
2. Witte TH, Hirst CV, Wilson AM. Effect of speed on stride parameters in
racehorses at gallop in field conditions. J Exp Biol; 209: 4389-4397. 2006
3. Tan H, Wilson AM, Lowe J. Measurement of stride parameters using a
wearable GPS and inertial measurement unit. J Biomech. 41: 1398-1406. 2008

These can be downloaded form our website or requested by email from AW.

If you wish to discuss this please contact Alan Wilson awilson (at)
rvc.ac.uk or 01707 666259

The deadline for applications is Friday 1st May 2009.

Interviews will be on Thursday 21st May.