Thilo is currently focusing on the use of inertial sensor based technology (as well as traditional kinetics and kinematics) to detect and quantify movement anomalies in animals. This covers a range of tasks and animals with the main emphasis on lameness and ataxia in horses. He is supported in this undertaking by his PhD students (currently Sandra Starke and Emil Olsen) and a number of undergraduate students who undertake their research projects with him. In addition, his work also includes lameness quantification in cows and dogs. He is collaborating with Veterinarians in the Equine and Small Animal Referral Hospital as well as internationally.
Thilo graduated in Information Technology from the Technical University of Munich. He did a PhD in the field of pattern recognition at the Institute of Human-Machine Communication at Munich, followed by a two year postdoc at the International Institute of Computer Science, Berkeley, California. He then joined the Structure and Motion Lab at the RVC as a postdoctoral fellow and worked on BBSRC, HBLB and DEFRA funded projects investigating locmotion on compliant limbs, horse-surface interaction and automated lameness detection in dairy cattle.
In 2008 he became a Lecturer in Bio-Engineering in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and is now focusing on applied locomotor biomechanics with an emphasis on objective quantification of movement anomalies. Since being appointed Lecturer he has concentrated on pioneering a multi-sensor GPS-enhanced gait analysis system for field and clinical use. Use of this system has resulted in a number of peer-reviewed articles covering sensor validation (Pfau et al, 2005), lameness assessment (Pfau et al, 2007), back movement in horses (Warner et al, 2010) and horse-jockey interaction (Pfau et al, 2009) to name a few.
Thilo is interested in applied locomotor biomechanics, in particular the use of innovative assessment techniques for the assessment of over ground locomotion . He is currently -- together with his PhD students (Sandra Starke, Emil Olsen (Copenhagen) and Rebecca Parkes (PI: Tom Witte, HBLB funded) -- focusing on:
- lameness detection and quantification in horses (PhD student: Sandra Starke) and dogs.
- quantification of ataxia in horses (PhD student: Emil Olsen) and dogs
- quantification of high-speed locomotion in racehorses (PhD student Rebecca Parkes)
Thilo's research is a true multidisciplinary mix of applied animal locomotor biomechanics combining his signal proecessing background (PhD in information technology in Munich Germany, PostDoc in Berkeley, US) with his extensive experience in non-invasive instrumentation of animals for the purpose of quantifying gait parameters.
Thilo has been teaching on the MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy course (module leader biomechanics, course discontinued), on the BSc Bioveterinary Sciences 'Comparative Animal Locomotion' module and on the BVetMed course. He concentrates on teaching of applied locomotor biomechanics -- often making use of the exceptional experimental facilities of the Structure and Motion Lab -- in lectures, practicals and seminars.
In addition, Thilo is passinate about the use of inertial sensor based gait analysis for clinical lameness workups where he is aiming at convincing the new generation of euqine Veterinarians of the benefits of an additional, objective, unbiased assessment technqiue for quantification of the subtle movement changes encountered in referral level lameness.
Thilo is interested in the application of objective lameness quantification techniques in clinical lameness exams at the Equine Referral Hospital where he is providing a clinical gait analysis service. Here, he is making use of the multi-sensor system that he pioneered to provide objective evidence about improvements (or lack thereof) in gait asymmetry over the course of a clinical lameness workup. This service is provided in collaboration with the Veterinarians of the Equine Referral Hospital.
RHODIN, M, PFAU, T, ROEPSTORFF, L, EGENVALL, A (in Press) Influence of lunging on head and pelvic movement asymmetry and compensatory effects in horses with induced lameness, in Press: Vet J Special Issue ICEL2012
ROBARTES, H, FAIRHURST, H, PFAU, T (in Press) Head and pelvic movement symmetry in horses during circular motion and in rising trot: towards establishing guidelines for lameness examinations. in Press: Vet J Special Issue ICEL2012
ARNDT, J, PFAU, T, DAY, P, PARDOE, C, BOLT, D, WELLER, R (in Press) Forces applied with hoof tester to cadaver feet vary widely between users, in Press: Vet Record.
PFAU, T, STUBBS, NC, KAISER, LJ, BROWN, LE, CLAYTON HM. (2012) Effect of trotting speed and circle radius on movement symmetry in horses during lunging on a soft surface. Am J Vet Res. 2012 Dec;73(12):1890-9. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.73.12.1890.
OLSEN, E, ANDERSEN, PH, PFAU, T (2012) Accuracy and precision of equine gait event detection during walking with limb and trunk mounted inertial sensors.
Sensors (Basel). 2012;12(6):8145-56. doi: 10.3390/s120608145. Epub 2012 Jun 12.
STARKE, SD, WITTE, TH, MAY, SA and PFAU, T (2012): Accuracy and precision of hind limb foot contact timings of horses determined using a pelvis-mounted inertial measurement unit. Journal of Biomechanics 45, 1522-1528.
STARKE, SD, WILLEMS, E, HEAD, M, MAY, SA and PFAU, T. (In press): Proximal hind limb flexion in the horse: effect on movement symmetry and implications for defining soundness. Equine Veterinary Journal, early online publication.
STARKE, SD, WILLEMS, E, May, SA and PFAU, T (2012): Vertical head and trunk movement adaptations of sound horses trotting in a circle on a hard surface. The Veterinary Journal 193, 73-80.
UNT, VE, EVANS J, REED, SR, PFAU, T, WELLER R. (2010) Variation in frontal plane joint angles in horses, Equine Vet J Suppl. (38):444-50.
WARNER, SM, KOCH, TO, PFAU, T. (2010) Inertial sensors for assessment of back movement in horses during locomotion over ground. Equine Vet J Suppl. (38):417-24.
PERKINS, JD, RAFFETTO, J, THOMPSON, C, WELLER, R, PIERCY, RJ, PFAU, T. (2010) Three-dimensional biomechanics of simulated laryngeal abduction in horses. Am J Vet Res. 2010 Sep;71(9):1003-10.
WALKER, AM, PFAU, T, CHANNON, A, WILSON, A. (2010) Assessment of dairy cow locomotion in a commercial farm setting: the effects of walking speed on ground reaction forces and temporal and linear stride characteristics. Res Vet Sci. 88, 179-187. PubMed ID 19527912
FERRARI, M, PFAU, T, WILSON, AM, WELLER, R.(2009) The effect of training on stride parameters in a cohort of National Hunt racing Thoroughbreds: a preliminary study. Equine Vet J. 41,493-497. PubMed ID 19642411
PFAU, T, SPENCE, A, STARKE, S, FERRARI, M, WILSON, A. (2009), Modern riding style improves horse racing times. Science. 17, 325, 289. PubMed ID 19608909
STARKE, SD, ROBILLIARD, JJ, WELLER, R, WILSON, AM, PFAU, T. (2009) Walk-run classification of symmetrical gaits in the horse: a multidimensional approach. J R Soc Interface. 6, 335-342. Epub 2008 Jul 29. PubMed ID 18664427
CHURCH, EE, WALKER, AM, WILSON, AM, PFAU, T. (2009) Evaluation of discriminant analysis based on dorsoventral symmetry indices to quantify hindlimb lameness during over ground locomotion in the horse. Equine Vet J. 41, 304-308. PubMed ID 19469241
CHANNON, AJ, WALKER, AM, PFAU, T, SHELDON, IM, WILSON, AM (2009) Variability of Manson and Leaver locomotion scores assigned to dairy cows by different observers. Vet Rec. 2009 Mar 28;164(13):388-92. PubMed ID 19329807
PARKES, RS, WELLER, R, GROTH, AM, MAY, S, PFAU T. (2009) Evidence of the development of 'domain-restricted' expertise in the recognition of asymmetric motion characteristics of hindlimb lameness in the horse. Equine Vet J. 41,112-117. PubMed ID 19418737
HESSE, KL, HINTERHOFER, C, PFAU, T. (2008) Sixth International Conference on Equine Locomotion. Equine Vet J. 40, 606-610. PubMed ID 19031518
PFAU, T., FERRARI, M., PARSONS, K. & WILSON, A. (2008) A hidden Markov model-based stride segmentation technique applied to equine inertial sensor trunk movement data. J Biomech 41, 216-220. PubMed ID 17897652
PARSONS, K. J., PFAU, T. & WILSON, A. M. (2008) High-speed gallop locomotion in the thoroughbred racehorse. I. The effect of incline on stride parameters. J Exp Biol 211, 935-944. PubMed ID 18310119
PARSONS, K. J., PFAU, T., FERRARI, M. & WILSON, A. M. (2008) High-speed gallop locomotion in the Thoroughbred racehorse. II. The effect of incline on centre of mass movement and mechanical energy fluctuation. J Exp Biol 211, 945-956. PubMed ID 18310120
WELLER, R., PFAU, T., FERRARI, M., GRIFFITH, R., BRADFORD, T. & WILSON, A. (2007) The determination of muscle volume with a freehand 3D ultrasonography system. Ultrasound Med Biol 33, 402-407. PubMed ID 17208353
ROBILLIARD, J. J., PFAU, T. & WILSON, A. M. (2007) Gait characterisation and classification in horses. J Exp Biol 210, 187-197. PubMed ID 17210956
PFAU, T., ROBILLIARD, J. J., WELLER, R., JESPERS, K., ELIASHAR, E. & WILSON, A. M. (2007) Assessment of mild hindlimb lameness during over ground locomotion using linear discriminant analysis of inertial sensor data. Equine Vet J 39, 407-413. PubMed ID 17910264
WELLER, R., PFAU, T., VERHEYEN, K., MAY, S. A. & WILSON, A. M. (2006) The effect of conformation on orthopaedic health and performance in a cohort of National Hunt racehorses: preliminary results. Equine Vet J 38, 622-627. PubMed ID 17228576
WELLER, R., PFAU, T., BABBAGE, D., BRITTIN, E., MAY, S. A. & WILSON, A. M. (2006) Reliability of conformational measurements in the horse using a three-dimensional motion analysis system. Equine Vet J 38, 610-615. PubMed ID 17228574
PFAU, T., WITTE, T. H. & WILSON, A. M. (2006) Centre of mass movement and mechanical energy fluctuation during gallop locomotion in the Thoroughbred racehorse. J Exp Biol 209, 3742-3757. PubMed ID 16985191
FERRARI, M., WELLER, R., PFAU, T., PAYNE, R. C. & WILSON, A. M. (2006) A comparison of three-dimensional ultrasound, two-dimensional ultrasound and dissections for determination of lesion volume in tendons. Ultrasound Med Biol 32, 797-804. PubMed ID 16785002