Monica is a Senior Lecturer in Locomotor Biomechanics. Her research team investigate the integrative physiology and biomechanics of how animals move through complex terrain.
Monica first became involved in research at the University of Utah, where she completed a BSc in Biology. It was here that Monica was inspired to pursue an academic career, through her undergraduate research on locomotor-ventilatory integration in human running with Dennis Bramble and David Carrier, and the support of the Bioscience Undergraduate Research Program. Monica then spent another year at the University of Utah as a research technician in the lab of Franz Goller, investigating motor control of singing in zebra finches. These experiences initiated a long-standing fascination with the interplay of mechanics and neural control.
Monica went on to graduate studies at Harvard University, where she completed her MA in 2003 and PhD in 2006, both in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. Monica's PhD research focused on the mechanics and neuromuscular control of running in birds with Andrew Biewener at the Concord Field Station of Harvard University (CFS Website).
After completing her PhD in 2006, she spent 15 months as a postdoctoral researcher with Dan Ferris in the Human Neuromechanics Lab at the University of Michigan, as a National Science Foundation Fellow in Bioinformatics.
Monica joined the RVC in January 2008 as one of the faculty members of the Structure and Motion Lab.
Monica is an integrative physiologist whose research team investigate 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.
Daley's research team:
Yvonne Blum is a postdoc whose current research focuses on developing robustly stable, agile and economic models of bipedal locomotion based on ground birds. We are collaborating with Dr Jonathan Hurst, head of the Dynamic Robotics Laboratory at Oregon State University, to test bioinspired models from ground birds as control targets in a bipedal robot (see:http://mime.oregonstate.edu/research/drl/). This project is funded by the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).
Simon Wilshin is a postdoc investigating gait use and gait transitions with particular focus on what factors impact control during a transition and what influences gait selection beyond energetic optimality.
Jo Gordon is a PhD student working on a BBSRC funded project on the role of pinnate muscles in mechanics and control of stable locomotion in the guinea fowl, in collaboration with Professor Alan Wilson and Professor Andrew Biewener at Harvard Un
Jade Hall is a BBSRC funded research technician investigating locomotor behaviour and energy cost of locomotion in ground birds. Jade has a BSc in Biology and MSc in Ecology Evolution and Conservation.
Daley team alumni:
Ola Birn-Jeffery completed her PhD in October 2012, now a postoc with Tim Higham in California: http://biomechanics.ucr.edu/people.html.
Anthony Channon (postdoc 2010-2012)
Becky Fisher (technician 2010-2012)
For more information see the Structure & Motion Lab pages.
Monica is the module leader for The Moving Animal, taught to students in the Gateway Programme and the 1st year of the BSc Bioveterinary Sciences programme. She also teaches locomotion topics on the BVetMed course and in an advanced module in the 3rd year of the BSc Bioveterinary Sciences, Comparative Animal Locomotion.
Monica is also actively involved in research training of undergraduate and graduate students. She supervises several undergraduate research projects each year, organises the RVC Postgraduate Research Seminar Series and leads graduate training workshops for PhD students in the Structure & Motion Lab.
ROSS C.F., BLOB R.W., CARRIER D.R., DALEY M.A., DEBAN S.M., DEMES B., GRIPPER J., IRIARTE-DIAZ J., KILBOURNE B.M., LANDBERG T., POLK J.D., SCHILLING N., VANHOOYDONCK B. (2012) Evolution of locomotor rhythmicity in tetrapods. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12015
BIRN-JEFFERY, A. V. and DALEY, M.A. (2012). Birds achieve high robustness in uneven terrain through active control of landing conditions. J Exp Bio 215, 2117-2127.
BLUM, Y.N., BIRN-JEFFERY, A. DALEY, M.A. and SEYFARTH, A. (2011). Does A Crouched Leg Posture Enhance Running Stability and Robustness? Journal of Theoretical Biology. 281, 97-106.
DALEY, M.A., and BIEWENER, A.A. (2011). Leg muscles that mediate stability: Mechanics and control of two distal extensor muscles during obstacle negotiation in the guinea fowl. Phil Trans R Soc B. 366, 1580-1591. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0338.
DALEY, M. A. & USHERWOOD, J. R. (2010) Two explanations for the compliant running paradox: reduced work of bouncing viscera and increased stability in uneven terrain. Biol Lett. 6 (3) p. 418-21 doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0175. Open access: see the Full Paper and Online Supplementary Material.
DALEY, M. A., VOLOSHINA, A. & BIEWENER, A. A. (2009) The role of intrinsic muscle mechanics in the neuromuscular control of stable running in the guinea fowl. J Physiol 587, 2693-2707. PubMed ID 19359369
USHERWOOD, J. R., SZYMANEK, K. L. & DALEY, M. A. (2008) Compass gait mechanics account for top walking speeds in ducks and humans. J Exp Biol 211, 3744-3749. PubMed ID 19011215
DALEY, M. A. (2008) Biomechanics: running over uneven terrain is a no-brainer. Curr Biol 18, R1064-1066. PubMed ID 19036337
PELC, E. H., DALEY, M. A. & FERRIS, D. P. (2008) Resonant hopping of a robot controlled by an artificial neural oscillator. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. 3, 26001. PubMed ID 18369282
FERRIS, D. P., SAWICKI, G. S. & DALEY, M. A. (2007) A physiologist's perspective on robotic exoskeletons for human locomotion. International Journal of Humanoid Robotics 4, 507-528. PubMed ID 18185840
DALEY, M. A., FELIX, G. & BIEWENER, A. A. (2007) Running stability is enhanced by a proximo-distal gradient in joint neuromechanical control. Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 383-394. PubMed ID 17234607
BIEWENER, A. A. & DALEY, M. A. (2007) Unsteady locomotion: integrating muscle function with whole body dynamics and neuromuscular control. Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 2949-2960. PubMed ID 17704070
DALEY, M. A., USHERWOOD, J. R., FELIX, G. & BIEWENER, A. A. (2006) Running over rough terrain: guinea fowl maintain dynamic stability despite a large unexpected change in substrate height. Journal of Experimental Biology 209, 171-187. PubMed ID 16354788
DALEY, M. A. & BIEWENER, A. A. (2006) Running over rough terrain reveals limb control for intrinsic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103, 15681-15686. PubMed ID 17032779
DALEY, M. A. & BIEWENER, A. A. (2003) Muscle force-length dynamics during level versus incline locomotion: a comparison of in vivo performance of two guinea fowl ankle extensors. Journal of Experimental Biology 206, 2941-2958.PubMed ID 12878663
GOLLER, F. & DALEY, M. A. (2001) Novel motor gestures for phonation during inspiration enhance the acoustic complexity of birdsong. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 268, 2301-2305. PubMed ID 11703869