Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Research Groups: Musculoskeletal Biology
Research Centres: Structure & Motion Laboratory
Alan is Professor of Locomotor Biomechanics and leader of the Locomotion (Muscle, Tendon and Biomechanics) Research Group. Read about Alan's research here.
Alan graduated from Glasgow University in 1987 having studied Veterinary Medicine and an intercalated BSc in Physiology. He subsequently undertook a PhD in the Anatomy Department at Bristol University where he studied the mechanical basis of tendon injury. Alan worked for a brief period as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate and then as a lecturer.
Alan moved to the Royal Veterinary College in 1996 where he now holds the post of Professor of Locomotor Biomechanics and leader of the Locomotion (Muscle, Tendon and Biomechanics) Research Group.
Alan's scientific interests include:
- design of animals for high speed locomotion and factors limiting athletic performance,
- innovative measurement techniques for studying animals during field locomotion,
- muscle-tendon interaction in locomotion,
- diagnosis, assessment and treatment of locomotor dysfunction.
Alan currently holds and ERC Advanced grant and has held a BBSRC Research Fellowship and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. He has worked with a range of animals including humans, horses, greyhounds, ostriches and camels with plans for others in the future.
Please see my Google Scholar profile, which includes all of my published papers, as well as some abstracts. This also indicates current citations and links. Where papers are not freely available from the links, we are pleased to email them on request. Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I identify as particular highlights the following papers in Nature (2014, 2013, 2011, 2003, 2001), the 2006 paper with Lichtwark on muscle tendon interaction and the 1994 paper on tendon hyperthermia:
2014 Portugal SJ, Hubel TY, Fritz J, Heese S, Trobe D, Voelkl B, Hailes S, Wilson AM ,Usherwood JR. Upwash exploitation and downwash avoidance by flap phasing in ibis formation flight. Nature. 505: 399-402. Online.
2013 Wilson AM, Lowe JC, Roskilly K, Hudson PE, Golabek KA, McNutt JW . Locomotion dynamics of hunting in wild cheetahs. Nature. 498: 185-189. Online.
2011 Usherwood JR, Stavrou M, Lowe JC, Roskilly K, Wilson AM. Flying in a flock comes at a cost in pigeons. Nature, 474: 494-497. Online.
2003 Wilson AM, Watson JC, Lichtwark GA. Biomechanics: A catapult action for rapid limb protraction. Nature. 421: 35-36. Online.
2001 Wilson AM, McGuigan MP, Su A, van Den Bogert AJ. Horses damp the spring in their step. Nature. 414: 895-899. Online.
2006 Lichtwark GA, Wilson AM. Interactions between the human gastrocnemius muscle and the Achilles tendon during incline, level and decline locomotion. J Exp Biol. 209: 4379-4388. Online.
2004 Wilson AM, Goodship AE. Exercise-induced hyperthermia as a possible mechanism for tendon degeneration. J Biomech. 27: 899-905. Online.
Lameness is a significant welfare and economic problem in dairy farming. We undertook research to develop an automated way of detecting which dairy cows were developing lameness.
Specialising in locomotion and hunting behaviour of wild animals in southern Africa, our researchers know more about the lifestyle of many wild cats than the humble domestic moggy. They decided to find out more about how Britain's cats spend their days...
Measuring the detailed movement and relative location of individual animals within groups has, up to now, not been possible in most situations. The CARDyAL project has been designed to open a new field of research in this area, and in so doing to develop tools and methods that can be used in many other applications.
A new study by researchers at the Royal Veterinary College’s Structure and Motion Laboratory and Botswana Predator Conservation Trust reveals that African wild dogs in mixed woodland savannah habitats may be more energetically robust than previously thought.
It is well known that cheetahs are the world’s fastest sprinters, but until this study the top speed of wild cheetahs had never been measured.
People: Alan Wilson
Research by Alan Wilson's team and published in the Journal of Experimental Biology has revealed new insights into why cheetahs can achieve much higher speeds than racing greyhounds, even though they appear to have similar size and anatomy.
Professor Alan Wilson leads a team of researchers in the southern African savannah to identify how speed, manoeuvering and habitat impact the hunting and evasion practices of carnivores and their prey.
Huntington's Disease (HD) is an incurable neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and some cognitive functions in humans.
SML have solved a century old puzzle — how jockeys can help horses run faster.
The RVC Structure and Motion Lab aircraft has been funded through research grants to enable us to undertake research into animal locomotion that would not otherwise be possible, by going up into the air. As well as helping us to understand more about behaviour and locomotion, this aerial data acquisition platform will reveal new insights into how animals interact with the natural environment, which will aid conservation and land management.
People: Alan Wilson
The Science of Animal Locomotion: how do animals run, jump and fly? Discover the science behind the movement and learn about the innovations that help us study them in the laboratory and in the wild.