Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

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 or

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.


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