Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Musculoskeletal Biology

Research Centres: Structure & Motion Laboratory

Jialei studies aerodynamics behind birds’ flight using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. The study aims to find out the tactics that birds adopt to achieve the remarkable flight performance. 

Jialei graduated from University of Science and Technology of China (China) in 2011 with BS degree in theoretical and applied mechanics. He continued his study at Vanderbilt University (USA) and earned a PhD in mechanical engineering in 2016. Later, he joined a robotics group in The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) as a postdoctoral researcher.  He starts the current role in 2018.

Jialei’s research focuses on the mechanisms of animal locomotion in fluid, like birds/insects flight and fish swimming, using computational fluid dynamics approach. Now he is exploring the aerodynamics of large birds at different flight modes (gliding, flapping) and at different motions (forward flight, hovering, rotating). His previous research includes the fluid dynamics of hummingbirds’ flight and fish undulatory swimming. 

Zhong, Y., Song, J., Yu, H., & Du, R. (2018). Toward a Transform Method From Lighthill Fish Swimming Model to Biomimetic Robot Fish. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters3(3), 2632-2639.

Zhong, Y., Song, J., Yu, H., & Du, R. (2018). A Study on Kinematic Pattern of Fish Undulatory Locomotion Using a Robot Fish. Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics.

Song, J., Zhong, Y., Luo, H., Ding, Y., & Du, R. (2018). Hydrodynamics of larval fish quick turning: A computational study. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science232(14), 2515-2523.

Song, J., Tobalske, B. W., Powers, D. R., Hedrick, T. L., & Luo, H. (2016). Three-dimensional simulation for fast forward flight of a calliope hummingbird. Royal Society open science3(6), 160230.

Song, J., Luo, H., & Hedrick, T. L. (2015). Wing-pitching mechanism of hovering ruby-throated hummingbirds. Bioinspiration & biomimetics10(1), 016007.

Song, J., Luo, H., & Hedrick, T. L. (2015). Performance of a quasi-steady model for hovering hummingbirds. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters5(1), 50-53.

Song, J., Luo, H., & Hedrick, T. L. (2014). Three-dimensional flow and lift characteristics of a hovering ruby-throated hummingbird. Journal of The Royal Society Interface11(98), 20140541.

Tian, F. B., Luo, H., Song, J., & Lu, X. Y. (2013). Force production and asymmetric deformation of a flexible flapping wing in forward flight. Journal of Fluids and Structures36, 149-161.

  • Bird wings act as a suspension system that rejects gusts

    Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the University of Bristol have discovered how birds are able to fly in gusty conditions – findings that could inform the development of bio-inspired small-scale aircraft.

    We thought there might be something birds can teach us about coping with turbulence, so we invited Lily the barn owl, Sasha the tawny eagle, Ellie the goshawk and some of their friends to fly through gusts we made in our laboratory.


  • High aerodynamic lift from the tail reduces drag in gliding raptors

    Scientists from the RVC and the University of Bristol have discovered how birds are able to fly in gusty conditions – findings that could inform the development of bio-inspired small-scale aircraft.

    Birds and planes must obey the very same laws of physics, and a wing is a pretty good way to create the aerodynamic force known as Lift which balances the Weight of the animal, or aeroplane, due to the relentless pull of gravity. However, there are several notable differences between the two fliers. Flapping is a way to reorient the wings and the aerodynamic force they produce to propel animals forwards in order to balance drag.


Top of page