Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Centres: Structure & Motion Laboratory

Luis is a PhD Student at the Structure & Motion Laboratory investigating musculoskeletal development. In his research he is developing an integrated approach of various techniques from the biomechanics, engeneering and biology fields to construct robust, validated computer models able to predict the mechanical environment of bones during growth and relate this to their morphological and mechanical adaptations. 

Luis qualified from the Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária in Lisbon, Portugal in 2001. Following an externship at the University of California Davis he spent two years in private practice in Évora, Portugal. In 2003 he completed an internship in Equine Studies at the University of Cambridge, followed by a residency in Large Animal Surgery at the same institution.  He is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons ( by examination and has been awarded the Certificate in Equine Orthopaedic Surgery by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

He is now undertaking a new challenge in his career by doing a PhD in the exciting areas of bioengineering and biomechanics under the supervision of Prof. John Hutchinson (RVC), Dr. Sandra Shefelbine (Imperial College) and Dr. Russel Main (Purdue Vet School, USA).

PhD project title:

The influence of growth on emu (Dromaius; Aves) musculoskeletal biomechanics: an integrative experimental and modeling analysis

By acquiring in vivo data of the mechanical strains occurring in the long bones of the pelvic limb we will characterise their mechanical environment and how it changes as the animals grows. Together with kinetic and kinematic data we will construct computerised models of locomotion (SIMM) and material models of each bone using the Finite Element method. These models will allow for predictions of bone development and the influence of the mechanical environment in this process.

The application of these models are diverse: these predictions will allow for a detailed study of developmental disorders and clinical approaches to their management as well as greatly reducing the need for in vivo experimentation.

For the first time data of this kind and detail will be available for any species (full limb strain patterns) and more so across an ontogenetic series.

This unprecedented approach to study ontogenetic scaling and adaptation will produce the most robust and models to date as we will be able to validate them against real data.

Why Emus?

Emus grow extremely fast and also a lot! They multiply their body weight approximately 40x before reaching adulthood. This makes them a useful model to study development since changes will be more evident with such an exacerbated growth pattern.

Emus are bipedal and have been shown to share similarities with certain human joints.

Many skeletal problems affect the ratite industry, we hope that our results will be able to help solve or at least prevent some of them.

Emus are extant birds closely related to many extinct animals and are therefore interesting subjects to study from a paleontological perspective.



Lamas, L., Edmonds, J., Hodge, W., Coomer, R., Burford, J., Munroe, GA., “Use of Ethanol in the Treatment of osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints in horses: 24 cases”. Equine Vet Journal, 2012 Jul;44(4):399-403

Lamas, L.; Henson, F.M.,; Kidd, J.A. “Desmectomy of a septic accessory ligament of the deep digital flexor tendon in the hindlimb of a horse under standing sedation” Equine Veterinary Education, 20 (12) 620-624, 2008

Kidd, J. A.; Lamas, L.; Henson, F.M.. “Repair of a Longitudinal Scapular Fracture in a Horse” Veterinary Surgery 36 (4), 378–381, 2007

Lamas, L., Jeffcott, L.B.; Heath, M.F.; Giovagnolli, G. “Some Factors affecting the accuracy and variability of measurements of height of ponies”, The Veterinary Record, 160 (20) 691-694 2007

Henson, F.M., Lamas, L., Knevitiz, S.; Jeffcott, L.B., “Ultrasonographic evaluation of the supraspinous ligament in a series of ridden and unridden horses and horses with unrelated back pathology”, BMC Veterinary Research 2007, 3:3

Lima M.S., Malta M., Lamas L. “Comparison of the effects of xylazine on the increase of blood glucose in Friesian and Mertolenga heifers”, in Revista da Sociedade Portuguesa de Ciencias Veterinarias, Vol. XCVI, N 539, Jul-Set 2001.

Book Chapters:

Lamas, L., Suprapinous ligament and dorsal sacroiliac ligament desmitis”, in Equine Back Pathology. Editor: Frances Henson, Blackwell Publishing. 2009

Lamas, L, Equine castration and complications”, in Equine Medicine and Surgery, Editors: Dr. Graham Munroe and Scott Wease. Mason Publishing. 2011.

For more informaiton:

Presentations at International Conferences:

Mechanics of the tarsometatarsus in Juvenile emus” SICB Conference Charlstone, 2012

“Lusitano horses in Portugal without access to pasture are at risk of having low serum levels of vitamin E – a pilot study” EWEN Conference, Lisbon 2012

Diagnosis and treatment of equine back pathology”, Keynote speaker. WEVA Intermediate Meeting Segovia, 2011

 Use of ethanol in the treatment of distal tarsal joint osteoarthritis: 24 casesBEVA Congress Birmingham 2010

"Contrast radiographic anatomy of the tarsometatarsal and centrodistal tarsal joints following a single injection in standing horsesBEVA Congress Birmingham 2010

“The synthetic bone scaffold Vitoss supports the adherence of osteoproductive cells and the production of osteoid in vitro.” BEVA Annual Congress, Harrogate, 2005

Some factors associated with the accuracy and variability of height measurement in ponies.”, BEVA Annual Congress, Harrogate, 2005

Luis has experience in teaching and supervising veterinary students during their final year of clinical training as he worked in the QVSH (Cambridge) for seven years as well as with many students seeing practice over the years.

As a specialist of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons ( he enjoys all aspects of equine surgery with a special interest in the orthopaedics field as well as trauma and emergency surgery. 

Top of page