Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Centres: Structure & Motion Laboratory

Mr principal role is providing research support in SML, however I am also responsible for managing the lab's facilities and equipment, health and safety and good research practice. I am a First Aider and the Radiation Protection Supervisor for the group.

I graduated from Sparsholt College in 2004 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Studies. Following this, I spent a year assisting Kentucky Equine Research's nutrition and exercise physiology with Dr Joe Pagan in the US. I was subsequently employed as a Technician in SML until I started my PhD in October 2009. My project, entitled ‘Basic principles of foot design, locomotor impact mechanics and pathology in large mammals’ focussed on how animals with extreme foot designs overcome the mechanical consequences of foot impact. I lived in Nebraska until recently and returned to SML as a Senior Technician in 2021.

During locomotion, the foot functions to support, stabilise, brake and propel the body, whilst accommodating locomotor forces and providing necessary friction. Despite having to achieve equivocal functions, mammalian foot design is highly variable with regards to anatomy, biology and locomotor behaviour. By comparing impact mechanics in two extreme foot designs (i.e. that of the horse and elephant) my PhD sought to understand the relationship between foot morphology, loading behaviour and the incidence and prevalence of foot disease.

A major goal of my PhD work was to characterise features of foot impact in hoofed mammals of increasing size in order to understand how body size influenced mechanics. For example, how does a 3000kg elephant mitigate ~150kg of foot mass colliding with the ground every step?

Other work compared foot morphology, quantified 3D deformation of the digital cushion and measured internal and external pressure in horse and elephant feet under load.

Warner SE, Pickering P, Panagiotopoulou O, Pfau T, Ren L, et al. (2013) Size-Related Changes in Foot Impact Mechanics in Hoofed Mammals. PLoS ONE 8(1): e54784. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054784,

Dakin. S.G., K. Jespers., S. Warner., L.K. O’Hara., J. Dudhia., A.E. Goodship., A.M. Wilson and R.K.W. Smith. (2010). The relationship between in vivo limb and in vitro tendon mechanics after injury: A potential novel tool for monitoring tendon repair. Equine Veterinary Journal. Vol 43. Issue 4. P418-423.

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