Dr Simon Walker

University Academic Fellow in Biomechanics
School of Biomedical Sciences

Background: I studied Biological Sciences at University of Oxford (2000-2003) and continued there doing first a DPhil (2003-2008) and then Postdoctoral Research (2008-2013). In 2013 I was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to study the biomechanics of insect flight. In 2017 I transferred my Fellowship to University of Leeds where I also took up a University Academic Fellowship in Biomechanics within the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Contact: Garstang 5.55e, +44(0) 113 34 33821, email address for  

Overview My research aims to open a window upon one of nature’s most intractable biomechanical systems, the insect flight motor. In doing so it will inform us about the evolution of flight and how natural selection has shaped the form and function of insect wings and bodies across taxa. It will also provide inspiration to engineers aiming to create bio-inspired micro-robotics and more generally towards the design and control of micromechanical systems. The state-of-the-art measurement and analysis techniques that I have developed and refined can likewise be applied to other research areas to advance the wider field of biomechanics.


Modules taught

SPSC3061 - Research Project in Sport and Exercise Science II

Bomphrey RJ, Nakata T, Phillips N, Walker SM Smart wing rotation and trailing-edge vortices enable high frequency mosquito flight Nature 544 92-95, 2017

Hofhuis H, Moulton D, Lessinnes T, Routier-Kierzkowska A-L, Bomphrey RJ, Mosca G, Reinhardt H, Sarchet P, Gan X, Tsiantis M, Ventikos Y, Walker S, Goriely A, Smith R, Hay A Morphomechanical Innovation Drives Explosive Seed Dispersal Cell 166 222-233, 2016
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Mokso R, Schwyn DA, Walker SM, Doube M, Wicklein M, Müller T, Stampanoni M, Taylor GK, Krapp HG Four-dimensional in vivo X-ray microscopy with projection-guided gating Scientific Reports 5, 2015
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Walker SM, Schwyn DA, Mokso R, Wicklein M, Müller T, Doube M, Stampanoni M, Krapp HG, Taylor GK In Vivo Time-Resolved Microtomography Reveals the Mechanics of the Blowfly Flight Motor PLoS Biology 12, 2014
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Schwyn DA, Mokso R, Walker SM, Doube M, Wicklein M, Taylor GK, Stampanoni M, Krapp HG High-Speed X-ray Imaging on the Fly Synchrotron Radiation News 26 4-10, 2013
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Walker SM, Thomas ALR, Taylor GK Operation of the alula as an indicator of gear change in hoverflies Journal of the Royal Society Interface 9 1194-1207, 2012
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Taylor GK, Carruthers AC, Hubel TY, Walker SM Wing Morphing in Insects, Birds and Bats: Mechanism and Function In Morphing Aerospace Vehicles and Structures, 2012

Carruthers AC, Walker SM, Thomas ALR, Taylor GK Aerodynamics of aerofoil sections measured on a free-flying bird Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering 224 855-864, 2010
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Carruthers AC, Thomas ALR, Walker SM, Taylor GK Mechanics and aerodynamics of perching manoeuvres in a large bird of prey, 2010
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Bomphrey RJ, Walker SM, Taylor GK The typical flight performance of blowflies: Measuring the normal performance envelope of Calliphora vicina using a novel corner-cube arena PLoS ONE 4, 2009
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Young J, Walker SM, Bomphrey RJ, Taylor GK, Thomas ALR Details of insect wing design and deformation enhance aerodynamic function and flight efficiency Science 325 1549-1552, 2009
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Walker SM, Thomas ALR, Taylor GK Deformable wing kinematics in the desert locust: How and why do camber, twist and topography vary through the stroke? Journal of the Royal Society Interface 6 735-747, 2009
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Walker SM, Thomas ALR, Taylor GK Deformable wing kinematics in free-flying hoverflies Journal of the Royal Society Interface 7 131-142, 2009
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Walker SM, Thomas ALR, Taylor GK Photogrammetric reconstruction of high-resolution surface topographies and deformable wing kinematics of tethered locusts and free-flying hoverflies Journal of the Royal Society Interface 6 351-366, 2009
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Taylor GK, Bacic M, Bomphrey RJ, Carruthers AC, Gillies J, Walker SM, Thomas ALR New experimental approaches to the biology of flight control systems, 2008
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Carruthers AC, Taylor GK, Walker SM, Thomas ALR Use and function of a leading edge flap on the wings of eagles, 2007
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