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Flight mechanics of insects - understanding how insects control their wingbeat and sense aerodynamic forces through the subtle use of these muscles.

Project Description

Insects are the most agile and manoeuvrable of all flying animals. However, studying their flight presents a complex challenge. In the time that it takes a human to blink, a blowfly can beat its wings 50 times, powering and controlling each wingbeat using numerous tiny muscles - some as thin as a human hair. The aim of this project is to understand how insects control their wingbeat and sense aerodynamic forces through the subtle use of these muscles.

The PhD student will use a range of state-of-the-art imaging techniques, including macrography, multi-camera high-speed setups and CT scanning to record insects during flight. This will create an unprecedented view of the insect flight motor that will be important for understanding the evolution of flight and for the design of bio-inspired micro air vehicles that aim to replicate animal flight.

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2019:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference allowance
• Research Costs

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.
EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency in order to receive full studentship

Not all projects advertised will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

View Website


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