Roles and subjects
Senior Research Fellow in Biology
Professor Taylor read Zoology at Pembroke College, Oxford. He took his DPhil at Jesus, before moving to University College, Oxford as Weir Junior Research Fellow. During this time, Professor Taylor was also a Lecturer at Pembroke and a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellow. He currently holds a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and RCUK Academic Fellowship in the Zoology Department’s Animal Behaviour Research Group. He was awarded the Thomas Henry Huxley Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 2003, and was recently awarded a Starting Grant of €1.95M from the newly founded European Research Council.
Professor Taylor is Course Convener for Animal Biology on the undergraduate course in Biological Sciences at Oxford. His teaching interests include Organismal Biology, Animal Behaviour, Palaeobiology, Biomechanics, and Quantitative Methods.
Professor Taylor’s research sits at the interface of Biomechanics and Neurophysiology, with feeds to and from Engineering. He is interested specifically in understanding how evolution tunes the physics and physiology of complex dynamical systems to achieve the extraordinary unsteady flight performance of birds and insects. The empirical thrust of his research follows three main tracks: 1) Measuring the forces generated by insects flying tethered in a virtual reality flight simulator; 2) Measuring the deforming wing and body kinematics of insects flying freely in a second virtual reality flight simulator; 3) Measuring the kinematics of free-flying birds of prey using using onboard video cameras and inertial measurement units. He uses these empirical data to generate models of the flight control system that can in turn be used to answer evolutionary and physiological questions about flight performance and behaviour.
Professor Taylor’s hobbies include travel, swimming, walking, photography and music.
Subject notes for courses taught at Jesus College: