Dr Matthew Leach
Lecturer

Background

I undertook a degree in Zoology at the University of Southampton in 1992, which lead to an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour & Welfare at the the University of Edinburgh in 1995. During this time I developed an interest in animal welfare and behaviour. This initially lead me into research investigating the welfare of captive elephants in the UK. Subsequently, I undertook a PhD in Laboratory Animal Welfare at the University of Birmingham which included research into euthanasia, husbandry and housing of laboratory animals. These research topics have formed the basis of my research career since. At the University of Bristol I undertook projects to develop a welfare benchmarking scheme for laboratory mice, investigate the standard of mouse welfare in the UK and to identify the most critical welfare issues affecting wildlife around the world. I continue to actively participate in these research areas. Since joining the University of Newcastle I have been involved in further research improving the welfare of laboratory and companion animal species.

Roles and Responsibilities

My research encompasses various aspects of laboratory and companion animal welfare. I lecture on various aspects of animal welfare, companion animal science and project design and statistics. I  am also responsible for research project design and statistics, supervision of undergraduate, post-graduate and post-doctoral students. I also provide general guidance and training in research methodology and statistics training. I assist other members of the research group with their research as necessary as well as conducting my own research. I am also involved in preparing grant submissions, drafting research publications, editing and reviewing publications.

Qualifications:

  • BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Southampton
  • MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour & Welfare from the University of Edinburgh
  • PhD in Laboratory Animal Welfare from the University of Birmingham

Previous Positions:

  • Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Birmingham (2002)

  • Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Bristol (2002 to 2005)
  • Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Newcastle (2005 to 2012)

Memberships:

  • Consensus group on Carbon Dioxide Euthanasia of Laboratory Animals
  • Animal Welfare Science, Ethics & Law Veterinary Association (AWSELVA)
  • Editorial board member for 'Laboratory Animals' journal
  • Ethics committee for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)

Honours and Awards:

  • Significant contribution to the FELASA Animal Welfare Award 2007
  • Significant contribution to the Charles River Animal Welfare Prize 2012

Languages:

  • English
  • Some German

Informal Interests

  • Keeping dogs & cats
  • Dog sledding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Walking
  • Camping
  • Rugby

Research Interests

Developing methods for assessing and alleviating post-procedure pain and distress in a range of animal species, including rodents, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, horses, pigs, sheep and primates. Identifying and implementing novel methods of assessing welfare, pain and distress in animals, particularly laboratory and companion animal species. Identifying, testing and implementing refinements to improve the welfare of a range animal species. The development of educational materials to assist those who carry out procedures on animals in both veterinary practice and in animal-based research to refine the procedures that they carry out improving welfare standards.

Other Expertise

Developing and implementing welfare benchmarking schemes for laboratory, pet and wild animals. The assessment of behaviour and welfare of a wide range of captive and wild animals. The use of experimental models and statistical analysis in animal-based research.

Current Work

I am currently hold a  three year NC3Rs (National Centre for the 3Rs) funded research project to further develop and validate the use of facial expressions for the assessment of pain in rodents, rabbits and macaques. This initially involves further validating the existing assessment schemes in rodents to assess post-procedural pain. Following on from this I plan to develop and validate similar systems for assessing post-procedural pain in rabbits and rhesus macaques. Alongside of this research project I am involved in development of effective means of assessing pain and distress in other species including; dogs, horses, pigs and sheep.

Future Research

I hope to undertake further projects to develop more effective methods of assessing pain and distress in a wide range of laboratory, farm and companion animal species. I am currently collaborating on a number of research applications on new methods of potentially assessing pain and distress. 

Research Roles

Outside of my research work, I am responsible for research project design and statistics, supervision of undergraduate, post-graduate and post-doctoral students. I also provide general guidance and training in research methodology and statistics training. I assist other members of the research group with their research as necessary as well as conducting my own research. I am also involved in preparing grant submissions, drafting research publications, editing and reviewing publications of other researchers in the group.

Postgraduate Supervision

I routinely supervise a number of postgraduate students from this and other universities. I am not currently supervising any PhD students.

Esteem Indicators

  • Invited speaker at large number domestic and international academic, veterinary and pharmaceutical industry conferences and meetings.
  • Invited speaker for the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education
  • Module co-ordinator on the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour & Welfare at the University of Edinburgh
  • Significant contribution to the FELASA Animal Welfare Award 2007
  • External PhD examiner (University of Bristol 2007)
  • Internal PhD examiner (Newcastle University (2012)
  • External MPhil examiner (Manchester University 2012)

Keywords

Laboratory animal welfare, Companion animal welfare, Pain, Distress, Behaviour, Statistical analysis, Experimental design, Welfare benchmarking, Wildlife welfare

Undergraduate Teaching:

  • Companion Animal Science at Newcastle University (ACE 2035: Animal Science)
  • Zoo Animal Science and Management at Newcastle University (ACE 2057: Animal Science)
  • Experimental Design on Pharmacological Techniques Module at Newcastle University (PED 3001: Pharmacology).
  • Ethics of Animal Use at Newcastle University (Bio3015: Biology).

Postgraduate Teaching:

  • Module co-ordinator on the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour & Welfare at Newcastle University (Animal Welfare Science [ACE 8076], Neural & Endocrine Mediation of Behaviour [ACE8077], Abnormal Animal Behaviour [ACE 8084], Experimental Design & Statistics [ACE8102]).
  • Module co-ordinator on the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour & Welfare at the University of Edinburgh (Animal Welfare Applications). 
  • Module co-ordinator on the MSc in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law at the University of Edinburgh (Animal welfare, testing and education). 
  • Lecturer Experimental design CBC’s Home Office Module 5 course
  • Seminars as part of CBC 3 day workshop on animal pain and distress.