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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I routinely supervise a number of postgraduate students from this and other universities. I am not currently supervising any PhD students.
Laboratory animal welfare, Companion animal welfare, Pain, Distress, Behaviour, Statistical analysis, Experimental design, Welfare benchmarking, Wildlife welfare