I am currently working on a BBSRC-funded grant on a project entitled "Engaging industry to develop best practice for laboratory-housed dogs, improving welfare and quality of scientific output". This project is a collaboration with facilities in the UK to engage those working with dogs in scientific research, and in doing so, provide resources (including a dedicated website) and training to staff. The project will also provide an evidence base for the use of Refinements to common procedures, which will maximise the welfare of dogs and the data output obtained from their use.
In my previous post-doctoral research, I worked on an NC3Rs-funded project supervised by Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith which investigated the utility of signalled predictability and anticipatory in the Refinement of dog use, and built upon my previous research to further investigate factors in housing and husbandry which most influence welfare in the laboratory-housed dog.
I graduated from the University of Stirling in 2010 with a first class honours degree in Psychology and a final-year dissertation entitled "Assessing the impact of human interaction on the welfare and rehoming potential of shelter dogs (Canis familiaris)" which won the UFAW-sponsored BERG prize for contribution to animal welfare.
I completed a BBSRC Industrial CASE studentship in 2014, with a thesis entitled "A practical framework for harmonising welfare and quality of data output in the laboratory-housed dog". The project, supervised by Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith, Dr Sally Robinson and Dr Christine Caldwell, focused on the development of a novel welfare assessment framework for laboratory-housed dogs and investigated Refinements to aspects of the laboratory environment including housing, husbandry and regulated procedures. This research won the NC3Rs-sponsored LASA poster prize in 2012, the Council for Science and Animal Welfare (C-SAW) prize in 2014, has been highlighted by the BBSRC and won the NC3Rs 3Rs prize.
I currently lecture on MSc Human Animal Interaction on companion animal welfare and laboratory animal welfare.
I am a member of:
Behaviour and Evolution Research Group
Laboratory Animal Science Association
Animal Welfare Research Network
Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
My research focuses on welfare assessment in companion and captive animals, particularly in laboratory-housed animals and animals which work with humans in a variety of ways. I am also interested in developing practical, evidence-based methods of improving welfare, especially the use of operant behaviour and social learning to improve training and desensitisation. I also have an ongoing interest in public engagement with research.
I organise the Stir3Rs group which promotes the use of the 3R prinicples of humane animal research.