On completion of a BSc (Hons) Equine Science from the University of Limerick in Ireland (1999), I worked and travelled for several years before returning to Edinburgh and working as a Certification Officer for the Quality Meat Scotland Cattle and Sheep Farm Assurance Scheme.
During this time I became interested in farm animal welfare and welfare assessment and in 2006 left to undertake the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh and SRUC.
My dissertation project (supervised by Professor Cathy Dwyer) looked at the effects of prenatal undernutrition on lamb behaviour and subsequently led to a PhD looking at the effects of selection for fast lean muscle growth (in sheep) on the function of the muscle and consequent impact upon behaviour and welfare.
Since completion of my PhD I am working as a research assistant within the Future Farming Systems group looking at strategies to minimise methane emissions from livestock systems. I am also acting as secretary for the Edinburgh side of the SRUC Animal Experiment Committee.
My research interests include the prenatal antecedents of behaviour and health in farm animals and equines, specifically the effects of prenatal undernutrition on HPA axis and muscle development; foetal behaviour and activity and its relationship to muscle development; and metabolic disease in equines and novel approaches to management of these animals.
Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.