"I really enjoy research and the challenge it brings."
"I have always been very interested in animals and their behaviour, and gained a lot of work experience in animal welfare settings as a child. I really enjoy research and the challenge it brings, thus I was keen to do a PhD to develop a career in research. I have a real passion for veterinary medicine research and love that I can apply my knowledge, as well as expand my skill set, in a meaningful way.
The fact that my research is having real world applications on canine health is very important to me.
I first developed a keen interest in the link between physiology and behaviour, particularly in animals, through my undergraduate studies in BSc (Hons) Psychology with Human Biology at Plymouth University. Here I specialised in Neuroscience and gained experience in brain imaging analysis. I then went on to further specialise in Behavioural Neurobiology through studying MSc Animal Behaviour at University of Exeter, working on hemispheric laterality in animals.
I am now continuing to develop my investigation in Behavioural Neurobiology by working for a PhD in Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Surrey, applying my knowledge of animal physiology and behaviour to a welfare setting. My research is investigating the chronobiology of household dogs using wellness monitors; exploring if it is possible to use this to detect illnesses in dogs.
I decided to come to Surrey for my PhD because I was really drawn to the University’s new School of Veterinary Medicine. Their state-of-the-art facilities and focus around innovation and collaboration is inspiring.
"It is very exciting to be part of a dynamic university and be able to be involved in so many different aspects of university life."
It is also a very beautiful campus, set within a great town, which was also very appealing.It is great being so close to London. My family are from the South West, UK, therefore visiting London was a big trip when I was growing up. Now I regularly visit London with ease. I was also given the opportunity to take a week’s course in Sweden to aid my academic studies.
It was fantastic to collaborate with another university and meet other researchers in my field from all over Europe.
So far, I am thoroughly enjoying my time at University of Surrey. The University offers a lot of resources and support for PGR students. As PGR representative for the School of Veterinary Medicine, I am involved in a lot of meetings and discussions to ensure that students get the most out of their time here.
My supervisor has been a big support and each new supervisor has added new insights into my research and offered different opportunities. Predominantly I have been able to use the School of Veterinary Medicine’s vHive (The Veterinary Health Innovation Engine), which is a collaboration between the University of Surrey and Zoetis. They are innovating research into technology including wearables for animals. They offer state of the art resources and collaboration.
I believe collaboration is very important and my research is based on collaboration. It is jointly funded by University of Surrey and a company, Zoetis. The collaboration has not only made my research possible, but also offers me a greater range of experiences, such as insight into research within industry and frequent presentations of my research to funders. Furthermore, to aid my research I have collaborated with many other researchers and academics from other departments across the University.
"By sharing skills and expertise from different areas, I am able to achieve a lot more than I would have if I was researching alone."
Four months into my PhD research I was runner-up in the British Kennel Club’s, Kennel Club International Canine Health Award – Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award, 2017. I got to travel to the British Kennel Club in London and it was a very exciting opportunity. I felt very honoured to be a part of it and represent the University of Surrey.
I thoroughly enjoy the opportunities offered through the sports and societies available at the University. I have particularly enjoyed the Equestrian Club’s new Polo Club and the facilities at the Surrey Sports Park. Additionally, I have loved getting involved in demonstrating at the University. It has helped me gain more confidence and has been very rewarding.
I aim to continue into academia and hope to do postdoctorial research within a university. I enjoy demonstrating and being involved in this type of research environment, particularly at University of Surrey. However, I also like how my PhD has given me opportunity to gain skills and insight into research within industry. I feel this leaves more options open for me as another possible avenue after my PhD studies."