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ABOUT ME

I'm interested in how long-lived, highly encephalised, highly social animals make evolutionary "sense" and how we can apply an understanding of their lives and behaviour to conservation. I've worked on these topics in primates, Asian elephants, African elephants and now, wild boar. I have worked and continue to have projects in Asia and Southern Africa. From April 2019 I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand.

POSITIONS

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR

School of Biological Sciences and Department of Politics and Public Administration
The University of Hong Kong

April 2019 - Present

DRAPERS' COMPANY JUNIOR RESEARCH FELLOW

Pembroke College and Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge

October 2015 - March 2019

HONORARY RESEARCHER

Centre for African Ecology
University of the Witwatersrand

February 2018 - Present

COLLEGE FOR LIFE SCIENCES FELLOW

February - July 2018

College for Life Sciences
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
I worked on a comparative project on the demography and social relationships of male elephants.

FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR

September - December 2017

Department for Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Science
Colorado State University
I worked on collaborative projects with George Wittemyer's group at CSU.

VISITING FELLOW

August 2016 - February 2017

I've been awarded highly competitive research fellowships to follow exciting new research avenues on the ecology and conservation of African elephants. My current research is focused on males, the less well-studied sex in terms of behavioural ecology and life history, but one we desperately need to understand if we can to conserve elephants. I've been doing fieldwork in Southern Africa. See my research page for more project info.

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

June 2014 - August 2015

University of Sheffield
I was funded through a grant from the Leverhulme Trust to conduct work on how stress affects elephant life history, the evolution of elephant growth and body size and how parasites affect elephant life history.

MYANMAR TIMBER ELEPHANT PROJECT MEMBER

2010 - Present

I worked in Myanmar for over 5 years. I was investigating how environmental conditiond are associated with life history, includng looking at early life conditions and later life mortality and fertility. I did a lot of fieldwork, both updating historic logbook data on elephants and collecting new and exciting physiological data.

INTERN

2010

Save The Elephants, Kenya

I conducted monitoring surveys of elephants and other mammals, analysed tracking data, assisted with the identification of poached elephants and updated and added to the Access database.

EDUCATION

UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD

2010 - 2014

PhD in Animal Ecology
Thesis: Stress, demography and ecology in Asian elephants
Supervised by Virpi Lummaa- Excellent report
Fully funded through NERC PhD studentship

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

MPhil in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Fully funded through Nick Day Prize for best student, MRC Masters degree studentship

2008 - 2009

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

MA in Archaeology and Anthropology (BA Cantab upgraded to MA after graduation)
Specialism in Biological Anthropology

2004 - 2007

SKILLS AND SERVICES

  • Stastical analysis in R including mixed models, time-event analysis

  • Enzyme immunoassay from faeces and blood

  • Relatedness analysis of microsatellite data

  • 3+ years fieldwork on elephants in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa

  • Reviewed manuscripts for Scientific Reports, Biological Conservation, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Environmental Conservation, Behavioural Ecology, Journal of Mammology, Journal of Ecosystems & Ecography and grants for the British Ecological Society and Graduate Women in Science Fellowship

MAJOR FUNDING

  • Seed grant for research, University of Hong Kong $20,000 HKD

  • Start up fund, University of Hong Kong

  • Fulbright Scholar Award (2017-2018) $30,000 USD

  • College for Life Sciences Fellowship (2018) worth around €25,000

  • Branco Weiss - Society in Science Fellowship (500,000 CHF , 2015-2020)

  • Stipendary Drapers' Company Junior Research Fellowship, Pembroke College, Cambridge (worth over £125,000, 2015-2018)

  • Fischbeck Foundation grant for a workshop 2018 - €7,000

  • NRF DST Fellowship for early career researchers (220,000 ZAR through the University of South Africa, 2016)

  • NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility grant (up to £31,000 for 2017-2018) to fund diet metabarcoding study

  • NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility grant (up to £13,000 for 2016-2017) to fund population genetics lab work

  • Cambridge-Alborada Research fund grant to fund field data collection (£19,340, 2016-2017)

OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

  • I'm working with students in Hong Kong in my new male African elephant project. They'll be in charge of the project social media presence.

  • I've participated in Science, Engineering and Technology of Britain, taking my research to the Houses of Parliament.

  • Presentations to the public  in person, TV and over the radio in the UK, India, South Korea and Thailand

  • I'm featured in the documentary "Of Oozies and Elephants"

  • NERC showcased my PhD research in a video

  • I've given talks and run stalls for University Researchers' Night and Discovery Night

  • School talks in the UK, Hong Kong and Thailand

  • Shortlisted for Research Photograph of the year by NERC for a picture of me weighing an elephant

  • My work has been covered by the Daily Mail, Naked Scientists, IFL Science, Planet Earth Online, Conservation magazine and the Irrawady