Pharmacology BSc (Hons), Animal Behaviour & Welfare MSc, Natural Sciences PhD
University of Dundee; Queen’s University of Belfast; University of Stirling
Belfast Zoo; University of Stirling; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France; National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA; University of California, USA
posdoctoral researcher & lecturer
Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland
Favourite thing to do in my job: I love studying how animals work together and learn – like when hyaenas hunt, each hyaena has a different job to do and they all help each other
I want to see if dogs are right handed or left handed and if left handed dogs are unhappier than right handed dogs
My Typical Day
I am either in the office writing about dogs or I am out playing with dogs!
What I'd do with the prize money
buy a load of books about the relationship between Christianity and science and lend them to anyone who wants to read them!
Start a small library of books on how Christianity and science are not at war that I could lend to friends, family, coworkers, local churches and anyone interested!
I already have a few books on this subject but not enough to share them with everyone who asks me for them so I’d like to create a collection of books, likely in my university’s Christian Union, that address this issue and that are available to anyone interested in borrowing them.
By keeping them at the university it will also hopefully create an easily accessible resource for students who may only be encountering the perceived ‘conflict’ between Christianity and science for the first time – something I would have been very grateful of myself!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
need more chocolate
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I discovered 2,000 year old cave paintings when I was studying baboons in South Africa.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
★ David Attenborough ★ I started watching him on TV when I was about 7! But Kenneth R. Miller has also been a huge inspiration to me as a Christian researching evolution.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Oh yes… I used to keep small spoonfuls of all the different coloured powders we used in chemistry each week and put them in one cup and mix them together… and then I emptied the cup into a small dish of very strong acid! It made a loud *POOF* and there was thick blue smoke and my teacher was not very happy!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A professional swing dancer! Travelling around the world meeting new people and teaching them how to dance!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
ooohhh Thai red curry!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Hard to choose! I was once chased by twelve big angry bushpigs which was actually quite exciting because I was listening to the Indiana Jones theme-tune at the time!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Visible eyebrows (mine are really blond), the ability to speak all languages, and who wouldn’t want to be able to fly?!
Tell us a joke.
I once tried to catch some fog. Mist.