Scientific Officer Position at PDSA – Telford


PDSA are seeking a Scientific Officer to join their Veterinary and Policy Campaigns team based at their Head Office in Telford.

This full time temporary role is responsible for supporting the Evidence and Policy Manager in the delivery and management of PDSA approved data and policy, impact measurements and research studies.

The candidate will need a degree in animal welfare, veterinary or a related subject and experience of undertaking thorough literature reviews and possess an aptitude for working with figures and large data sets. Attention to detail and a logical, organised work ethic along with the ability to work collaboratively across disparate teams will be key within this role.

Salary: Up to £29,442 per annum dependent on experience

Closing date: 25/04/2019

Further information can be found here.

PhD Studentship at University of Nottingham


An interdisciplinary approach to understand sheep farmers decision making for management of sheep scab.


The PhD is supervised by Dr Jasmeet Kaler and Dr Fiona Lovatt and is part of highly collaborative multi-partner project (Moredun, Bristol, Glasgow and Nottingham) which brings together the UK’s leading experts on sheep scab from across industry and academia. This multidisciplinary project aims to address the challenge of sheep scab management via further understanding epidemiology of scab, optimisation of tools for diagnosis and understanding farmer behaviour and attitudes towards scab management.

This PhD is interdisciplinary in nature and as such would suit UK or EU applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, including (but not limited to) candidates with 2.1 undergraduate degrees in Veterinary Science or Animal Science or Social Sciences or Psychology. This is a 3 year studentship with a stipend of £14,777.

Applications should be submitted by 30th April 2019.


Further information available here.


New Research Article

Does tail handling induce depression in laboratory mice?




Photo credit Julia Kuppermann

Mice are the most widely used species for scientific research. In order to improve their welfare in the laboratory, we need to better understand how routine practices and procedures affect them in order to make refinements to their housing and husbandry. Recent work led by Dr Jasmine Clarkson and Prof Candy Rowe at Newcastle University found that the current practice of picking mice up using their tails is associated with a depressive-like state, which is not evident in mice handled using a tunnel (Clarkson et al., 2018).
The team demonstrated that mice handled using their tails were less sensitive to rewarding sucrose solutions and were anhedonic compared to mice handled using a tunnel. Anhedonia is a core symptom of clinical depression in humans and can be described as the reduction or inability to experience pleasure from rewarding stimuli. Traditionally, anhedonia has been measured in laboratory rodents by looking at how much sucrose they consume. In this study, how they drank was also considered, as their licking patterns can also reveal how much they ‘like’ something. Tail handled mice drank less sucrose and did so in shorter licking bouts compared to tunnel handled mice, indicative that they found the sucrose less rewarding. This has obvious implications for improving their welfare: building on previous studies by Professor Jane Hurst and colleagues at the University of Liverpool (Hurst and West, 2010; Gouveia et al., 2013, 2017). However, it also has implications for scientific research. Mice are commonly used for a wide range of experiments where reward is often used to train the animals to perform in a given task. Therefore, making refinements to the way that mice are handled, by using a tunnel, has the potential to improve performance, shorten training times and reduce sample sizes in scientific experiments. Taken together, the work provides more support for the adoption of non-aversive handling methods such as tunnel handling for laboratory mice, in order to improve both animal welfare but also the quality of scientific data.
The work was funded by the BBSRC (BB/J014516/1) and is published in Scientific Reports (

Clarkson, J. M. et al. (2018) ‘Handling method alters the hedonic value of reward in laboratory mice’, Scientific Reports, 8(1), p. 2448. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20716-3.
Gouveia, K. et al. (2013) ‘Reducing Mouse Anxiety during Handling: Effect of Experience with Handling Tunnels’, PLoS ONE. Edited by E. M. Mintz. Public Library of Science, 8(6), p. e66401. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066401.
Gouveia, K. et al. (2017) ‘Optimising reliability of mouse performance in behavioural testing: the major role of non-aversive handling’, Scientific Reports. Nature Publishing Group, 7, p. 44999. doi: 10.1038/srep44999.
Hurst, J. L. and West, R. S. (2010) ‘Taming anxiety in laboratory mice’, Nature, 7(10), pp. 825–826. doi: 10.1038/NMETH.1500.