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Marie Skłodowska Curie fellow – Teagasc Research Leader 2025

I obtained my MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh in 2015. I later remained at the University of Edinburgh to conduct my PhD in Clinical Veterinary Sciences, my PhD project being strategies to manage tail biting in pigs housed in fully slatted systems.

Since I completed my PhD, I spent six months working as a Global Animal Welfare Advisor at World Animal Protection, working with experts and stakeholders collaboratively to explore issues surrounding ending tail docking, teeth reduction and physical/surgical castration in pigs. From October 2020 to September 2021, I have undertaken my postdoctoral research at the Swine Teaching and Research centre at the University of Pennsylvania under Prof Thomas Parsons, working on a project of sow housing in early gestation.

Currently I am a Marie Skłodowska Curie fellow doing my postdoctoral project “Social stability as a foundation to improve health and welfare in pigs: the role of intraspecific communication (PIGSMELL),” co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Teagasc under the Research Leader 2025. My outgoing phase at Vetmeduni Vienna will be from January 2022 to August 2023 (supervised by Prof Jean-Loup Rault), during which time I will also undertake a secondment in IRSEA (supervised by Dr Míriam Marcet Rius), France, before returning to Teagasc to complete my project (supervised by Dr Keelin O’Driscoll). PIGSMELL is to explore pigs’ social structure and stability through different social metrics, with a special focus on the role olfaction plays in their social communication.

Research Interests

  • Improvement on group-housed farm animal rearing environment, especially for sows, grower and finisher pigs
  • Social communication and social structure of commercially farmed pigs
  • Boar taint perception and alternatives to surgical castration
  • Welfare at transport and slaughter of farm animals, e.g., design and improvement of transport/slaughter facilities, gas stunning of pigs, low atmospheric stunning of chicken and pigs, other applicable stunning and killing methods, and mechanical catching of broilers
  • Enrichment development for farm animals


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Short CV

Jan 2022 – Present  Postdoctoral researcher (Marie Skłodowska Curie fellow) @ Teagasc, Ireland/Vetmeduni Vienna, Austria/IRSEA, France

Oct 2020 – Sep 2021  Postdoctoral researcher @ Swine Teaching and Research Center, Dept. of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, Vet School, University of Pennsylvania

Dec 2019 – May 2020  Global Animal Welfare Advisor – Animals in Farming (Interim) @ World Animal Protection

Oct 2015 – Sep 2019   PhD in Clinical Veterinary Sciences @ University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, in collaboration with Teagasc & SRUC

Thesis: Strategies to manage tail biting in pigs housed in fully-slatted systems, supervised by Dr Keelin O’Driscoll (Teagasc), Dr Rick D’Eath (SRUC), Dr Dale Sandercock (SRUC) & Prof Alistair Lawrence (University of Edinburgh)

Sep 2014 – Aug 2015 Master of Science with Distinction in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare @ University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Dissertation: Effects of Environmental Enrichment on the Social Dynamics of Group Housed Sows, supervised by Dr Emma Baxter (SRUC) & Dr Lesley Smith (SRUC)

Aug 2002 – Jul 2008   Master of Arts in Science, Technology and Society (STS) @ National Tsing Hua University, Institute of History

Thesis: From Canine Vaccination to Cosmopolitics: An STS Exploration of Human-Dog Relationship in Taiwan (in Mandarin)