I am a Zoologist with a broad biological background,
specialism in Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science, and a current focus on
higher education teaching having recently filled a teaching position at the University of Bristol. My academic qualifications converge on a holistic
understanding of Animal Behaviour in a Zoological context while my recent
experience in teaching focused roles (including programme and unit leadership)
and my Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy demonstrate my commitment to
developing such an understanding in others.
Ralph R.J. Thompson, Elizabeth S. Paul, Andrew N. Radford, Julia Purser, Michael Mendl (2016). Routine handling methods affect behaviour of three-spined sticklebacks in a novel test of anxiety. Behavioural Brain Research 306 26-35 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2016.03.015
My research aimed to investigate the links between emotion, cognition and subjectivity in humans, and then to test whether the same rules apply to non-human subjects that are not capable of verbally reporting their emotional state. Principle gains include the development of novel test of fish 'anxiety', the discovery of anxiolytic effects of acute stress in fish, and demonstration of the ability of interpretive bias tests to detect low level changes in mood in humans.
Ralph R.J. Thompson, Elizabeth S. Paul, Andrew N. Radford, Julia Purser, Michael Mendl (2016). Routine handling methods affect behaviour of three-spined sticklebacks in a novel test of anxiety. Behavioural Brain Research306
During my MSc at Oxford I revised and elaborated upon
my biological skills ranging from molecular techniques such as PCR and
sequencing to badger trapping and bird ringing on Skomer, all the time with the
emphasis on how these techniques can be used to complement each other to provide
greatest insight into the system being studied.
Reflecting this diversity I carried out two distinct
research projects. The first was undertaken at the Wellcome Trust Centre for
under the supervision of Prof. Anthony P. Monaco and Dr.
Silvia Paracchini and used cell biological techniques (cell culture and
specifically designed assays) to investigate the cell adhesion properties of the
protein product of the Dyslexia associated gene KIAA0319.
This will hopefully help to increase our understanding of how normal
cortical developmental processes work as well as identifying the deficits
My second research project saw a change of focus and
scale as I carried out a field project in Wytham Woods
, the University of Oxford's long term field
study site run by the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology
in the Department of Zoology
looked at the effects of fine scale variation in the timing of resource
availability on the success and timing of breeding in great tits (Parus major)
supervision of Amy Hinks
and Prof. Ben Sheldon. Answers to
questions such as this are of course becoming all the more urgent as the effects
of global climate change begin to be felt.