Staff, Post-doctoral & Visiting Researchers

Staff, Post-doctoral, & Visiting Researchers are listed by laboratory:

Trevor DeVries
Alexandra Harlander
Georgia Mason
Tina Widowski

 

DeVries Lab


Clemence Nash

Emily Kaufman

Emily grew up near Niagara Falls, Ontario and moved around during her teenage years to the United States and México. Emily has always had a great curiosity for animals, and knew at a young age that she wanted to pursue a degree in Animal Biology at the University of Guelph. During her four years at Guelph, she was introduced to various animal production systems and gained practical on-farm experience working with a large variety of species. Emily was intrigued by the idea of learning how animal behaviour relates to animal health and decided to continue her studies in a M.Sc. by thesis. In the Summer of 2015, Emily finished her research understanding the association between transition cow behaviour and subclinical illness. She is now working as a research assistant in Trevor DeVries' lab aiding ongoing dairy research and looking into the relationship between rumination behaviour and milk production in early lactation dairy cows.


Harlander Lab


Clemence Nash

Iilka Boecker

Ilka has an MSc in Agriculture/Animal Science from the University of Kiel in Germany. She is a trained dairy farmer, an approved instructor with the Side Saddle Association and a Certified Equine Massage Therapist. She has a keen interest in the welfare, behaviour and nutrition of animals. As a Research Assistant in the Harlander Lab, her responsibilities include assisting graduate and PhD students with their individual research projects and organising the equipment.


Clemence Nash

Jacqueline Chow

Jacqueline Chow is a Level IV Honours Biochemistry undergraduate student from McMaster University, completing her co-op term as anNSERC USRA recipient in the lab of Dr. Alexandra Harlander. With a deep concern for animal welfare, she works with Patrick Birkl (PhD student) to study feather pecking in laying hens. With a profound knowledge in Biochemistry, she fits well into this project that aims at not only understanding feather pecking from an ethological perspective but also from a neurochemical point of view. She hopes that further investigating the role of the monoaminergic system (serotonin and dopamine) in feather pecking will contributeto understanding this abnormal behavior better in its multi-factorial context. This knowledge does not only have the potential to help solve the welfare issue of "feather pecking" in laying hens, but might also be relevant to better understanding abnormal behavior in other species and even humans.


Clemence Nash

Haley Leung

Haley is an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph studying Animal Biology and is currently in her third year. She became interested in animal welfare after taking a course in her first year looking at welfare in various animals. Haley currently works for Dr. Alexandra Harlander and assists Chantal LeBlanc with her project in laying hen locomotion. She analyzes the wing movements of the hens as they fly up ramps or use wing assisted incline running which may show us how to better design aviaries for hens one day.


Clemence Nash

Brittany Lostracco

Brittany completed her BSc in Biology at Queen's University, followed by a Master's degree in Animal Welfare and Behaviour at the University of Guelph. Under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Torrey, she conducted a research project titled “Assessing the behaviour and welfare of broiler breeder pullets reared on different feeding schedules". Subsequently, she worked as a research assistant in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College in Dr. Lee Niel's lab, assisting with the development of an animal well-being assurance program for small animal veterinary clinics. Brittany is currently working in Dr. Alexandra Harlander's lab as a research assistant, where the area of interest is poultry welfare and behaviour. She is heavily involved in an exciting new project that will be completed over the next several years regarding the welfare aspects of husbandry changes made to reduce poultry greenhouse gas emissions. In her spare time Brittany likes to play beach volleyball and go for bike rides on the many trails in Guelph.


Clemence Nash

Candace Martins

During the summer of 2014, Candace achieved an Honours Bsc degree in Biological Science at the University of Guelph. With a strong interest in and devotion to animals, she has gained experience at equine farms, small veterinary clinics, as well as at the large animal clinic at the OVC. She is currently working full time in Dr. Harlander's lab where the focus is on the locomotion of laying hens. Candace assists graduate students with their individual research projects which aim to provide evidence for the proper rearing and housing of these animals. She has also been analyzing play behaviours in laying hens during their early weeks of life, seeing how they differ with age and across different strains.


Clemence Nash

Peter McBride

Peter McBride is from Montréal, Québec, and is a McGill University graduate. At McGill, he completed his B. Sc. (Agr. & Env.) in Life Sciences, with a specialization in Animal Biology. Peter also has a background in the field of microbiology, as he worked and studied in the lab of Dr. Sébastien Faucher during his degree. After graduating, he began working with Dr. Alexandra Harlander at the University of Guelph as a recipient of a NSERC USRA. Together with Patrick Birkl (PhD student) and other members of Dr. Harlander’s research team, their research aims at understanding feather-pecking behaviour in laying hens, which is a serious welfare issue. To better understand the mechanisms underlying this abnormal activity, Peter is helping Patrick investigate the roles of the monoaminergic system and the gut microbiota in the development of feather-pecking behaviour. The hope is that this research will help improve the welfare of laying hens around the world.


Mason Lab


Dana Campbell

Maria Diez Leon

María Díez León is a postdoctoral researcher in the Mason lab.  María grew up in the Basque Country (northern Spain) and ever since she can remember, she has been fascinated by carnivores and the study of behaviour.  She got a BSc. in Biology from the University of Navarra, and an MSc. in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh.  Her MSc. was a turning point in her life: here she became fascinated by stereotypic behaviours, fell in love with mink as a study subject, and met Georgia, who supervised her project (conducted at the Foulum research station in Denmark) in which she tested the idea that stereotypies are harder to interrupt than normal behaviour. Determined to continue with research and after a year back at the University of Navarra gaining some teaching experience, she was awarded a Ph.D. scholarship from the Basque Country Government to come to the University of Guelph to investigate how housing conditions affect carnivore behaviour and brain function and the potential implications for reintroduction of captive carnivores into the wild. Because she cannot stay away from Guelph, after completing her PhD, she started a postdoctoral fellowship funded by an NSERC Collaborative Research and Development grant to determine how cage size affects the welfare of farmed mink. In collaboration with the University of Navarra, she is also involved in a project looking at how differences in the management of the early environment of barn owls can influence their adult behaviour. María also enjoys learning foreign languages, and has a BA. in translation and interpreting at the University of the Basque Country.


Dana CampbellDana Campbell

Dana grew up in New Zealand and has always been surrounded by animals in her home; at one point the menagerie peaked at 2 dogs, 5 cats, 6 rabbits and 50-something birds. Throughout school she had a strong interest in the natural world with many childhood collections such as leaves, feathers, sand, shells and gemstones. She completed her BSc (Honours) in Biology and Psychology at the University of Auckland with a research thesis on the song of the endangered North Island kokako (Callaeas cinerea wilsoni). Continuing with her interest in birds, she went on to do a PhD in behavioural ecology (U of Auckland) researching species recognition and mate choice behaviour in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). It was during this time working with these laboratory-raised birds that she became interested in the welfare of captive animals and how scientific data can be used to improve their housing conditions and their lives. In pursuit of this interest, she moved to Guelph in 2011 to work with Georgia Mason on enrichment, welfare and mating success of fur-farmed American mink. She is currently looking at how environmental enrichments for caged laboratory male mink can modify stereotypic behaviour and subsequently their copulation success during mate choice.


Carole Fureix

Carole Fureix

From hermit crabs to horses and cats, Carole has always been interested in animal behaviour. However, her curiosity towards the human mind led her to enrol in a M.Sc. of cognitive psychology/neurosciences at the universities of Montpellier and Toulouse (France). During her M.Sc., she studied cognitive impairments related to aging and sleep disorders. In 2005, she returned to her childhood sweethearts (…ponies are so cute!) and enrolled in a PhD of applied ethology at the university of Rennes 1, co-supervised by Martine Hausberger and Patrick Jego. Her PhD investigated the factors involved in the horses’ reaction towards humans, in particular the role of the animals’ welfare state. While working on welfare indicators in this species, she became interested in the welfare states of abnormally inactive animals (i.e. depressive-like?). She won a Fyssen (http://www.fondationfyssen.fr/) postdoctoral fellowship and moved to Guelph in January 2012 for 2 years. Now working with Georgia Mason, she is investigating whether sub-optimal housing can induce depression-like behaviour in mice, and is testing the hypotheses that (i) compared with enriched housed mice, standard-housed mice will show more depression-like traits (e.g. anhedonia, cognitive pessimism), more time inactive “standing still, eyes open, doing nothing” in their cage and that these traits will statistically co-vary, and (ii) that all such effects will be reversed later with environmental enrichment and anti-depressants, but exacerbated by enrichment-loss. During her spare time, Carole is a passionate photographer and is committed to train her French cat Pancake Face how to use Skype (… unsuccessfully until now, but maybe one day, who knows!).


Rebecca Meagher

Rebecca Meagher

Becky grew up in Kitchener, Ontario. She compensated for the lack of pets in her home by finding as many opportunities as possible to interact with animals, and going on to study them. She completed her B.Sc. at the University of Toronto, where she specialized in Animal Behaviour with a minor in Psychology. She became fascinated by the prospect of applying science to animal welfare issues, and the opportunity to combine her interests in evolutionary biology, animal behaviour and psychology. She completed her PhD at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Georgia Mason, investigating why some mink on fur farms become extremely inactive rather than developing stereotypic behaviour (a form of abnormal behaviour very commonly exhibited in this environment), and what this signifies for their welfare. She is currently remaining in Guelph to work on project on practical environmental enrichment for mink, funded by an OMAFRA grant to Dr. Mason. This research, conducted on three commercial farms in southern Ontario, is aimed at determining whether very simple, inexpensive additions to the cage can improve mink welfare, reproductive success, and pelt quality.


Widowski Lab


Kimberly Sheppard

Kimberly Sheppard

From an early age growing up on a hobby farm, Kim knew that her passion and compassion for animals would lead her into a career working with them - an interest which led her to the Dalhouse University Faculty of Agriculture (formerly Nova Scotia Agricultural College) where she completed an Honours Degree in Animal Science.  Upon graduation, she was offered the rare opportunity to spend a summer with the Whale Stewardship Project, focussing on the behaviour study and protection of a solitary sociable beluga whale. Enjoying the research, Kim continued her pursuit of animal behaviour and welfare studies at the University of Guelph, where she completed her Masters Degree with Dr. Ian Duncan.  Her thesis investigated floor-laying and nesting behaviour in broiler breeders, and its interaction with nest preference and hunger as broiler breeders are heavily feed-restricted.  She continued on to a Research Technician position at the Ontario Veterinary College, studying sickness behaviour in swine with Dr. Suzanne Millman, and is currently Communications and Outreach Coordinator with the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, where she manages and develops outreach and extension materials for education programs, industry partners, government, and the broader community.

KIMBERLY SHEPPARD, MSC | Communications Coordinator, Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare| Department of Animal and Poultry Science | University of Guelph | Guelph, ON | Tel, 519-824-4120 Ext. 53648 | ksheppar@uoguelph.ca