PhD students

Denise Hebesberger studied Biology (2013) and Educational Science (2012) at the University of Vienna, Austria. She specialized in Ethology and Human-Animal Relations. For her final thesis she studied behavioural and physiological effects of horse-assisted therapy for mother-child pairs with insecure attachment. After graduation Denise worked as a researcher in EU-funded social science projects for 2.5 years, what resulted in several presentations and publications at international conferences and in peer reviewed journals. In September 2016 she obtained a LS Studentship to conduct her PhD at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Studying "Benefits of Social Bonds in Horses", she is now able combine two of her very interests: behavioural physiology and horses. 


Areas of interest:

* social behaviour in domesticated and (semi) feral horses

* socio-physiology

* horse welfare



Twitter: @horsebonds


Former Students

MSc students

Jacqui Kirk

Project title: An assessment of social networks between African lions and their offspring: pre-and-post dispersal ages


Project summary: Social network analysis is increasingly used on a diverse range of species and can provide insights into animal behaviour, as well as interactions at a group and population level. However, the role of social networks in dispersal is not well understood. Dispersal plays a major role in behavioural systems, further if dispersal does not occur competitive interactions may ensue. Using long-term (>5 years) data sets from captive-origin African lion (Panthera leo) prides, this project uses network and individual metrics to assess the stability of network positions and network structure during cub-rearing and sub-adult dispersal age when sub-adults are unable to leave the natal site.

Research interests: African carnivores / social network analysis / dispersal / raptors

Contact details: / / @jacquikirk5


Hilary Sweetnam

Project title: Assessment of responses of domestic goats’ (Capra hircus) to human vocalisations


Joana Raquel Silva Ferreira

 Project title: Responses of horses to emotional valence in voices of familiar and unfamiliar humans

Interested in working with me?

Applicants wishing to apply for PhD funding and applicants who can self-fund are welcomed. I'm happy to support applications for Marie Curie Fellowships, Leverhulme Early Career Applicants and others to work in my lab. 


Voluntary summer positions are available for undergraduates studying biology at university, or for biology postgraduates. Please get in touch if you're interested.