The Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Research Group comprises a unique team of internationally-renowned researchers working at the forefront of, and interface between, animal behaviour, cognition, health, and welfare.
Our mission is to use an inter-disciplinary approach to translate fundamental research in behaviour and cognition, to provide innovative, practical solutions for the benefit of animal health, welfare, and society.
Our interdisciplinary research benefits from strong links with members of the School of Psychology and the School of Computer Science, other research groups within Life Sciences, particularly the Evolution and Ecology group.
We collaborate both nationally and internationally with other leading universities, charities, governmental organisations, and businesses. Substantial research funding in the group has been obtained from:
In addition, we offer consultancy to those wishing to work with leading authorities in their field. This includes members of the animal care and pet food industry, agricultural producers, veterinary pharmaceutical companies, television and other media as well as clinical behaviour services.
Our facilities include internationally recognised behaviour, perception and cognition laboratories.
Research Themes and Sustainable Development Goals
Our research is embedded in the following University research themes, a unique set of areas that key into our goals as a civic university undertaking internationally significant research with local relevance, and as researchers engaged in the pursuit of excellence. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals badges represent our research and collaborations in terms of their contribution to the issues the world faces today and into the future.
Animal cognition investigates the way animals perceive the world. We are interested in how animals learn about their environment, how they use and retain this information, and how it impacts the decisions that they make. Studying animal cognition can give significant insights into the evolution of intelligence and is also important for understanding animal welfare.
Clinical animal behaviour research focuses on how we can better evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to interact with them, manage them and train them in ways that optimise their wellbeing. We also develop new treatment methods for helping animals with problem behaviour.
Animals are an intrinsic part of our multispecies society, we share our lives with them ever since our existence. Our research aims to understand the various ways animals can be beneficial (and harmful) to people, improve these mechanisms and bring those advantages into practical contexts to help improve modern society.
Animal welfare is a growing scientific discipline reflecting considerable public concern. Our research in animal welfare is led by a multi-disciplinary team of international experts, who work with a variety of animals including laboratory, farm, companion, and zoo animals.
When animals become ill, it can have huge psychological costs on owners, and economical costs on farmers. At Lincoln, we have specialists in different diseases of animals, including canine parvovirus, avian influenza and herpesviruses, as well as more wide ranging subjects such as animal lameness.
Sociality, understood as the formation of either transient or permanent associations with members of their own or different species, is prevalent across a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate taxa. Our research aims to investigate the richness and dynamism of animals’ socio-emotional capacities in a diversity of animal species.
|Dr Anjuli Barber||
Marie Curie Research Fellow
|Prof Oliver Burman||Professor of Animal Behaviouremail@example.com
|Dr Colin Butter||Associate Professor in Bioveterinary Science
Avian and comparative immunology
|Dr Simon Clegg||Lecturer in Animal Health and Diseasefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr Jonathan Cooper||Associate Professor in Animal behaviour and email@example.com
|Dr Carla Eatherington||Research Fellowfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr Elisa Frasnelli||
Senior Lecturer in Life Sciences
|Ms Lynn Hewison||
Teaching Practitioner in Clinical Animal Behaviour
|Tatjana Hoehfutner||Research Technicianemail@example.com|
|Dr Tanja Kleinhappel||Research Assistantfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr Neil de Kock||Research Fellowemail@example.com|
|Prof Daniel Mills||Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine
|Prof Sandra McCune||Visiting Professor in Human Animal Interactionsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Prof Christine Nicol||Visiting Professor in Animal Welfareemail@example.com|
|Dr Ashley Roberts||Lecturer in Bioveterinary Sciencefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr Teresa Romero||Senior Lecturer
Animal behaviour, cognition and welfare
|Dr Holly Root-Gutteridge||Research Fellowemail@example.com|
|Dr Luciana Santos de Assis||Research Assistantfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr Karen Staines||Research Fellow
|Dr Ambrose Tinarwo||Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Welfareemail@example.com|
|Dr Matthew Walker||Technicianfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ms Amy West||Research Assistantemail@example.com|
|Dr Anna Wilkinson||Senior Lecturer
|Dr Hannah Wright||Visiting Fellowfirstname.lastname@example.org
|Dr Helen Zulch||Visiting Fellow||Helen.Zulch@dogstrust.org.uk|
Emile van der Zee (School of Psychology); Kerstin Meints (School of Psychology); Kun Guo (School of Psychology); Bonaventura Majolo (School of Psychology); Todd Hogue (School of Psychology); Niko Kargas (School of Psychology); Fernando Montealegre-Z (School of Life Sciences); Carl Soulbury (School of Life Sciences) Tom Pike (School of Life Sciences).
tel: + 44 (0)1522 886654
Effect of light and sound on task performance in working dogs, dstl: Prof Anna Wilkinson, Dr Carl Soulsbury, Prof Daniel Mills
A review of hearing and vision in dogs compared to humans, dstl: Prof Anna Wilkinson, Prof Daniel Mills, Prof Fernando Montealegre-Z, Prof Kun Guo
The impact of a pet dog on the quality of life and welfare of adults with autism. Society for Companion Animal Studies: Dr Ana Barcelos, Prof Daniel Mills, Dr Niko Kargas
Semiochemistry and pheromonatherapy – various studies. Ceva Animal Health: Prof Daniel Mills
Characterisation of interactions between owners and dogs of toy breeds and its relationship with dogs’ behaviour. Nestle Purina: Dr Luciana Santos de Assis, Prof Daniel Mills
Does nose length affect social cognition in dogs? Nestle Purina: Dr Anjuli Barber, Prof Anna Wilkinson, Prof Daniel Mills, Prof Kun Guo
Development of a tool to assess and monitor quality of life in dogs. Dogs Trust: Prof Daniel Mills
What is social about social learning? AR2F Prof Anna Wilkinson
Using rats as a model for scent detection dogs, dstl: Prof Anna Wilkinson, Dr Tom Pike
The effect of enclosure size on corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) behaviour & welfare. RSPCA and World Animal Protection: Prof Oliver Burman, Prof Anna Wilkinson
α-Amylase as a non-invasive biomarker for stress in dogs. Dogs Trust: Dr Stefan Millson, Prof Oliver Burman, Prof Anna Wilkinson
Comparison between canine and human physiology – nausea, dstl: Dr Carl Soulsbury, Dr Jonathan Cooper, Dr John Hough, Prof Anna Wilkinson
The effect of within-cage environmental complexity on corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) behaviour & welfare. RSPCA: Prof Oliver Burman, Prof Anna Wilkinson
Impact of dogs in the office on employee commitment, social relations and work quality of life. Nestle Purina: Prof Daniel Mills
Automated predictive welfare assessment in groups of fish. NC3Rs: Prof Oliver Burman, Dr Tom Pike
A double blind placebo controlled study into the efficacy of a new supplement for the management of cribbing in horses. Smartpak: Prof Daniel Mills
Evaluating the human canine bond in families with and without specific needs. Dogs Trust: Prof Daniel Mills
Stimulus information can aid explosive detection in rats, dstl: Dr Anna Wilkinson, Dr Helen Zulch, Dr Tom Pike
Cold-blooded Care: Are cognitive judgement bias tests appropriate for use with reptiles? RSPCA: Dr Anna Wilkinson, Dr Oliver Burman
Use of Imepitoin for anxiety related problems. Boehringer Ingelheim: Prof Daniel Mills
Categorisation of odours in dogs. Office of Naval Research Global: Dr Helen Zulch, Dr Anna Wilkinson
Welfare of Happy Eggs Free Range Hens. Cirkle: Dr Jonathan Cooper
Factors affecting working performance of odour detection dogs, dstl: Prof Daniel Mills, Dr Helen Zulch
Developing a novel cognitive approach to assessing affective state in animals. BBSRC: Prof Oliver Burman
New approaches to food preference in cats. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition: Prof Oliver Burman, Prof Daniel Mills
(for a full list of publications, please go to individual ABCW Group member pages).
China, L., Mills, D. S., & Cooper, J. J. (2020). Efficacy of Dog Training With and Without Remote Electronic Collars vs. a Focus on Positive Reinforcement. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, 508.
Mills, D. S., Demontigny-Bédard, I., Gruen, M., Klinck, M. P., McPeake, K. J., Barcelos, A. M., ... & Koch, C. (2020). Pain and Problem Behavior in Cats and Dogs. Animals, 10(2), 318.
Barcelos, A. M., Kargas, N., Maltby, J., Hall, S., & Mills, D. S. (2020). A framework for understanding how activities associated with dog ownership relate to human well-being. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-12.
Santos de Assis, L., Matos, R., Pike, T. W., Burman, O. H., & Mills, D. S. (2020). Developing diagnostic frameworks in veterinary behavioural medicine: disambiguating separation related problems in dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 6, 499.
Chen, L, Fakiola, Mi, Staines, K, Butter, C and Kaufman, J (2018) Functional Alleles of Chicken BG Genes, Members of the Butyrophilin Gene Family, in Peripheral T Cells. Frontiers in Immunology, 9 . p. 930.
Romero, T, Konno, A, Nagasawa, M and Hasega, T (2019) Oxytocin modulates responses to inequity in dogs. Physiology and Behavior, 201 . pp. 104-110.
Santacà, M., Miletto Petrazzini, M. E., Agrillo, C., & Wilkinson, A. (2019). Can reptiles perceive visual illusions? Delboeuf illusion in red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) and bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Journal of Comparative Psychology.
Chielo L., Pike T. and Cooper J.J. (2016) Ranging behaviour of commercial free-range laying hens. Animals 2016, 6(5), 28.
McGrath, N., Dunlop, R., Dwyer, C., Burman, O., & Phillips, C. (2017). Hens vary their vocal repertoire and structure when anticipating different types of reward. Animal Behaviour, 130, 79-96.
Soldati, F., Burman, O., John, L., Pike, T., & Wilkinson, A (2017) Long-term memory of relative reward values. Biology Letters, 13 (2). ISSN: 1744-9561
Webb, C.E., Romero, T., Franks, B. and de Waal, F.B., 2017. Long-term consistency in chimpanzee consolation behaviour reflects empathetic personalities. Nature communications, 8(1), p.292.
Rogers, L.J., Frasnelli, E. and Versace, E., 2016. Lateralized antennal control of aggression and sex differences in red mason bees, Osmia bicornis. Scientific reports, 6, p.29411.
Clegg, S.R., Carter, S.D., Birtles, R.J., Brown, J.M., Hart, C.A. and Evans, N.J., 2016. Multi locus sequence typing of pathogenic treponemes isolated from cloven hoofed animals and their comparison to human isolates. Applied and environmental microbiology, pp.AEM-00025.
We welcome applications at any time from prospective MSc by Research (MScRes), MPhil or PhD students wishing to join our thriving postgraduate research community. Funded positions will be advertised as they arise via University of Lincoln Job Opportunities. In addition, we do consider applications for post graduate studies in areas relevant to our core interests by excellent applicants able to fund themselves or supported by their employer.
For further information on the range of research topics available, please see the individual staff pages and contact potential supervisors directly.
Current postgraduate research students:
Ana Maria Barcelos - A framework for understanding the impact of dog ownership on owner well-being
Jackie Braggs – Scratching behaviour in cats, Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Elisa Frasnelli
Lucy China – Evaluation of electronic collars on the trainability of and welfare of dogs, Dr Jonathan Cooper, Prof Daniel Mills
Annika Huber – Assessment of emotional state in dogs (Dual award with University of Bern), Professor Daniel Mills
Greta Kerulo - Standards in Animal Assisted Interventions, Dr Niko Kargas, Prof Daniel Mills
Himara van Haevermaet – Applying biological models to dog reactive dogs, Dr Carl Soulsbury, Prof Daniel Mills
Kevin McPeake - Frustration in dogs, Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Helen Zulch
Claire Ricci-Bonot – Social buffering in horses. Prof Daniel Mills, Dr Teresa Romero, Prof Christine Nicol
Tim Simon – Lateralised behaviour and emotionality in dogs, Prof Daniel Mills, Prof Anna Wilkinson, Dr Elisa Frasnelli, Prof Kun Guo
Rebecca Sumner – Developing automated methods to train working dogs, Prof Anna Wilkinson, Dr Tom Pike
Maria Dimitriou – Understanding the evolution of cognition using parrots as a model group. Prof Anna Wilkinson, Dr Tom Pike, Dr Carl Soulsbury
Gokulan Nagabaskaran – The impact of enrichment on cognition in reptiles, Prof Anna Wilkinson, Prof Oliver Burman
Chloe Wright – Primate Social Cognition, Dr Teresa Romero
Group research follows a multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative approach to increase understanding of disease characteristically associated with ageing at the molecular level, to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
The group’s vision is to create a strong, dynamic, and engaged research culture to carry out research that has the potential for real world impact at a local, national, and international level.
The group aims to understand the evolution and ecology of populations, species and communities across all levels of biological organisation, from genes through to ecosystems.
The research group has a multi-disciplinary approach to answering fundamental questions relating to the characterisation, evaluation, and testing of microorganisms and viruses.