Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Research Group

Lizard standing on a branch

Innovative Solutions to Animal Health, Welfare, and Society

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.

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 Activity

NamePosition/Research interests 
Dr Anjuli Barber

Research Assistant

Cognitive Biology Dog-Human Interaction Emotion Face Processing 
Prof Oliver Burman Reader
Animal behaviour, cognition and welfare
01522 835453
Dr Colin Butter Reader in Bioveterinary Science
Avian and comparative immunology
Catia Caeiro

Associate Lecturer

Animal cognition and communication

Dr Jonathan Cooper Principal Lecturer
Animal behaviour and welfare
01522 835276
Dr Sarah Ellis Research Fellow
01522 835307
Dr Lauren Finka Research Fellow
Assessment of pain in cats
Dr Sophie Hall Research Fellow
Human-animal interactions
Ben Keep Research Assistant
Prof Daniel Mills Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine
Veterinary behaviour
01522 835356
Sophie Moszuti Research Assistant
Teresa Romero Senior Lecturer
Animal behaviour, cognition and welfare
01522 835881
Dr Karen Staines Research Fellow
Avian immunology
Dr Anna Wilkinson Senior Lecturer
Animal cognition
01522 835465
Dr Hannah Wright Visiting Fellow
01522 835473
Dr Helen Zulch Visiting Fellow  


Associate Members

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); Petra Pollux (School of Psychology); Karen Pfeffer (School of Psychology); Derek Foster (School of Computer Science); Conor Linehan (School of Psychology, University of Cork); John Murray (School of Computer Science, University of Hull); Georgios Tzimiropoulos (School of Computer Science); Ted Fuller (Lincoln Business School); Diane Ryland (Lincoln Law School); Charles Deeming (School of Life Sciences); Fernando Montealegre-Z (School of Life Sciences); Tom Pike (School of Life Sciences).

School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln. LN6 7TS 

tel: + 44 (0)1522 886654


A sample of recently funded projects include:

Development of a tool to assess and monitor quality of life in dogs, Dogs Trust:  Dr Sophie Hall, Prof Daniel Mills

Impact of dogs in the office on employee commitment, social relations and work quality of life, Nestle Purina:  Dr Sophie Hall, Prof Daniel Mills

Looking at dogs to help defeat the age of loneliness: Nestle Purina: Dr Teresa Romero, Dr Kun Guo, Prof Daniel Mills

Automated predictive welfare assessment in groups of fish, NC3Rs: Prof Oliver Burman, Dr Tom Pike.

Evaluating the human canine bond in families with and without specific needs, Dogs Trust: Dr Sophie Hall, 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

Assessment and early detection of pain in cats, Feline Friends: Prof Daniel Mills

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, Dr Ruth Croxton

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

Long term effects of pet dogs on families with children with autism, Morris Animal Foundation Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative: Dr Hannah Wright, Prof Daniel Mills

The influence of dog ownership on activity in older adults, ISAZ - Waltham: Prof Daniel Mills, Dr Sarah Ellis

Representative recent publications: - for a full list of publications, please go to individual ABCW Group member pages (listed above)

Lopes Fagundes, A. L., Hewison, L., McPeake, K. J. B., Zulch, H., Mills, D. S.,(2018). Noise sensitivities in dogs: an exploration of signs in dogs with and without musculoskeletal pain using qualitative content analysis. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5, 17.

Szabó, D., Mills, D.S., Range, F., Virányi, Z. and Miklósi, Á., 2017. Is a local sample internationally representative? Reproducibility of four cognitive tests in family dogs across testing sites and breeds. Animal Cognition, pp.1-15

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.

Ruiz-Hernandez, R., Mwangi, W., Peroval, M., Sadeyen, J.R., Ascough, S., Balkissoon, D., Staines, K., Boyd, A., McCauley, J., Smith, A. and Butter, C., 2016. Host genetics determine susceptibility to avian influenza infection and transmission dynamics. Scientific reports, 6, p.26787.

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:

Natalia Albuquerque – Assessment of emotionality in dogs (Dual award with USP Brazil). Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Kun Guo, Dr Anna Wilkinson

Luciana AssisNovel approaches to the investigation of separation related problems in dogs (Science without Borders)  Professor Daniel Mills, Professor Oliver Burman, Dr Tom Pike

Catia CaeiroAge effects on competence in assessing emotional expression in dogs and people (University / School of Psychology award) Dr Kun Guo, Professor Daniel Mills

Joanna Cruden - Environmental enrichment for laboratory rabbits. Dr Jonathan Cooper and Professor Oliver Burman

M. Sofia Fernandez - Improving the welfare of chimpanzees in African rehabilitation centres by the creation and implementation of guidelines in the field. Dr Jonathan Cooper, Dr Bino Majolo, Dr Carl Soulsbury

Anna FrohnwieserThe use of robots to understand animal social cognition. Dr Anna Wilkinson, Dr Tom Pike, Dr John Murray (Computer Sciences)

Katy Goddard – Trade off between olfaction and semiochemicals detection in dogs. (Ceva Animal Health) Dr Malgorzata Pilot, Prof Daniel Mills

Karen GriffinBehavioural flexibility and dog-owner compatibility (self funded and Dogs Trust) Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Tom Pike, Professor Libby John

Annika Huber Assessment of emotional state in dogs (Dual award with University of Bern) Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Helen Zulch

Mie Kikuchi – Origin and management of attitudes to canine aggression in UK and Japan Professor Daniel Mills, Professor Tod Hogue

Rachael King – Factors affecting behavioural development of kittens Dr Jonathan Cooper, Professor Daniel Mills

Kevin McPeake -  Frustration in dogs Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Helen Zulch

Sophie MoszutiDeveloping novel measures to assess reptile welfare. Dr Anna Wilkinson, Professor Oliver Burman

Andrew PickenThe mechanisms underlying complex cognition in parrots. Dr Anna Wilkinson, Dr Tom Pike

Sarah ReaneyInvestigating pain and personality in dogs with hip dysplasia (SLS award) Dr Lisa Collins, Dr Helen Zulch

Fiona Williams – Mobile eye-tracking technology in the dog Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Kun Guo, Dr Anna Wilkinson