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Having always wanted to work with animals, I completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Biosciences at the University of Sydney in 2015. Through this degree I developed a passion for livestock research and was fortunate to complete my Honours project with the welfare team at CSIRO in Armidale.

Hooked on research, I then completed my PhD with the CSIRO, University of New England and Sheep CRC in 2019. Supported by an incredible team of supervisors; Caroline Lee, Geoff Hinch, Ian Colditz, Sam Clark and Brad Hine, my knowledge and passion for livestock research grew further still. My thesis focused on the use of a novel attention bias test for assessing emotional states in sheep. I also developed a novel method for assessing rate of acclimation to new environments and handling in beef cattle and worked towards the identification of a resilience phenotype in sheep.

I am now working to develop a management tool for beef producers to collect and manage welfare data on-farm and benchmark their welfare performance against comparable properties. This exciting collaboration between the CSIRO, NSW DPI and MLA forms the basis of my postdoctoral research fellowship with the University of New England. I am passionate about improving the quality of life of livestock across all production systems and am excited about the role of technology in making that happen. My key research interests currently include:

  • Benchmarking welfare in beef cattle to facilitate industry-wide improvements in quality of life
  • Assessment of affective states and personality in livestock
  • Developing practical tools for the assessment and improvement of livestock welfare

Other Interests

Art, photography, cake decorating and roller skating.

Achievements and Awards

  • 2019-2019

    Chancellor’s Doctoral Research Medal
    University of New England

  • 2019-2019

    Student poster prize at the 53rd International Congress of ISAE
    International Society for Applied Ethology

  • 2018-2018

    Student poster prize at UFAW Animal Welfare Across Borders
    Universities Federation for Animal Welfare

  • 2017-2017

    Finalist for the ‘Communicate your research’ competition at SMARTBEEF
    Australian Lot Feeders' Association

  • 2015-2015

    Associate Professor John L. Barnett Memorial Prize for Best Essay in Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science
    University of Sydney

Academic Qualifications

  • 2019

    Doctor of Philosophy
    The University of New England and CSIRO

  • 2015

    Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience (Honours I)
    The University of Sydney

Professional Experiences

  • 2020-Current

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    University of New England and CSIRO

  • 2022-Current

    Casual academic (lecturing)
    University of Sydney

  • 2019-2020

    Postdoctoral researcher
    NSW Department of Planning, Industries and Environment (DPIE)

We have publications by Dr Jessica Monk