College of Science Research Poster Conference 2017

The first annual College of Science Undergraduate Research Conference 2017, incorporating the Lincoln Festival of Biology, took place on Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd May in the Engine Shed, University of Lincoln.

The event featured research activities from our School of Life Sciences and also included student work from the Schools of Chemistry, Engineering and Pharmacy.

It was a fantastic opportunity for students to present their final projects and work to industry professionals with an allocated poster board, one for each student. Additionally, industry professionals were looking to recruit students based on their work and presentation, emphasising the importance of not only the students’ work, but also how they presented themselves.

Georgia Macfarlane’s poster was on ‘Human Perception of Aggression in Dogs (Canis familiaris); Phenotype and Breed Name’.  Her work was supervised by Prof Daniel Mills and Georgia said of her work,

I chose seven of the breeds from The Kennel Club UK breed registration statistics for 2016, for each breed group, I chose the top most registered which left me with the following breeds and their groups: miniature smooth haired Dachshund (hound group), Boxer (working), Border Terrier (terrier), Labrador Retriever (gundog), German Shepherd Dog (pastoral), French Bulldog (utility) and Pug (toy). 

This gave me a range of different appearances to use and being popular breeds, I was able to compare photograph versus name quite easily. As you’ll read on the poster name had a greater emotional response than photograph when it came to opinions on friendliness and aggression. The poster, however, was only a brief summary of the perceptions indicated, I summarise the overall negative and positive perceptions of each breed and mentioned the effect of name vs photograph in the discussion. In addition to the popular breeds, I included three out of the four breeds which are restricted by The Dangerous Dog Act (1991), which were the Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro and Pit Bull Terrier, all of which received negative perceptions. 

My survey displayed photographs and names completely separately and in a different order- so that people were not aware they were the same 10 breeds. In regards to phenotype and photographs, I spent hours upon hours, choosing photographs which presented each breed in these particular formats: neutral pose, playing outside, positive interaction with a person and displayed aggression (e.g. showing teeth, growing, etc.) The real issue was finding photographs of the ‘dangerous dogs’ as many of these breeds have been modified through having their ears clipped and even Google has photographs which portray breeds in positive and negative lights.

Using previous papers, I came to the conclusion that many of these stigmas and temperaments were human driven and that several factors including breed are responsible for temperament. In addition, the perceptions have negative consequences such as higher frequencies of re-homing for particular breeds, overlooking aggressive warning signs in ‘positively’ perceived breeds and altered human behaviour around ‘negatively’ perceived breeds, both of which have been said to increase the likelihood of an aggressive response from a dog. It should be noted here that I didn’t investigate the ‘drivers’ of perceptions, I just compared the perceptions both within breeds (i.e. was there a difference between how they were perceived by name and photograph) and across them (i.e. was there a difference in how each breed was perceived in comparison to others). I then was able to use past research as an indicator and as support to basically say breeds were perceived differently and this seems to be why; generally past research did only focus on particular breeds such as dangerous dogs, German shepherd, etc.

Georgia will be graduating this year and also said, “I will be celebrating graduation over the summer, before starting the MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour course this September. Whilst I have briefly discussed another canine aggression and morphology topic with my lecturers which links in with my dissertation, I plan on getting a mixture of practical and research based experience over the next eighteen months.

Watch the slideshow below to view some of the students’ posters, including Georgia’s poster.



New courses create even more career options

Students in a labStudents interested in wildlife management, medical research, animal ecology, pharmaceutical sciences and veterinary medicine have now even more options when it comes to degree courses.

To satisfy an increased demand in science-related subjects three new BSc (Hons) degrees in Biochemistry, Zoology and Pharmaceutical Sciences are being introduced at the University of Lincoln as of September 2013.

Biochemistry is at the cutting edge of the biological sciences and has made a significant contribution to all fields of science allied to medicine, biotechnology and pharmacology.

There is a constant need for graduates with expertise in this area, who can apply their skills to problems in medicine, plus the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and biotechnological industries.

The degree examines fundamental principles relating to the chemistry of life on earth. Extensive research expertise will support the teaching of the degree.

Graduates can look forward to working in various research areas, from forensic to biomedical science, plus academic publishing and scientific sales.

Zoology is the fascinating exploration of how animals function and interact with their environment.

The degree builds on the world-leading expertise in animal science at Lincoln. Students will be taught by research-active staff at the forefront of their fields and benefit from well-equipped laboratories and frequent opportunities for field work to study animals in their natural habitat.

The School of Life Sciences also has strong links with local zoos and animal welfare organisations.

During the course students will develop key scientific skills in research methods and gain an in-depth understanding of how animals function and interact with their environment.

Career opportunities for zoology graduates include a wide array of animal-related industries such as the veterinary sciences, animal ecology and behaviour, and even science journalism.

Libby John, Head of School of Life Sciences, said: “There is a real buzz within the School about offering these degrees that allow us to build on our world-class expertise in areas of core science. We are passionate about our teaching and research in these sciences and the opportunity to inspire the next generation of zoologists and biochemists.”

The School is home to some of the most exciting and innovative research work and will be relocating to the new, multi-million pound Science andInnovationParkin 2014, which will also include the newSchoolofPharmacy.

Currently on offer for September 2013 intake is the BSc in Pharmaceutical Science. The course will introduce students to the exciting world of drug discovery, development and vigilance, ensuring graduates are ready to enter the pharmaceutical and associated industries in theUKand across the globe.

Further information on all three courses is available. To request a prospectus or to arrange to speak to an academic please call Michelle Mortimer, Marketing Intelligence and Recruitment Officer for the School of Life Sciences, on 01522 837949 or e-mail

To book a place on our next open day on 12th December visit:


Inspiring Volunteers in Tanzania

Richard Sands
Richard Sands teaching biology in Tanzania

Richard Sands has recently returned to the UK after spending an extended period in rural Tanzania where he worked with the Society for Environmental Exploration.

While in the field, Richard taught biology in a local secondary school and supervised volunteers while they carried out conservation research. He also took part in several surveys throughout the region, including a large mammal transect in the Ruipa wildlife corridor and a socioeconomic survey of people in the Kilombero Valley.

Richard says: “My course at Lincoln gave me a good overall knowledge and foundation in research skills, which I was able to employ in the field to contribute to data collection and analysis.

“I learnt a lot from the enthusiasm of my course tutors about how to pass on my knowledge to volunteers. Ultimately, I’d like to continue teaching and become a lecturer.”

Preserving the Memory of Genocide

Forensic Science graduate Emily Norton, a Forensic Anthropologist and Archaeologist, now works for the Inforce Foundation, an international charity that provides forensic expertise in the location, recovery and identification of victims of atrocities.

Emily Norton

Working for the past 18 months as a Project Manager for the Rwanda Project, her responsibilities include the manufacture of a transportable Forensic Anthropological Laboratory for the conservation and preservation of victims of the 1994 genocide.

Emily’s Masters Thesis has received international recognition and was recently presented at the British Association for Human Identification (BAHID) Annual Conference and at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Conference in Chicago.

Emily says: “My goals are to continue to build my skills base and to make a valid contribution to the preservation of the memory of genocide in Rwanda.”

Multi-million pound science and innovation park announced

Lincoln is to become home to some of the finest scientific minds and most innovative high-tech businesses in the UK, thanks to ambitious plans announced today (Thursday 2nd August 2012).

The University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire Co-operative are joining forces to transform a disused 10-acre site in the heart of the city into a world-class science and innovation park.

The multi-million pound project will see a substantial plot of land and buildings on Green Lane (off Tritton Road) becoming a hub of science and technology expertise and home to a mix of university and commercial enterprises in what is a first for the city.

Part of the development of the park, which is owned by Lincolnshire Co-op, is the University’s plan to locate its School of Life Sciences and the proposed new School of Pharmacy in Becor House.

Significant refurbishment of this landmark building by the University will create state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching spaces for disciplines such as biology, biomedical science and bioveterinary science.

In addition, the University as the anchor tenant would create spin-out businesses and attract onto the site high-tech companies in the fields of pharmaceutical science and biotechnology as well as other areas of scientific and industrial development and engineering.

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University, said: “This is a tremendously exciting step for the University as we strengthen and grow our science provision, and one which will bring massive benefits to the city in terms of employment and inward investment.

“Highly skilled professionals who have previously looked outside Lincolnshire for career opportunities will be attracted to the area or be encouraged to stay, and the potential to bring in new investors and high-tech businesses to boost the local economy is enormous.

“Our shared vision with Lincolnshire Co-operative is to build a vibrant and successful community of knowledge creators and businesses, working together creatively to promote enterprise, employment, investment and education in Lincoln.”

Co-locating academia and commerce will bring benefits for both, and investment in the site by the University and the Co-op could reach £14 million.

There is a range of similar successful projects nationally. Cambridge Science Park was founded in 1970 by Trinity College, Cambridge, and hosts businesses such as Toshiba and Bayer CropScience Ltd.  Biopark, near Welwyn Garden City, features companies working in various fields including the development of oncology drugs, supplying advanced medical equipment and researching new innovations in electronics.

Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-op Ursula Lidbetter said: “We think there’s a huge opportunity to turn this underused site into a stimulating place to work and study. It’s an ideal location for a science park as it’s so close to the University campus and Lincoln city centre.

“As a co-operative, we share our profits with our members and their communities and we want to be involved with developments like this which will bring employment opportunities and investment to the city.

“We also run 47 pharmacies across our trading area and are keen to support the proposed new School of Pharmacy. We’ll be able to offer placements to students during their courses, and then potentially job opportunities. Our pharmacists will be able to take advantage of the facilities for their professional development.”

Initial work on the complex will be completed by the end of 2013, with between 1,200 and 1,500 science students based there, along with around 100 academic and research staff.

Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro Vice Chancellor for the University’s College of Science, added: “The University is in the process of recruiting more than 20 new high profile life and pharmaceutical scientists who need access to good laboratories and offices. But alongside the academic spaces will be industrial developments and we will be looking for other organisations to partner with, following a similar model to our highly successful engineering collaboration with Siemens.”