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Celebrating British Science Week - Part 1

  • 04/03/2021 16:56:00
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Celebrating British Science Week - Part 1

This week (5th – 14th March) is British Science Week! To celebrate, we want to spend the week highlighting the amazing staff at BSAVA HQ who help to make everything happen for you!

To start with today we’re focusing on some of our Woodrow House team members. There’s around 40 of us in total meaning we have a large array of different backgrounds. Let’s meet our first few team members…

CamCameron Shuttlewood

Position at BSAVA: Desk Editor

What is your scientific background?

I gained my BSc(Hons) degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare from UWE Hartpury in 2015. Prior to university, I always adored biology and picked every scientific subject I could at school, including three sciences and maths for A-levels (maths was a mistake).

How does your background tie in with your role at BSAVA?

Uni taught me how to write succinctly and to critically assess everything. It also exposed me to a new language that was very similar to that of vets. My grasp of biology basics and genuine interest in the texts we produce have made the role very rewarding. It also helps that I'm naturally pedantic.

How did you first become interested in your subject area/veterinary science?

I've always been fascinated by animals and how things work, so of course I aspired to be a vet for a time. During work experience with a local Animal Welfare Officer, I was enthralled by the Animal Welfare Act and read it from cover to cover. That probably started me down the path of a less messy career.

What are your biggest achievements?

I am incredibly proud that my undergraduate dissertation became an article in Human Dimensions of Wildlife. This was made possible by my wonderful tutors and co-authors, Tamara Montrose and Phillip Greenwell. My second biggest achievement is probably blagging my way to Desk Editor at the BSAVA.

Luisa DormerDormer-Luisa

Position at BSAVA: Scientific Editor        

What is your scientific background?

I have a BSc in Bioveterinary Science and an MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology. I have worked in epidemiology and scientific communication roles for both government and non-governmental organisations.

How does your background tie in with your role at BSAVA?

Part of my role at the BSAVA includes dissemination of scientific information to the BSAVA membership and wider veterinary profession. As a result, I spend a lot of my time reading & critically appraising research articles. Through my MSc, I gained a strong understanding of study design & statistical analysis. Once I have identified and appraised relevant research, I then find the most appropriate way of communicating this information with members.

How did you first become interested in your subject area?

I’m very much a ‘details’ person – I really like to get down to the nitty-gritty! Epidemiology allows you to understand study design and to interpret data derived from different study types. I really feel as though this understanding allows me to read between the lines when I’m reading & appraising research papers.

After my MSc, I went on to work in a couple of different research roles which I really enjoyed, but I felt as though we were missing a trick by thinking that the job was done once the paper was published in a journal. I quickly became aware that sometimes the ‘end user’ may not have access to this information, and this is when I became interested in scientific communication.

What are your biggest achievements?

Gaining my MSc; the course was fantastic but challenging, so I was very proud to graduate!

SW_cropSarah Williams

Position at BSAVA: PetSavers Coordinator   

What is your scientific background?

I have a BSc in Biological Sciences and a PhD in Human Genetics. My PhD thesis investigated the use of non-viral gene delivery systems to develop ex vivo gene therapy for the inherited skin disorder epidermolysis bullosa. I then worked as a postdoctoral researcher on regulation of the gene that is mutated in cystic fibrosis. 

How does your background tie in with your role at BSAVA?

As well as working for BSAVA, I am also a science editor for a company that helps scientists who do not speak English as a first language to publish their work. This has given me great insights into the ways of thinking of many different audiences, and how best to communicate clearly with all of them. My background has also instilled in me the need for good organisation, which certainly helps me keep on top of spinning the many plates involved in the day-to-day life of PetSavers!

How did you first become interested in your subject area?

I have always been fascinated by the natural world and grew up mesmerised by David Attenborough documentaries. At various points in my past, I wanted to be a vet, a marine biologist, and an environmental lawyer before becoming a geneticist, but the common themes of science and learning more about the world always shone through.

Although I really liked the hands-on aspect of research and the knowledge that my work was helping to make a difference in science and medicine, the part that I enjoyed the most and found myself best at was communicating that enthusiasm to others. This is one of the areas that I am most keen to pursue within PetSavers – spreading the word about the great work achieved through our grant funding.

What are your biggest achievements?

Reaching the final of the UK Young Science Writer of the Year award several years ago with an article on genetic variation in the evolution of spoken language. I was also immensely proud of myself for completing my PhD after my supervisor left the country to establish a new research group!


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