How long have you worked at UOW?
What’s your/your team’s role at the University?
We maintain high standards of welfare for research animals by ensuring that the care they receive is in accordance with our governing legislations.
Typical activities include feeding, cleaning, and medicating of animals, providing animals with environmental enrichment, training researchers in ethical animal handling techniques and procedures, refining procedures to ensure they are best-practice, coordination of consumables, shared spaces, and equipment, and record keeping.
We also perform specialised Veterinary procedures. Animal Facility Technical Officers must hold tertiary qualifications in Animal Science, and their specialised role contributes to research integrity by ensuring that our research animals remain happy and healthy.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I love being innovative and finding new ways to do things that will benefit both the animals and the researchers, and I never get tired of sending some of our lucky animals off to their new owners as part of our formal rehoming program. Both of these things are a great morale boost!
What’s the most challenging?
This role is always an ethical balancing act, and it can be challenging to talk about my job and promote the good work that animal technicians do when there is so much misinformation out there about animal research. Every person that I know who works with laboratory animals is in the industry because they genuinely love their animals and want to see them receive the best standards of care possible.
Proudest work achievement at UOW?
I actually have two! I was so proud and excited to win a Vice Chancellor Award for Outstanding Professional Services Staff this year; and implementing a formal rodent rehoming program for our ex-research animals has been very rewarding.
What goals are you/your team working towards in 2019?
The team have been working hard this year refining our animal and researcher training materials, and I’d say UOW now has the most comprehensive laboratory animal training program in the country.
What’s your fondest memory so far of working at UOW?
Hearing my team cheer for me as I walked on stage to receive my VC Award this year. I am grateful to be surrounded by supportive colleagues who share the same goals and values as I do, and who help enable my innovative ideas.
Random fact about you or hidden talent?
Before commencing at UOW I worked in a PC4 biocontainment facility (think biohazard suits like in the movie Contagion), and I also worked in Pakistan for a short time coordinating a research project to improve dairy calf welfare.
What’s your favourite place in the world and why?
New Zealand, for the amazing scenery and relaxed lifestyle.
Something on your bucket list you’d care to share?
This was always going to be animal-related: I’d love to go cage diving with sharks!