Dr Krista McLennan

BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MRSB, SFHEA, PGCTHLE; Deputy Head of Department for Biological Sciences and Senior lecturer in Animal Behaviour

My research

One of my main areas of research is the welfare of production animals. I am interested in the behavioural indicators of pain, and in particular the relationship between disease, behaviour, and welfare. I developed the Sheep Pain Facial Expression Scale that can be used by farmers and veterinarians to help them recognise and assess pain in sheep. 
I currently collaborate with Dr Marwa Mahmoud from the University of Glasgow  School of Computing, who is also a research fellow of the Cambridge Computer Science department working on developing an automated system for facial expression and lameness detection, as well as the potential for parturition. We have also recently started a collaboration with Elizabeth Sklar and Simon Parsons at the Lincoln Agri-Robotics centre to work on these projects.
I also collaborate with Dr Jane Ladlow from Hamilton Veterinary Specialist referrals who has extensive research experience in upper respiratory disease in dogs, and Dr Nai-Chieh Liu from the Cambridge BOAS Research Group, working on developing a facial expression scale to assess the welfare of Brachycephalic dogs.

See below for more details on these projects and others.

Looking for a supervisor or potential collaborations?

I am always interested in supervising masters and PhD projects looking at the following areas, but I am also open to other research projects looking at welfare and behaviour in farm, equine or companion animals:
  • Precision livestock farming.
  • Using technology to assess animal welfare.
  • Facial recognition in sheep.
  • Facial expression of pain during parturition in sheep.
  • Facial expression in BOAS dogs.
  • Welfare assessments in equine, farm, or companion animals
  • Disease and pain in farm and equine species.
  • Lameness in farm or equine species.
Please email me for more information on how to apply for these projects or if you are interested in collaborating with me.

Automated detection of lameness in sheep

This project currently involves three summer intern projects looking at video footage of lame sheep and developing an initial computer algorithm for its automated detection

Automated detection of facial expression in sheep

This project has been on-going since 2017 and is looking at developing an automated detection system that can be used by farmers to detect pain in their sheep

Facial expression of BOAS-affected dogs

This project is in collaboration with the Cambridge BOAS Research group looking at the effect of BOAS on dogs welfare.

Automated detection of parturition in sheep

This project is looking at developing an automated system to detect and monitor parturition in sheep. It is in the early stages of development and we are currently building our initial database of videos of lambing.

Facial signals in owls

A PhD student project looking into the facial signalling in owls.

Welfare assessment of equids

PhD student project developing and validating welfare assessment protocols for free-ranging and zoologically based captive equids.

Conservation grazing animal welfare

MRes project investigating public and professional perceptions of conservation grazing animal welfare

Veterinary diagnostics

Two small projects looking a veterinary diagnostics technique development and validation

Animal Welfare Indicators Project

The Animal Welfare Indicators Project (AWIN) was an International project involving over ten different countries focussing on the development of welfare indicators of a range of species.

Social Bonds in Dairy Cattle; the effects of a dynamic group system on welfare and productivity

This was my PhD project looking at how current dynamic group systems can change the social behaviour of dairy cattle and effect their welfare and productivity