School of Biosciences

Animal Sciences

We have an international reputation for research in animal development, reproduction and biotechnology. We are World research leaders in epigenetics in the study of animals as models for human disease, reproduction, development and nutrition. Neurosciences is another of our core activities with a particular focus on the mechanisms that underpin chronic pain. Our expertise in dietary effects on animal product quality (meat, milk and oocytes) is recognised globally. The Centre for Applied Bioethics is one of the few UK Research Units focusing on animal and food ethics.


Cows in a field


Animal Sciences has an international reputation in the areas of animal production, animal development, epigenetics, neuroscience and bioethics.

Animal production
We concentrate on major livestock species by studying feed efficiency and sustainability in animal systems, nutritional strategies for enhancing dairy cow fertility, nutritional value of dietary raw materials, environmental impact of methane emissions, effects of exposure to environmental chemicals on development of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and product quality (e.g. modifying fatty acid profile of milk) through changes to diets.

The physiology of reproduction, particularly improving or regulating fertility, is mostly on domestic mammalian species; we relate findings to human and animal medicine. We study the pituitary-ovarian-uterine axis, including oocyte development, folliculogenesis, ovulation, the formation of the corpus luteum, the maternal recognition of pregnancy, conceptus development and the impact of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in the long term health of animals.

We use chicken embryo as a model system for studying development by examining growth factor signalling in muscle development, microRNAs in myogenesis, origins of adipose tissue and regulation of limb muscle formation.

Assessing environmental factors uses the honeybee as a model organism. Changes in the activity of honeybee genes have been linked to one of the recently banned neonicotinoids that may affect energy metabolism and the stability of developmental processes that could augment the impact of additional stressors such as pests, disease and bad weather and influence bee health

Research goals are increasing the understanding of pain systems, how they are modulated following injury / inflammation and how best to treat pain as founder members of the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre (Nottingham) established to increase the understanding of arthritis pain mechanisms and its treatment. We investigate the neurochemical and neural circuit basis of emotional memory processing, both as a model system for understanding how the brain encodes memories and to understand the neurobiological basis of anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress.

We are one of the few international groups of researchers who focus on animal, agricultural and food ethics. Conducting research on integrated biotechnology assessment and policy-making; development of ethical tools; ethical dimensions of the human use of animals, making science public and the role of stakeholder engagement.


  • Extensive suite of modern laboratories for molecular / cell biology, in vitro fertilisation and ‘wet’ chemistry including amino acids, fatty acids, elemental analyses, fibre.
  • Proteomics Facility using core technologies of 2D gel separation and mapping of proteins, followed by identification via mass spectrometry and database searching.
  • Comprehensive range of animal research facilities for studying metabolism, growth, milk yield, product quality and methane emissions, behaviour, in vivo electrophysiology.

Contact information

Sheila Northover (Divisional Administrator)
Division of Animal Sciences
School of Biosciences
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 9516100
fax: +44 (0) 115 9516099 

email: Sheila.Northover@nottingham.ac.uk


School of Biosciences

Sutton Bonington
Nr Loughborough, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 9516400
fax: +44 (0) 115 9516020
email: biosciences-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk

Find us
Campus map
Room Locations on Campus