Case studies

There are many different career paths available in academia. Here you will find some case studies of members of the school of biology.


Dr. Sascha Hooker, Reader in Biology (50% FTE)sascha

Sascha graduated in Biology at Oxford in 1993. She was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship for PhD research in Canada and began research into the ecology and behaviour of beaked whales. She finished this in 1999, and after a short-term contract in Hawaii, obtained a 3-year post-doctoral position with the British Antarctic Survey in 2000 looking at marine mammals and oceanography. She moved this research to the University of St Andrews as a post-doctoral fellow in 2001. Her research interests are diverse, examining issues central to marine mammal ecology, but also applying these to questions of diving physiology and conservation planning. In 2003, she was awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship which she held between 2003 -2010. She was made a proleptic lecturer in 2004 just before the birth of her first child. Flexible part-time work hours have been vital to Sascha remaining in academia, as she has additional caring responsibilities due to the disability and therapy needs for one of her three children. She was made a Reader in 2014.


Dr. Sophie Smout, Lecturer in BiologySophie

Sophie first worked in secondary education, combining a career in a traditionally male-dominated profession (physics) with responsibilities for young children. Returning to study as a mature student (BSc 2000) she continued through PhD and post-doctoral research and is now a lecturer with special interests in mathematical modeling and applied ecological questions such as the management of marine ecosystems.


Susan Healy, Reader in Animal BehaviourSue

Sue joined the university in 2009 from the University of Edinburgh. She is an active researcher, currently working on cognition in animals in the wild and nest building in birds. She serves on a number of editorial boards, on the Council of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) and on the BBSRC Committee E that administers the David Phillips Research Fellowship scheme for early career researchers. She has worked on University and School committees, serving as Chair of the Postgraduate Recruitment Committee. She has a partner in the same School and they have no children.



Dr Rona Ramsay, Reader in BiochemistryRona

Rona chairs the Biology Athena Application Committee (BAAC). Arriving in 1995 from the USA, she works on University and School committees, served twice as Director of Teaching and led the Athena-Lawn award (1999) to increase women in seminar programmes. An active researcher, she has juggled career and four children for 30 years.


Dr. Patrick Miller, Reader in BiologyPatrick

Patrick joined the University in 2003 as a Royal Society International USA/Canada Fellow before being appointed as a lecturer.   His research focuses on behaviour and physiology of whales and seals, with current grants on new methods to measure health of whales and effects of anthropogenic noise. He equally shares caring roles for his two young children.