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New Caledonian crows can infer the weight of objects from their movements in a breeze.

(Jelbert, Miller et al. 2019, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences)

Qualifications

March 2012-February 2016

PhD in Cognitive Biology

University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

September 2010-August 2011

MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology

University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK

September 2008-June 2010

Advanced National Certificate in Zoo Animal Management

Sparsholt College, Sparsholt, UK

September 2004-August 2008

MA in Psychology

University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Professional Career

February 2021 - date

Principal Investigator on 2 independent research projects, University of Cambridge, UK

I am leading two independent projects as PI: 1. Combining cognition with conservation to help save critically endangered Bali myna; 2. with a team of early career researchers, establishing a "ManyBirds" multi-site collaborative avian cognition research project, including upcoming submitted paper  (Lambert et al., in prep with pre-print available). ​I recently secured £5,000 grant from Cambridge University to employ two research assistants (Elias Garcia-Pelegrin & Emily Danby) to assist in conducting research with critically endangered Bali myna at 3 UK zoos (Waddesdon Manor, Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Birdworld) in summer 2021.  

1 August 2019 - 31 July 2021 (50% FTE: maternity leave August 2019-July 2020)

Postdoctoral Research Associate/ Lab Manager in Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK

  • European Research Council (ERC) funded position with Prof Nicola Clayton focussing on lab management, teaching and comparative cognition research: 4 publications (publications 24-27, plus 6 papers in progress - 3 as lead, 1 as senior author available in pre-print, 2 as co-author) 

  • Continuing to write up manuscripts and publish papers (in prep) from research conducted primarily in my previous related Postdoc role, including leading a multi-lab collaborative study on neophobia in 10 corvid species (Miller et al., in prep).

  • Responsible for co-managing the lab (currently 8 PhD students, 3 Postdocs, 1 MPhil student, as well as several collaborators in other labs), including COVID-19 related administration, grant and lab finances administration, training birds and students.

  • Designing and delivering Undergraduate online lecture course, including live seminar style discussion sessions and exam marking.

  • Supervising PhD and Undergraduate research projects.

1 March 2015 - 31 July 2019 (100% FTE then 70% FTE from Jan 2018: maternity leave Oct 2016-Sept 2017)

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK

  • ERC funded research position with Prof Nicola Clayton investigating cognition comparatively in corvids and humans: 10 publications (publications 6, 9, 14-17, 19-22)

  • Designed and conducted research studies in line with the ERC proposal on causal reasoning, including highlighting the impact of prior reward-stimulus associations on corvid, though not child, performance.

  • Enhanced level of project research output by leading studies on new research lines. These novel comparative studies included: investigating how self-control underpins cognitive performance, social learning of tool-use behaviours, and flexibility in planning and decision-making.

  • Prepared for and delivered lectures on Undergraduate Animal Cognition courses and supervised related practical sessions.

  • Significantly contributed to performance of lab and productive outcomes through: supervision/co-supervision of PhD and BSc-level students & Junior Researchers/ Assistants, ERC grant administration, HR matters e.g. leading six staff recruitment appointments, taking on lab management responsibilities for corvid lab including administration, staff training and liaison role, ensuring compliance with animal regulations such as obtaining Home Office Personal License, and providing stability of lab research by leading hand-rearing & training of 16 Eurasian jays for new research group.

  • Presented research at conferences, meetings, through media outlets, and public engagement at various schools and nurseries in South of England.

  • Continued to maintain academic connections and promote professional collaborations, including with Auckland and Vienna Universities.

March 2012-February 2016

PhD in Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Austria

  • Vienna Science & Technology Fund (3-year) funded position with Prof Thomas Bugnyar & Dr Christine Schwab: thesis on the role of identity, social context and development on corvid behaviour; 6 publications

    (publications 10-13, 18, 23). Awarded 1st Class for PhD Viva.

  • Leading own research, including literature review, research design, obtaining ethical approval, data collection (wild & captive birds), bird training, ringing wild crows, hand-rearing 22 common ravens & carrion crows and bird care, video coding, data analysis using R and SPSS, and manuscript preparation. Presented this research at conferences.

  • Collaborating with colleagues, both in & outside University, for additional wild crow studies, including co-supervision of five MSc and BSc-level students. Teaching practical courses for Undergraduates.

September-November 2011

Research Assistant in Psychology, Auckland University, New Zealand

With Prof Russell Gray & Dr Alexander Taylor: cognition experiments with New Caledonian crows in New Caledonia (publications 2, 4, 5, 8).

June 2004-August 2011 (part-time 2004-2008 during Undergraduate degree)

Avian Research Coordinator, Qualified Animal Keeper, Animal Trainer
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), Edinburgh Zoo, UK

  • Qualified Animal Keeper in rearing, care, management, training (publication 3) & study of animals, primarily birds; completed distance-learning Animal Management degree; conducted cognitive research in collaboration with St. Andrews, Vienna & Strasbourg Universities.

  • As RZSS Avian Research Coordinator, with Dr Amanda Seed and Prof Richard Byrne (St Andrews University), facilitated creation of an Avian Cognition Centre within Edinburgh Zoo, including securing support & funding (July 2009-August 2011). RZSS Research Group Representative for Avian Behavioural Research (2011).

  • Created wild crow field study site in Edinburgh Zoo (March-August 2011); obtained restricted C permit from British Trust of Ornithology for ringing crows.

  • Co-supervision of four BSc and MSc-level students (2011; 2014-2015). Assisted Dr Valerie Dufour (CNRS) & Prof Bugnyar (Vienna University) in delayed gratification study in corvids (publication 1) (2008-2010).

  • Conservation trip to Budongo Conservation Field Station (publication, RATEL magazine) in Uganda (2007); community education trip to Zambia (2006).

September 2009-August 2010

MSc in Psychology, University of St Andrews, UK

With Prof Andrew Whiten (St Andrews University) & Prof Bugnyar (Vienna University): thesis on social influences on behaviour in wild carrion crows (publication 7). Created wild crow field site in Vienna Zoo.

September 2004-June 2008

MA (Hons) in Psychology, University of Glasgow, UK

With Dr Steve Draper (Glasgow University), Prof Bugnyar (Vienna University) & Dr Dufour (CNRS): thesis on raven object permanence understanding. Awarded 1st Class for thesis.

Supervision/ co-supervision and Mentoring

University of Cambridge 2015-date: 3 PhD (2 in progress, 1 complete), 1 MSc (complete) & 3 Undergraduate students (complete); 4 Research Assistants (complete); Co-support of lab research as Lab Manager (ongoing); Animal Behaviour Collective Mentor (ongoing)

University of Vienna 2014: 1 MSc & 4 Undergraduate students (complete)

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland 2011: 4 Undergraduate students (complete)

Teaching (lectures, practicals, exams)

University of Cambridge 

 

2021: Undergraduate Methodology and Experimental Design Course - assisting with exam questions, Psychology Department

 

2020-21: Undergraduate Comparative Cognition Lecture Series, including lectures, live discussion sessions and exams (online due to COVID-19 pandemic), Psychology Department

2019 and 2016: Undergraduate Evolution and Behaviour Practical Course, Zoology Department (2019 as supervisor; 2016 as demonstrator)

2019: Undergraduate Animal Cognition Lecture Series and exams, Zoology Department

University of Vienna

2014: Undergraduate Practicals, Cognitive Biology Department

Preparing for human testing for our study on the role of perceptual motor-feedback in water displacement tasks in young children.  

(Miller et al. 2017, Peer J)

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