Wanda McCormick

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

Department:School of Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Dr Wanda McCormick's expertise lies in the physiological impacts of animal welfare challenges, with a particular focus on how we feed animals in captivity. Her research spans farm, companion and exotic species.

View Wanda’s profile on ResearchGate.
Follow Wanda on Twitter @WandaMcCormick


Wanda studied her BSc (Hons) Zoology at Cardiff University followed by an MRes Biological Sciences and PhD Physiology at University of Manchester. From 2008-2017 she was based at Moulton College, Northamptonshire, where she led the development of a wide variety of undergraduate programmes as well as developing commercial research.

With a strong industry focus, Wanda’s research has led to her working with a wide range of animal feed companies as well as organisations such as the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, Pet Industry Federation, Centre of Applied Pet Ethology, RSPCA and British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquariums.

Research interests

  • Animal nutrition and feeding behaviour of captive animals
  • How morphological changes in companion animals affect function
  • Pet trade in the UK and factors relating to pet ownership
  • Applications of technology for diagnosing / monitoring animal health
  • Devising ways to improve animal welfare within industry

With a focus on animal nutrition I have explored topics such as calcium homeostasis in dairy cattle and factors affecting feed selection. Most recently I have been undertaking several projects exploring the specific details surrounding how we feed rabbits and guinea pigs in captivity and how this affects their dental health as well as exploring dental health and diet links in dogs. I am also involved in research projects related to several aspects of animal behaviour such as personality (and how this affects animal welfare), social interactions, animal cognition, enclosure usage and assessments of stress, and have explored aspects of human-animal interactions such as attachment to pets and animal hoarding.

Wanda is a member of our Behavioural Ecology Research Group.

Areas of research supervision

Wanda welcomes enquiries from prospective research students in the areas of her research interests.

Find out more about our Biology PhD including our exciting PhD project opportunities.

Completed PhD supervisions:

  • Sam Ward - Welfare and production implications of fostering methods in sheep
  • Krista McLennan - Social bonds in dairy cattle: effects of dynamic group systems on welfare and productivity
  • Jessica York - The use of the aqua-treadmill in the rehabilitation of equine hindlimb lameness

Current PhD supervisions:

  • Joshua Onyango - Epidemiology of contagious pustular dermatitis (orf) in sheep flocks across Great Britain
  • Emily Howard-Williams - Behavioural ecology of harvest mice
  • Lauren Samet - The use of herbal nutraceuticals to reduce stress in companion animals
  • Clare Ellis - Developing methods to assess personality in rabbits
  • Helen Tedds - Evaluating the exotic pet trade: legal and ethical issues
  • Blessing Katampe - The contribution of aquaculture to poverty alleviation and food security in the rural poor in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja and its environs
  • Zainab Al-Rubaye - The use of multivariable wireless sensor data to early detect lameness in sheep
  • Claire Mitchell - Morphometry of dog skulls: impact of shape on manducation and dental health
  • Emily Holden - Health and welfare of ornamental fish
  • Guido di Martino - Welfare issues in Italian heavy pig production (PhD by publication)


BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour
BSc (Hons) Zoology
BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Conservation and Biodiversity


  • PhD Physiology, University of Manchester
  • MRes Biological Sciences, University of Manchester
  • BSc (Hons) Zoology, Cardiff University
  • PGCE Post Compulsory Education, University of Northampton

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member, Royal Society of Biology
  • Member, BIAZA Research Engagement Group
  • Member, BBSRC Animal Welfare Research Network
  • Reviewing Editor for Frontiers in Veterinary Science: Animal Behaviour & Welfare

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • 2017. Commercial trial on rabbit feed presentation for Pet Industry Federation
  • 2015. Commercial trial on provision of mineral drenches to sheep for Cargill Ltd
  • 2015. Commercial trial on feed selection in guinea pigs for Westland Horticulture
  • 2012. Commercial trial on impact of hydrolysable wheat gluten on growth rates in lambs for Volac International Ltd

Selected recent publications

Samet, L. and McCormick, W., 2016. Research: Nutraceutical project (Letter). Veterinary Record [online], 178(5), pp.124.

Ellis, C.F., McCormick, W.D. and Tinarwo, A., 2017. An analysis of factors related to pet rabbit relinquishment in the UK. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 20(3), pp.230-239. doi: 10.1080/10888705.2017.1303381.

Oxley, J.A., Ellis, C.F. and McCormick, W.D., 2015. Potential signs of joint problems, dog owner awareness and the use of social media. Companion Animal, 20(9), pp.2.

Vaughan, E., McCormick, W. and Lowe, J., 2015. The acceptance of a novel diet for sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps). BIAZA Research Newsletter, 16(1), pp.4.

Hawkins, P., Berdoy, M., Burn, C., Bursnall, D., Cruden, J., McCormick, W., Miller, A., Proctor, H., Whittaker, D., Jennings, M. and Hubrecht, R., 2015. Report of the 2014 RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group meeting. Animal Technology and Welfare, April 2015, pp.19-28.

Di Martino, G., McCormick, W.D., Stefani, A.L., Gagliazzo, L., Marangon, S. and Bonfanti, L., 2015. The degree of acceptability of swine blood values at increasing levels of hemolysis evaluated through visual inspection versus automated quantification. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 27(3), pp.306–312 doi: 10.1177/1040638715585155.

Campion, K.L., McCormick, W.D., Warwicker, J., Bin Khayat, M.E., Atkinson-Dell, R., Steward, M.C., Delbridge, L., Mun, H.C., Conigrave, A.D. and Ward, D.T., 2015. Pathophysiological changes in extracellular pH modulate parathyroid calcium-sensing receptor activity and secretion via a histidine-independent mechanism. Journal of American Society of Nephrology, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2014070653.

Onyango, J., McCormick, W. and Chapman, S. 2014. Severe orf in lambs: Clinical description and response to treatment against secondary infection. Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Research, 1(2), pp.1007.

Renn, N., Onyango, J. and McCormick, W., 2014. Digital infrared thermal imaging and manual lameness scoring as a means for lameness detection in cattle. Veterinary Clinical Science, 2(2), pp.16-23.

Onyango, J., Mata, F., McCormick, W. and Chapman, S., 2014. Prevalence, risk factors and vaccination efficacy of contagious ovine ecthyma (orf) in England. Veterinary Record, doi: 10.1136/vr.102353.

McLennan, K. and McCormick, W.D., 2012. Coping with social stress in dairy cattle; the need for companionship. The Biologist.

McCormick, W.D., Atkinson-Dell, R., Campion, K.L., Mun, H.C., Conigrave, A.D. and Ward, D.T., 2010. Increased receptor stimulation elicits differential calcium-sensing receptort888 dephosphorylation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(19), pp.14170-7.

Murray, R.D., Horsfield, J.E., McCormick, W.D., Williams, H.J. and Ward, D.T., 2008. Aetiopathogenesis, treatment and control of hypocalcaemia in dairy cattle: a review. Veterinary Record Review, 163, pp.561-565.

Davies, S.L., Ozawa, A., McCormick, W.D., Dvorak, M.M. and Ward, D.T., 2007. Protein kinase C-mediated phosphorylation of the calcium-sensing receptor is stimulated by receptor activation and attenuated by calyculin-sensitive phosphatase activity. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 282, pp.15048-15056.

Melfi, V.A., McCormick, W. and Gibbs, A., 2004. A preliminary assessment of how zoo visitors evaluate animal welfare according to enclosure style and the expression of behavior. Anthrozoos, 17(2), pp.98-108.

Recent presentations and conferences

Al-Rubaye, Z., Al-Sherbaz, A., McCormick, W. and Turner, S., 2016. The use of multivariable sensor data to early detect lameness in sheep. Sensors in Food and Agriculture Conference, Churchill College, University of Cambridge. http://www.sensor100.com/SIFAA16/Program.html.

York, J., McCormick, W. and Walker, A. 2016. Vertical displacement of the equine withers and pelvis during trot on an aqua treadmill. 8th International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion, London UK.

Vogt, A. & McCormick, W., 2016. Habituation effects to frequent road transport in travel experienced sport horses. 67th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science, Belfast UK.

Ellis, C., McCormick, W. and Tinarwo, A., 2016. Why and how should we assess pet rabbit personality? International Society of Applied Ethology 10th meeting, Edinburgh UK.

McCormick, W., Catlin, J., McFarlane, C. and Kellett, J., 2016. Feed selection in guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). Companion Animal Nutrition 2016, Moulton, Northamptonshire UK.

Nicola, K., Roberts, E. and McCormick, W., 2016. Food colour preferences in avian species. Companion Animal Nutrition 2016, Moulton, Northamptonshire UK.

Samet, L. and McCormick, W., 2016. Market review of pet food nutraceuticals for health and behaviour. Companion Animal Nutrition 2016, Moulton, Northamptonshire UK.

Ellis, C., McCormick, W. and Tinarwo, A. 2016. Rabbit relinquishment to two UK rescue centres and beyond. UFAW Recent advances in animal welfare science V, York UK.

Samet, L. and McCormick, W., 2016. The use of calming nutraceuticals in animal welfare: sedative versus anxiolytic impact. UFAW Recent advances in animal welfare science V, York UK.

Oxley, J.A., Ellis, C.F., McBride, A. and McCormick, W.D., 2016 A review of handling methods of rabbits within pet, laboratory and veterinary contexts. UFAW Recent advances in animal welfare science V, York UK.

Samet, L. and McCormick, W., 2015. Novel escape behaviours from traditional anxiety tests. RSPCA/UFAW Rodent & Rabbit Welfare Group Meeting, Newcastle UK.

Andrews, K., Lowe, J. and McCormick, W., 2015. Skull morphology of the domestic dog in relation to cephalic index. 69th AVTRW Annual Conference, RVC, London UK.

Oxley, J.A. and McCormick, W., 2015. The welfare of reptiles for consumption. 24th Annual ISAZ Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Ratcliffe, J., McCormick, W.D. and Tinarwo, A., 2015. Causes of livestock vehicle accidents in the UK and the consequences for the animals involved. HSA International Symposium 2015: Recent Advances II, Zagreb, Croatia. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2959.7203.

Dunster, C., McCormick, W. and Tedds, H., 2015. Nectar pot provision for rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus) in a walk-through aviary. BIAZA Research Conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Rendle, J. and McCormick, W., 2014. Behaviour and enclosure use of captive parma wallabies (Macropus parma): An assessment of compatibility within a mixed-species enclosure. Australian Mammal Society Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Di Martino, G., McCormick, W., Buniolo, F., Berto, G., Agnoletti, F. and Bonfanti, L., 2014. The effect of stocking density and feed formulation on the behaviour, health and growth of meat rabbits. Recent advances in animal welfare science IV: UFAW Animal Welfare Conference, York Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.

McLennan, K.M., Littlemore, J. and McCormick, W., 2014. The effects of a dynamic group system on the social bonds of dairy cattle. Recent advances in animal welfare science IV: UFAW Animal Welfare Conference, York Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.

Onyango, J., McCormick, W., Mata, F. and Chapman, S., 2014. Prevalence, risk factors and vaccination efficacy for contagious ovine ecythma (orf) in England. In: Proceedings of British Society of Animal Science, Nottingham. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4647.2725.

Onyango, J., Mata, F., McCormick, W. and Chapman, S., 2014. Epidemiology of contagious ovine ecythma (orf) in England. In: Poster Proceedings of Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Dublin, Northern Ireland. Available at: http://www.svepm.org.uk/

McCormick, W.D., 2012. Recognising and Assessing Positive Welfare: Developing Positive Indicators for Use in Welfare Assessment. 8th International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioural Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4909.4164.

Campion, K.L., McCormick W.D. and Ward, D.T., 2012. Pathophysiological changes in extracellular pH regulate calcium-sensing receptor responsiveness in HEK-293 and isolated parathyroid cells but not as a result of altered histidine residue ionisation. ICE/ECE 2012, Florence.

McLennan, K.M., Littlemore, J. and McCormick, W., 2012. The Effects of Short-Term Separation on Physiological Parameters of Dairy Cattle: Heart Rate Versus Cortisol. Proceedings of the Regional Meeting of the International Society of Applied Ethology, UK / Eire.

Ward, S.J., McCormick, W., Liste, G., Coleman, R. and Smith T., 2012. When sheep behave baaaa’d: The behaviour and welfare concerns associated with restraint fostering in the UK sheep farming industry. Proceedings of the Regional Meeting of the International Society of Applied Ethology, UK / Eire.

Ward, S.J., McCormick, W. and Liste, G., 2012. Fatter lambs from fostered mums: the benefits of fostering lambs on daily weight gain. Healthy Food from Healthy Animals; BSAS Annual Conference, Nottingham, UK.

Media experience

  • BBC One Show, Interviewed for research story featured on ‘Fitbits for sheep’ (16/11/17)
  • Invited subject ‘expert’ for radio phone-in on BBC Radio Northampton on multiple occasions. Topics discussed include: Domestication of dogs (2/5/14); obesity in pets (2/9/14 & 11/12/14); cat social / predatory behaviour (7/10/14)