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Department of Zoology


The Department actively supports student-led initiatives that encourages skill development and training beyond the lab. One example of this is Cambridge ZooCast, a video interview series where postgraduate students can gain experience talking about their research and aspects of life at Cambridge in front of a camera. Take a look at the episodes, filmed in 2017-18, here or on Youtube and learn what it is like to be a Cambridge Zoology postgraduate student.

Check out aired episodes below, and be sure to follow the Department's YouTube and Twitter channels for updates on future episodes.

ZooCast Series 2 is now well underway and can be viewed on our YouTube channel

Julieta Sarmiento

4th year PhD student 

Neurobiology of Acoustic Communication Group

  • Researching the acoustic signalling of crickets.
  • Takes full advantage of training courses on offer at the University as well as opportunities to teach undergrads like demonstrating and supervising.
  • Conferencing, international travel and chances to share work/network.



Victor Kang

2nd year PhD student (Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions)

Insect Biomechanics Group

  • Research on invertebrate adhesion. 
  • The Cambridge Zoology Department is an international hub for research, offering collaboration opportunities where resources, equipment and expertise can be shared.
  •  Training courses, research and skill development as well as extracurricular opportunities at the University such as photography. 




Matthew Hayes

MPhil student (Newton College Masters Studentship)

Insect Ecology Group

  • Research on invertebrate conservation.
  • Enjoys college life within the University, extracurricular activities and meeting people from many different backgrounds.
  • Has found having the University Museum of Zoology on site to be a great asset for research and progressed to work there after completion of his degree.




Marie-Yon Strucker

MPhil student (German Academic Scholarship Foundation)

Insect Biomechanics Group

  • Research on insect adhesion using stick insects as model organisms.
  • Discusses her choice to do an MPhil instead of going straight into a PhD.  This gave her the chance to first get a taste of research life and gain experience of the more flexible self-set timetable, differing from her undergraduate course.
  • Extracurricular opportunities in the department and University, talks, societies and others etc. 





Amrita Mukherjee

4th year PhD student (John Stanley Gardiner Trust Fund)

Neural Network Development Group

  • Research on reactive oxygen species signalling in the nervous system of fruit flies.
  • Cambridge gives access to a huge number of different opportunities, from sports and societies to training courses and skill development. You can even start your own clubs in the unlikely chance it doesn’t already exist.
  • It is also a great place to make links and meet new people, with shared or complementary interests, which in Amrita’s case lead to her founding her own start-up company.




David Willer

2nd year PhD student  (BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme)

Aquatic Ecology Group

  • Researching sustainable aquaculture.
  • Based in the David Attenborough Building, a hub for national conservation organisations, David enjoys the variety of his work as he rotates between different lab placements and internships as part of his Doctoral training programme.
  • He discusses what it is like transitioning from an Undergrad course straight into a PhD, connecting with other researchers and the benefits of the college system at Cambridge.




Felipe Simões

3rd year PhD student (Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development and the Cambridge Trust under the Science Without Borders)

British Antarctic Survey

  • Research on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic insects.
  • Chose Cambridge because it is a large international research hub and offers great opportunities to make connections.
  • Has been on multiple field-trips, one with Chilean Antarctic programme, and a 23-country expedition on a research vessel.



Liisa Hämäläinen

3rd year PhD student (The Finnish Cultural Foundation & Emil Aaltonen Foundation)

Behavioural Ecology Group

  • Research on how animals get information about their food – what to eat and what not to eat.
  • Field-work in Cambridge and Finland.
  • Likes the variety of guest lectures, for e.g., the Behavioural, Evolutionary, Ecology seminar series that is a great opportunity for students to meet scientists working in related fields.



Amelia Hood

3rd year PhD student (Claire Barnes Studentship)

Insect Ecology Group

  • Research on ant ecology in palm oil plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia.
  • After her undergraduate degree, she spent a year as a research assistant before starting her PhD. This was an important experience that helped prepare her for the PhD project.
  • She values the guidance that she has been given by her supervisor to help her transition into the PhD.



Eva Higginbotham

3rd year PhD student (Wellcome Cambridge Trust 1+3 Developmental Mechanisms PhD programme)

Neural Network Development Group 

  • Investigates how brains are built using Drosophila (fruit flies) as model organisms. More specifically, how does a neuron know what type of neuron it needs to be?
  • Finds the diversity and breadth of research conducted within the Department make it an exciting scientific community.
  • She has been actively involved with her college life at Newnham, where she has helped organise various events for other graduate students.



Sankaranarayanan (Sankar) Meenakshi Sundaram

2nd year PhD student (INLAKS-Cambridge Trust Scholarship)

Weil Group

  • Researches how are proteins expressed at the right place and time during Drosophila development.
  • Sankar is passionate about science outreach and uses Foldscopes to help children in India develop their scientific curiosities.
  • In his spare time, plays for the Departmental Cricket Team and indulges in photography.