Tilda Gibbons - PhD student specialised in hop, step and jump: behaviour, neuroscience and philosophy

I am a final-year PhD student interested in the neuroscience of pain and consciousness. I have a BSc in Neuroscience (1st Class) from King’s College London. Before my PhD, I worked on characterising descending neural pain pathways in mice.

For my PhD, I am investigating whether, and how, insects feel pain, using neurobiological and behavioural techniques. There are currently no animal welfare laws protecting insects, meaning they can be legally subjected to invasive and harmful procedures in the research and food industries, without regulation. However, there is no conclusive evidence that these animals cannot feel pain, and thus they may experience great suffering in these industries. I am looking for evidence of whether insects feel pain, by observing bumblebee behaviour in response to noxious stimuli, combined with pharmacological manipulation.

I am also interested in the neural circuits underlying potential pain experience in insects. I am using genetically-manipulated fruit flies and behavioural experiments to explore this.

Email: m.r.gibbons@qmul.ac.uk