Researcher Spotlight : Chanakarn Wongsaengchan

Published: 5 March 2019

This week, Ellen Hughes puts first year animal welfare PhD candidate Chanakarn Wongsaengchan under the Spotlight to learn more about her research and PhD experiences so far...

Tell us about your background
I am a vet from Thailand with 2 years of clinical work experience in my country. I have always wanted to work with animals and the goal is to save animal life. However, I found out later in my career that I don’t want to only cure diseases, or treat animals only when they are sick, but rather to help them have good welfare across their whole lives.

What can you tell us about your PhD research?
It is a novel research using the non-invasive infrared camera (Infrared Thermography – IRT) to detect and potentially quantify stress in animals (it has been done in chickens but I will be looking at mammals, starting with rats) with the potential to give information about valence (positive and negative affective states) and the potential to be automated in the future.

Why did you decide to do your PhD in IBACHM/UofG?
I did my MSc in Animals welfare science, ethics and law here and that’s why I know I am doing my PhD with the best people in the best University!Chanakarn Wongsaengchan small pic

What do you find most interesting about your work?
The purpose of my work is the interesting and fulfilling bit. I’d like to know how this infrared camera can help assessing animal welfare without having to handle/touch/take blood sample or interfere with the animals at all. When you think about the numbers of the animals used in research and in industry, IRT has the potential to save many.

What has been the most positive aspect so far?
My supervisors are very nice and knowledgeable, and my study is meaningful.

What has been the most challenging aspect so far?
Since the study is novel, no one has ever investigated the intensity of stressors using IRT in rats, and no one has studied the dynamics of corticosterone or cortisol with different level of stressors before, so it is challenging to design the methodology.

What advice would you give to anyone doing or considering PhD?
For the ones considering, you are not going to get only a degree out of it, along the way you will gain so many valuable experiences regarding life. And if you’re already doing a PhD, I would encourage you to treat your PhD like your baby, love it, enjoy the ride seeing it grows and try not to complain since it’s such a privilege and a great opportunity to be able to have a PhD to do, so many people don’t even get a chance.

What part of your research so far have you enjoyed the most/felt most proud of? ‌‌‌Chanakarn Wongsaengchan thermal
The thermal images are beautiful!

What are the most important lessons you have learnt from your first year?
Be patient, it has been quite slow, but it is necessary to be able to wait.

Tell us about your plans for the future
I hope to be a competent animal welfare researcher and lecturer.  First, back to Thailand to improve animal welfare through education for a few years and after that working in academic field aboard (EU/UK).

First published: 5 March 2019