Physiology, Ageing & Welfare

Research in our theme contributes substantially to increasing knowledge on the fundamentals of life, improving health inequalities in domestic and wild animals, and generating new data towards enhancing planetary health.


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Image of a brown horse lying down in a field

The Physiology, Ageing and Welfare Theme is a network of University of Glasgow researchers that seek to improve our knowledge of the fundamentals of life. Our theme seeks to improve the health and wellness of domestic and wild animals across the lifespan.

Many researchers use an integrative approach to investigate the environmental and endogenous regulation of physiology, development and behaviour, the relevance to health, and the welfare of laboratory, domestic and wild animals. The Theme has a range of expertise in methods for study design, data collection, analysis and reporting high quality research findings.

Collaborative interactions between researchers, policy makers and industry partners aim to increase our understanding of animal health and wellbeing and increase the reach of our research outputs.  We cover 7 key areas of research expertise:

  • Neuroscience
  • Life-history
  • Chronobiology
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Nutrition
  • Mitochondria
  • Senescence

Wider impact of research

Researchers at Cochno farm are enhancing knowledge to reduce health inequalities in livestock animals. Our industrial partnerships with Alltech and Harbro are driving research to improve the feed efficiency, health, and welfare of ruminants, using in vitro digestibility simulations and multiomics techniques.

Whilst novel equine digestibility models are being developed in partnership with Mars.

Furthermore, our focus on safety and social licence to operate of horse racing and equestrian events seeks to improve health in equine sports. We’re ramping up our attempts to get equestrian eventing governing bodies to implement the evidence-based risk management proposals we’ve identified for their sport, ahead of the Olympics next year. Our research contribute to improving the health of racing horses and the work has been covered by leading media outlets such as Horse and Hound, Thoroughbred Racing and Horse Talk.

Image of a black labrador lying on kitchen tiles wearing a red therapy collar with padding

Our research also extends to conditions that affect both domestic animals and humans.  We are currently studying the commonalities that dogs have with human neurological disorders, including epilepsy, and canine degenerative myelopathy. Our research combines a clinical, pathology and molecular approach to understand the basis of various neurological disorders, which are mutually beneficial to both domestic animal and human research communities.

Our members conduct cutting-edge research with several national and international partners. These large-scale international collaborations are working toward improving global livestock welfare via improved nutrition. Advances in global animal welfare is having a direct impact to reduce the burden of agriculture on planetary health. Our research is regularly presented during international conferences, across various social media platforms, and National and International news outlets. Members are frequently contribute to other public dissemination programs such as BBC, Glasgow Science Centre and Policy makers.

Theme leader: Tyler Stevenson