We speak with Dr Katie Adam, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on interdisciplinary animal health projects. She trained as a veterinary surgeon at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh and holds a master’s degree in Aquatic Medicine from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. Before joining Innogen, she worked in clinical veterinary practice and as a field epidemiologist, researching endemic animal diseases.
What are your main research interests?
My research is on the social dimensions of animal health. Essentially, I try to understand how people can influence animal health, and also the impact of animal diseases on humans.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on several projects at present. The main one is Diagnostic Innovation and Livestock (DIAL), where we’re trying to understand what is needed to bring new diagnostic tests to the market to help vets and farmers make decisions about using antibiotics in farm animals. I’m also working on a project with AHDB Beef and Lamb to develop a practical plan to increase survival rates for calves and lambs. I still maintain an active interest in veterinary wellbeing and retention from my PhD research, and I’m involved in a new project on controlling African Swine Fever in Malawi.
Since when have you been part of Innogen?
I joined Innogen at the University of Edinburgh at the end of 2017 as a research fellow on the DIAL project. I trained originally as a veterinarian and developed an interest in the social sciences through my work in livestock health and disease control. I feel very fortunate to have found such a supportive, interdisciplinary group with a focus on delivering impactful research.
What are the main challenges you have come across in your research?
As an interdisciplinary researcher, it can be tricky to define what I do and where I fit. Am I a vet, or a social scientist, or both? It’s great to be part of a team where interdisciplinary skills are a strength and to work with other researchers who have had similar experiences.
What impact do you hope your work will have?
Ultimately, I hope that my work can help to improve the health and wellbeing of people and animals. The animal health field is definitely becoming more interested in what the social sciences can contribute. Much of my work involves interviewing vets, farmers and scientists and I really enjoy learning something new from everyone that takes part in our projects.
Follow Katie on twitter: @kadamvetepi