Dr Ijichi graduated with a BMus from Queen’s University Belfast in 2007. After experiencing problems behaviour with her horse, and unable to find an ethical, evidence-based trainer to help, she undertook her MSc in Animal Behaviour & Welfare with the intention of becoming an ethical horse trainer within Northern Ireland. However, the process of completing her dissertation instilled a love of research and the scientific process and she realised she could help more animals by finding answers to their welfare challenges.
While undertaking private behaviour consultations and volunteering as an advisor to a welfare charity, she completed her PhD on how personality in horses is associated with different responses to stress. This led to the first study showing that animals react differently to pain, depending on their personality. In addition, she also explored how personality might explain whether or not an animal becomes stereotypic when their welfare needs are not met.
Following PhD study, Dr Ijichi contributed to a large scale study on chicken production and welfare before taking up a position as Senior Lecturer at Hartpury University. Here she taught behaviour, welfare and ethics related subjects whilst also designing and overseeing the delivery of support that was shown to boost well-being and performance amongst students. She is now a Senior Lecturer in Equine Science and will bring this passion for student well-being and achievement to her teaching in equine welfare and behaviour, scientific skills and ethics.
Dr Ijichi has several research interests, primarily focused on the welfare of animals, in particular horses. This involves investigating how we can understand when they are in pain more accurately, causes of stereotypic behaviour, training methods that cause welfare concerns, personality and how animals cope with stress during handling. The focus is on developing ethical, sustainable training and management practices that allow animals to thrive based in a deep understanding of their individual needs and how they communicate that these have not been met.