About me

I am a Research Fellow in the Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield. I’m interested in reproductive behaviour and physiology (mainly of birds), as well as engaging young people in science and research. You can find out more about my work on my research page or by following me on Twitter @HemmingsNicola1.


Academic positions

2016 -: Patrick & Irwin-Packington Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

2011-2016: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Birkhead Lab, University of Sheffield

2010-2011: University Teaching Associate, University of Sheffield



2007-2010: PhD Behavioural Ecology, University of Sheffield

2003-2007: MBiolSci Zoology (1st Class), University of Sheffield


Professional activities

2016-: Communications Editor, Evolution Letters

2016: Invited seminar. How sperm fertilise eggs in birds. Zoological Society of London.

2015: Invited plenary. Mechanisms of sperm transport and selection in birds. Biology of Spermatozoa Biannual Meeting, Peak District, UK.

2014: Invited workshop. Communicating Science: How to give a great presentation. ASAB Easter Conference, Sheffield.

2013: Invited workshop. How to assess egg fertility in birds. University of Sheffield Computer Assisted Sperm Analysis (CASA) workshop.

2013: Invited speaker. Saving species with science. The Mobile University, Festival of the Mind, Sheffield.

2012: Invited speaker. Inbreeding depression on reproductive traits in the zebra finch. University of Aberdeen.

2010: Invited speaker. Saving species with science. Birds, Nature & Creativity Symposium, BTO, Sheffield.

2009: Invited speaker. Costs and consequences of inbreeding in the zebra finch. Darwin and Behavioural Sciences Symposium, Konrad Lorenz Institute, Vienna.


Other conference presentations

2013: Why so many sperm? Biology of Spermatozoa Biannual Meeting, Peak District, UK.

2013: Causes of hatching failure in wild and captive endangered birds. Leibniz Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research 9th International Conference on Behaviour, Physiology, & Genetics of Wildlife.


2011: Saving species with science – the role of sperm biology. Biology of Spermatozoa Biannual Meeting, Peak District, UK.

2009: Embryo death – hatching failure in tits. Edward Grey Institute of Ornithology Student Conference, University of Oxford. Prize for best talk.

2008: Sperm selection. The University of Sheffield Postgraduate Research Conference. 1st Prize for “Presenting your research to 16 year olds”.



2016: Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2015: Student Voice Academic Awards Best Educational Event (for the University of Sheffield Schools’ Christmas Lecture “Animal Academy”

2014: Society of Biology UK Science Communication Award (£1500) for science outreach work

2013: SET for Britain Awards, Houses of Parliament – Bronze Award (£1000) for poster presentation “Examining eggs saves endangered species”

2011: Animal & Plant Sciences Teacher of the Year, University of Sheffield

2009: Prize for best talk, EGI Student Conference, Oxford University

2008: Prize for best talk, Postgraduate Research Conference, University of Sheffield



2016: Patrick & Irwin-Packington Research Fellowship, University of Sheffield

2015: Royal Society Partnership Grant (£3000)

2013: Imagine Studentship Grant (to fund 3.5 year interdisciplinary PhD project)

2007: NERC CASE studentship



I have taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level since 2010, and developed a range of material for lecture and practical-based modules at all levels. A list of modules I have contributed to can be found below. In 2011 I was awarded Animal & Plant Sciences Teacher of the Year, and in 2016 I was made Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I currently supervise final year undergraduate research students, MBiolSci project students, and two PhD students (Tania Mendonca and Duncan Jackson).

Modules taught

APS126 Behaviour of Humans & Other Animals (lecturer, coordinator 2014/2015)

APS135 Practical Skills for Biologists (academic tutor, lecturer, and laboratory instructor)

APS220 Evolutionary Biology (lecturer)

APS222 Animal & Plant Science Tutorials (academic tutor)

APS320 Sex & Reproduction (lecturer)

APS327 History & Philosophy of Science (lecturer, coordinator 2014/2015)

APS347 Conflict & Cooperation (lecturer)

APS330 Level 3 Project (project supervisor)

APS331 Level 3 Dissertation (dissertation supervisor)

APS402 Level 4 Research Dissertation (dissertation supervisor)

APS406 Level 4 Research Project (dissertation supervisor)



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