Sheila has a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, for research work carried out largely at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park. She joined the University of Salford in 2017, where she is now Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Environment.
Her background is in the life sciences and wildlife conservation, and in public engagement with science. She is a past member of the Research Group of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums); she has also held posts as a Shadow Governor for the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and as a trustee and council member of The Mammal Society, The New Island Conservation Trust (Falkland Islands), The Surrey Wildlife Trust, and The Wildlife Trust for Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northants. Sheila is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and the co-author of a book on zoo animal management, now in its second edition (Hosey, G., Melfi, V. and Pankhurst, S. 2013 Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management and Welfare. Oxford: Oxford University Press)