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Luiza's 'golden' career path in Wildlife Conservation

Monday 5 March 2018

THE SECRET Life of the Zoo scientist Luiza Passos has landed a first lectureship just weeks after completing her PhD.

Luiza, a specialist researcher in reptiles and amphibians, appeared on the popular Channel 4 series several times in 2017 to explain the conservation of the fabulous Golden Mantella frog.

Luiza, a student of Rob Young, chair in wildlife conservation, successfully defended her PhD in January and has already been offered a post as lecturer in conservation at Liverpool John Moores University.

Professor Young said: “It is incredibly rare for a PhD graduate to get a lecturing position within 2 years of finishing never mind 2 months.  In fact, less than 3 percent of PhD graduates manage to develop a career in academia.

“For me the most important metric I have in relation to my research students is whether they go on into the career they wish, and I know that this is the case with Luiza.”

Nonesuch Island

Luiza, a graduate of the Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, came to Salford in 2014 and her PhD on the Golden Mantella brought her into contact with scientists at Chester Zoo, where they film the popular TV documentary.

Her work, which includes several published research papers and a study trip to monitor frogs in the Atlantic island of Nonesuch, increased our understanding of the factors which influence the ‘fitness’ of captive frogs to be released into the wild.

Viewers saw Luiza helping the zoo’s researchers monitor the impact of zoo sounds on the species ability to reproduce its own natural vocals. 

She says: “During my time in Salford, I had the chance to develop new research skills such as the use of new technologies like next-generation sequencing and bioacoustics, besides strengthening my writing and teaching skills.  

“The friendly and supportive environment (at Salford) has encouraged me to seek help not only from my supervisor but from the different member of the staff, with different expertise."