Heather Steele is a 2021 Nuffield Scholar. Heather’s study topic is ‘Using Sexed Semen to improve the sustainability of the Irish Dairy Industry’. She is a strong believer in research which will have a real-world influence and can be readily translated into practice. She is also committed to developing communication channels to bridge the gap between important agricultural research and stakeholders who would benefit from learning about the results of the research being carried out.
Heather, originally from Inishowen in Donegal, studied a BSc in Genetics at University College Cork before going on to gain a master’s degree in Advanced Reproductive Technology (ART) from the University of Nottingham. Whilst completing her masters, she did a research project in the Fertility Unit at Queens Medical Centre where she assessed sperm characteristics and counting accuracy. Upon completion of her master’s degree she took up a post as a livestock embryologist at Parklands Veterinary Group in Northern Ireland. Whilst at Parklands, she was part of the team which delivered advanced breeding services including in vitro embryo production for cattle, the only commercial programme of its kind in Ireland.
In 2017 she began a PhD at University College Dublin, under the supervision of Professor Sabine Koelle, where she is examining ‘How sperm sexing affects sperm quality, gameto-maternal interaction and embryonic development’. Whilst here she has collaborated with the University of Nottingham, published a number of research papers, and presented her research findings at conferences in Dublin and Edinburgh.
'Using Sexed Semen to improve the sustainability of the Irish Dairy Industry'