Heather is responsible for developing productive relationships and networks to ensure the success of the University of Central Lancashire's new veterinary school, through academic development and recruitment. Heather's research interests include animal welfare, education, and exotic animal medicine and surgery, and she has published in a range of peer-reviewed journals and authored several textbook chapters. In particular she consults on zoo animal behaviour and welfare issues. Heather sits on several national and international committees focussed on veterinary education and animal welfare, and is a DEFRA-appointed zoo inspector.
Heather graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2003 with an intercalated honours degree in conservation medicine and from the University of Bristol in 2005 with her veterinary degree. She achieved her postgraduate certificate in zoological medicine in 2009 whilst working in China as the Veterinary Director of Animals Asia, an international animal welfare charity. In 2010 she was appointed as a founding international education and outreach manager at the University of Edinburgh's Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, where she worked to achieve the Centre's strategic aims, develop new postgraduate programmes, and to embed ethical reasoning and animal welfare within the veterinary curriculum.
Heather has received numerous national and international awards for her work in animal welfare and veterinary education. In 2021, Heather was awarded a Senior fellowship from the Higher Education Academy, and an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen for services to Veterinary education and animal welfare.