Twycross Zoo - Follow Your Heart

Opening Times: 10am - 6pm

Ape Heart Project Staff

Dr. Sharon Redrobe OBE
CEO of Twycross Zoo, Director and Founder of the Ape Heart Project

Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE was appointed CEO of Twycross in 2013, and founded the Ape Heart Project in collaboration with EAZA in 2016. Sharon has over 25 years’ experience working in academia, the charity sector and business. Sharon has had a life‐long fascination with wildlife and a belief in the role modern zoos must play in conservation, whilst remaining relevant and supported by the public. In a rapidly changing world, Sharon believes science‐led solutions to saving wildlife whilst engaging the public are essential to the success of a ‘One World’ future. Sharon was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2017 in recognition for her services to Skills, Science and the Economy.

Matyas Liptovszky DVM, DiplECZM (ZHM), MSc, MRCVS
Head of Life Sciences at Twycross Zoo, Clinical Lead of the Ape Heart Project

Matyas Liptovszky graduated as a veterinary surgeon in in 2005. He also earned a postgraduate diploma in wildlife management during his studies. He holds a postgraduate diploma in exotic animal medicine and a Master in science communication. He is a diplomate of the European College of Zoological Medicine (Zoo Health Management) and RCVS recognised specialist in zoo and wildlife medicine. He is currently Head of life sciences at Twycross Zoo; honorary assistant professor of zoo animal medicine at the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science; veterinary advisor of the gorilla EEP and clinical lead of the Ape Heart Project. His focus of research within the project is anaesthesia, physiology and nutrition.

Kerstin Baiker,, Dipl ECVP, MRCVS, SFHEA
Clinical Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathology at University of Nottingham

Kerstin is a certified Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Pathology and works as a Clinical Associate Professor at the Vet School of the University of Nottingham. She has been part of the Ape Heart project from the beginning and is keen on learning more about the aetiopathogenesis of cardiac diseases in great apes.

Professor Kate White
Professor of Veterinary Anaesthesia & Analgesia, University of Nottingham

Kate is Professor of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia and the Clinical Director of the Nottingham Vet School. Her research interests are in many aspects of pain assessment, analgesia and anaesthesia in companion, farmed, captive wild, and laboratory animals. Kate is particularly interested in descending controls and the role they play in acute and chronic pain in models of musculoskeletal disease. Kate teaches physiology, pharmacology, anaesthesia and analgesia across the 5-year curriculum and works in the clinical associate practices, and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students. She is Senior Vice President of the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists and also the anaesthesia consultant on the Ape Health project at Twycross zoo investigating health and disease in great apes.

Mike Martin

Mike is a veterinary surgeon and has been a RCVS registered Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology since 1995 and revalided every 5 years ever since. His background has been in dog and cat speciality cardiology practice for over 25 years. However, he retired from clinical practice and the end of 2017. Now his focus is in training and education of veterinary surgeons. He has been involved as an adviser and consultant to the Ape Heart Project since 2014, bringing his specialist cardiology knowledge to help in research of heart disease in the great apes.

Sophie Moittié, LV, MRCVS, DVetMed Postgraduate Student
University of Nottingham and Twycross Zoo

Sophie Moittié qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 2009, and she is now pursuing a 4-year postgraduate program with the University of Nottingham and Twycross Zoo.

This program combines general clinical work at the zoo as part of the vet team and Ape Heart Project studies in great ape cardiac diseases. She is also a resident of the European College of Zoological Medicine. Sophie is looking into the causes and mechanisms of heart diseases in gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. She collects data and samples from Twycross great apes when they get a “health-check” and also receives samples from other zoos in Europe. Her project includes cardiac pathology, biomarker discovery and nutrient analysis.

Dr. Melissa Grant SFHEA
Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry at University of Birmingham


Melissa Grant is a biochemist by training and a senior lecturer in biological sciences at the University of Birmingham’s School of Dentistry. Her research is focussed on understanding the role of inflammation in oral disease, with particular emphasis on the functions of white blood cells called neutrophils and detection of disease for instance in saliva. With the Ape Heart Project Melissa is interested in what role oral disease might play in heart disease and if heart disease might be detected in saliva. She is collaborating with others in the AHP on finding biomarkers and developing those into saliva diagnostic tests.

Freisha Patel MSc BSc (Hons)
Research and Conservation Administrator, Twycross Zoo

Freisha is the Research and Conservation Administrator at Twycross zoo and manages the administrative tasks for the Ape Heart Project. This includes daily management of the Ape Heart Project email inbox, arrangement of shipments of samples and liaising with relevant internal and external teams regarding project information, data and samples.


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