Carol Tinga

PhD Candidate (Epidemiology), MSc (Population Medicine), Honours BA (Studio Art), Honours BSc (Human Biology)


Animals, the arts, and science have always interested me. My formal education began with a specialized honours BSc in human biology with a biomedical science minor from the University of Guelph. After working for several years and completing communication skills courses at Conestoga College (Waterloo, ON), I returned to the University of Guelph for an MSc in population medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). The MSc research resulted in a paper, a “Survey of veterinary technical and professional skills in students and recent graduates of a veterinary college,” being published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. After graduation, I worked as an epidemiologist and had the opportunity to author numerous reports, design studies, make presentations, publish co-authored scientific papers, facilitate workshops, and attend national and international meetings. During this time I also completed an honours BA in studio art focusing on painting and European art history. Artistic interests fueled many trips to the UK and Europe where I enthusiastically tracked down creations that I had studied. Before returning to OVC for the PhD in epidemiology, I worked as a professional artist (often with animal subjects and securing two science journal covers) and assisted faculty and students with writing projects.

Alongside my research activities, I serve as a General Director for Population Medicine on the Graduate Student Association and sit as a PhD representative on the Graduate Student Executive (of) Population Medicine. I enjoy presenting and participating in the lively and super interesting, weekly gatherings of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, and post pet rabbit research findings to the OVC Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare Lab's Facebook page. I participate in community life in Guelph and particularly enjoy creating unique, animal-based signs for the annual Hillside Community Festival.

My research is dedicated to Vespa (pictured above), a lop-eared rabbit who changed my life and inspired two key questions. What does a good life for a pet rabbit look like? How can you make it happen?

Research Interests

Using qualitative, quantitative and non-invasive experimental methods to identify and explore social and environmental factors associated with pet rabbit behaviour and welfare, human-rabbit interactions, and owners’ perceptions of engagement, satisfaction, commitment, and attachment with the goal of setting pet rabbits and their owners up for success.

Key words: pet rabbits, social enrichment, environmental enrichment, play behaviour, motivation, human-animal interactions, human-animal bond, attachment, owner satisfaction, owner engagement, animal welfare, positive welfare, good life, well-being, house rabbit



  • Teaching and Career Development Fellowship (2020) to co-create and co-teach Bambi and You, Bambi in Stew: Exploring the Human-Animal Connection - UNIV*1200*10 (Undergraduate), an experiential-learning, arts and science course in Winter 2021 as part of the University of Guelph’s First Year Seminars program

Instructional Skills Development

  • > dozen webinars and workshops on teaching, learning, and assessments in the remote environment, University of Guelph, May-July 2020
  • Graduate Student University Teaching Conference, University of Guelph, 2018
  • (3-day) Instructional Skills Workshop, Open Learning, University of Guelph, 2018

University Teaching Experience

  • Teaching assistant, Art of Veterinary Medicine III -  VETM*4220 (Undergraduate), Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 2020
  • Guest lecturer, Epidemiology I - POPM*6200 (Graduate), Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 2002
  • Guest lecturer, Population Health (Undergraduate), School of Nursing, McMaster University, 2000 & 2001
  • Short course co-facilitator, Survey Design: A Skill Development Short Course (OVC Faculty & Graduate students) for Directed Studies in Population Medicine - POPM*6950 (Graduate), Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 1999

Professional Experience & Honours

Professional Experience

  • Science Editor & Writing Tutor serving faculty and students at three universities (since 2014)
  • Simulated Client, OVC Medical Communications Program and Pet Loss Support Hotline, University of Guelph (since 2013)
  • Artist with over 90 exhibitions, commissions and public demonstrations (since 2004)
  • Research Analyst & Epidemiologist with broad human and animal health experience: Social & Public Health Services (Hamilton, ON), Public Health Agency of Canada (Guelph, ON), and as a private consultant (since 2000)

University of Guelph Honours

  • 3-year OVC PhD Entrance Scholarship, 2018
  • 39th & 40th annual Juried Art Show Prizes, 6th places, School of Fine Art & Music, 2007 & 2008
  • First Year Visual Studies Prize, School of Fine Art & Music, 2004
  • Ethel Rose Charney Scholarship, OVC, 1999
  • Waltham Fellowship, OVC, 1999
  • University Graduate Scholarship, OVC, 1999