Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Centres: Structure & Motion Laboratory

Research assistant and science communicator working on sesamoid bone evolution and comparative anatomy in Professor John Hutchinson's group in the Structure and Motion Laboratory.

After an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford, I completed my PhD in evolutionary neurobiology in December 2015 at Queen's University Belfast. This work focussed on sensory and nervous systems and their evolution, with comparative anatomy, behaviour and phylogenetics forming core tools for my research. These skills, and a passion for anatomy and science communication, brought me to Professor Hutchinson's group here at the RVC.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Sigwart JD, McAfee J, Smith L, Williams ST. In revision. Repeated eye reduction events show multiple pathways to degeneration in a family of marine snails. Evolution.

Sigwart JD, Carey N, Sumner-Rooney LH. In press. Tusk shells in trouble: Physiology and behaviour in response to changing temperature in a scaphopod (Mollusca: Scaphopoda: Dentaliida). Invertebrate Biology.

Sigwart JD and Sumner-Rooney LH. 2015. Mollusca: Caudofoveata, Monoplacophora, Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, Solenogastres. In: Structure and Evolution of Invertebrate Nervous Systems. Eds. Schmidt-Rhaesa A, Harzsch S, Purschke G. Oxford University Press.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Schrödl M, Lodde-Bensch E, Lindberg DR, Heβ M, Brennan GP, Sigwart JD. 2015. A neurophylogenetic approach provides new insight to the evolution of Scaphopoda. Evolution and Development. 17, 6: 337-346.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Sigwart JD. 2015. Is the Schwabe organ a larval eye? Anatomical and behavioural studies of a novel sense organ in Leptochiton asellus (Mollusca, Polyplacophora) indicate links to larval photoreceptors. PLOS ONE. 10:9. e0137119.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Murray JA, Cain SD, Sigwart JD. 2014. Do chitons have a compass? Evidence for magnetic sensitivity in Polyplacophora. Journal of Natural History. 48:3033-3045.

Sigwart JD, Sumner-Rooney LH, Schwabe E, Hess M, Brennan GP, Schrödl M. 2014. A novel sensory organ in ‘primitive’ molluscs (Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida) and its context in the nervous system of chitons. Frontiers in Zoology. 11:7.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Cain SD, Brennan GP, Sigwart JD. 2014. A test for mucus removal in the chiton Lepidochitona cinerea (Linnaeus, 1767) (Polyplacophora: Chitonida: Ischnochitonidae). The Veliger. 51:261-264.

Outreach and communication form a key part of my role at the RVC. I am responsible for communicating the work of Prof. Hutchinson's group and the Structure and Motion lab both within and beyond the RVC, organising events, working with schools and science outreach programmes. I also co-founded and run an RVC blog focussed on anatomy and zoology, Anatomy To You ( I have previously contributed to the Queen's University Belfast biological sciences blog QUBio and the Twitter initiative Biotweeps. 

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