skip to content

Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme

Jack Smith featured on BBC Springwatch

Our DTP Student, Jack Marcus Smith, was recently featured on BBC Springwatch. Jack is currently on the last year of his PhD in the Department of Zoology.

His research encompasses evolutionary biology and animal behaviour, and explores how social interactions within families induce evolutionary change. This could be the social interactions between parents and offspring, it could be sibling dynamics, or even the relationship between parents. He specifically utilises long-term experimental evolution on the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides, to explore how social interactions within families induce evolutionary change. Burying beetles are an increasingly studied model organism due to their elaborate social behaviours, and the populations of Nicrophorus in Cambridgeshire's ancient woodlands provide an ideal system for studying family life in miniature.


Jack said, "I’ve always been fascinated with natural history, especially the natural history of insects. Over lockdown I rediscovered my love for photography and film, and thought it would be a great idea to fuse my interests together. Insects have this miniature world, that often goes unnoticed, so why not try and get a glimpse into their strange lives? I ended up doing my PIPS at a natural history production company in Bristol. This gave me inspiration to delve deeper into film. Upon returning to Cambridge, I decided to tell the story of the burying beetle, a highly unusual creature that is at the forefront of my PhD."

Watch on BBC: Springwatch 2022, Episode 5 (from 26 mins)

Latest news

DTP student, Natalie Wallis, completes PIPs placement working with First Nations communities in Canada.

28 October 2022

As part of the BBSRC DTP programme, Natalie successfully completed her twelve-week Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS). Natalie made the most of the scheme by taking the opportunity to do a PIPs abroad. She conducted her internship in British Columbia, Canada.

BBSRC student meets with BioNTech co-founders Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci during their visit to Cambridge

16 October 2022

BioNTech founders, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, visited Cambridge to give the annual Milstein Lecture at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology. During their visit, Sabila Chilaeva (BBSRC DTP 2019 Cohort) had the opportunity to have lunch with them.

Welcome to the new 2022 SBS DTP cohort!

7 October 2022

We are very pleased to welcome the new 2022 SBS DTP students to Cambridge. This was a great opportunity to meet in-person with students after almost 2 years of online induction events.