Jane Hurst

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Jane Hurst

Professor Jane Hurst (1).jpg
Jane Louise Hurst
Alma materUniversity of Birmingham (BSc, PhD)
Known forBehavioural ecology
AwardsASAB Medal (2017)
Scientific career
FieldsChemical communication
Laboratory animal welfare
Kin recognition[1]
InstitutionsUniversity of Nottingham
University of Liverpool
ThesisThe behavioural ecology of the house mouse (Mus domesticus) (1984)

Jane Louise Hurst OBE FRSB is the William Prescott Professor of Animal Science at the University of Liverpool. She is Head of Mammalian Behaviour & Evolution.[2][1] She studies scent communication between mammals, as well as animal welfare and pest control. She served as the President of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour from 2010 to 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Hurst earned her bachelor's degree in science at the University of Birmingham.[3] She was inspired to study behavioural ecology after reading Mice All Over by Peter Crowcroft.[4] She earned her PhD in 1984 on the behavioural ecology of the house mouse Mus domesticus.[5] During her PhD she watched wild mice in agricultural buildings, studying their social organisation and ability to live at such high population densities.[4]

Research and career[edit]

Hurst joined the University of Nottingham as a postdoctoral researcher in 1985, obtained a Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from 1986 to 1988, a SERC Advanced Fellowship from 1989 to 1984 and an Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC)/BBSRC Advanced Fellowship from 1994 to 1998.[3] Hurst works on the mechanisms and evolution of scent communication in animals.[3] She is interested in the roles of volatile and non-volatile scents.[3] She was appointed the William Prescott Professor of Animal Science at the University of Liverpool in 1998[3] and Head of Mammalian Behaviour & Evolution Group.[3]

Her main research interests are in the chemobiology of competitive signalling in mammals.[6] Hurst became interested in the signals that determine animal mate choice.[4] She is interested in how scents are used in sexual communications.[3] She demonstrated that the quality of an animal's odour determines the chances that it will be selected as a mate.[7][8] She found that female mice prefer to nest with their sisters, irrespective of whether they knew each other before.[9] Specifically, female house mice prefer partners that share their own major urinary protein genotype.[9] In the absence of this phenotype match, females preferred partners with whom they share multiple-loci across the genome.[9]

Hurst identified a non-volatile pheromone that was released in male urine that female mice find highly attractive.[4][10] She went on to find that this pheromone was a major urinary protein (MUP20), which she named darcin after Mr Darcy in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.[4] Hurst went on to establish that this pheromone could stimulate both short and long-term learning and that darcin and other major urinary proteins influence the odour signature that female mice learn.[4] She also showed that darcin increased neurogenesis in the olfactory bulb and hippocampus.[11] and has been involved with work that has identified a genetically determined circuit extending from the accessory olfactory bulb to the posterior medial amygdala mediating all behavioural responses to darcin.[12] Hurst found that female mice are more attracted to male mice with their own territory.[7] She found that darcin and other major urinary proteins influence the odour signature that female mice learn.[13] She edited volume 11 of Chemical Signals in Vertebrates that followed a conference of the same name in Chester, UK.[14]

Professor Jane Hurst, William Prescott Professor of Animal Science

Her research is directed in part to the development of humane control of rodent pests.[3][15] She also identified non-aversive handling methods that would reduce anxiety in mice, allowing them to be more reliable in laboratory tests.[16][17] Hurst developed the use of mouse-friendly handling tunnels, reducing their anxiety and allowing them to explore more during animal testing.[18][19] Hurst is also interested in how animals can detect scent-cues of ill-health and disease.[3] ] For this work, she was awarded the NC3Rs prize in 2010. Hurst is also interested in how animals can detect scent-cues of ill-health and disease.[20]

In 2010 Hurst was appointed President for the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB).[3] She has supported the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) from 2000 – 2019 by serving on grant funding and strategy advisory panels, Appointments Board, and chaired the BBSRC Animal Welfare Programme steering committee.[21] She has supported the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research since its inception, including a founding member of the NC3Rs Board and grant funding panel (2004-2010). She has served on the Council for the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW, 1996-2002), on the Royal Society Use of Animals in Research committee (2004-2009) and the Ethical committee for ASAB (1991-1999, chair from 1995). Hurst has been involved with several studies to improve connections between researchers in the animal welfare community.[22] Hurst discussed her pheromone research on In Our Time in 2019.[23] In 2021 she was the guest on an episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific.[24]

Awards and honours[edit]

Her awards and honours include:

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to animal welfare.[27][28]


  1. ^ a b Jane Hurst publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Jane Hurst publications from Europe PubMed Central
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Jane Hurst". liverpool.ac.uk. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hurst, Jane (2018). "Communicating through scents: an interview with Jane Hurst". BMC Biology. 16 (1): 126. doi:10.1186/s12915-018-0596-2. ISSN 1741-7007. PMC 6211507. PMID 30382918.
  5. ^ Hurst, Jane Louise (1984). The behavioural ecology of the house mouse (mus domesticus). jisc.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Birmingham. OCLC 744524984. Copac 45390636.
  6. ^ Hurst, Jane L.; Beynon, Robert J. (2004). "Scent wars: the chemobiology of competitive signalling in mice". BioEssays. 26 (12): 1288–1298. doi:10.1002/bies.20147. ISSN 0265-9247. PMID 15551272. S2CID 23550297.
  7. ^ a b Rich, Tracey J; Hurst, Jane L (1998). "Scent marks as reliable signals of the competitive ability of mates". Animal Behaviour. 56 (3): 727–735. doi:10.1006/anbe.1998.0803. ISSN 0003-3472. PMID 9784223. S2CID 26561908.
  8. ^ Stockley, P.; Bottell, L.; Hurst, J. L. (2013). "Wake up and smell the conflict: odour signals in female competition". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Royal Society. 368 (1631): 20130082. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0082. ISSN 0962-8436. PMC 3826211. PMID 24167312.
  9. ^ a b c Hurst, Jane L.; Beynon, Robert J.; Stockley, Paula; Paterson, Steve; Davidson, Amanda J.; Holmes, Andrew M.; Green, Jonathan P. (2015). "The Genetic Basis of Kin Recognition in a Cooperatively Breeding Mammal". Current Biology. 25 (20): 2631–2641. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.045. ISSN 0960-9822. PMID 26412134.
  10. ^ "Smell You Later: Scientists Reveal How Mice Recognize Each Other". sciencedaily.com. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  11. ^ Hoffman, Emma; Pickavance, Lucy; Thippeswamy, Thimmasettappa; Beynon, Robert J.; Hurst, Jane L. (2015). "The male sex pheromone darcin stimulates hippocampal neurogenesis and cell proliferation in the subventricular zone in female mice". Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 9: 106. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00106. ISSN 1662-5153. PMC 4413791. PMID 25972792.
  12. ^ Demir, Ebru; Li, Kenneth; Bobrowski-Khoury, Natasha; Sanders, Joshua I.; Beynon, Robert J.; Hurst, Jane L.; Kepecs, Adam; Axel, Richard (2020-01-29). "The pheromone darcin drives a circuit for innate and reinforced behaviours". Nature. 578 (7793): 137–141. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-1967-8. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 31996852. S2CID 210948445.
  13. ^ Roberts, Sarah A.; Prescott, Mark C.; Davidson, Amanda J.; McLean, Lynn; Beynon, Robert J.; Hurst, Jane L. (2018). "Individual odour signatures that mice learn are shaped by involatile major urinary proteins (MUPs)". BMC Biology. 16 (1): 48. doi:10.1186/s12915-018-0512-9. ISSN 1741-7007. PMC 5921788. PMID 29703213.
  14. ^ Hurst, Jane Louise (2011). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 11. ISBN 9780387739441. OCLC 751582986.
  15. ^ Weaver, Janelle (2010-09-12). "Getting a better grip on lab mice". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2010.462. ISSN 0028-0836.
  16. ^ Hurst, Jane L; West, Rebecca S (2010). "Taming anxiety in laboratory mice". Nature Methods. 7 (10): 825–826. doi:10.1038/nmeth.1500. ISSN 1548-7091. PMID 20835246. S2CID 6525713. closed access
  17. ^ Jane L. Hurst; Gouveia, Kelly (2017). "Optimising reliability of mouse performance in behavioural testing: the major role of non-aversive handling". Scientific Reports. 7: 44999. doi:10.1038/srep44999. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 5359560. PMID 28322308.
  18. ^ "Results of mouse studies affected by the way the animals are handled | NC3Rs". nc3rs.org.uk. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  19. ^ Looi, Mun-Keat (2011). "Scientist wins prize for improving welfare of lab mice". blog.wellcome.ac.uk. Wellcome Trust. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  20. ^ a b "3Rs Prize winners | NC3Rs". www.nc3rs.org.uk. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  21. ^ "BBSRC - Delivering Excellence with Impact" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  22. ^ Turnbull, James; Statham, Poppy T. E.; Lawrence, Alistair; Hurst, Jane; Green, Laura E.; Flecknell, Paul; Davies, Anna C.; Collins, Lisa; Bennett, Richard (2016). "Enhancing collaboration in the UK animal welfare research community" (PDF). Veterinary Record. 178 (6): 138–139. doi:10.1136/vr.i682. ISSN 0042-4900. PMID 26851102. S2CID 207049093.
  23. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Pheromones". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  24. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific, Jane Hurst on the secret life of mice". BBC.
  25. ^ "ASAB Medal". ASAB. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  26. ^ "Swiss Laboratory Animal Science Association (SGV)". naturalsciences.ch. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  27. ^ "No. 62866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2019. p. N12.
  28. ^ "Order of the British Empire", Wikipedia, 2019-12-28, retrieved 2019-12-28