Brett Westwood explores nature that has had an impact on human culture. Brett burrows into our complicated relationship with our constant but mostly unwelcome companion: the rat.
Brett Westwood burrows into the complicated relationship we have with our constant but mostly unwelcome companion: the rat. Featuring interviews with historian Dr. Edmund Ramsden, researcher for the charity Apopo Haylee Ellis, Professor of German and Folklore Wolfgang Mieder, rat enthusiast Jo Pegg, and ecologist and expert in rodents as pests Professor Steven Belmain. Produced by Ellie Sans.
Professor Steven Belmain
Steven Belmain is Professor of Ecology at the University of Greenwich’s Natural Resources Institute. Steve’s interests in rodents were stimulated by accident soon after joining NRI when he was sent off to plague-infested villages in Mozambique. Since then, Steve has become one of the leading international scientists researching the ecology of rodents as pests in agriculture and as disease vectors, with research activities across the globe aimed at helping rural and urban communities to overcome their rat problems. Steve’s research has been crucial in understanding the transmission risks of rodent borne diseases as well as understanding the fundamental drivers of rodent population outbreaks. His work has attracted much media interest including a nature documentary produced about rat swarms in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. His research interests span both vertebrate and invertebrate pests to develop ecologically sustainable methods of pest control and investigating how improvements in ecosystem services can lead to reduced disease within a One Health paradigm. As a field biologist working mainly in Africa and Asia, he has led more than a dozen large multidisciplinary research projects aiming to help improve people’s livelihoods whilst protecting our natural resources.
Dr Edmund Ramsden
As a historian of science and medicine, he is particularly interested in the role of experimental animals in the investigation of social, psychological and psychiatric problems.