Dr Nikki Kells staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 85291

Dr Nikki Kells PhD, MSc, BSc

Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare

School of Veterinary Science

I undertook a PhD at Massey in 2013 looking at the development of acute and longer-term pain associated with tail docking of piglets, along with strategies to mitigate this. In 2017 I commenced a Postdoctoral Fellowship examining bobby calf welfare across the New Zealand dairy supply chain. I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare in December 2018.

 My research interests include:

  • Welfare assessment of stunning and killing methods
  • Pain assessment and mitigation
  • Development of novel pain biomarkers
  • Developmental aspects of conscious awareness and pain perception
  • Welfare implications of respiratory compromise
  • Assessment and promotion of positive welfare

Professional

Contact details

  • Ph: 85291
    Location: 6.14, Vet Tower
    Campus: Manawatu

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (2017)
  • Master of Science First Class - Massey University (2013)
  • Bachelor of Science - Massey University (2010)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Use of electroencephalography and behaviour to assess animal welfare

Welfare assessment of methods for stunning and killing animals

Assessment and mitigation of pain in animals undergoing routine husbandry procedures

Development of novel pain biomarkers

Developmental aspects of conscious awareness and pain perception

Welfare implications of respiratory compromise

Assessment and promotion of positive welfare

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000):
Animal Behaviour (060801): Animal Physiology - Systems (060603):
Animal Production (070200):
Biological Sciences (060000):
Humane Animal Treatment (070207):
Physiology (060600): Zoology (060800)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Team Member 0 1

Research Outputs

Journal

Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., Sutherland, MA., & Johnson, CB. (2019). Post-natal development of EEG responses to noxious stimulation in pigs (Sus scrofa) aged 1-15 days. Animal Welfare. 28(3), 317-329
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Sutherland, MA., Dowling, SK., Schütz, KE., Cave, VM., Kells, NJ., Johnson, CB., . . . Stewart, M. (2019). Behavioral and physiological assessment of liquid nitrogen cryoablation to prevent horn development in dairy calves. Journal of Veterinary Behavior. 31, 74-81
[Journal article]Authored by: Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., McIlhone, AE., & Johnson, CB. (2018). Electroencephalographic responses of anaesthetised rats to carbon dioxide inhalation. Animal Welfare. 27(3), 215-223
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., Sutherland, MA., & Johnson, CB. (2018). Electroencephalographic responses of anaesthetised pigs to intraperitoneal injection of sodium pentobarbital. Animal Welfare. 27(3), 205-214
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
McIlhone, AE., Beausoleil, NJ., Kells, NJ., Johnson, CB., & Mellor, DJ. (2018). Effects of halothane on the electroencephalogram of the chicken. Veterinary Medicine and Science. 4(2), 98-105
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
McIlhone, AE., Beausoleil, NJ., Kells, NJ., Mellor, DJ., & Johnson, CB. (2018). Effects of noxious stimuli on the electroencephalogram of anaesthetised chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus). PLoS ONE. 13(4)
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, N., Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., & Sutherland, M. (2018). Evaluation of different gases and gas combinations for on-farm euthanasia of pre-weaned pigs. Animals. 8(3)
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., Sutherland, MA., Morrison, RM., & Johnson, CB. (2017). Electroencephalographic assessment of oral meloxicam, topical anaesthetic cream and cautery iron for mitigating acute pain in pigs (Sus scrofa) undergoing tail docking. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. 44(5), 1166-1174
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., Chambers, JP., Sutherland, MA., Morrison, RS., & Johnson, CB. (2017). Electroencephalographic responses of anaesthetized pigs (Sus scrofa) to tail docking using clippers or cautery iron performed at 2 or 20 days of age. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. 44(5), 1156-1165
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Chambers, J., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., Johnson, CB., Sutherland, MA., Morrison, RS., & Roe, W. (2017). Comparison of neural histomorphology in tail tips from pigs docked using clippers or cautery iron. Animal. 11(7), 1222-1227
[Journal article]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N., Roe, W.
Rault, JL., Kells, N., Johnson, C., Dennis, R., Sutherland, M., & Lay, DC. (2015). Nitrous oxide as a humane method for piglet euthanasia: Behavior and electroencephalography (EEG). Physiology and Behavior. 151, 29-37
[Journal article]Authored by: Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kongara, K., Johnson, L., Kells, N., Johnson, CB., Dukkipati, V., & Mitchinson, SL. (2014). Alteration of Electroencephalographic Responses to Castration in Cats by Administration of Opioids. GSTF International Journal of Veterinary Science.
[Journal article]Authored by: Johnson, C., Kells, N., Kongara, K.
Kongara, K., McIlhone, AE., Kells, NJ., & Johnson, CB. (2014). Electroencephalographic evaluation of decapitation of the anaesthetized rat. Laboratory Animals. 48(1), 15-19
[Journal article]Authored by: Johnson, C., Kells, N., Kongara, K.
Flint, S., & Hartley, N. (1996). A modified selective medium for the detection of Pseudomonas species that cause spoilage of milk and dairy products. International Dairy Journal. 6(2), 223-230
[Journal article]Authored by: Flint, S., Kells, N.
Flint, SH., & Kells, NJ. (1996). The sub-typing of Listeria monocytogenes isolates from food, environments surrounding food manufacturing sites, and clinical samples in New Zealand using multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 31(1-3), 349-355
[Journal article]Authored by: Flint, S., Kells, N.
Flint, SH., Hartley, NJ., Avery, SM., & Hudson, JA. (1996). A comparison between starch and polyacrylamide gels for the analysis of Listeria monocytogenes using multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 22(1), 16-17
[Journal article]Authored by: Flint, S., Kells, N.
Flint, SH., & Hartley, NJ. (1995). Evaluation of the TECRA Escherichia coli O157 visual immunoassay for tests on dairy products. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 21(2), 79-82
[Journal article]Authored by: Flint, S., Kells, N.
Flint, SH., & Hartley, NJ. (1994). Development of a selective medium for Acinetobacter. International Dairy Journal. 4(2), 183-188
[Journal article]Authored by: Flint, S., Kells, N.
Flint, SH., & Hartley, NJ. (1993). Evaluation of the TECRA immunocapture ELISA for the detection of Salmonella typhimurium in foods. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 17(1), 4-6
[Journal article]Authored by: Flint, S., Kells, N.

Conference

Kells, N., Beausoleil, N., Sutherland, M., & Johnson, C. (2017). Complementary use of behaviour, physiology and electroencephalography to assess the humaneness of three gas mixtures for on-farm killing of neonatal pigs. , Welfare Impacts of Controlled Atmosphere Methods for Stunning or Killing Animals
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, N., Beausoleil, N., McIlhone, A., & Johnson, C. (2017). Electroencephalographic responses of anaesthetised rats to carbon dioxide inhalation. , Welfare Impacts of Controlled Atmosphere Methods for Stunning or Killing Animals
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, N., Beausoleil, NJ., Chambers, JP., Sutherland, M., Morrison, R., & Johnson, CB. (2015). EEG assessment of acute pain and pain mitigation strategies in pigs undergoing tail docking. In Proceedings of the Advancing Pork Production Seminar Vol. 4 (pp. 36 - 40). , The Advancing Pork Production Seminar
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Chambers, J., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, N., Chambers, JP., Sutherland, M., Morrison, R., & Johnson, CB. (2015). Electroencephalographic responses of anaesthetised pigs to tail docking using clippers or cautery iron. , 12th World Congress of Veterinary Anaesthesia
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Chambers, J., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, N., Beausoleil, N., Chambers, P., Sutherland, M., Morrison, R., & Johnson, C. (2013). EEG assessment of acute pain in piglets during tail docking. In Proceedings of the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the Australasian Pig Science Association (APSA)(pp. 129 - 129). , Manipulating Pig Production XIV Werribee, VIC, Australia: Australasian Pig Science Association
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., Chambers, JP., Sutherland, MA., Morrison, RS., & Johnson, CB. (2013). Electroencephalographic assessment of acute pain in piglets during tail docking. In Proceedings of the 14th APSA Conference(pp. 129 - 129). , Proceedings of the 14th Biennial Conference of the APSA
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Chambers, J., Johnson, C., Kells, N.
Kells, NJ., Beausoleil, NJ., Johnson, CB., & Sutherland, MA. (2011). Assessment of the relative welfare impacts of three gas treatments for the euthanasia of suckling piglets. , Recent Advances in the Welfare of Livestock at Slaughter: Centenary International Symposium: Humane Slaughter Association
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Beausoleil, N., Johnson, C., Kells, N.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Co-supervisor 1 0

Courses Coordinated

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • Sujan Sapkota - Doctor of Philosophy
    Assessment of Welfare of cattle in New Zealand and Nepal

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