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Renata Medeiros Mirra  BSc, MSc, PhD, FHEA

Dr Renata Medeiros Mirra



Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics

School of Dentistry

+44 29208 76292
University Dental Hospital, Room Room 110, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Lecturer in Medical Statistics in the Cardiff School of Dentistry since November 2017. My background is Biology and my previous reasearch interests are on Seabird Ecology. Through my research career I developed an interest in Statistics and I have also become passionate about teaching and Pedagogy. 

I have a broad range of research interests in Biology, Medicine and Dentistry, and Pedagogy and I enjoy applying statistical methods to different contexts and challenges. I collaborate widely within the School, the University and externally. I am part of the Burwalls' network for Teachers of Statistics in the Health and Life Sciences.

I am Cardiff UCU branch Chair and departmental rep for the School of Dentistry.

















Adrannau llyfrau






Dental Research

I am currently involved in various research projects on face shapes using the ALSPAC cohort. I am also developing research on dental aesthetics, mental health and socio-economics.

For an overview of my full research projects, including on seabird ecology, please visit my LinkedIn or Research Gate profiles.

Pedagogic Research

My pedagogic research interests focus on investigating effective ways of teaching quantitative skills in the biological and medical sciences. I am also particularly interested in the impact of statistical software choice in the perception, engagement and understanding of statisitcs, and in the teaching and learning of p-values and significance tests and their interpretations.


I teach medical statistics to undergraduates dentists (BDS) and post-graduates in orthodontic dentistry (Orthodontics MScD). I am also involved in statistics support to staff and post-graduates across the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and I am a great admirer of educators such as John Dewey, Paulo Freire and Bell Hooks. I was greatly honoured to be nominated for two Enriching Student Life Awards in 2016 (Most Effective Teacher and Most Uplifting Staff Member).

Previous Undergraduate Teaching Responsibilities

Cardiff University - Cardiff School of Biosciences

Data Analysis using R (BI1001 Skills for Science)

Taxonomy and Phylogenetics (BI1051 Genetics and Evolution)

Asexual and Sexual Reproduction (BI1003 Organisms and Environment)

Advanced Statistics (BI2001 Research Techniques)

Island Ecology Field course

Rainforest Biodiversity Assessment Field course

Optimality Theory (BI3132 Advanced Animal Behaviour)

University of South Wales - School of Applied Sciences

Evolution and Natural Selection (BI1S101 Genetics and Evolution)

Wildlife Conservation (BI2S111 Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Conservation)


I am a Biologist by background. Through the years, I developed a strong interest in Statistics, initially in the context of my research interests in seabird ecology and later as a teacher. I have lectured Statistics (with much pleasure) since 2013, first in the Cardiff School of Biosciences and, since November 2017, in the Cardiff School of Dentistry.

I am originally from Portugal and moved to Cardiff in 2006 to do a PhD at Cardiff University on the feeding behaviour of migrating European storm petrels Hydrobates pelagicus in the light of climate change. During this period, I was already involved in supporting the undergraduates statistics teaching in the School of Biosciences.

Before moving to the UK, I worked as Scientific Officer at A ROCHA Portugal, a Christian environmental organisation in the South of Portugal.

While working at A ROCHA, I also did an MSc degree, at Coimbra University, on the ecology and conservation of Little Terns Sternula albifrons.

I did a five-year Biology degree at Coimbra University, where my main interests were evolution and animal behaviour. For my final year project, I spent one year on a small islet off Graciosa Island on the Azores archipelago, studying storm petrels, where read my first Statistics book: “Statistics for Ornithologists” by J. Fowler and L. Cohen.

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of The Royal Statistical Society
  • Member of The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD)
  • Member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Academic positions

2017 – present: Lecturer in Medical Statistics, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University

2013 – 2017: Lecturer in Statistics, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University

2011 – 2012: Independent Researcher, British Antarctic Survey

2006 – 2010: PhD Researcher and Postgraduate Demonstrator, Cardiff University

2002 – 2005: Scientific Officer, A ROCHA, Portugal

2001 – 2003: MSc in Ecology, University of Coimbra, Portugal

2000 – 2001: Professional Year, University of the Azores, Portugal

1997-1998: Assistant Nurse in Veterinary Clinic, Santo Tirso, Portugal

1996 – 2000: Undergraduate degree in Biology, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Committees and reviewing

  • Reviewer for Biological Conservation, Ibis, Journal of Ornithology, Marine Biology, Marine and Freshwater Research, Molecular Ecology Resources and the national/regional journals Seabird, Airo, Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae and Pacific Conservation Biology.
  • Scientific Advisor for A ROCHA Portugal,
  • STEM Ambassador between 2006 and 2019 (runner up on the “I’m a Scientist, Get me Out of Here” program).
  • Coordinator of the project "Storm Petrels in Portugal", a research and engagement project on the migration strategies of European storm petrels. Volunteers are welcome to join the field expeditions every year (Project Promotional Video:


Internal supervision

  • Main supervisor for Gadheer Abdelsalam (MSc Orthodontics) - Using an Implicit Association Test to assess links between dental malocclusion and perceived social and intellectual competence (Started 2023)
  • Co-Supervisor for Saarah Juman (MPhil) - Epidemiology of orofacial clefts and other craniofacial anomalies in a multi-ethnic population (Started 2022)
  • Co-Supervisor for Ashjan Alrashidi (MSc Orthodontics) - What are the features of the lips that make them attractive? (Started 2020)

External supervision

  • Co-Supervisor for Annalea Beard (PhD, Cardiff School of Biosciences, part-time) - The foraging and breeding ecology of cavity nesting seabirds on St. Helena (Started 2018)


Current supervision

Annalea Beard

Annalea Beard

Research student

Saarah Juman

Saarah Juman

Research student

Past projects

Internal supervision

  • Co-Supervisor for Dharmika Tailor (MSc Orthodontics) - Orthognathic Patient Satisfaction (Started 2020 - Awarded 2023)
  • Co-Supervisor for Rashed Alrashed (MSc Orthodontics) - The effect of digit sucking on facial shape at 15 years of age (Started 2019 - Awarded 2022)
  • Co-Supervisor for Ler Chong (MSc Orthodontics) - The effect of the environmental surroundings on face shape at 15 years of age (Started 2019 - Awarded 2022)
  • Co-Supervisor for Camilla Miles-Hobbs (MSc Orthodontics) - Are Differing Facial Shapes Associated with Differing Levels of Blood Pressure (Started 2018 - Awarded 2021)
  • Co-Supervisor for Kristian Davies (MSc Orthodontics) - The Effect of Maternal Smoking and Alcohol Consumption on Lip Morphology (Started 2017 - Awarded 2020; Dissertation won the British Orthodontic Society Houston Research Scholar Prize)
  • Co-Supervisor for Yamama Alsabah (MSc Orthodontics) - Is facial attractiveness associated with the golden proportion? (Started 2017 - Awarded 2020)

External supervision

  • Co-Supervisor for Zoe Deakin (PhD, Cardiff School of Biosciences) - The importance of being small: understanding the movements and foraging requirements of the smallest Atlantic seabird as a bio-indicator for marine conservation (Started 2017 - Awarded 2023)
  • Co-Supervisor for Hannah Hereward (PhD, Cardiff School of Biosciences) - Climatic and trophic drivers of population change in one of the world’s rarest seabirds (Started 2018 - Awarded 2022)
  • Co-Supervisor for Alex McCubbin (PhD, Cardiff School of Biosciences) - Mate choice and MHC variability in storm petrels (Started 2016 - Awarded 2020)
  • Co-Supervisor for Nills Bouillard (MRes, Imperial College London) - First insights into the migration patterns of the European Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) (Started Awarded 2018)