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Renata Medeiros Mirra  BSc, MSc, PhD, FHEA

Dr Renata Medeiros Mirra BSc, MSc, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer in 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.


















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Dental Research

I am part of the Applied Clinical Research and Public Health (ACR&PH) Research Theme and 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 research projects 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 UCU Cardiff branch Anti-casualisation officer.

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

Co-Supervisor for Rashed Alrashed (MSc) - The effect of digit sucking on facial shape at 15 years of age (started 2019)

Co-Supervisor for Ler Chong (MSc) - The effect of the environmental surroundings on face shape at 15 years of age (started 2019)

Co-Supervisor for Camilla Miles-Hobbs (MSc) - Are Differing Facial Shapes Associated with Differing Levels of Blood Pressure (started 2018)

External supervision

Co-Supervisor for Alex McCubbin (PhD, Cardiff School of Biosciences) - Mate choice and MHC variability in storm petrels (started 2016)

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)

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

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)

Current supervision

Hannah Hereward

Hannah Hereward

Research student

Annalea Beard

Annalea Beard

Research student