MS Peta Hitchens

MS Peta Hitchens




  • Peta is a Research Fellow in the Equine Orthopaedic Research Group, led by Professor Chris Whitton at the University of Melbourne. The research involves a multidisciplinary approach using biomechanics, microstructural analysis and epidemiology. Peta brings her extensive epidemiological expertise and racing industry experience  to the group. She has recently returned from a 2-year research appointment with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences where she conducted work on developing methodology for the emerging field of animal welfare epidemiology. Peta completed her postdoctoral training as part of the California Horse Racing Board's Racing Injury Prevention Program in the J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopaedic Research Laboratory under the supervision of world-renowned researcher Professor Susan Stover (2-years), and at the One Health Institute (1-year) at the University of California, Davis. Her doctoral research provided the first epidemiological studies of risk factors for jockey falls and injuries. She is personally and professionally committed to improving the safety and welfare of both racehorses and jockeys.   


Member of

  • University of Kentucky, College of Public Health. Female Equestrian Health Advisory Group 2018 -
  • Women in Racing Victoria. Victorian Wakeful Club 2018 -
  • Equine Veterinary Journal. Study Design and Data Analysis Consultant Board 2017 - 2020
  • FVAS, University of Melbourne. Early Career Researcher Committee 2016 - 2019
  • Women in Racing UK. Member and Mentor 2015 - 2018


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Tasmania 2011
  • MVPHMgt, University of Sydney 2004
  • BAppSci, Charles Sturt University 2000

Awards and honors

  • Melbourne Veterinary School, Rising Star in Research, 2018
  • Faculty of Veterinary & Agricultural Sciences Academic Travel Award, 2017
  • Publons, Sentinel of Science, Top 10% of Reviewers in Veterinary Science, 2016
  • Finalist, Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research, University of California, Davis, 2013
  • High Commendation, Australasian Epidemiological Association & International Epidemiological Association, 2007
  • Ruby Menzies Scholarship, Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, 2006
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, Commonwealth Government, 2006
  • Faculty of Veterinary Science Award for Outstanding Research in the Masters of Veterinary Public Health Management, University of Sydney, 2004
  • Industry Scholarship, NSW Board of Gaming and Racing, 2001


Available for supervision

  • Y