After graduating in Biology from the University of York, Dr Tarrega studied for an MA in Science Education and then an MRes in Biosystematics. Her MRes was based at the Natural History Museum in London and sparked her interests in evolutionary biology and working with museum specimens. She went on to study for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, researching skeletal anatomy and locomotor behaviour in humans and other apes, to shed light on the evolution of bipedalism. During her early career as a postdoctoral researcher Dr Tarrega studied human locomotion, worked to enhance ape welfare in zoos, and spent six months at an orangutan sanctuary in Indonesia, using her expertise in ape behaviour to aid the welfare and release of rehabilitant orangutans. She then took up her Lecturer position at Birmingham.