I completed my B.Sc. (Hons) Developmental Biology, University of Glasgow in 1991 before embarking on my D.Phil. in Molecular and Cellular aspects of Wound Repair, at the Department of Human Anatomy & Genetics, University of Oxford., completing my degree in 1995. I then undertook postdoctoral positions in Developmental Biology in the Department of Craniofacial Development at Guys Hospital, London where I examined bone cell lineage development in the presence and absence of key transcription factors and then at University College London studying the cytokine environment in fetal and adult would repair. I moved to the University of Ulster in 1998 as a Research Fellow in the Diabetes Research Group and then as a Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences (2007-2014) with a research focus on the development of human pancreatic beta cell lines and the differentiation of both mouse and human embryonic stem cell lines into functional pancreatic endocrine cells. In 2014 I undertook a lectureship position in Biological Sciences at Queen Margaret University.
Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:
- Diabetes UK, Genetics Society, Member of the Royal Society of Biologists
Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:
My early research career (DPhil and postdoctoral research, 1991-1998) examined the wound environment in fetal and adult mouse models studying the upregulation of early response genes and the control of scar formation. My postdoctoral roles assessed differences in bone development again using c-fos and c-jun transgenic knock-out mouse models and the amelioration of scar formation in the adult wound environment. I moved then into the area of Diabetes research (1998-2014) where my main research interest was in the development of insulin-secreting human pancreatic beta cell lines created via electrofusion technology. Four human cell lines were created and patent-deposited at the ECACC. During this time I also developed research into the differentiation of both mouse and human embryonic cells lines into pancreatic cell phenotypes. Within QMU (2014-present) I am involved in collaborative projects: assessing biomarkers of cardiovascular disease, DPN and nutrition and exercise, potential mechanisms of insulin-dependent regulation of equine laminitis, the role of vitamin D in exercise.
Active Research Interests:
- Diabetes / Insulin action, CVD / Nutritional Knowledge, Vitamin D and Exercise
- Tissue Culture (rodent/human cell lines and embryonic stem cells), Immunohistochemistry, PCR (various techniques), Western Blot, Microarray, Fluorescence / Confocal Microscopy.
I have acted as course director for a distance learning postgraduate diploma course in Stem Cell biology and have over 16 years experience in the delivery of higher education courses by distance learning using a number of different platforms and enhancement of teaching and learning via discussion forums, online quizzes and audio feedback use. At QMU I teach large class sizes in level 1 and 2 and am exploring the use of PeerWise and student video use for learning and engagement. My lectures and seminars focus on Biochemistry, Systems Biology, Molecular Biology and Current Issues in Sport and Exercise, amongst other topics.
Assistant program leader for level 1 and 2 students in the Human Biology BSc degree course.