I studied Behavioural Ecology at degree and PhD level before changing my focus to human health and Social Epidemiology/Public Health in 2010 when I joined the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow on a Career Development Fellowship. In 2013 I moved to the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research & Policy (SCPHRP), University of Edinburgh, as the Research Fellow and Lead for the Working Age/Adult Life Working Group. In January 2016, I moved to become Lecturer in Social Epidemiology and Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Sport, University of Stirling.
My work focuses on trying to better understand the mechanisms linking our socioeconomic circumstances (e.g. education, employment, housing) and our health across the lifecourse, thereby helping inform policies that can help mitigate, reduce or remove health inequalities. This includes investigating what I call 'the biology of inequality' (the biological pathways between socioeconomic circumstances and health); investigating the prevalence, incidence and predictive power of biomarkers of ageing; and working with community organisations and grassroots activist groups trying to improve population health and reduce health inequalities. I am a core member of the Population and Public Health Research Group working within the Social and Economic Determinants of Health and Health Inequalities theme. The group is led by Prof. Sally Haw. I am also a member of the Social Surveys and Social Statistics group led by Prof. Paul Lambert and the Extreme Events in Science and Society research programme led by Prof. Al Jump.
The Biology of Inequality - biological pathways between socioeconomic position and health (biological ageing, allostatic load and oxidative stress)
Health Inequalities - what they look like, what causes them and how do we fix them
Public Health - range of interests with colleagues in public health and epidemiology
Academic and Community/Public Engagement - collaborating to better understand and reduce health inequalities
I teach across undergraduate and postgraduate courses, usually on things like quantitative data analysis, public health, social epidemiology and health inequalities, critical appraisal and designing complex interventions. I am Course Director for the Master of Public Health (MPH) at Stirling, as well as being module co-ordinator on three of the MPH modules ('What is Public Health?', 'What is Public Health Research' and the dissertation module).
I am keen to supervise students for any research projects that include linking social/economic data (work, housing, education etc.) with health data, with the aim of helping us better understand and reduce health inequalities in society. My expertise is predominantly in quantitative methods and using biomarkers to assess physiological health, so this might include primary data collection and/or secondary data analysis of existing datasets. We already have a vast array of cohort and survey data available to analyse throughout the UK such as Understanding Society and the Scottish and English Health Surveys. However, depending on the research question I would also be happy to discuss alternative methods such as qualitative or mixed methods approaches. For example, some of my research and advocacy work looks at engagement and empowerment of community and activist groups in trying to improve health and reduce health inequalities and has utilised qualitative methods. As a PhD student, you would be based in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Sport PhD programme. I currently co-supervise two PhD students and four Clinical Doctorate students.
Contact me if you'd like to discuss more.