I joined the Department of Life Health and Chemical Sciences at the Open University in April 2007.
I did my BPS accredited undergraduate Psychology degree at the University of Strathclyde and went on to study for a Behavioural Neuroscience PhD with Professor Philip Winn at the University of St Andrews. The research I was involved in aimed to understand the role of the brainstem pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus in higher order (or executive) cognitive processes. I then moved on to the University of Aberdeen to work with Dr John Ross on a large multidisciplinary HSE funded research project to investigate the long term health effects of occupational diving. My role on this project was to set-up and conduct neuropsychological testing and to organise MRI scanning of the brain. After this postdoctoral post I returned to work with Professor Winn investigating attentional functions of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus before moving to the University of Abertay to gain some teaching experience. Here I taught 2nd year undergraduate Biological Psychology and honours year Neuropsychopharamcology.
My research interests lie primarily in Behavioural Neuroscience/Biological Psychology. I am interested in understanding the brain mechanisms supporting cognition, particularly attention during goal directed behaviour whereby salient cues in our environment that predict reward come to capture attention and automatically drive behaviour. My research work has included investigating goal directed behaviour in a model of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and I am now moving these interests towards investigating the motivation of food choices in type 2 diabetes. I have also conducted some research in the field of Sports Psychology Education as PhD supervisor to Open University colleague Caroline Heaney.
Health Sciences, Mental Health, Biological Psychology, Neuroscience, Neuropsychology
My teaching roles have included Qualification Director for the Health Sciences curriculum, and I have been extensively involved in the production of new modules during my ten years with the university. Many of the modules that I have produced have been cross disciplinary and incorporated into a number of accredited practice based profession degrees including paramedic practice, mental health nursing and counselling.
Most recently I was involved with S350 'Evaluating contemporary science', which develops professional scientist skills in readiness for the capstone project module at level 3 (SXL390). I was involved in planning the digital student science conference section of this module and also wrote a project topic on antibiotic resistance.
I was production module team chair for SDK228/SKYN228, The science of the mind: investigating mental health and have continued into presentation as module team chair and award board chair.
I have written a project guide on Aging for SXL390 our Health Sciences and Biology capstone dissertation project module.
I have also worked as production team chair for SXL288 Attention and the Brain which converted my research interests directly into a practical science teaching topic. I have continued to work as a topic specialist during presentation of this module supporting students and tutors.
I have worked as production module team member for SD329 Signals and Perception, with lead responsibility for updating the Somatosensation material. I have also worked as a production team member for SDK100 Science and health, an evidence based approach where I authored material on 'Pain' and 'Alcohol'.
I have been a presentation module team member for (now redundant) modules SD226 Biological Psychology and SD805 Issues In Brain & Behaviour (Addiction and Neural Ageing).
In addition to this I currently hold 2 Associate Lecturer posts one each for: SDK228 and SDK100. In the past I have held AL posts for SDK125, SD226 and SD329.
Finally, I have been involved in producing supporting OpenLearn material for modules SDK228 and SDK100, as well as supporting content related to the BBC programme 'Count Down to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You' that aired in September 2015, and recently 'The Human Body: Secrets of your Life Revealed' which airs in September 2017.
I have worked as a distance learning Psychology education consultant for RDI (Resource Development International).
I have worked as a consultant to the BBC for the programme 'Countdown to life: The extraordinary making of you', and am currently working on 'The Human Body: Secrets of your Life Revealed'.
I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and hold Associate Fellow and Chartered Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society.
I am a member of several editorial boards for academic journals.
I work as a STEM ambassador for Northants region.
I am an external examiner for Bath Spa University MSc Principles of Applied Neuropsychology, and London Metropolitan University Undergraduate and Postgraduate Psychology.
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