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Personal profile

Current research activities

My general research interest is in the genetics and epigenetics of embryonic development, stem cell differentiation, cellular senscence, healthy ageing and cancer, and I use the pigmentary system as a model to study these biological processes. My current research focus is in the cellular specification of melanoblasts, the precursors to pigment producing melanocytes, and their relationship to other embryonic neural crest cells. In addition, I am interested in melanoma dedifferentiation and how melanoma cells express embryonic neural crest lineage genes not usually expressed in differentiated melanocytes. My research work aims to understand the genetic mechanisms of normal cellular specification and healthy ageing and the development of tumours.

Current teaching activities and interests

I am the interim Programme Leader for undergraduate Biomedical Science/Applied Biomedical Science programmes for the academic year 22/23. I teach Genetics for Years 1-4 in its classical, applied and clinical aspects in lectures and practical lab sessions. I also carry out sequence analysis workshops at the single gene/protein level. For L9 (Year 3) students I teach and coordinate "Molecular & Cellular Pathology" module both in its lecture and practical laboratory components. I am also involved in teaching Forensic Science students (years 2 and 4 Applied Bioscience) the advancements of DNA analysis techniques in forensic investigation. I supervise Year 4 Honours projects in melanoblast single cell RNA sequencing analysis, melanoma specification and DNA in forensic analysis. 

At the MSc level, I teach and coordinate the "Nucleic Acid & Protein Technology" module for MSc Biotechnology students. I also teach MSc Advanced Biomedical Science students the concepts of cancer epigenetics. 

I have finished my Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PgCAP) postgraduate degree in summer 2022. My research into teaching heavily focused on analysing online pedagogies, incorporating new technologies and feedback and assessment strategies in Genetics teaching. 


Area of academic expertise - outline

Before I started my full time lecturship position at UWS in January 2020, I was a postdoctoral research associate specialised in the epigenetics of healthy ageing and cancer in Professor Peter Adams lab at the University of Glasgow since the end of 2013. I have obtained my PhD in Genetics from the University of Nottingham in 2013, my MSc in Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology from the Universities of Manchester, Salford & Keele in 2008 and my Diploma in Biochemistry from the Lebanese University in 2006.

In addition to my academic work at UWS, I am a member of STEM Ambassadors Scotland, and I carry out outreach activities in STEM to school students in the west of Scotland. I also hold memberships in the Biochemical Society and the European Society for Pigment Cell Research, regularly attending conferences with the latter.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • Q Science (General)
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cancer Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Pigment cell research
  • Ageing research
  • Epigenetics
  • Chromatin
  • Melanoma


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