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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

My area of expertise is Parasitology and host-pathogen interactions, in particular molecular and biochemical parasitology of protists, including Acanthamoeba species, Toxoplasma gondii, Leishmania and Cryptosporidium and host immune responses. In addition, I am investigating microbial interactions with the environment. My work in this area has led to 31 peer-reviewed publications, funding from both industry and charity funding bodies and world-wide collaborations with other academics, NHS and industry (UK, USA, Spain, Brazil and Italy). I have also been involved in science communication events as STEM ambassador and event organiser for the British Science Festival. This event, concerning ‘microbes in contact lenses’ led to a variety of media articles worldwide. I belong to the Infection and Microbiology research group in IBEHR. This group aims to expand the body of knowledge in this field by investigative research from microbial ecology and biodiversity to host-pathogen interactions and control of infectious disease, from environmental transmission to anti-microbial development.

Current research activities

My current work involves: a) Understanding Acanthamoeba keratitis: In this project involves a interdisciplinary collaboration between academics (UWS, Strathclyde), clinicians (Gartnavel) and diagnosticians (Glasgow Royal Infirmary); b) Analysis of biochemical pathways in Paramoeba species: In this project I am working with Benchmark Animal Health (industrial partner) to identify antimicrobial targets for effective management of Amoebic Gill Disease in cultured aquatic teleosts; c) ‘Nanokicking’ mechanical stimulation of cells. This interdisciplinary project (Physics- UWS, Infection Control-UWS and CCE, Glasgow) is researching new techniques to stimulate cell differentiation/gene expression; d) Host-pathogen interaction in Toxoplasmosis:  This project is focused on studying the mechanisms by which the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii manipulates host cell immune responses and behaviours; e) The emergence of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the environment: This NERC-funded project is focused on understanding the impact of contaminants and pollution in the environment on microbial gene expression. 

Desired research direction

The direction of my research will have impact on both the biomedical and environmental fields in infectious disease and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. To address these I am collaborating with research institutions, the NHS and industry. 

Target collaborative companies

Eye care industry (contact lenses)

Infection Control

Aquaculture

Target collaborative organisations

Ophthalmology Departments in Medical institutions

Universities

Understanding the Patient Experience

Current teaching activities and interests

I teach on a number of different modules at all undergraduate and postgraduate levels:

Undergraduate:

Parasitology

Basic and Clinical Immunology

Principles and Techniques in Immunoassays

Genetics

Microbiology

Postgraduate:

Research Methods in Biomedical Science

Putting together a Grant proposal

Interdisciplinary collaborations

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

Over 10 years experience in working with SMEs, in particular through Interface, in delivering milestones and outcomes in a timely manner.

2015-2018 Collaboration with Benchmark Animal Health through jointly-funded PhD studentship on Amoebic Gill Disease 

 

Keywords

  • QR180 Immunology
  • Parasitology
  • host immune response
  • host-pathogen interaction
  • molecular biology
  • gene expression

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