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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

My research career began with my doctoral studies at the University of Strathclyde investigating the ability of the female sex hormone progesterone to modulate immune cell function.  During this time I was introduced to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii and gained interest in how this parasite is controlled by the immune system and how it can be congenitally transmitted from mother to baby. 

As a post-doctoral researcher within Reproductive & Maternal Medicine at the University of Glasgow, I was able to continue my studies into various aspects of reproductive immunology, including investigations into the trafficking of leukocytes to the uterus, and the role of the atypical chemokine receptor ACKR2 within the placenta.

Since joining UWS in 2013, my primary area of research interest is Reproductive Immunology, with a specific focus on human pregnancy. I am Programme Leader for the Undergraduate Biomedical Science degrees at UWS (BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science and BSc (Hons) Applied Biomedical Science).

Science communication and public engagement are passions of mine.  I am a registered STEM ambassador and have vast experience of different engagement activities. i am particularly interested in working with Early Learning Centres, Primary Schools and High Schools.

Current teaching activities and interests

I am Programme Leader for the Undergraduate Biomedical Science degrees at UWS (BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science and BSc (Hons) Applied Biomedical Science).

Module Coordinator for:

  • Human Biology (Level 8)
  • Bio-Professional Practice (Level 9)
  • Clinical Immunology (Level 10)

I also host research projects as part of the undergraduate Bioscience Reseach Project module (Level 10), MSc Advanced Biomedical Science (level 11), and MSc Public Health (Level 11).

Current research activities

Current projects [addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal 3] include: (a) defining the impact of ethanol on placenta gene expression and function; (b) an investigation into the role of IL-33 in the placenta; (c) an investigation into the role of ACKR2 in the placenta; and (d) studies into the control of infection-induced inflammation in the placenta, focussing on using Toxoplasma gondii as our model infection.

Desired research direction

It is my ambition to expand and develop Reproductive Immunology projects at UWS so that we are recognised internationally as a key institution for research in this area.   Current and planned projects will be developed to become translational to the clinic and have wider impact on clinical practice, health education and policy.

Target collaborative companies

  1. Biotechnology Industry - Interested in working with companies seeking help with developing better diagnostic assays/tools for inflammatory conditions.
  2. Continuing Professional Development – Interested in working with any training provider to develop science communication and skills update programmes.

Target collaborative organisations

  1. NHS (Greater Glasgow & Clyde & Lanarkshire)
  2. Renfrewshire/South Lanarkshire Council
  3. Collaborations with Universities of Glasgow & Strathclyde are ongoing, but I am also keen to work with any institution to develop new collaborations.

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

Keywords

  • QR180 Immunology
  • Reproductive systems
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Pregnancy
  • Public Engagement
  • STEM

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