I was educated (BSc, MSc, PhD) at the University of Southampton. Following a Post-Doc at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) I joined Professor Caroline Brennan's group at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), where I pinoeered many behavioural neuroscience techniques in adult zebrafish. I took up a lectureship in Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at QMUL, working on the Joint Programme with Nanchang University Medical School (China). I joined the University of Portsmouth in 2015, where I set up the Brain and Behaviour Lab, and the Zebrafish Research Facility.
My lab's research aims to understand the fundamental biology of a range of neuropsychiatric, neurodevelopmental, and neurodegenerative disorders. We primarily use zebrafish as a model species to study interactions between molecular (genetic/epigenetic) and environmental (e.g., alcohol, stress) factors, and the associated neural circuits, that underlie several such disorders (eg ADHD, Alzheimer's Addiction). We then translate these finding to humans, and have an active clinical research programme (with Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust). Our approach is theoretically guided by the principles of precision medicine, i.e., that understanding the biology of conditions will help develop individualised treatments for patients. We employ a broad range of research methodologies, spanning psychopharmacology, neuroscience, genetics, psychology and public health.
As well as translational research, we have a strong interest in animal behaviour, cognition and welfare. In particular, we are interested in the impact of innate differences ('personality' characteristics) and environmental challenges (typically anthropogenic stressors) on behaviour and welfare. I am Associate Editor of the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, and I was (previously) a member of the UK Government Advisory committee on the use of animals in scientific reserch (Animals in Science Committee).
My lab is currenty supported by grants from NC3Rs; Dstl (Porton Down); INTERREG Channel (EU); Foundation for Liver Research; NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN); ESRC [via South Coast DTP]; Alzheimer’s Research UK; Petroleum Technology Development Fund (Nigeria).