I gained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology at the then Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1990 and started a part-time PhD in the Department of Psychology immediately afterwards. My PhD research focussed on sleep disorders in children with Down syndrome and their effects on daytime functioning. During this time, I was based at The Sarah Duffen Centre, a research centre focussing on the development of children with Down syndrome. I became a Chartered Psychologist in 1996.
In 1998, I worked as a Research Psychologist at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford on a year long research project evaluating group administered instruction for parents to prevent or minimise sleep problems in young children with Down syndrome.
I re-joined the University of Portsmouth as an Associate Senior Lecturer in 2001 at the then School of Postgraduate Medicine, based at Queen Alexandra Hospital. I became an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2011 and held the role of Associate Head (Research and Knowledge Services) within the School of Health Sciences and Social Work (SHSSW) between 2011 and September 2014.
I am currently a Senior Lecturer and the Research Degree Co-ordinator within the School and represent SHSSW on the Science Faculty Ethics Committe here at the University of Portsmouth.
My main research interests fall within the area of health psychology. Topics have included sleep disorders and psychological functioning in specific groups including children with Down's syndrome and other forms of learning disability. I have also conducted research into the nature and extent of sleep education in undergraduate psychology degree and clinical psychology courses in the UK.
More recently, I have been the Principal Investigator (PI) for research on sleep problems in adults with Down's syndrome and their family carers and am currently PI for a new reseach project on sleep disturbance, mental health, wellbeing and educational impact in UK undergraduate students.
I have been a supervisor to 14 successful PhD, Professional Doctorate, MPhil and MD postgraduate students working on a wide range of health related research topics and am currently a supervisor to a further 9 PhD, Professional Doctorate, MD and MRes postgraduate students.
I am unit co-ordinator for the 60 credit ‘Research Preparation’ MRes Science unit. I teach on a range of undergraduate, taught postgraduate and doctoral level courses both within SHSSW, the Faculty of Science and elsewhere in the University. My teaching is mainly in the area of research design and methods, evidence based practice, critical appraisal of research and research ethics. I also run the 'Preparing for your Doctoral Viva' workshops for the Graduate School at the University of Portsmouth.