In 2001, I graduated from the University of Durham with a BSc (Hons) in Ecology. I then went on to complete a PhD in the Mitochondrial & Reproductive Genetics Group with Dr Justin St. John at the University of Birmingham investigating the regulation and developmental consequences of abnormal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) transmission patterns in embryos generated by somatic cell nuclear transfer (‘cloning’).
Subsequently, between 2005 and 2009, I joined Prof. Bill Holt’s Reproductive Biology Group at the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London, ZSL) as a post-doc, conducting research into the biology of sperm storage within the female reproductive tract, aiming to identify factors isolated from the sheep oviduct capable of prolonging the notoriously short shelf-life of ram spermatozoa when stored for artificial insemination practises.
While applying for research funding, I undertook a further post-doc in the Wildlife Epidemiology Group at the Institute of Zoology (headed by Prof. Andrew Cunningham) and developed an environmental DNA detection method for North American bullfrogs (a harmful invasive species known to drive amphibian population declines the world over).
During the period 2009 to 2011, while still at the Institute of Zoology, I was awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellowship to develop a tool for predicting how non-synonymous substitutions in mtDNA-protein coding genes influence embryo development following inter-species nuclear transfer and to establish Xenopus (the laboratory frog) as a model for validating predictions made by the tool. I did this in collaboration with researchers in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. I then joined the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth in 2011 for a 10 month fixed term lectureship position.
I am currently working as a Research Fellow, funded by the charity Brain Tumour Research in the Neuro-oncology Research.
- Mitogenomics in human and animal health and disease.
- Assisted reproductive technologies.
- Genome resource banking.