I received my scientific training in the United States, where I received a BSc in Biology and a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia.  From there, I moved to the University of California, San Francisco where I completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center.  I moved to the UK and University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff University in 2009 and finally to Swansea University Medical School in 2015.  The goal of my laboratory research has been to investigate the role of cell-signalling molecules, such as receptors and protein kinases, in the behavioural response to drugs of abuse like alcohol and cannabis and how these responses affect disorders such as epilepsy and addiction.

Recently, I have focussed my research on Higher Education programme design and teaching excellence.  I am Deputy Chair of the Education and Training Committee for the British Pharmacological Society, a member of the QAA Benchmarking Review Groups for Biosciences and Biomedical Science, and a member the Royal Society of Biology Degree Accreditation Committee. In these roles, I have lead projects on science curriculum development and quality assurance, both in the UK and internationally.

Areas of Expertise

  • pharmacology
  • neuroscience
  • drugs of abuse
  • curriculum development
  • quality assurance

Publications

  1. Turnaround time and market capacity in contract cheating. Educational Studies 40(2), 233-236.
  2. & The Delphi technique in radiography education research. Radiography
  3. Improved quality and quantity of written feedback is associated with a structured feedback proforma. Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions 9, 10
  4. PKCɛ Regulates Behavioral Sensitivity, Binding and Tolerance to the CB1 Receptor Agonist WIN55,212-2. Neuropsychopharmacology 34(7), 1733-1742.
  5. Amygdala protein kinase C epsilon controls alcohol consumption. Genes, Brain and Behavior 8(5), 493-499.

See more...

Teaching

  • PM-138 Skills for Medical Sciences

    The aim of this module is to provide the student with basic skills required for laboratory research in the field of applied medical sciences. The module will be both theoretical and applied: the student will be instructed in methods essential for data acquisition and analyses but will also actively participate in the laboratory, using broadly applicable experimental techniques. They will also develop skills that are not experimental techniques themselves, but are nevertheless fundamental to the scientific process, such as `lab math,¿ sourcing information, referencing, ethics and health and safety.

  • PM-256 Communicating Medical Sciences

    An important aspect of the role of scientists concerns the communication of complex scientific ideas and research to non-specialist audiences. This module will explore methods of science communication including public events and campaigns and through digital and social media. There will be a focus on visual communication techniques (such as digital storytelling and infographics) to facilitate engagement and presentation of information for different audiences. Students will be required to deliver a short presentation, create a poster, write an abstract, and write and deliver a podcast (digital audio file).

  • PM-261 Introduction to Pharmacology: Dynamics and Kinetics

    The aim of this module is to introduce students to basic principles of pharmacology, focussing on how drugs work on the human body (pharmacodynamics) and how the body works on drugs (pharmacokinetics). These discussions will be placed in the context of pharmacology as a discipline today and the emergence of biotechnology, including the sub-disciplines of pharmacogenomics, pharmacoepidemiology, and pharmacoeconomics. Alternative therapeutic principles will also be critiqued according to the scientific evidence base.

  • PM-340 Being a Medical Scientist

    Much of a scientist¿s career is spent writing and speaking about science. The aim of this module is to give students a higher level experience of what being a lead researcher is like, away from the lab bench. Drawing on core knowledge from other modules, students will refine their oral and written communication and learn what leadership skills are needed to succeed in modern science. They will also be challenged to consider ethical aspects of research, including new technologies and the use of animal and human subjects. The module will be highly interactive, taught using informal lectures interspersed with students working in groups. Assessments will include an ethics application, a group Journal Club presentation on a published, peer-reviewed research article, and a mock grant proposal.

  • PM-342 Pharmacology

    Pharmacology is the science of how drugs act on the body and how the body acts on drugs. Pharmacology investigates the chemical and physical properties of drugs, how those properties confer actions on living tissues and how those actions affect health and disease. The beneficial, therapeutic effects of drugs will be discussed, but also some negative consequences of drug administration, such as toxicity, addiction and microbial drug-resistance.

  • PM-356 The Sweet Sickness: Advances in Diabetes and Related Disorders

    7% of the population suffers from diabetes. This prevalence is set to rise with an ageing population and increasing rates of obesity. The problem is especially acute in Wales, where over half the adult population is obese. According to Diabetes Wales, there are 177,000 people in the country living with diabetes, and estimates suggest a further 70,000 people have diabetes but are either unaware or have no confirmed diagnosis. If current trends continue, by 2025, it is estimated that 300,000 people in Wales will have diabetes. This module will provide an overview of diabetes and the public health challenges it presents. The world-leading research of the Diabetes Research Unit Cymru, located here at Swansea University Medical School, will be a particular focus with basic, clinical, epidemiological, social care and health services research discussed.