Lecturer in Psychology
I completed my BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology and my MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Durham. I stayed on at Durham for my PhD studies which I completed in 2016. The title of my PhD thesis was "The neuromodulatory properties of gonadal steroid hormones with regard to individual differences in cognition and brain organisation". In 2015, alongside writing up my thesis, I worked as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University. I worked on a range of clinically-oriented projects, focusing on depression in elderly populations and bipolar disorder in adolescents.
I joined the School of Psychology, Sunderland, in December 2016. My main research interest is the role of gonadal steroid hormones (ie sex hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone) in functional brain organisation and cognition. For example, my thesis focused on the influence of oestrogen (particularly oestradiol) and progesterone on cerebral lateralisation, functional connectivity, and cognition in naturally cycling women. I am also interested in how these biological factors interact with various psychosocial factors (such as social stereotypes and individual differences) in order to exert their effects on the brain and cognition. I am interested in a range of cognitive processes, particularly those related to executive functioning, memory (especially false memories) and meta-cognition.
Teaching and supervision
- PSY125 Psychology in the Media (Module Leader)
- PSY141 Introduction to Mental Health (Module Leader)
My main research interests are based in biological psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. I am particularly interested in how biological factors (such as hormones) can affect the organisation and activity of our brains, and in turn, how this can influence our behaviour. I also have an interest in how these factors can interact with social influences, within a psychobiosocial approach to understanding behaviour and cognition. I am keen for my research to have clinically-relevant applications, and as such, I often focus my studies on non-clinical models of psychiatric disorder
(eg schizotypy/psychosis-proneness, mood induction).
More recently, alongside my colleagues in Newcastle, I have been involved in clinical research with the Adolescent Bipolar Service of the Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. This research has investigated the potential for Family Focussed Therapy to be used as a treatment option for early-onset bipolar disorder. In addition, we have also begun to investigate the use of smartphone-based technology for longitudinal and self-monitoring of bipolar symptoms.
- Sex hormone effects on the brain
- Sex hormone effects on cognition
- Sex differences in the brain
- Sex differences in cognition
- Cognitive neuroscience
- Brain organisation
- Abnormal psychology