I studied for a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand before completing a Master of Science (Experimental Medicine) at Université Laval, Canada. My doctorate was done here at the University of Westminster where I worked on human and applied physiology, examining myostatin regulation during acute hypoxic insult.
I teach human physiology, scientific communication and research methodologies across undergraduate and graduate programmes, as well as maintaining an active research programme into muscle atrophy, frailty and aging. My research is translational, I use both in vitro and in vivo human models to better understand human ageing physiology.
My research group currently consists of post-doctoral fellow Dr Yvoni Kyriakidou, doctoral candidate Isabella Cooper and undergraduate research intern Natalia Reichel. I co-supervise doctoral candidate Aleksandar Dishkelov. I have supervised 2 doctoral researchers to completion.
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, full member and society representative with the Physiological Society, a member of the Society for Endocrinology, the Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders, and a trustee of the British Society for Research on Ageing.
I also engage in wider scientific communication where possible, writing for print media, providing commentary on news stories, and appearing in documentaries for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. I have been the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Public Engagement Lead for 3 years.
My research can be described as translational physiology and examines the effect of atrophic stimuli upon muscle size both in vitro and in vivo, with particular focus on the regulation of cell size and the role of the activin family of hormones in this process. In vitro, I use the C2C12 myoblast line, perturbed with atrophic or hypertrophic stimuli, before examining changes in cell size by microscopy and alterations in cellular signalling pathways via metabolic or immunological assays. In vivo healthy humans are exposed to stimuli such as disuse, feeding, hypoxia or resistance training, with blood and muscle tissue collected for analysis. By understanding the basic science of how muscle is gained and lost when homeostasis is challenged, I aim to uncover the mechanisms underlying atrophy of muscle during disease and ageing, and ultimately prevent them.
The University maintains an open access repository of my research which can be found here.