I am an Associate Professor in Microbiology and also Director of International Partnership and Development for the School of Applied Sciences.
My current research primarily focuses on bacteriophages (viruses that specifically attack bacteria). From a biomedical perspective, our interest is the exploitation of phages as a source of antimicrobials both for the treatment of bacterial infections and the control of specific bacterial populations in contexts such as animal husbandry and medical. From an environmental perspective, our interests include phage diversity and ecology in environments such as soil and activated sludge as phages may play an important role in the success or failure of a particular remediation strategy. In the context of food, research has focused on phage diversity and ecology in the dairy industry and environment, together with the selection and development of starter cultures resistant to phage infection.
Additional research interests include the functionality of intestinal microflora (e.g. carbohydrate metabolism by Bifidobacterium, chitinolytic/cellulolytic gut microflora), and the response of microorganisms to environmental stresses. With a background in food microbiology, I have experience of industrial research having worked previously as a research scientist at the National Food Biotechnology Centre (Ireland) and Nestle Research Centre (Switzerland). In my current post, I continue to develop collaborations with industry (food companies and food/environmental testing companies) either as consultancy or through funded collaborative research programmes to support SMEs.
In addition to teaching and research, I am programme leader for the BSc (Hons) Biological Science and MSc Biomedical Science, delivered through our partner HKU-SPACE at Hong Kong University. In 2009 I was appointed Teaching Fellow, with a particular interest in the learning experience of our international students studying on Edinburgh Napier programmes delivered overseas and the support of staff teaching on these programmes. As School Director for International Partnerships and Development, I am responsible for international articulations and our transnational education (TNE) provision, working with colleagues and our overseas partners in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka across the disciplines of biomedical sciences, microbiology, sport & exercise science, sociology and psychology.