My research interests focus on understanding the neurobiological basis of emotional, motivational and social processes, particularly in the context of psychiatric disorders.
I use a combination of brain imaging techniques (particularly functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) and neuropsychological testing to explore neurocognitive aspects of emotional, motivational and social function, in healthy volunteers and patients with neuropsychiatric problems. With my colleagues in the Neuroscience and Psychiatry Unit, I also study how these functions are modulated by pharmacological interventions.
My main current projects are: (i) exploring the effects of treatment on emotional functions in depression; (ii) exploring the neurobiological basis of resilience to depression in the face of acute and chronic stress; (iii) exploring interactions between physical health, depression and neurocognitive profile and (iv) exploring neurobiological mechanisms of craving and cognition in drug addiction and how these influence relapse.
I am also involved in methodological developments in cognitive brain imaging and neuropsychology., collaborating with colleagues in other research groups in Manchester and other universities in the UK and Europe to develop new paradigms for exploring emotional, motivational and social functions in a wide range of clinical populations.
I supervise a number of PhD students on projects relating to my research interests and am always happy to discuss potential research projects with students hoping to carry out PhD or postdoctoral research.
I am actively involved in a range of public engagement activities, with primary and secondary schools and adult audiences, as well as via festivals and related public events. Please contact me to discuss public engagement projects.
Design, programming and interpretation of neuropsychological tests.
Design, programming and interpretation of cognitive challenge tasks to use with functional neuroimaging.