My research centres around early social-emotional development and a lifespan perspective of mental health. I have extensive experience of studying parent-child interaction in observational studies and in intervention trial evaluation. My interests cut across a range of clinical, at-risk and normative populations and contexts, including different cultural and ethnic groups.
I work with several international and multi-centre research teams, bringing a developmental perspective with a focus on parental mental health. At University of Manchester, I am Co-Director of PRIME, the Perinatal Mental Health and Parenting Research Unit (led by Dr Anja Wittkowski) and other groups I work closely with include Global Mental Health Research on culturally-adapted parenting programmes (led by Prof Nusrat Husain), Social Development Research Group on neurodevelopmental risk (led by Prof Jonathan Green) and Centre for Women's Mental Health (led by Prof Kathryn Abel). I am also passionate about being involved in community-led and outreach projects.
I am a chartered member of the British Psychological Society. I am Associate Editor for the journal, Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, and Editorial Board member of Infant Behavior and Development. I sit on the Autism@Manchester steering committee at the University of Manchester.
I teach on the BSc Psychology and MSc Clinical and Health Psychology in developmental and clinical topics. I coordinate the International Study programme on the BSc Psychology as the Study Abroad Lead. Each year, I supervise BSc and MSc research project students. I have been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) since 2019. With respect to undergraduate teaching, I am involved in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity in Teaching (EDIT) working group and sit on the School Academic Malpractice and Faculty Discipline Panels.
After completing my BSc and MSc (distinction) in psychology, I secured a Faculty bursary to pursue a PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Manchester, which kickstarted my career in Manchester. In 2003, I took a research fellow position in the School of Medicine, University of Manchester. I studied children of mothers with severe mental disorder and depression in the Centre for Women's Mental Health (led by Prof Kathryn Abel). During this time, I became incredibly interested in mother-infant interactions and attachment and my research evolved into studying parent-child relationships in other at-risk or vulnerable groups, such as autism risk. In 2009, I took on a lectureship, contributing to the MBChB degree programme (Medicine). I was postgraduate trainer, supervised postgraduate research students, and became part of the Social Development Research Group (led by Prof Jonathan Green). In 2017, I segued into the Division of Psychology of Mental Health, School of Health Sciences. This involved new roles teaching psychology at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In 2020, PRIME-RU (Perinatal Mental Health and Parenting Research Unit) was founded (led by Dr Anja Wittkowski) in which I am a Co-Director. I continue to pursue my research interests within PRIME-RU and by working closely with other colleagues and collaborators.