I graduated with a BSc in Biology from Manchester University in 1989, and gained an MSc from UMIST in 1992. After studying in Manchester I took up a post as a Research Assistant in Microbiology at the University of Leeds, where I contributed to studies which demonstrated for the first time that patients in intensive care units contract pneumonia from their own intestinal flora. On returning to Manchester, I commenced a PhD (awarded 1997) in Prof. Cay Kielty’s laboratory, embedded within the internationally renowned Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research in the Faculty of Life Sciences.
Since commencing my PhD and in subsequent postdoctoral positions I have published extensively on fibrillin microfibril isolation, structure, enzyme susceptibility, mass distribution, mechanical function and proteomic analysis. My recent work has explored the interface between the physical and life sciences; investigating the influence of surface chemistry on the structure and function of adsorbed proteins and employing molecular combing techniques and atomic force microscopy to characterise the mechanical properties of both fibrillin microfibrils and cardiac titin.
In January 2005, I commenced a Research into Ageing Research Fellowship which aims to characterise age-related structural and functional changes in elastic fibre components. Work form this fellowship has been recognised with invitations to speak at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Aging Association and with the prize for the best research paper at the 2006 meeting of the British Society for Investigative Dermatology.
I currently hold a lectureship in Molecular Biochemistry.
In addition to my academic work in the UK, I have also spent nearly two years working as a secondary school teacher and subsequently as a Medical School Lecturer with Voluntary Service Overseas in Malawi.