I am a parasitologist working in the School of Life Sciences at Keele University. I am delighted and very proud to be co-leading the interdisciplinary ECLIPSE project. I hope we will be able to make a real difference to the lives of people with cutaneous leishmaniasis.
I was born in Birmingham, England and grew up in a small town in the West Midlands with my parents and three older sisters. I studied Applied Zoology at the University of Leeds where I first discovered the fascinating field of parasitology. I moved on to do a PhD at University of Bangor on the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis. My project involved the study of cercarial elastase, a protein released by schistosome worms in order to burrow through human skin. I concluded that this protein was not a good vaccine! Following a postdoctoral position at the Institute of Cancer Research, I returned to the field of parasitology to join the research group of Professor Debbie Smith at Imperial College London and later at the University of York where I studied the cell biology of the protozoan parasites Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma brucei. I was part of a very diverse and lively research group and have very fond memories of this time.
I was appointed at Keele University in my first academic post as Lecturer in Bioscience in 2013 and took on the task of setting up a new kinetoplastid culture laboratory. I secured funding from Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council to work on Leishmania. I was also awarded a Newton Fund Institutional Links grant to work on a camel parasite, Trypanosoma evansi together with my collaborator Professor Somaia Abouakkada from Alexandria University in Egypt. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018 and to Reader (Associate Professor) in 2020. I manage a research group focusing on kinetoplastid parasite biology and the development of new therapeutics.
I have a son Edward who is at high school. He knows more about parasites than the average teenager and has in return taught me a great deal about Minecraft and trampolining.