I received my BA in Human Sciences from Oxford University in 1980. In 1984 I completed a Masters degree in Biomedical Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania with a thesis about the controvery surrounding the use of Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive. After returning to the UK I moved to the Inner Hebrides where I worked as a senior desk officer for Project Trust, an educational charity sending school-leavers overseas to do voluntary work. I completed my DPhil at Oxford in 1992, based on fieldwork carried out in the hills of East Nepal amongst the Yakkha, an ethnic group previously unstudied by anthropologists.
My current research primarily focuses on tobacco, its use and control. I am a founder member of the interdisciplinary Smoking Interest Group, a collaboration between the Medical Anthropology Research Group and the Centre for Medical Humanities. I work closely with colleagues in the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies and FUSE – the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, as well as FRESH, the northeast of England’s tobacco control office.