I am a developmental biologist and I remain fascinated by how the fertilised egg develops into the fully formed organism and why/how sometimes development goes wrong and to understand why that happens.
My group in Aberdeen studies embryology, teratogenic drugs (those drugs that cause birth defect) in particular Thalidomide, drug screening, limb development, blood vessel development and Clubfoot. One of our main focuses is understanding how the drug thalidomide caused damage to the embryo and we have demonstrated that the drugs action to prevent blood vessel formation is key in the causation of thalidomide embryopathy.
I carried out my PhD at University College London under the supervision of Prof Lewis Wolpert and Prof Cheryl Tickle. My thesis was on limb development and how the cells of the limb know what they are going to become in the limb. After several postdoctoral fellowships, one at Columbia University in New York investigating molecular mechanisms of limb development and another at Cancer Research UK in London, investigating molecular control of gut cell development, i started my own research group at Imperial College London in 2004. This is where i also obtained a Certificate in Advanced Study in Learning and Teaching. I moved to the University of Aberdeen in 2007 and in addition to my research interests teach developmental biology and embryology to Science and Medicine undergraduates.