My major research interests have been in the field of parasite-arthropod interactions, including tapeworm /beetle and acanthocephalan / shrimp intermediate hosts, filarial nematode / blackfly and malaria / mosquito vectors. Latterly they were focused on the involvement of apoptosis in malaria / mosquito interactions, the fitness effects of malaria parasites upon both susceptible and refractory mosquitoes, the identification and deployment of peptides that kill the human malaria parasite and the development of transgenic mosquitoes that are incompetent malaria vectors.
I was originally trained in Zoology, obtaining a degree from the University of Wales, Swansea in 1968. After studying for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education I spent 5 years teaching Biology in the UK and in Uganda. I took a career gap whilst my son and daughter were pre-school age and then returned to higher education, obtaining a PhD in Parasitology in 1985 under the supervision of Prof. Chris Arme, Keele University. The focus of my thesis was on interaction between the rat tapeworm and its beetle intermediate host. This began my long-term research interest on parasitic diseases transmitted by insects, finally focussed on malaria and mosquitoes. I was one of the first recipients of a Daphne Jackson Fellowship for Women Returners to Science in 1988 and was appointed to a lectureship at Keele University in 1990. After promotions to Senior Lecture and Reader I was appointed to a chair in Parasitology in 2002. I acted as Director of the Centre of Applied Entomology and Parasitology, Keele University from 1996 to 2007 and was President of the British Society for Parasitology 2004-2006. I also served on the Membership Committee of the American Society of Parasitologists and was a past Council member of the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
I retired in December 2013 but am still on the editorial board of Parasites and Vectors and the Malaria Journal and am an editor for Microbes and Infection. I also act as editor and contributor to the Parasites and Vectors blog "bugbitten".