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Professor of Psychology in Education, University of York

I am Director of the GenOmics And Life Stories (GOALS) group and our research explores two main areas: the development (and correlates) of life stories and personal identity, and genomics in education.

Our interest in life story research is primarily focused on associations between aspects of narrative identity and successful adult living (eg employment, social support and life satisfaction). This is an emerging area of research for me and will be a major focus for the GOALS group over the coming years.

My background is in twin research and in applying behavioural genetic research to education. I am particularly interested in exploring the risks and benefits associated with using findings from genetic research (eg polygenic scores) to inform educational policy and practice. My twin research has been funded by the British Academy, NIH and the Nuffield Foundation.

Potential PhD students, post-docs or visiting scholars in either of these areas, from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, are welcome to contact me directly to discuss project ideas or collaborations with GOALS.

I am currently the Department's Director of Research and Impact Lead, as well as Programme Leader for the MSc Psychology in Education (BPS accredited conversion programme)..


  • 2012–present
    Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Professor, Department of Education, University of York
  • 2007–2012
    British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London


  • 2005 
    King's College London, PhD
  • 2000 
    Royal Holloway, University of London, PGDip in Psychology
  • 1996 
    University of Cambridge, BA (Hons) in History


  • 2013
    G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education and Achievement, Wiley Blackwell
  • 2011
    Added Value Measures in Education Show Genetic as Well as Environmental Influence, PLoS ONE
  • 2008
    Clones in the Classroom: A Daily Diary Study of the Nonshared Environmental Relationship Between Monozygotic Twin Differences in School Experience and Achievement, Twin Research and Human Genetics
  • 2006
    irthweight-discordance and differences in early parenting relate to monozygotic twin differences in behaviour problems and academic achievement at age 7, Developmental Science
  • 2006
    The use of discordant MZ twins to generate hypotheses regarding non-shared environmental influence on anxiety in middle childhood, Social Development
  • 2005
    Nature and nurture: Genetic and environmental influences on behavior. , Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
  • 2005
    Environmental moderators of genetic influence on verbal and nonverbal abilities in early childhood, Intelligence
  • 2004
    X inactivation as a source of behavioural differences in monozygotic female twins, Twin Research
  • 2003
    Nonshared environmental influences on individual differences in early behavioral development: A monozygotic twin differences study, Child Development
  • 2001
    Why are children in the same family so different? Nonshared environment a decade later. , Canadian Journal of Psychiatry
  • 2001
    Nature and nurture in the family, Marriage and Family Review

Grants and Contracts

  • 2012
    Understanding and influencing pupils' choices at age 16
    Funding Source:
    Nuffield Foundation