I became interested in how the discipline of genetics can be married with those of archaeology, anthropology and history while studying biological anthropology at the University of Cambridge. This interest in interdisciplinary research took me on to the University of Leicester to study for a Masters degree in molecular genetics and where I had the good fortune of carrying out my research project in Professor Mark Jobling's lab characterizing two Y chromosome polymorphisms. I was hooked!
I am fascinated by the relationship between Y chromosome types and paternally inherited surnames. While my doctoral research examined the link between surname and Y chromosome type in Britain, my current research explores this relationship further and how it can find an application in the fields of genealogy, forensics, population history.
I am interested in furthering interdisciplinary research combining the field of genetics with history, archaeology, anthropology, forensics and epidemiology: using other genetic markers (such as mitochondrial and autosomal DNA), in combination with the Y chromosome, to elucidate past migration and population structure; the social impact of genetic genealogy testing and how the results of these tests can affect a person's perception of their identity; exploring the potential differences between differing classes of surnames in Britain and the link between Y chromosome type and paternally inherited surnames in other parts of the world.
I am now also including an ancient DNA strand into my work working on a number of projects, not least leading the DNA analysis in the Richard III case.