I am Head of the new pan-University Graduate School (launched in September 2014) and was previously Head of the School of Science, Engineering & Technology at Abertay University. The Graduate School is an essential component of our new R-LINCS (Research-Led Innovation Nodes for Contemporary Society) Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy, to grow our RKE capacity and research excellence. All Postgraduate students, both taught and research, as well as research and academic staff, have access to the Graduate School which provides a comprehensive training programme within a central physical location of flexible working spaces, open to the entire research community, to promote integration and inculcation of an inter-disciplinary ethos.
I graduated from University College Cardiff in 1987 (BSc Hons Microbiology) and the University of Wales College of Cardiff (PhD SERC/CASE ICI Biological Products) in 1992, with a thesis entitled the ‘Biotechnological implications of the ecology and developmental biology of selected higher fungi’. I have over 20 years of research experience in Microbiology and Mycology, particularly on Serpula lacrymans, aspects of the ecology and biology of other wood and soil fungi, and on modelling the growth and interactions of filamentous fungi. I am driven by curiosity and the joy of working collaboratively.
I am particularly passionate about multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research, and was involved in the development of SIMBIOS at Abertay – an environmental sciences research group with an interest in complex systems and the use of modelling methodologies, to gain a better understanding of these systems applied across a wide range of discipline areas (from epidemiology to soil microbiology and everything in between). Our new University Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy R-LINCS is an extended, accelerated and enhanced expression of this approach.
I am Chair of the Self Assessment Team that led the Abertay University application for Athena SWAN bronze award.The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in employment in academia.
I was previously the Programme Tutor for MSc Biotechnology and drove the development of MSc Medical Biotechnology, MSc Food Biotechnology and MProf Food & Drink Innovation within the School Science Engineering & Technology. My previous teaching expertise included Microbiology and Cell Biology, Techniques, Skills, and Experimental Biology, Biotechnology, Environmental Microbiology and Ecology, Biological Data Handling and Analysis, Forensic Microbiology, Serpula lacrymans and environmental control of building decay (invited external lecturer - University of Edinburgh, School of Architecture). As Head of the Graduate School my focus is now on Researcher Development and Research Degrees.
I was the winner of the first Abertay University Student Led Teaching Award for Best Platform for Employability (2010).
Most notable funding:
Leverhulme Research Studentship; Karl Meyer Foundation; Historic Scotland (PhD Research Studentship); EU; Carnegie Trust; SET market research; BBSRC Research Grant (2003) ‘Plant root and microbial influences on soil water relations and structural stability’; BBSRC Research Committee Enhanced Studentship (2003) ‘Biophysical fingerprinting of soil to forecast the impact of land management change’; SEPA, Catchment Ltd, and Angus Council.Joint studentship (co-applicant with Dr David Blackwood); Food & Drink Interface award with Macphie (Masters Studentship).
My research work related to the Environmental Control of Serpula lacrymans the Dry-Rot Fungus, has received considerable attention from architects as well as conservation groups and specialists. As well as receiving Postgraduate studentship funding and contract work, I have published widely in practitioner journals, books and featured press articles and have given invited talks and lectures to numerous building conservation and ecological building architects, practitioners and organisations, preservation trusts and to students studying at Edinburgh University School of Architecture. I am a Steering Group Committee member for the AHRC funded Health Effects of Modern Airtight Construction (HEMAC) Network (https://hemacnetwork.com).
More recently I have been involved in innovation and knowledge exchange projects for the food and drink industry.