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I originally trained in medicine followed by a PhD in genetics (University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK). Since 1991, I have been involved in biomedical research mainly in genetic epidemiology. My work has identified risk markers for childhood leukaemia in the HLA complex and in the HFE gene which is involved in iron homeostasis. I moved to Kingston University in 2017 following academic positions at a number of US and UK universities; the most recent ones being Florida International University (2010-13) and Liverpool Hope University (2014-17). I have held research grants from charities including Children with Cancer UK, and a US Government grant from the Department of Defense. I have published >75 peer-reviewed journal articles, and presented more than 180 conference papers. I published a book on Real-time PCR as editor; co-edited a book on Cancer Genetics, and another on Genetic Epidemiology as the sole author.
Head of School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry
My current work makes use of the big data generated by recently completed human genomics projects, and focuses on the HLA region variants. This work uses translational bioinformatics approaches to identify cancer susceptibility markers and especially their gender-specificity. The aim is to characterise the mechanisms of cancer associations with HLA-linked variants. Another line of research is on variants of iron regulatory genes and how they relate to the determination of birth weight via their effect on placental iron transfer, and whether this is one of the prenatal determinants of childhood cancer susceptibility. We have reported a gender effect of the association of iron regulatory gene variants with birth weight and childhood leukaemia risk, and future work will build on these initial findings. Another ongoing project is to catalogue HLA region genetic variants together with functional annotations and disease associations, and present all these data in a web-based database.