Off to London - to learn about interview techniques
Governor Simcoe Secondary School, 1999-2003, University of Worcester, 2006-2011, University of Birmingham 2011-2014
BSc, MSc, PhD
My favourite job besides my current job was working as a barista at a coffee shop. More recently, I’ve mostly worked at Universities, and at a mental health hospital
Cancer Research UK Research Fellow
University of Bristol
Favourite thing to do in my job: Talking to people about their experiences. Looking at patterns in numbers.
I’m a quirky Canadian, living in the UK who loves science, dogs and my bike.
I was born in England, and moved to Canada with my parents and brother when I was a little girl. I was raised in Canada for 15 years, and moved back to the UK when I was 21. I now live with my husband Luke, and our Cocker Spaniel Poppy, in Bristol UK.
My husband and I are renovating our very old house, and planning lots of trips around the world – we’ll be travelling to Canada this year, and Hawaii in 2018. I also want to travel to South America, Japan and the Artic before I turn 40. I love riding my push bike, I’m trying to train Poppy to travel in a trailer so that I can take her with me on bike adventures. I’m also planning on cycling to France next year with Poppy and Luke.
I’m an animal rights activist, and I am a vegan – so this means that I don’t eat any animal products, for example milk, meats, or cheese. I try my hardest not to use products and medicines that have been tested on animals. I started eating less meat when we got Poppy and I realised how smart she was.
I study the epidemiology and treatment of tobacco addiction in people with mental health disorders.
I studied psychology at University from 2006 to 2011, I did a degree and a masters focusing on how to help people improve their mental and physical health. I also worked at a mental health hospital during this time, and helped people who had illnesses like schizophrenia or personality disorders.
In 2011 I did a PhD in Tobacco Epidemiology. Epidemiology means ‘a disease that affects a large population’, so diseases like HIV or Ebola are known as ‘epidemics’. Because smoking tobacco is so bad for you, it is considered an epidemic.
Typically I use statistical models to analyse numerical data that measures peoples’ mental health and smoking behaviour.
My research to date has found that:
Stopping smoking is linked to improvements in mental health, and these improvements are similar to taking anti-depressant drugs.
Taking medications to help quit smoking like nicotine patches and Champix improve chances of long-term cessation.
But these stop smoking medications are not as effective in people with mental health disorders.
My current project for the next three years aims to:
Design a treatment to help people with depression to quit smoking.
This smoking treatment will be integrated into psychological care for depression.
We will test the smoking treatment to see it can increase the chances of quitting smoking.
My Typical Day
Meetings, writing, emails, analysis
Typical day: I cycle to work at 6:30 am, and I’m at my desk with cereal and a cuppa at 7:30 – Early bird catches the worm! My research goes in phases – so over the last few months most of my days have been spent analysing data and writing up scientific reports. I leave work at about 3:30-4pm.
Soon I will be spending a lot of time interviewing smokers with depression about why they smoke and how we can help them quit. I will then analyse the meaning of information they give me.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would fund a school to design and run their own research project.
I would fund a school to design their own research project.
The students would come up with the hypothesis, the research methods, select the sample, manage the study, analyse the results, and submit the findings for publication in a scientific journal.
I would overlook the project, support the students where ever they need help, and assist with the technical side of things. If there was something that I could not advise on I would talk to my research team at the University of Bristol for help.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Querky, curious, rebellious
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Help break the myth that smoking is good for mental health
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I used to get into a lot of trouble, very regularly!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Run an animal sanctuary, where I could help sick and abandoned animals feel better.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Pick and mix
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Hiking in the Daintree rainforest in Australia.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1) Get a lot of money somehow, 2) have an animal sanctuary, 3) travel the world on my bike
Tell us a joke.
Q: What do you call a sheep crossed with a kangaroo? A: A woolly jumper