Room 228, McElwain Building 24A

Researcher biography

I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Lives Lived Well group with Professor Leanne Hides. My research is in the area of psychopharmacology and addiction, where I am interested in the acute and chronic effects of drugs on cognition, emotion and behaviour. I am interested in how extending our understanding in this area can be translated into searching for novel treatments for drug use disorders.

As a Lives Lived Well Research Fellow, I am working on a trial that is developing and implementing a new trauma-informed model of care in residential treatment for young people with substance use disorders. Prior to this, I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Exeter, where I investigated the role of social risk factors/stressors in the onset and maintenance of opioid use disorder. Specifically, I examined how experiences of childhood abuse and neglect may alter both pain-processing and the rewarding value of opioids later in life in an acute morphine administration study, alongside disruptions to interpersonal processes such as empathy and social distress. I also investigated disruptions to these interpersonal processes in individuals with an opioid use disorder, alongside evaluating a novel psychological treatment of Compassion-Focused Therapy in this clinical group. I was also interested in investigating pharmacologically-assisted psychotherapies for treating opioid use disorder, and have investigated the effects of recreational drug and alcohol use on cognition and social behaviour.

My research interests include:

  • Substance use disorders in adolescents and young people
  • The role of childhood trauma and stress in addiction vulnerability
  • Pharmacologically-assisted psychotherapies
  • Early preventative measures for drug use disorders
  • Drug reward and pleasure
  • The neurobiological underpinnings of addiction-related behaviours
  • Recreational drug use