I studied Computer Science at Coventry University, before gaining my Ph.D. in DNA Computing from the University of Warwick. I then held a Leverhulme Special Research (now Early Career) Fellowship at the University of Liverpool, before obtaining my first permanent academic post (a joint lectureship in bioinformatics, between Computer Science and Biology). In 2002 I moved to the University of Exeter, to take up a lectureship in bioinformatics. I moved to Manchester Metropolitan University in the summer of 2006; I started at MMU as a Senior Lecturer, was promoted to Reader in 2010, and then to Professor in 2012. In mid-2018, I returned to my North-Eastern roots, and took up my position at Northumbria. My funded projects as PI total over £3M, and I’ve received support from EPSRC, AHRC, the Wellcome Trust, and the European Commission. I’m a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and a director of Comma Press, an independent publisher based in Manchester.
My research focuses on the intersections of computer science and a number of disciplines, including biology, psychology, engineering, and architecture. Active topics of current interest include synthetic biology, crowd simulation, nature-inspired optimisation, AI-based approaches to puzzle games, collective psychology and behaviour, and digital healthcare and attitudinal interventions. I am also passionate about engaging the public with science and engineering, and am a regular contributor to the Speakers for Schools initiative.