I am Head of Researcher Development, based in the University Graduate School. I am responsible for developing the University’s Researcher Development Training Programme to support academic staff and postgraduate students develop their portfolio of research skills. I work closely with the postgraduate students and research staff to help them develop their academic writing skills, particularly grant applications, journal articles and pathways to impact. I Chair the Graduate School Forum committee, manage the University Internal Peer Review Process, sit on the Research Knowledge and Exchange Committee, and am a member of the Universities Scotland Researcher Development and Training Committee.
I graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1995 with a first class honours degree in Psychology and completed my PhD in 2000 with a thesis entitled ‘Chronic pain in the community: its prevalence, impact and natural history’. Prior to joining Abertay in 2017, I was a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen and have over 20 years research experience working in the fields of Primary Care and Applied Health Sciences. My key research strengths are in the areas of epidemiology, research design, longitudinal research, outcome measures and multivariate modelling.
I have been PI/Co-I on grants worth around £2 million, published over 60 academic peer-reviewed journal articles and presented at over 40 academic conferences.
I am interested in understanding more about symptom experiences in the community, including the epidemiology of symptoms, the symptom iceberg, how the public appraises and manages their symptoms and the factors which influence people’s healthcare choices. Although I have explored a wide range of symptom experiences I am most interested in symptoms indicative of cancer.
I am interested in the prevalence, impact and natural history of chronic pain as well as how chronic pain is managed by both individuals and healthcare systems. I am particularly interested in the similarities and differences between different chronic pain conditions and whether chronic pain can be viewed as a distinct diagnosis.
- PhD; Alison Thornton; How do symptom perceptions and illness cognitions influence management decisions? (2010-present)
- PhD; Catriona Mallia; The epidemiology and management of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (2011-2015)
- PhD; Carrie Stewart; The development, implementation, maintenance and evaluation of self-management materials for older persons with chronic pain (2010-2014)
- MSc International Health and Management; Catherine Tiphanie; What are the perceptions of lay people towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in response to their symptoms? (2009-2010)
- MSc Public Health and Health Services Research; Reshma Suresh; Do Cochrane Reviews of treatment for chronic low back pain include older adults? (2007)
- PhD; Anne McAteer; Symptoms in the community: prevalence, management and preferences for care in a UK working-age population (2006-2011)
- PhD; Pattarin Kittiboonyakun; Developing a model for the provision of pharmaceutical care medicines management, to improve the quality of care in chronic pain patients in the community (2005-2010)
- PhD; Nita Majethia; The epidemiology of common symptoms in the community. Developing an evidence-based methodological approach (2004-2011)
- MSc Public Health and Health Services Research; Millie Rook; The epidemiology and health outcomes of headache presenting to general practice (2004)
- PhD; Mahdi Malik; The diabetes epidemic in a newly developed country: prevalence of diabetes mellitus and associated cardiovascular risk factors among the multiethnic population of the UAE (2002-2010)
- PhD; Hilary Selbie; Chronic pain in primary care. Its determinants, impact and management needs (2000-2004)
I have secured around £2 million as a Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator, including:
- Principal Investigator. Symptoms associated with cancer in the UK general population: understanding prevalence, patterning and response to provide an evidence base for the development of interventions to reduce time to presentation (2014-2017). Funded by National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, Cancer Research UK. £415,272.
- Co-Investigator. Professional Resilience: Developing a measure of resilience in primary healthcare practitioners (2014-2015). Funded by NHS Grampian Endowments. £11,842.
- Co-Investigator. A study into the operation of discrete choices to understand how people value self-management support interventions (2014-2015). Funded by The Health Foundation. £160,000.
- Co-Investigator. Multiple Symptoms Study 2. A feasibility study to manualise, teach and demonstrate the delivery of the symptoms clinic intervention (2014-2015). Funded by Scottish Executive Chief Scientists Office. £139,962.
- Principal Investigator. Managing symptoms in the community: examining the role of NHS 24 (2012-2013). Funded by Scottish Executive Chief Scientists Office. £194,906.
- Co-Investigator. Development of practice-based pharmacist-led management of chronic pain in primary care for evaluation by a RCT (2008-2010). Funded by Medical Research Council. £337,123.
- Principal Investigator. Health impact of chronic pain: A cohort record linkage study (2007-2008). Funded by Scottish Executive Chief Scientists Office. £39,796.
- Co-Investigator. The epidemiology of chronic pain in older adults (2007-2008). Funded by NHS Grampian Endowment. £20,220.
- Principal Investigator. Common symptoms in the community: understanding the public’s responses in order to inform the development of interventions (2006-2009). Research Career Development Fellowship funded by the Wellcome Trust. £328,847.
- Co-Investigator. Disability in the Community: the role of chronic pain and illness-related cognitions (2005-2007). Funded by Scottish Executive Chief Scientists Office. £14,894.
- Co-Investigator. Development study for a complex intervention for chronic back pain in the NHS (2005-2007). Funded by Scottish Executive Chief Scientists Office. £89,846.
- Principal Investigator. The epidemiology of common symptoms in the community. Developing an evidence-based methodological approach (2005-2008). PhD studentship funded by Scottish Executive Chief Scientists Office. £48,250.
- Co-Investigator. Community pharmacist intervention for chronic pain in primary care – a pilot study (2002-2004). Funded by Grampian Primary Care NHS Trust. £4,244.
- Co-Investigator. Chronic pain in the community: a four-year follow-up study (2000-2001). Funded by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland. £9,700.
- Co-Investigator. The natural history of chronic pain: assessing change in chronic pain severity over time (1998). Funded by Tenovus Scotland. £10,000.
- Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship (2006-2009)
- Scottish Crucibleleadership and development programme: cohort 1 (2009)
- Best presentation at the British Pain Society (2008)
- Best presentation at the British Pain Society (1998)
Invited conference presentations
- Managing symptoms in the community: the role of NHS 24. Scottish School of Primary Care conference (2014)
- The course of chronic pain in the community: results of a four-year follow-up study. Distinguished presentation, Society for Academic Primary Care conference (2002)
Invited conference workshops
- Primary care epidemiology. Society for Academic Primary Care conference (2004)
- Primary care epidemiology. Association of Scottish University Departments conference (2004)
- Chronic pain in primary care. British Pain Society conference (1999)
Chair of conferences and panels
- Panel Chair, Scottish Departments of the Society of Academic Primary Care conference (2009)
- Scientific Programme Committee Member for British Pain Society Scientific Meeting (2008)
- Panel Chair, Scottish School of Primary Care/ Society for Academic Primary Care conference (2006)
- Panel Chair, Scottish School of Primary Care conference (2005)
External examination responsibilities
- PhD, Leeds Metropolitan University (2013)
- PhD, University of Aberdeen (2011)
- PhD, University of Aberdeen (2009)
- PhD, University College London (2007)
Peer review responsibilities
- Grant funding bodies: I have reviewed grant and fellowship applications for a range of funders, including NIHR, MRC, CSO, CRUK, and the British Council.
- Journal articles: I regularly review articles for a wide range of journals, including BMJ, Brit J Can, J Clin Epi, BMC Fam Pract, Brit J Gen Pract, Pain, and J Epi Comm Health.
I have presented at over 40 conferences, including: International Epidemiological Association; WONCA Europe; North American Primary Care Research Group; World Congress of the International Association for Study of Pain; Society for Social Medicine; Pain Society; Society for Academic Primary Care; Scottish School of Primary Care; Wellcome Trust; Scottish University Departments of General Practice; and the Medically Unexplained Symptoms Group.
Contributions to Government Policy
My research has contributed to the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Chronic Pain and has been referenced in several chronic pain policy recommendation reports.
Contributions to Professional bodies
- Member of the British Pain Society and British Geriatrics Society Pain Management Guideline Committee for the Assessment of Pain in Older Adults (2012-2014)
- Member of the British Pain Society and British Geriatrics Society Pain Management Guideline Committee for the Management of Pain in Older Adults (2008-2012)
- Co-convener of Primary Care Epidemiology Special Interest Group, Society of Academic Primary Care (2006-2009)
- Co-convener of Primary Care Epidemiology Theme for Scottish School of Primary Care (2007-2008)
- Co-convener of Researching Symptoms meeting, Society for Social Medicine and Society for Academic Primary Care (2007)
- Co-convener of Epidemiology data and its use in organisation of care meeting. Scottish School of Primary care and Society for Academic Primary Care (2006)