The paradox as to why individuals of apparently identical weight and height have different risks of developing metabolic disease has been the question underpinning my research for the last 25 years. My research to answer this has resulted in my internationally recognised track record in developing and applying innovative whole body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) based techniques as tools to non-invasively determine optimal health. Essential to this was my work directing the developing appropriate methods to analysis the data collected, this continues to be a particularly important aspect of my work, leading to constant contacts from companies and research groups around the world in need of such specialist expertise.
I joined the University of Westminster in October 2014, since this I have been closely involved in the foundation and running of Research Centre for Optimal Health (ReCOH).
My background was originally in Biochemistry, with a BSc from Queen Mary and Westfield College followed by a PhD investigating the effects of diet and development on adipose tissue composition using in vivo 13C NMR Spectroscopy. This led to a 20 year research career at the Robert Steiner MRI Unit, part of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at the Hammersmith Hospital developing novel non-invasive MR imaging and spectroscopy measure, quantify and understand body fat content and distribution in adults and infants.
The great majority of my teaching though has been of a supervisory nature, I have successfully supervised undergraduate, MSc and PhD research projects while at Westminster. This follows on from my time at the MRC where I had responsibility for supervising projects for medical students during their BSc year, as well as MSc, MRes, DIC and PhD students. As part of this work I was a member of the MRes management Committee for five years, overseeing the MRes research programme.
Since joining the University of Westminster I have undertaken a Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education, completing with a distinction in 2016. Further this I became a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy in September 2016.
While at Westminster I have taught on a variety of modules including:
Level 4 module: Critical Thinking for Scientists
Level 5 module: Research Methods,
Level 5 module: Research Techniques in Nutrition and Exercise
Level 5 module: Biochemistry
Level 6 module: Applied Medical Sciences
Level 6 module: Current Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
Level 7 module: Postgraduate Research Methods
A significant proportion of my research career has involved industrial collaborations with projects sponsored by a diverse range of companies including Perspectum Diagnostics, Health Concierge, AMRA, Calico, GSK, GW Pharma, Tanita, Select Research, AstraZeneca, Numico, Quest Diagnostics, and Herbal Life.
Whilst my research has focused on innovating MR methods for characterising total, regional and ectopic fat in obesity and NAFLD, I have also continued to validate and develop low cost alternatives to MRI, including novel technology, blood marker derived indices as well as algorithmic approaches to serve as a markers of visceral and liver fat content.
This work has led to a close involvement with the UK Biobank imaging study and successful industrial partnerships including a research collaboration/KTP award with Perspectum Diagnostics to develop and validation a new MR method for the diagnosis of patients for liver disease; consultancy and research partnerships to work on improving methods for measurement of adipose tissue from abdominal MR images; and development automated radiomic analysis of organs to further enhance the depth and quantity of health metrics that can be derived from abdominal imaging.
For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.