The BPNRC team

The BPNRC team is an enthusiastic group of academic and research staff at various career stages. In addition to the current, core staff below we also work with placement students and those looking for research experience; this can often be a great source of pilot data for later projects and these students often progress to more permanent research careers with us, including PhDs. Clicking on the images will take you to the staff members individual LinkedIn page and the 'Research' link takes you to individual research pages.

Current staff
Management Team
Professor David Kennedy
Director

david.kennedy@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437720

David is Professor of Biological Psychology and the Director of the research Centre. David’s PhD investigated the cognitive effects of herbal extracts. Since that time he has supervised over 100 controlled trials investigating the effects of nutritional interventions, including vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, and a host of plant-derived extracts and compounds, including polyphenols and caffeine, on human brain function. His recently published book, Plants and the Human Brain (Oxford University Press), describes the psychopharmacology of a multitude of plant-derived compounds and how these properties relate to the ecological ‘secondary metabolite’ roles of plant chemicals.

Philippa Jackson
Dr Philippa Jackson
Associate director

philippa.jackson@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2274468

Philippa is associate director of the research centre and manages all research staff as well as leading the fatty acids research group (click on the above link to find out more about this group). Philippa is also a Senior Lecturer within the Psychology department of Northumbria University and has been a part of the university and BPNRC team since 2005. Her PhD, awarded in 2010, investigated the bio-behavioural effects of omega-3 fatty acids in healthy individuals. She was able to continue this line of investigation in older adults during her 3-year postdoctoral research fellowship, also carried out at the BPNRC. Since then, Philippa has acted as co-investigator on a number of industry-funded collaborations and more recently as principal investigator on a project evaluating diurnal variation in circulating omega-3 fatty acids. She also oversees all of the BPNRC's data management procedures and is GCP certified. Philippa is currently supervising Michel Patan (principal) and Hannah Avery.

Emma Wightman
Dr Emma Wightman 
Vice Chancellors Senior               Research Fellow 

emma.l.wightman@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2273725

Emma conducted her PhD within the BPNRC between 2008-2014 whilst training for a lectureship within the Psychology department of Northumbria University. Her PhD was the first to investigate the cognitive and cerebral blood flow (utilizing the Near-Infrared Spectroscopy- NIRS) effects of the polyphenol resveratrol in humans. Since graduating Emma has been principal supervisor of Tim Eschle and Ellen Smith's PhDs (see below) and managed several industrially funded research projects. Within the BPNRC Emma leads the polyphenols research group (click on the above link to find out more about this group) and she is currently director of Nutran; nutrition trials at Northumbria University, which combines expertise across multiple faculties to facilitate ambitious research trials.

Research staff
Joanne Forser
Joanne Forster
Senior Research Assistant

jo.forster@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Julie Khan
Julie Khan
Research Assistant

julie.khan@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Joanne graduated from Northumbria University in 2006 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. She joined the BPNRC in April 2008 as a research assistant and progressed to Senior Research Assistant in 2016. Joanne coordinates the majority of trials within the centre and is a fully trained phlebotomist. Jo also utilizes a range of physiological measurement techniques; e.g. Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), Transcranial Doppler (TCD), Indirect Calorimetry (ICA) and electroencephalography (EEG).  

Julie graduated from Northumbria University in 2006 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and in 2007 with a commendation in MSc in Nutrition and Psychological Science. Julie joined the BPNRC in September 2011 and, since then, has assisted with many projects investigating the effects of nutritional products on mood and cognition. She is an NHS trained phlebotomist and currently provides support for various studies within the BPNRC with cannula insertion and collection of blood samples.

Amy Ferguson
Research Assistant

amy.ferguson@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Amy graduated from Northumbria University with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology in 2017 and the MRes Psychology course in 2018. During this time Amy completed her own research, as well as interning; including co-running a study looking at astaxanthin supplementation in young adults. Currently, Amy is a Research Assistant at the centre, working across multiple industry funded projects. Amy is trained in the operation of various research tools such as Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and cognitive testing via the compass platform.

Bethany Spittlehouse
Research Assistant

b.spittlehouse@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

Bethany graduated from Northumbria University in 2018 with a first class honours BSc (Hons) in Psychology. During the final year of her degree, she completed her dissertation investigating the effects of B-complex Multivitamin supplementation on sleep quality in healthy adults. Bethany also spent this year interning within the research centre across multiple research projects.

Bethany is now a research assistant, and has recently completed a study looking at the effects of a sage extract on mood and cognition.

Jenny Webster
Research Assistant

j.k.webster@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Jenny completed an MSc in Psychology at Northumbria University in September 2018, with a project focused on self-administrative wellbeing interventions. During this time Jenny also interned within the BPNRC, which led to a full-time position as a Research Assistant at the centre in October 2018. Jenny works across several studies including investigating Coffee and Wild Green Oat supplementation in young to middle-aged adults. Jenny is trained in the operation of various research tools such as Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), Amylase analysis and cognitive testing via the compass platform.

Post-doctoral and PhD researchers
Fiona Dodd
Dr Fiona Dodd
Post-doctoral researcher

f.dodd@northumbria.ac.uk |              Phone: (+44) 0191 2273377

Fiona graduated from Northumbria University in 2004 with a BSc (Hons) in Food Science and Nutrition. Following a year working within the food industry in a product development role, she returned to Northumbria University in 2006 to complete an MSc in Nutrition and Psychological Sciences. She joined the BPNRC in May 2007 as a research assistant and has been involved in various projects investigating the cognitive impact of nutritional interventions. Between 2008-2016 Fiona then conducted a PhD exploring novel methodological approaches for investigating the cognitive effects of a range of nutritional interventions (caffeine, L-theanine, herbal extracts (Ginkgo Biloba and Panax Ginseng) and beetroot juice). This included the use of neuroimaging (EEG and NIRS) and measures of metabolism. Fiona is now a post-doctoral researcher with the lab.

Michael Patan
Michael Patan
PhD student

michael.j.patan@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Michael graduated from Northumbria University in 2014 with a BSc (Hons) Psychology. He then completed a Master’s degree in Research Psychology (MRes) at Northumbria University; graduating in September 2015, where he began a research internship with the BPNRC. This continued after Michael graduated with his Master’s degree until he was successfully accepted onto a PhD research programme investigating the effects of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive function, mood, sleep and cerebral blood flow in healthy middle aged adults. Michael is supervised by Dr Philippa Jackson and Professor David Kennedy.

Hannah Avery
Hannah Avery
PhD student

hannah.l.avery@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Hannah graduated from Aberystwyth University in 2012 with a BSc (Hons) Biology. In 2014 she moved to Newcastle and completed a MSc in Medical Sciences at Newcastle University. Hannah joined the BPNRC in January 2016 as a Research Assistant where she coordinate a project investigating the bioavailability of omega-3 fish oils over a 24-hour period and trained in phlebotomy. In 2016, Hannah was awarded a PhD studentship to investigate the impact of iron and vitamin C co-supplementation on cognition, mood, fatigue, cerebral blood flow and energy expenditure in women of reproductive age. Hannah is supervised by Drs Crystal Haskell-Ramsay, Philippa Jackson and Fiona Caple (Applied Sciences department).

Research
Ellen Smith
PhD student

ellen.smith@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Ellen graduated from Northumbria University in 2016 with a BSc (Hons) Psychology and completed the MRes Psychology the following year. During this time Ellen has conducted multiple research projects; both her own course research projects and sponsored trials within the BPNRC during several internship placements. These were all nutrition trials and involved training on the labs neuroimaging and indirect calorimetry equipment. Ellen begins her part industrially funded (Evolva SA) PhD in 2017, investigating resveratrol and its effects on the microbiome, health, blood flow and cognition and is supervised by Drs Emma Wightman, John Lodge, Darren Smith and Professor David Kennedy.

Affiliates
Crystal Haskell-Ramsay
Dr Crystal Haskell-Ramsay
Associate Professor 

crystal.haskell-ramsay@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2274875

Crystal is an Associate Professor and Director of Enterprise and Engagement for the Department of Psychology, Northumbria University. Crystal's research to date has focused on the cognitive and mood effects of a range of nutritional interventions with a specific focus on caffeinated plants, such as coffee, tea and cocoa. Crystal has over 10 years’ experience in the assessment of cognitive performance and is the principal contact for the ‘Computerised Mental Performance Assessment System’ (www.cognitivetesting.co.uk). She sits on the Editorial Board for ‘Nutrition Research Reviews’ and ‘Nutritional Neuroscience’, has acted as Guest Editor for ‘Appetite’ and ‘Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine’, and currently forms part of the ‘Plant-based Ingredients and Cognitive Performance’ expert group for the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). 

Dr John Lodge
Associate Professor

john.lodge@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 243 7710

John is an Associate Professor in metabolic nutrition within Applied Sciences at Northumbria University. His research interests include nutrition metabolomics, nutritional and biochemical aspects of antioxidant micronutrients, dietary approaches to improve health and food security.  

Dr Darren Smith
Associate Professor

darren.smith@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 243 7730

Darren is an Associate Professor in biology within Applied Sciences at Northumbria University. His research interests include temperate bacteriophage biology/viral ecology and utilising DNA sequencing technologies to map the onset of colonisation/adherence of bacteria/fungi/bacterial viruses associated with food spoilage and the challenge to increase the shelf life of food products through innovative natural intervention and reformulation.

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