Welcome to the group: Amber Guest

Amber is a Research Assistant who will be working in the Consortium to Research Individual, Interpersonal, and Social influences in Pain (CRIISP), and the Making it Work project. Amber joined in the team in March 2022 and will be working remotely from Loughborough.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I have just started my scientific research career. The University of Aberdeen is my first post-doc position, and I am due to submit my doctoral thesis next month! At the age of 18, I worked for the ambulance service for four years as an Ambulance Care Assistant. Following this, I studied Human Biology at Loughborough University where I graduated with a First-class honours BSc. My undergraduate dissertation was a cross-sectional surveillance study which aimed to phenotype ambulance workers’ sedentary behaviour, physical activity, and cardiometabolic health. I enjoyed this research so much that I went on to do a PhD at Loughborough University. My thesis looked at the current health status of lorry drivers globally using a systematic review. I also completed a mixed methods process evaluation of a large-scale randomised controlled trial, and analysed cardiovascular reactivity to psychological stress and its associations with fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Alongside my PhD, I had an active role as a University Teacher, teaching on a wide range of modules from Statistics to Exercise Physiology. I have just completed my first draft of my thesis and hope to submit it at the end of April!

What will you be working on with the Epi Group?

I am pleased to be working on the CRIISP project, which is part of the UKRI-funded Advanced Pain Discovery Platform (APDP), where we will be carrying out literature reviews, and empirical qualitative research to understand the psychosocial influences on chronic pain. I am also pleased to be working on the Making it Work - Scotland project, where we will be adapting a Canadian-based programme which supports people working with pain to stay in work for as long as they wish to do so.

Are you currently involved in any other research?

My PhD was part of a large-scale randomised controlled trial which aimed to improve lifestyle behaviours such as physical activity and nutritional intake in lorry drivers. I have currently published two papers from my PhD (a systematic review which looked at the current health status of lorry drivers, and a cross-sectional paper which looked at the associations between cardiovascular reactivity and mental health symptoms in lorry drivers). I aim to publish a further two papers from my thesis in the following months.

Why did you choose Aberdeen?

I was very excited when I saw the role advertised, that not only matched my previous research methodological experience, but was also in a fascinating area of research, with a real potential to change lives. The team has a reputation for high-quality, multidisciplinary research, I am thoroughly enjoying this new challenge. Although I have only just started, I have learnt so much already, and I am so excited that I get the opportunity to develop my research skills with such a fantastic team.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love playing sports. I currently play for a local football team, and I used to represent Loughborough University at rugby. In the summer months I like to go wakeboarding and surfing. I also really like walking, I once solo-walked 500 miles from one side of Spain to the other, it took 35 days! I have also been an Intelligence Analyst in the Royal Air Force Reserves since 2017, where I have learnt a lot about the geopolitical landscape. Aside from that, I have a cute dog called Ziggy who keeps me on my toes, and I love exploring the countryside with her and my girlfriend. We have recently bought a campervan, so we aim to do more exploring around the UK and Europe this summer.

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