Room 4.32, Institute of Medical Sciences,
Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
+44 (0)1224 437363 (direct line)
I obtained my PhD from the University of Leeds in 1989 and developed an interest in free radicals and antioxidants, becoming involved in intensive care and liver transplantation research. I was appointed as Lecturer in Anaesthesia & Intensive Care in Aberdeen in 1995 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002, then Professor in 2010. My research interests focus on modulation of inflammatory and immune responses in the critically ill, particularly the use of melatonin as a therapy for inflammation and pain. We currently have two trials of melatonin running- DREAM-CP (melatonin for sleep disturbance in chronic pain) and DAMSEL-2 (melatonin as a treatment for sepsis due to community acquired pneumonia). In addition PhD students work in the laboratory investigating the mechanisms of the effects of melatonin using cell models.
I was awarded the Sir Humprey Davy medal by the Royal College of Anaesthetists in 2002 and in 2011 was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. In 2012 I was also awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Biology by election and an honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine in 2016.
I teach on science courses and the medical (MBChB) course. My teaching areas are inflammation, particularly in relation to sepsis and the role of oxidative stress, and clinical trial methodology including ethics (I spent 12 years as Chair for the North of Scotland research ethics service). I have a strong interest in the role of women in in science and medicine and am co-lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for the Institute of Medical Sciences. I am also co-lead for the Immunology, Infection and Inflammation research programme.
I review for a number of journals and was an Editor of the British Journal of Anaesthesia for 10 years. I am now a Director and Trustee of the charitable arm of the journal. I sit on the Board of the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia and am President of the Anaesthetic Research Society.
- PhD Medicine1989 - University of Leeds
Director and Trustee Member of the British Journal of Anaesthesia
President of the Anaesthetic Research Society.
Member of the Board of the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia .
Prizes and Awards
2002: Sir Humprey Davy medal by the Royal College of Anaesthetists
2011: Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
2012: Fellowship of the Royal Society of Biology by election
2016: Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine
Mechanisms of the inflammatory and immune responses in the critically ill and their modulation as potential therapeutic approaches, notably using melatonin. Use of melatonin as a therapy in patients with chronic pain and investigation of the mechanisms of its effects.
I am currently accepting PhDs in Biomedical Sciences.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
Melatonin in doctors and urses working nightshifts (the MIDNIGHT trial https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN15529655)
Melatonin as a therapy for sepsis (the DAMSEL2 trial http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN70688534).
Melatonin for sleep disturbance in patients with chrnic pain (the DREAM-CP trial http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN12861060 )
Experimental and discovery medicine
Antioxidant protection in mitochondria in chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain
Optimising translational capacity of melatonin administration for chemotherapy induced neuropathic pain
The effect of melatonin and 6-hydroxymelatonin on mitochondrial bioenergetics under conditions of sepsis
Metabolomic analysis after exogenous melatonin administration in healthy subjects
Effect of melatonin and its metabolites on key molecular pathways in sepsis
Interactions between melatonin and endogenous opioid peptide release
Previous and current collaborations
Professor Mike Murphy, MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Cambridge (mitochondrial antioxidants).
Professor John Beattie, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (zinc studies).
Professor Neil Gow, University of Aberdeen (candida and inflammation).
Professor Ahmet Hoke, Johns Hopkins University, USA (neuronal cells).
Dr Lesley Colvin and Dr Carole Torsney, University of Edinburgh (neuropathic pain).
Dr Ben Shelley and Professor John Kinsella, University of Glasgow (lung injury).
Dr Wenlong HUang (neuropathic pain).
Funding and Grants
British Journal of Anaesthesia/Royal College of Anaesthetists
Melatonin in doctors and nurses working nightshifts: the MIDNIGHT trial.
Metabolomic analysis after exogenous melatonin administration
Antioxidant protection in mitochondria in chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain (PhD studentship).
Double-blind randomised controlled trial of exogenous administration of melatonin in chronic pain (DREAM–CP)
Interactions between melatonin and endogenous opioid peptide release (PhD studentship)
Chief Scientist Office
Dose escalation study of melatonin in healthy volunteers- a potential treatment in sepsis (DAMSEL 1).
A pilot study of oral melatonin in patients with sepsis (DAMSEL 2).
MSc course co-ordinator.
Student selected component Year 1 and Year 4.
Lectures on MBChB and various BSc and MSc courses.
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Characterisation of gamma delta (γδ) T cell populations in patients with sepsisCell Biology International, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 210-216Contributions to Journals: Articles
Melatonin as a potential therapy for sepsis: a phase I dose escalation study and an ex vivo whole blood model under conditions of sepsisJournal of Pineal Research, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 427-438Contributions to Journals: Articles
Women at the tableBritish Journal of Anaesthesia, vol. 112, no. 3, pp. 589Contributions to Journals: Letters
Next on the agenda: GenderBritish Journal of Anaesthesia, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 139-142Contributions to Journals: Editorials
Antioxidants that protect mitochondria reduce interleukin-6 and oxidative stress, improve mitochondrial function, and reduce biochemical markers of organ dysfunction in a rat model of acute sepsisBritish Journal of Anaesthesia, vol. 110, no. 3, pp. 472-480Contributions to Journals: Articles
The role of the immune system in critical illnessCore Topics in Cardiothoracic Critical Care. Klein, A., Vuylsteke, A., Nashef, S. A. M. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, pp. 301-309, 9 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Melatonin and structurally similar compounds have differing effects on inflammation and mitochondrial function in endothelial cells under conditions mimicking sepsisBritish Journal of Anaesthesia, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 193-201Contributions to Journals: Articles
Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in sepsisBritish Journal of Anaesthesia, vol. 107, no. 1, pp. 57-64Contributions to Journals: Literature Reviews
"C" is for sepsis?Critical Care Medicine, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 1590-1591Contributions to Journals: Editorials
Mitochondrial protection by the thioredoxin-2 and glutathione systems in an in vitro endothelial model of sepsisBiochemical Journal, vol. 436, no. 1, pp. 123-132Contributions to Journals: Articles