I came to Keele University in 1995 as a research assistant, following a Geography degree from Nottingham University, and a period working in Public Health. I worked on a variety of epidemiological studies and completed my MPhil in 1998. From 1999-2000 I worked in India as an epidemiologist with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), returning to Keele University to do my PhD on the Epidemiology of Back Pain in Primary Care.

I have remained at Keele since my PhD, leading research into back pain and other musculoskeletal pains, in children, young people and adults, mainly in primary care settings. Key funders of my research have been the Wellcome Trust, Versus Arthritis and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

I was promoted to Professor of Epidemiology at Keele in 2014.

Research and scholarship

My key research focus is the epidemiology of musculoskeletal pain in primary care and the general population. I have much experience in back pain, and focus on the study of the long-term course of pain conditions, looking at definitions, trajectories and prognostic factors. My research began by studying adults with musculoskeletal pain, but my focus has moved towards studies with children and young people. I also work with my multidisciplinary colleagues investigating how findings from our research can influence treatments and services for these conditions.

I am lead of the Keele University Centre for Musculoskeletal Health Research.

Research grants and studies include:

  • Primary care encounters for foot and ankle problems in children and young people: an epidemiological analysis. Funded by NIHR RfPB.
  • The clinical course of spinal pain in adolescents: a feasibility study – UK (The COURSE Study – UK). Funded by The Royal College of Chiropractors.
  • Addressing Child and Adolescent Musculoskeletal Pain: the CAM-Pain Programme. Funded by NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research.
  • Management of musculoskeletal pain in ChiLdren and young people wIth Mental health or neurodivergent comorBidity (CLIMB). Funded by NIHR SPCR.
  • Stratified care for musculoskeletal pain. Funded by NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research.


I teach a variety of sessions on epidemiology, prognosis and research methods.

Further information

I am a Member of the International Society for the Study of Pain (IASP), the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) and the Society for Back Pain Research (SBPR). I chair the advisory board for the NIHR Research Design Service - West Midlands (Keele Hub). I hold editorial roles at the journals Pain and European Journal of Pain, and regularly peer review for a range of grant giving bodies and scientific journals.


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