I obtained my MSc in 1996 from Wageningen University in The Netherlands and went on to obtain my PhD in Analytical Chemistry/Chemical Ecology from the same University in 2001 under the supervision of Prof. Ae. De Groot and Dr. T.A. van Beek entitled: “Studies towards the sex pheromone of the green capsid bug”.

I continued my research in chemical ecology as a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell University in the USA with Prof. N. W. Calderone (between 2001 and 2003) and from 2003 to 2005 at Keele University in the UK with Dr. Graeme Jones. In June 2005 I was appointed as a Lecturer at Keele University and promoted to senior lecturer in 2010. My research still focus on chemical ecology (thrips, bees and ants), but I now also carry out research in the area of forensic entomology whereby I combine analytical chemistry with forensic entomology to determine time of death.

I’m part of the Chemical Ecology group as well as CAEP (Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology) at Keele.

Research and scholarship

I have been an active researcher for over 25 years in the analysis of natural products, such as semiochemicals from insects, using a wide range of analytical techniques. In all my research the use of chromatographic instruments (GC and LC) and mass spectrometry is essential. In recent years, I have been specialising on using a range of multivariate analysis techniques in analysing complex chromatographic traces from insect derived samples, both with GC-MS and LC-MS.

My current research focuses on:

  1. The chemical analysis of compounds found on the cuticle and internally (metabolites) in insects and how these can be used in within forensic entomology. Here I use natural compounds on and in flies (adults and larvae) and their pupae to age and identify the species in order to determine the Post Mortem Intervals. Untargeted metabonomics using software platforms such as Mass Profiler Professional (MPP) and XCMS online are central to this research.
  2. Hydrocarbons and their role in nestmate recognition systems in social insects, investigation the biosynthesis of nestmate cues in ants. Central to this research is the use of GC-MS to analysing surface compounds on ants, following by multivariate analysis to characterize differences between nests.
  3. Investigating the effect of pesticides on honeybees. Until recently I have been analysing a range of different samples from collaborators to determine the level of neonicotinoids in pollen, nectar and bees.
  4. Identification of pheromones in thrips (collaboration with Prof. William Kirk also at Keele). This involves aggregation pheromones as well as alarms and contact recognition pheromones.

These areas below are very important to my research and have my specific interested throughout my research and teaching:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemical Ecology
  • Chromatographic techniques
  • Hyphenated techniques

I am part of the Chemical Ecology group within the Faculty, and member of the Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology (CAEP).


Year 2

  • CHE-20011: Spectroscopy and Advanced Analysis (Module Leader)
  • CHE-20057: Spectroscopy and Analysis

Year 3

  • CHE-30011: Forensic Science Team Research Project – ISP (Supervisor)
  • CHE-30032: Advanced Chemical Analysis
  • CHE-30028: Interpretation, Evaluation and Presentation of Evidence - ISP
  • CHE-30029: Forensic Dissertation (Supervisor)
  • CHE-30034: Forensic Geoscience
  • CHE-30050: Chemistry/Medicinal Chemistry Research Project (Supervisor)

Year 4

  • CHE-40030: Analytical Science: Principles and Practice (Module Leader)
  • MSc Analytical Science for Industry: Independent Research Project Supervisor


School address

Lennard-Jones School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Lennard-Jones Building
Keele University
Phone (School Office): +44 (0)1782 733033, (Chemistry): +44 (0)1782 731693, (Forensic Science): +44 (0)1782 731694, (Physics): +44 (0)1782 733527

Information for schools and colleges

Contact us about our workshops and lecture series

Programme directors

Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry
Dr Tess Phillips
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Dr Chris Hawes
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Forensic Science
Dr Jamie K. Pringle
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Physics and Astrophysics
Dr Arumugam Mahendrasingam
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Admission tutors

Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry
Dr Natalie Capel
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Forensic Science
Dr Natalie Capel
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Physics and Astrophysics
Dr Patrick Connell
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