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; 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
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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.

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Dr Philippa Jackson
Associate Director

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

Philippa is Associate Director of the research centre and an Associate Professor of Biological Psychology. Her PhD, awarded in 2010, investigated the bio-behavioural effects of omega-3 fatty acids in healthy individuals. This line of investigation has continued over the past ten years where her research has focussed on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cognition and brain health throughout the lifespan. Here her research investigates the differential effects of individual omega-3 fatty acids, and individual response to omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. She also collaborates closely with industry to investigate the relationship between a wide range of dietary factors (e.g. micro/meso/macro-nutrients, whole foods, nutraceutical supplements) and brain function and behaviour (e.g. cognition, well-being, stress, sleep). Philippa manages the research team, and provides research supervision to Undergraduate, Masters and PhD students.

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Dr Emma Wightman 
NUTRAN (Nutrition Trials
at Northumbria) Director 

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.

Leadership Team
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Joanne Forster
Senior Research Assistant

jo.forster@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2273377

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).  

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Julie Khan
Senior Research Assistant

julie.khan@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2273377

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.

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Dr Fiona Dodd
Research Fellow

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.

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Ellen Smith
Senior Research Assistant & PhD student

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

Ellen graduated from Northumbria University in 2016 with a BSc (Hons) Psychology and completed the MRes Psychology the following year. During this time Ellen 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 began 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, Darren Smith and Professor David Kennedy. Ellen is now a Senior Research Assistant within the lab and is a fully trained phlebotomist. 

Research Staff
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Jessica Greener
Research Assistant

jessica.p.greener@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Rian Elcoate
Research Assistant

rian.e.elcoate@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437252

Rian graduated from Northumbria University in 2018 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and in 2019 with a commendation in MRes Psychology. Rian interned at the BPNRC while studying for her Masters degree, before transitioning into a formal research assistant role. Since joining the BPNRC, Rian has been involved in numerous studies investigating the impact of nutritional supplementation on cognition, and has a keen interest in the neuropsychological aspects of nutritional interventions. She is trained in the use of a number of physiological measurement techniques, such as electroencephalography (EEG), Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), galvanic skin response (GSR), eye-tracking, and is a fully qualified phlebotomist.

Charlotte Kenney
Research Assistant

charlotte2.kenney@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Evan Davies
Research Assistant

evan2.davies@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Abi Harrop
Research Assistant

a.harrop@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

Tom Fitzpatrick
Research Assistant

tom2.fitzpatrick@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Holly Lancaster
Research Assistant

holly2.lancaster@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

Anna Small
Research Assistant

a.small@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Emily Haworth
Research Assistant

emily2.haworth@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Ruth Medcalf-Bell
Research Assistant

r.medcalf-bell@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Jamie Jones
Research Assistant

jamie5.jones@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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Sandra Gawel
Research Assistant

s.gawel@northumbria.ac.uk | Phone: (+44) 0191 2437012

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). 

John Lodge
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.  

Darren Smith
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.