I went to school in Oldham and then came to Oxford University to read Biological Science at New College where I continued to complete a D.Phil. in Experimental Psychology. A Research Training Fellowship from the MRC, followed by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, enabled me to continue my research at Oxford and during this period I also became a Science Research Fellow and Lecturer at St John’s College and a Psychology Lecturer at Magdalen College. After completion of the research fellowships I was appointed to a University Lecturership and then Associate Professor in Experimental Psychology at which point I also became the Fellow and Tutor in Psychology at Queen’s. I have been a ‘Visiting Scientist’ at the Cognitive Brain Mapping Laboratory of my collaborators at RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan for many years and am a Visiting Professor at Tohoku University Brain Science Centre, also in Japan. I have since been appointed a full Professorship in Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience at Oxford where I head the ‘Brain and Behaviour’ research group.
I teach the first year Prelims ‘Introduction to Psychology’ courses to Magdalen Experimental Psychology (EP), Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics (PPL), and Biomedical Science (BMS) students by means of tutorial courses I provide in the ‘Perception’ and ‘Psychobiology’ modules. I am the course coordinator of the Departmentally organised 2nd year (Part I) lecture course in ‘Behavioural Neuroscience’ and I lecture extensively on this course as well providing the associated tutorials to those second year EP/PPL/BMS students at Magdalen who take this course. For final year students I run a popular Advanced Option (Part II) course entitled ‘Neurobiology of Episodic and Semantic Memory’ and I supervise Part II research project and Part II library dissertations for those enthusiastic about areas of research close to my own interests.
The aim of the program of research in my ‘Brain and Behaviour’ laboratory at Oxford (funded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust) is to determine how the brain mediates basic cognitive processes. For example, we have long been interested in understanding how brain areas in the temporal lobes and in associated regions, some of which become dysfunction in dementias including Alzheimer’s Disease, operate in mediating perception and memory. Likewise we have also focused our attention on understanding how more anterior brain regions in the frontal lobes operate in mediating other basic cognitive processes including choice behavior. An overarching theme of the current research in my laboratory is to progress beyond the traditional focus of research on individual regions and move to an understanding of how networks of interconnected brain regions interact together to mediate normal learning, memory and cognition. To do this we have to investigate both normal and abnormal brain function using a range of complementary neuropsychological and neurophysiological techniques.