CHRC Staff and Researchers

CHRC Core Staff

Dr Rhona Anderson
Director

Dr Rhona Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Radiation Biology in the Department of Life Sciences and, a member of the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies at Brunel University London. Rhona started her career as a clinical cytogeneticist in Glasgow in 1994 before developing her research interests in radiation biology at the Medical Research Council Radiation and Genome Stability Unit, Harwell (1996-2005). She gained her PhD from Brunel University in 2004 before taking up a lectureship in 2005.

Julie Whittaker
Centre Manager

Julie joined the CHRC in September 2017 at the start of the project, but has been working for Brunel University London since September 1999, when she joined the Department of Information Systems and Computing (DISC) as an administrator for undergraduate final year projects. Whilst in DISC Julie studied part time with the Open University and was awarded BSc Hons in Computer Science in 2010. During her time at Brunel Julie has taken on several secondments which has allowed her to gain knowledge in a wide range of research areas and activities.

Dr Alex Perry
Communications and Engagement Officer

Alex joined the CHRC in November 2018 as a Communications and Engagement Officer.Alex holds a BSc and a doctorate in chemistry from Southampton University. He worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the USA for 4 years and as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years. In 2017 Alex moved into the field of science communication and public engagement and obtained a master’s degree in this subject from Edinburgh University.

Jose Seixo
Research Technician

Jose joined the CHRC in November 2018 as a Research Technician. He has a MSc in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Porto and a BSc in genetics and biotechnology from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro. Prior to joining the CHRC Jose worked at the Centre for Medical Genetics in Portugal in the field of human cytogenetics.

Research Staff on funded projects

France Daley
Research Assistant

 Frances joined the Veterans Cytogenetic Project at Brunel University in August 2017 having moved from the Institute of Cancer Research Molecular Pathology department. Frances is a senior biomedical scientist and holds an MSc in Medical Molecular biology from the University of Westminster. She has accumulated vast experience working in a pharmaceutical, diagnostic and a research environments.

Dr Kai Craenen
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Kai joined the CHRC as a postdoctoral fellow in November 2018. After gaining a BSc and an MSc in biochemistry and biotechnology from the University of Antwerp, Kai went on to complete a doctorate in biochemistry at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK-CEN. He is the author of several scientific papers and has won a number of prestigious awards. Kai brings a highly multidisciplinary background to the CHRC, having worked in the fields of radiation biology, teratology, neuroscience, nutraceuticals and behavioural science.

Dr Alex Moorhouse
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Alex Moorhouse is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the University of Leicester. Alex has gained degrees from the University of Exeter in bioinformatics and from UCL in human evolution. He has worked with a range of model organisms including Zebra fish, infectious yeast species of the genus Candida, the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mouse models of the malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. Alex gained his PhD at the University of Aberdeen studying yeast genomics, population genetics and ancient DNA at the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology with placement at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.

Research Students

George Collett
(1st year PhD student) supervised by Dr Will Young, Professor Kenneth Gilhooly and Professor Mary Gilhooly

George joined the CHRC in January 2018 as a PhD student. His research focuses on radiation worry, ageing and cognitive functioning among British Nuclear Test Veterans. He holds a First Class Honours BSc in Psychology from Keele University and a master’s degree, with distinction, in Social Psychology from Lancaster University. Prior to joining the CHRC, he worked as a domiciliary care worker supporting the elderly.

Project: Exposure worry, ageing and cognitive functioning: An in-depth study of British nuclear test veterans

Jade Stephens
(1st year PhD student) supervised by Dr Joanna Bridger and Dr Rhona Anderson

Jade joined the CHRC as a PhD student in January 2018. Her research is to investigate heritable effects of nuclear test veterans and their descendants. This will involve assessing chromosomal abnormalities. She holds an Honours BSc in Bioscience from Canterbury Christ Church University and MSc in Cancer Biology from the University of Kent. Her master’s project was in the field of breast cancer in which she investigated drug resistance and DNA repair.

Project: Heritable effects of pre-conceptual radiation exposure

Amy Prescott
(1st year PhD student) supervised by Professor Tess Kay and Professor Louise Mansfield

Amy joined the CHRC in January 2018 as a PhD student. Her research project aims to understand how community sport and cultural activities may help and contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of British nuclear test veterans and their families. Amy holds a First Class Honours BSc in Sport Science and a master’s degree in Sport Psychology from St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Her master’s research explored male body image issues.

Project: Sport, culture & wellbeing: community approaches to promote wellbeing among British nuclear test veterans and their families

Finlay Smith
(1st year PhD student) supervised by Dr Rhona Anderson and Professor Andreas Kortenkamp

Finlay joined the CHRC in January 2018 as a PhD student. His research focuses on the effects of combined exposures to ionising radiation and genotoxic chemicals in cell-line models. He has a First-Class Honours degree in Chemistry from the University of the West of Scotland, a Scottish Ordinary Degree in Chemistry with Materials from Heriot-Watt University, and is an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Prior to joining the CHRC Finlay worked for two years with a radiopharmaceutical company supplying radioactive drugs for cancer diagnosis to the NHS.

Project: Assessment of risks from combined exposures to radiation and chemicals

Isabella Bastiani
(2nd year PhD student) supervised by Dr Liz Ainsbury and Dr Rhona Anderson

Isabella joined the CHRC in August 2017 as a PhD student. Her research investigates the radiation risks from utilizing Radium-223 for the targeted treatment of bone metastatic disease. She is collaborating with Queens University Belfast and Belfast Health and Social Care trust where advanced prostate cancer patients are enrolled on the ADRRAD clinical trial. Isabella previously attended The University of Kent where she graduated with a Biology BSc with Honours in 2017.

Project: Radiation risk from high LET alpha-emitters using radium-223 as a model