Simply put, we believe university life is more inspiring when it’s delivered by inspirational people. So every day, our staff are here to make a difference, expanding knowledge through exceptional research and scholarship which enhances lives and unlocks potential.
And each day, you’ll also find them at the heart of our vibrant community – accessible, approachable and always genuinely supportive. It’s that kind of thinking which plays such a key role in helping students to explore their talents and become the high-achieving alumni of tomorrow.
Taking research to heart: Neuroscientist looks to break the link between brain damage and cardiovascular disease
Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science, Dr Adjanie Patabendige, is helping us better understand the barrier that protects the brain from blood-borne toxins and pathogens, including what conditions can affect it and the long-term impacts.
In a first for Edge Hill, the Academy of Medical Sciences awarded £100,000 of Springboard funding to a project led by Dr Patabendige, looking at how to prevent cardiovascular diseases damaging the brain. This includes atrial fibrillation – a common heart condition twice as likely in people over 55 – which is linked to a higher risk of stroke, dementia and cognitive decline.
“The funds will support my research group at Edge Hill to study the blood-brain barrier using a new model developed using patient data… Eventually, we will use what we learn to identify health risks in patients earlier to improve their treatment and perhaps prevent problems from developing in the first place.”
Helping people cope better with cancer
Professor Nick Hulbert-Williams’ research is helping boost the wellbeing of people living with cancer and those who’ve survived it through improved healthcare services.
Nick, Head of the Department of Psychology, received the North West Cancer Research Advocacy Award for his work, including developing clinical trials from theoretical modelling to test psychological interventions.
Over his career, Nick has been awarded over £4.3m in grants for research funding, including from North West Cancer Research and Marie Curie. He has co-authored 68 peer-reviewed journal articles and nine book chapters and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research & Practice.
New systems to tackle global crime
Senior Lecturer in policing Dr Rebecca Phythian is leading a team of policing experts from across the world in a research project, granted almost £1m, to help develop a new global information system to tackle serious organised crime and people trafficking.
Rebecca, who currently holds a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship for her role in this work, has significant experience in policing practices. She was seconded to Lancashire Constabulary’s Evidence-Based Policing Research Hub, and her national research projects have included police wellbeing and the use of the Police National Database in agency information sharing.
Nurturing the next generation of dancers
“Dance matters and dance can change lives,” says Michelle Man, our Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in Dance, named ‘inspirational lecturer’ of the year at the 2021 One Dance UK Awards.
A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, she has taught for over 30 years across various professional, institutional and community contexts in Europe and the UK.
Michelle delivers research-embedded teaching in dance and creative arts, specialising in various areas, including choreographic practice, improvisation and mentoring student projects. She’s also committed to working in the community and bringing dance to other disciplines such as architecture, sports and health.
Supporting aspiring doctors to beat the odds
Dr Peter Leadbetter has been recognised for supporting aspiring doctors from non-traditional medical backgrounds through Edge Hill’s Foundation Year for Medicine.
Our Senior Lecturer in Medical Education was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship in August 2023 and a New Leaders Award in 2021 from ASME, both acknowledging his drive to widen participation in medicine amongst those who may not meet the academic requirements due to their background or other barriers.
A Chartered Psychologist, Peter is a member of a number of committees and organisations nationally that promote widening access to higher education, supporting Edge Hill’s vision of opportunity for all.
Helping machines decode text for better decision-making
Can machines understand human language? This is the focus of Professor Yannis Korkontzelos’ work in Natural Language Processing and Text Mining.
At a time of growing fascination around AI, our Professor in Computer Science is exploring how machines can analyse data in text form to extract knowledge, represent it in different forms, use it for decision-making and generate new knowledge.
The author and co-author of more than 70 research papers, Yannis is helping revolutionise how Open-Source Software is analysed, looking out for challenges and benefits highlighted in forums and social media globally so developers can make informed decisions about the best software to use.
Transforming post-surgery rehab
Our Professor of Musculoskeletal Research, Chris Littlewood, is leading a national study exploring a new approach to rehabilitating shoulder muscles and tendons after surgery – the most extensive study of its kind in the world.
Despite improvements in surgical techniques over the past 20 years, rehabilitation hasn’t changed, including wearing a sling for up to six weeks. Chris and his team are considering whether getting patients to move their arms earlier is more effective.
During his career, Chris has published over 110 peer-reviewed papers and put to work more than £7m in research grants, almost £3m as lead researcher. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in 2022.
Supporting everyone to thrive in education
From educating future teachers for race equality and diversity to strategic leadership on SEND in further education, our Professor of Inclusive Education, Peter Hick, is working to ensure everyone has the support to thrive in the educational system.
A former FE college teacher and educational psychologist by background, Peter leads our Faculty of Education’s Inclusion, Diversity and Identities Research Network and is the professional lead for Research Impact.
His interests include social justice in education and society, disability as a lens on the cultural construction of difference and inclusive practices with digital technologies.
An international reputation for literacy research
Our Secondary and Further Education Professor, Vicky Duckworth, has built a national and international reputation for adult education and literacy research and challenging inequality.
Leading our Social Justice and Equity Network, Vicky’s research and teaching focus on widening participation, inclusion, community action and social justice.
She has also published widely, advised on policy and holds several influential positions, including her role as trustee of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, which supports disadvantaged FE students into higher education and careers. She’s also on the board for the Association for Research in Post-Compulsory Education.