At school my favourite subject was human biology. When I was worried about what I should do for a career my parents gave me some very sage advice:
“Study what you love. That way you will stick at it for long enough to become an expert – and once you’re an expert in something you’ll always be in demand!”
So that’s exactly what I did:
- I received a First Class B.Sc. degree in Neuroscience from the University of Nottingham in (2001)
- I got my Neurobiology Ph.D. after 3 years of using fMRI brain scanning to study sensory integration (2005)
- My Post-Doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute in Tuebingen was published in the Journal of Neuroscience (2010)
Along the way I decided to share my love of science and particularly the human brain with the widest possible audience. And because I’ve never lost the knack of explaining complicated science concepts in plain English my career as a science communicator has slowly but surely gone from strength-to-strength.
In addition to the monthly blogs I’ve been posting here for the past 5 years, I’ve been the presenter or science consultant for TV series on every terrestrial channel in the UK. A weekly science slot on XFM 104.9FM called Geek Chic which aired every Sunday in 2014 evolved into a weekly podcast available on iTunes, Libsyn and Audioboom. My various TV projects have aired on television channels all over the world including BBC, ITV, Channel4, Sky, Discovery, Nat Geo, CBC and even MTV.
My first book Sort Your Brain Out was launched in April 2014 and has become a best seller with over 25,000 copies sold in it’s first year! Through the exposure that my TV work and book have brought me over the years I’m now becoming extremely busy on the speaking circuit, having given talks in schools all over southern England for many years, not to mention a diverse range of businesses. I really enjoy speaking face-to-face with live audiences. And in recent times demand has spread from the UK to continental Europe with engagements in Czech Republic (Academic Film Olomouc), Germany, Greece, Netherlands and Croatia in 2015 alone! My experience has invariably been that people are extremely motivated to better understand their brains and how to get them working better. I never get bored of answering these questions (in fact when I spoke at the Cheltenham Science Festival it took me more than an hour to answer everybody’s questions in the bar after the show!)
- “How To Save £1000” BBC2 (2015, BBC Watchdog) demonstrating the Marshmellow Test with 4 year olds in a nursery
- “The UK’s First Cloned Pet” This Morning ITV (2014, ITV productions) with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
- “The Big Debate” Titchmarsh ITV (2014, ITV productions) discussing using Xenon gas to potentially delete painful memories
- “Pheromone Parties” This Morning ITV (2014, ITV productions) with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
- “Spinal Chip Enables Paralysed People To Move Again” Newsround: Children’s BBC (2014, BBC)
- “Officeland” Canadian Broadcast Corporation (2014, CBC)
- “Sex Hospital” 5 x 60 mins by TLC (2013, Betty)
- “The Tech Show” 26 x 30min showcasing latest sci, tech & engineering Discovery Science Channel (2012, Reef)
- “Plain Jane” MTV – training young ladies on brain-based tricks & tips to boost confidence in the dating game
- “This Morning“ ITV a monthly strand called Don’t be a Slave to your Brain over the summer of 2011
- Tom Dyckhoff’s “The Secret Life of Buildings” Channel 4 – EEG demo of open plan office distractions
- Tony Robinson’s “Gods and Monsters” Channel 4 – when epilepsy was mistaken for demonic possession
- “Body Language Secrets” a.k.a. “How to Get What you Want” 8 x 60 min on Sky One
- “Naked Britain” 3 x 30 mins for Sky One
- “People Watchers” 20 x 60 mins for BBC
As well as presenting series and contributing to one off television programmes I’ve also provided science consultancy services for several TV projects including helping to design the games for “Britain’s Best Brain” on Five in Nov/Dec 2009, and developing a science-based 3D feature film for Blink Films; doing for the brain what “The Great Sperm Race” did for the story of conception.
My very first presenting job was a 20-part social psychology series for BBC2 called “The People Watchers”, where we performed a wide variety of social psychology experiments on unsuspecting members of the public.
Previously, before that I was the science consultant (and featured actor) for a feature-length, Emmy Award winning documentary for Channel 4 and National Geographic, which described the biological processes that take place “Inside the Living Body” from birth until death.
Other television credits include contributions to the 5-part strand ‘Teen Club’ for This Morning and a 3-part prime-time ITV series called “How to Get More Sex”.
I have also designed a Brain Gym in central London to test the brain power of the public, offering advice on how to improve memory and decision making strategies.
Over the past 4 years I have been developing my motivational speaking repetoire from “Brain Coach Live!” for secondary school pupils in their GCSE or A-Level years. These talks have been successfully adapted for undergraduate and post-graduate university students and particularly over the last year or two business audiences. These talks cover various ways in which a person can optimise the functionality of their brain using memory tricks , techniques for minimising and harnessing stress, a brain-focused explanation of why practice makes perfect and a range of practical tips on how to boost general brain health.
During my undergraduate days in Nottingham, I co-founded an extremely successful club night featuring every DJ from the “drum and bass” hall of fame over three years of monthly events, and even managing to scrape a First Class degree at the same time.
A bit of a daredevil I have surfed, climbed, dived and white water rafted in every continent bar Antarctica
I am very active on Twitter, tweeting at least three brain-related news stories everyday.
I also religiously produce a blog each and every month for this website on a wide variety of topics.
Over the years I’ve developed extensive experience on the radio appearing on various regional and national radio stations discussing subjects from the effects of partying hard on the human brain, the brain benefits of volunteering, how to make better decisions, adopting new habits, the impact of digital technology on the brain and the brain’s responses to beauty, flirting and sexual attraction.
Although most of my journalistic output has been through my blog, I’ve contributed several times over the years to the health/science pages of the Mail on Sunday and London Lite.