Originating from the town of Bakewell in the centre of England, I studied Chemistry and Molecular Physics at the University of Nottingham. I subsequently obtained my PhD from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh under the supervision of Prof Martin McCoustra. My research focussed on the thermal and non-thermal desorption of small aromatic species from interstellar dust grain mimics based on amorphous silicates. I demonstrated the importance of grain surface morphology on thermal desorption, with realistic interstellar grains presenting high energy binding sites that lead to a delayed desorption behaviour on astrophysical timescale. My work also revealed a highly efficient desorption pathway for species bound to water ice under low energy electron irradiation resulting from energy transfer through the H-bonding network of water. Finally, through work conducted at the Central Laser Facility of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire I showed that photon stimulated desorption from mixed ices can lead to the injection of translationally hot molecules into the interstellar medium (ISM).
In 2009 I took up a postdoctoral research associate position at Aarhus University under the supervision of Prof. Liv Hornekær where I performed measurements demonstrating the catalytic role played by PAH molecules in H2 formation under interstellar conditions. I also derived an value for the graphite interlayer binding energy based on PAH desorption in work supported by density functional theory calculations carried by the group of Prof. Bjørk Hammer at Aarhus. Between 2010 and 2012 I was a employed as an Experienced Researcher as part of the FP7 Marie Curie ITN ("LASSIE").
I moved to the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in Germany where I worked in the "Dynamics at Surfaces" group of Prof. Dr. Helmut Zacharias in the Physikalisches Institut. I performed low temperature thermal desorption measurements probing, for the first time, the desorption of small molecules from crystalline interstellar silicates. I also conducted a project at the free-electron laser "FLASH" at DESY in Hamburg proving the soft x-ray induced desorption of carbonaceous molecules from graphite, revealing the ejection of carbon cluster as well as a variety of product ions. I was also involved in the measurement of the energetics of femtosecond laser-induced desorption of hydrogen from graphite.
In 2018 I returned to Aarhus University and am working closely with researchers employed as part of the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN "EUROPAH"