Research Team

University of Stirling

Professor Anne Whittaker

Anne is a Professor of Nursing and Clinical Academic in Applied Alcohol and Drugs Research. She leads a programme of research on policy and practice in relation to the treatment and care of individuals and families affected by substance use. Her clinical background includes senior nursing, managerial and educational posts in addictions, blood-borne viruses, mental health, and learning disabilities services within the NHS and Local Authority Social Work. Anne has qualifications in mental health and learning disabilities nursing, alcohol & drug studies, psychology, psychotherapy and community care for people with complex needs. Anne completed her PhD in 2008, which explored the topic of fathers, fathering and fatherhood within the context of drug use/dependence. She has a longstanding research interest in the care of pregnant women who use drugs and is the author of the DrugScope book (2011) ‘The essential guide to problem substance use during pregnancy’.

Anne works collaboratively with a wide range of health and social science academics, clinicians, policymakers and service users, both nationally and internationally. She has designed and led interdisciplinary studies on the treatment and care of pregnant women, parents (mothers and fathers), and children affected by substance use. Her research interests are multi-level – from clinical practice to improve outcomes for families, to multi-agency and multi-disciplinary models and systems of care, to wider issues of health and social justice. Anne is currently Academic lead for the Families Research Theme in the Drugs Research Network for Scotland (DRNS).

Dr Emma Coles

Emma is a Research Fellow in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Research Unit, University of Stirling. She has worked on qualitative research projects on a wide range of topics, including healthcare quality improvement, health inequalities, disability and social inclusion. Emma spent 6 years working on the Scottish Government-funded Smile4Life oral health and homelessness project at the University of Dundee, during which time she completed her PhD on homelessness and engagement with health promotion. 

Calum Lindsay

Calum is a Research Fellow in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Research Unit. He is also a PhD candidate within the University of Stirling’s Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection. His thesis is a qualitative study exploring the wellbeing of children and families with precarious, unsettled or uncertain immigration status and the role of services in these families’ lives. Calum is a qualified social worker and has worked for organisations providing support to refugees, asylum applicants and precarious migrants in Glasgow.

Dr Melanie Dembinsky

Melanie is a Research Fellow in the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Research Unit, as well as the Faculty of Health Science at the University of Stirling. Melanie has a PhD in Medical Anthropology which explored the lived experiences of Aboriginal women with breast cancer in Western Australia. She has worked on various research projects in the past which all focussed on health research and marginalised and vulnerable groups.

King’s College London

Dr Polly Radcliffe
Polly Radcliffe

Polly is Senior Research Fellow in the National Addictions Centre, King’s College London. She has over twenty years of experience of qualitative research in health and social care that has focused on gender and identity in the context of the criminal justice system, substance use treatment and health care services. She has extensive experience of accessing and engaging hard to reach research participants and analysing qualitative data using thematic, discourse and narrative analysis. Prior to coming to the National Addiction Centre, Polly worked on research projects at the Institute for Criminal Policy Research and the University of Kent. Polly has a PhD in Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Ms Lucy Cullen

Lucy works in medical sociology and is based at Kings College London. Her research uses qualitative methodologies and focuses on the health experiences of young people, particularly in relation to infectious disease and therapeutic intervention.

Dr Landon Kuester

Landon is a Research Fellow at the National Addiction Centre, King’s College London. Previously, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London. At Queen Mary he worked on a multidisciplinary project exploring interventions for mental health across cultures funded by the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). He also evaluated the Psychologically Informed Planned Environments (PIPEs) programme currently being piloted by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and National Probation Service (NPS). Landon is an experienced prison ethnographer, with an interest in understanding offender access to economic, social and health services. His doctoral research explored HIV-positive inmates ‘lived experience’ of violence, agency, and negotiated health within a US prison system. He received his PhD from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and BA from Brown University.