The Team

Academic Staff

Professor Amanda Kirby
Professor Kirby has a chair in developmental disorders in education at the University of South Wales. She founded The Dyscovery Centre in 1997. Her background as a GP and also working in community paediatrics and psychiatry has provided a good understanding of developmental disorders in both child- and adulthood. She is also the parent of an adult with developmental disorders so has personal as well as professional experience of living with the difficulties. Her PhD has focused on the stage of emerging adulthood in DCD. She has lectured internationally and spoken to over 30,000 teachers, health professionals and parents. She is currently patron of the Dyspraxia Association in New Zealand, Advisor to the Dyspraxia Association in Ireland and Medical Advisor to the Dyspraxia Foundation in the UK.

Professor Ian Stuart-Hamilton
Prof Stuart-Hamilton was born and raised in Barrow-in-Furness (memories of which he has tried to suppress ever since). Following three years at St John’s College, Oxford, he immediately found himself doing a further three year stretch at the Dept of Psychology, Manchester University, where he got a PhD in the role of phonemic awareness in children’s early reading and spelling. In a complete about face, Ian started his research career at the Centre for Cognitive and Ageing Research at Manchester University, conducting a study on cognitive changes in Alzheimer’s Disease. He then spent a further two years at the same institution on a grant co-authored with Prof Pat Rabbitt, looking at how older adults read and spell. Ian then moved in succession to Lancaster University, Buckingham University (where he set up their Psychology degree course), University College Worcester (first as head of psychology and latterly as Professor and head of the MSc Gerontology course), before coming to Glamorgan as Professor of Developmental Psychology in 2003.

Dr Catherine Purcell
Dr Catherine Purcell specialises in research that explores the link between perception and action in natural contexts in typical and neurodiverse populations. Prior to joining the University of South Wales in August 2012, Catherine was a research fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she developed virtual reality demonstrations aimed at enhancing drivers’ awareness of the perceptual errors in judging vehicle approach speeds. She also completed her PhD at Royal Holloway where she measured the perceptual errors in predicting vehicle approach in typical and atypical children and adults.

Senior Research Assistants

Dr Amy Romijn
Dr Amy Romijn is Senior Research Assistant for The Dyscovery Centre research team (Research Dyscovery). She is an early career researcher with expertise in nutrition and mental health, with a particular focus on associations between the gut microbiome and depression. Other areas of research interest include omega 3 fatty acids, nutrient supplements, inflammation and immune function, and links between autism and the gut microbiome. Since starting work at The Dyscovery Centre she has been developing knowledge in the area of neurodevelopmental disorders and she is keen to explore the relationships among neurodevelopmental disorders, eating and feeding behaviours, nutrition, obesity and other health-related behaviours.

Hayley Gibbon
Hayley Gibbon started working as a Senior Research Assistant for the Dyscovery Centre research team in July 2016. Alongside her role with Research Dyscovery, Hayley is completing her PhD within the field of Occupational Psychology. Her thesis explores the health and well-being implications of telecommuting/telework as a 21st century work style arrangement. Working with the team Hayley is keen to expand her knowledge and expertise within the field of neurodiversity. Over forthcoming years she would like to merge her PhD interest with neurodevelopmental research, exploring the possible relationships between neurodiverse profiles and work patterns. Going forward Hayley will be active in all components of research, including grant submissions, data collection/analysis, and publication writing.