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Addictions Research Members


Prof Bev John

Professor Bev John has worked in the field of psychological health for many years, in research, teaching and treatment delivery, developing and evaluating health related interventions. She has also delivered psychological therapies. 

Her main focus is applied research in psychological health, in particular promoting positive behaviour change in mental and physical health and substance misuse; and the development and evaluation of psychological interventions. 

She has developed assessment and screening instruments that are now recommended in NICE guidelines (e.g. FAST alcohol screening test). She has extensive expertise in a wide range of research methodologies, including quantitative, qualitative and desk based approaches. 

Professor John has contributed to policy developments and the public debate on alcohol and gambling harm; and has published widely in peer reviewed journals and other relevant media.

She is an invited observer member of the Cross Party Group on Problem Gambling at Welsh Government and an invited expert on the Welsh Government’s Substance Misuse Treatment Framework for alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) Project Board.

Together with Professor Roderique-Davies, Professor John is a steering group member of the Beat the Odds Initiative, an international alliance of Recovery groups, including The Victorian Responsible Gambling Federation, in Melbourne, Australia, leading academics and addiction charities. 

Prof Gareth Roderique Davies

Gareth Roderique-Davies is Professor of Psychology at the University of South Wales with expertise in substance misuse, behavioural addiction, craving and the long-term effects of recreational drug use. 

He's an HCPC-registered Psychologist, a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Professor Roderique-Davies has worked on numerous funded and commissioned research projects with a range of external partners. 

He is an invited observer member of the Cross Party Group on Problem Gambling at Welsh Government and an invited expert on the Welsh Government’s Substance Misuse Treatment Framework for alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) Project Board.

Together with Professor Bev John, Professor Roderique-Davies is a steering group member of the Beat the Odds Initiative, an international alliance of Recovery groups, including The Victorian Responsible Gambling Federation, in Melbourne, Australia, leading academics and addiction charities. 

David Shearer_Sport

David Shearer is Professor of Elite Performance Psychology. His research focusses on group dynamics, extreme sports addiction, and readiness to train and compete in elite athletics. He is a BPS Chartered and HCPC-registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist and regularly consults with Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Dr Luke Midgley's research interests include the health and wellbeing of children and young people, vulnerable groups (including homeless, refugees and BAME); Multiple risk behaviours;  substance misuse and harm minimisation; and the health and wellbeing of patients, carers and families undergoing SACT and/or radiotherapy for solid tumour cancers.

Dr Richard May

Dr Richard May's research is primarily focused on communication interventions for individuals with intellectual disabilities, derived stimulus relations, verbal behaviour, and the mechanisms underlying the placebo response. 

He has authored numerous papers on topics related to language intervention and derived relational responding in journals such as the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Behaviour Analyst, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Research in Developmental Disabilities, and the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. He has served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis and regularly presents his research findings at both national and international conferences. 

Dr Klara Sabolova

Dr Klara Sabolova’s research focuses on the impact of family setting on children’s socio-emotional well-being and how the social and emotional skills develop over time and differ across cultures.

Dr James Greville

Dr James Greville is a lecturer at the School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies, University of South Wales. 

James obtained his bachelors degree in physiology & psychology from Cardiff University and then worked as a research assistant at Swansea University, before returning again to Cardiff to complete a doctorate in psychology. James then held lecturing positions at the College of Medicine at Swansea University and subsequently at Aberystwyth University before taking up his current role at USW. 

James conducts research in associative, causal, relational and relational learning, and how these processes are implicated in clinical psychology and mental health. Initially based in a cognitive science approach, James’ research has since developed a more applied and clinically-oriented focus. In particular, James has a passionate interest in how psychological principles can be used to help people overcome behavioural problems such as anxiety and addiction.


Beckie Ward, Addictions Research

Dr Rebecca Ward is a Senior Research Assistant at the University of South Wales. Her main focus is on developing a training package in partnership with third sector organisations to increase awareness of a condition called Alcohol-Related Brain Damage. The focus of this project is to utilise research findings in a novel way to inform the practice within the health and social care sector.

She has a background in bilingualism research in children with developmental disabilities with a specialist interest in children with Down syndrome. 

Dr Hamish Cox, research fellow

Dr Hamish Cox is a chartered psychologist specialising in sport, performance and youth development.

Dr Simon Newstead, Psychology Research Fellow

Dr Simon Newstead is a senior research assistant. He has a diverse scientific background that spans zoology, chemistry, psychology, and cognitive neuroscience, with a specialism in psychophysiological measures and neuromodulation. 

His research interests include:

  • Neuromodulation and its application in stroke rehabilitation, and the treatment of affective disorders, and the amelioration of cognitive decline.
  • The influence of inflammatory response, diet, and supplementation upon cognition and affective disorders.
  • The influence of exercise upon, cognition, inflammation, and biomarkers of stress.
More generally I also have interests in psychopharmacology, gerontology, and biology and health.

Bridie Stone, Research Assistant, Addictions Research

Bridie Stone is a Research Assistant. She has a BSc in Psychology as well as an MSc in Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, and has worked in mental health and drug and alcohol services on a voluntary basis as well as paid work as a support worker within the Youth Offending Service.

She is working on various projects surrounding alcohol and gambling, and has assisted researchers with projects that focus on various other topics such as mental health and language processing.

Harriet Hughes, PhD student, Psychology Research

Harriet Hughes is undertaking a ESF/KESS2 funded PhD research in collaboration with The Pobl Group, a third sector housing group that supports people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction as part of their care and support services. 

It aims to encourage consensus around identification, diagnosis and assist with recovery and re-integration into independent living.  

Her research interests include behavioural and substance addictions, Alcohol Related Brain Damage, screening and intervention, Sport and Health Psychology. 

Jamie-Torrence, PhD student Psychology

Jamie Torrence is a PhD student within the Addictions Research group. His research interests include gambling-related harm, the impacts of advertising and drug/alcohol research. 

His thesis title is:  The development of harm reduction interventions in the changing landscape of gambling and gaming.

The PhD aims to assess the "bespoke" risk that individuals may encounter when engaging with the current gambling environment. This includes mapping the numerous emerging product features and advertising strategies that have the potential to be particularly harmful in specific contexts. 

The project aims to ultimately develop a strategy or intervention that helps mitigate such harm in line with a public health approach.

Marie O Hanranhan PhD Psychology

Marie O’Hanrahan is a PhD student within the Addictions Research group undertaking ESF/KESS2 funded research in collaboration with The Pobl Group, a third sector housing group that supports people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction as part of their care and support services.

Marie’s research seeks to establish factors which predict substance use relapse among adults involved in recovery support services. 

Relapse prevention plays a key role in treating and maintaining a stable recovery for people with substance use addiction. Addiction has been described as a chronic relapsing condition so conducting in-depth research into relapse risk factors is an important step in preventing a return to substance use. Identifying the factors which predict relapse will also enable substance use recovery services, like Pobl, to provide effective treatment and support.  

Nyle Davies, Addictions Research PhD student

Nyle Davies is a PhD student within the Addictions Research Group. His research interest includes gambling screening and intervention and the role public health can play in addressing gambling harm.  

 The aim of his research is to develop a brief gambling screening and intervention toolkit designed to access the often overlooked low-risk population of gamblers and facilitate gambling harm prevention. This will be achieved by systematically identifying and evaluating the methods used to screen and treat gambling. As well as by developing an understanding of the unique challenges faced by service providers regarding gambling screening and treatment across several different third-sector health services.

The goal of this project is to improve the pathways of early identification and treatment of sub-clinical levels of gambling harm.

Laura Drummond, PhD student

Laura Drummond is a PhD student within the Addictions Research Group. Her research focusses on developing an App-based Self-help Intervention to Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is an acceptable, normal part of life and is safely enjoyed by many, however, 52% of those who consumed alcohol in the previous week exceeded guidelines (3/4 units female and male, respectively) on their heaviest drinking day indicating their drinking may place them at risk (ONS, 2017). 

Self-help is a useful tool as it offers cost-effective treatment that can be implemented with or without therapist contact. However, there are currently insufficient evidence-based apps available for individuals seeking help to reduce alcohol consumption. Therefore, the aim of Laura’s PhD is to identify a need for app-based self-help and to develop an app-based self-help intervention.  

Visiting Professors

Professor Neil Frude, Visiting professor

Professor Neil Frude is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working in the NHS and privately. He trained at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and then obtained a PhD in the University of Wales. For the past 40 years he has been engaged in therapy, training and research.

He has written several books on psychological topics and has published nearly 100 research articles.

He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and also a Fellow of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.

Professor samantha Thomas, Visiting Professor

Samantha Thomas is a Professor of Public Health at Deakin University in Australia. She is a public health sociologist with specific interest in the commercial and political determinants of health, public health advocacy, and public health policy. 

Her most recent research has explored the impact of gambling marketing on children and young men. 

She is currently conducting research investigating gambling normalisation, the commercial determinants of gambling harm, young people's perspectives on climate change, and the impact of tobacco industry marketing strategies in LMICs.

Professor Julia-Lewis, visiting profs, addictions research group

Professor Julia Lewis is Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist and clinical lead of the Gwent Specialist Substance Misuse Service in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. She sits on the Area Planning Board (APB) for Substance Misuse in Gwent as the ABUHB clinical representative in relation to Clinical Governance. She is a member of the Substance Misuse National Partnership Board, the advisory panel to Welsh Government. 

She has led on writing several advisory papers for the Cabinet Secretary for Health and is the ARBD lead on the treatment guidelines for alcohol currently being developed by UK-wide Public Health Agencies and Departments of Health.

Professor Raman Sakhuja, visiting professor, addictions research group

Professor Raman Sakhuja is Consultant Psychiatrist (substance misuse) in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Board where he is also Chair of Clinical Governance for Local Drug and Alcohol service and Training Lead for Local Drug and Alcohol Services. 

He is a former Chair of Faculty of Addictions & General Adult Psychiatry- Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales. He is an active researcher in collaboration with USW, CUBRIC and as part of Welsh Government subgroups. He has been recognised for contributing to research in addictions by the National Centre of Mental Health, Wales.