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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, Addictions Research GroupG

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 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. He has served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis. 

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 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.

Dr Simon Newstead, Psychology Research Fellow

Dr Simon Newstead 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.

Addictions Research Group - darren quelch

Dr Darren Quelch is a senior research assistant in the Addictions Research Group. His main focus is increasing awareness and service provision for Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD) through development of an accredited training package for healthcare professionals.

Darren’s research interests include:

  • Neurobiology of addiction
  • Treatment of alcohol withdrawal and service development
  • Psychopharmacology underpinning alcohol, opiate, stimulant, psychedelic and cannabinoid use
  • Receptor pharmacology
  • Neuroimaging including novel PET tracer development and fMRI modalities

Prior to joining the Addictions Research Group, Darren completed a PhD in translational neuropharmacology. His post-doctoral research investigated modulation of reward processing in alcohol dependence using fMRI. He has also worked as a medical doctor, with experience in intensive care and anaesthetics, general practice and acute medicine.

Martin Graff

Dr Martin Graff’s main research interests focus on the psychology of using social media, online communication, and online relationships.  He is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Psychologist and has worked as a visiting scholar at the State University of New York, Cortland, USA and Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. 

He has delivered research lectures on the psychology of online relationships and social media in the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and has currently published over fifty scientific articles.  

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.

Addictions Research Group - Josh Molina.jpg

Josh Molina is a research assistant who holds a BSc in Criminology and Psychology, as well as a MSc in Clinical and Abnormal Psychology. Josh has assisted on various projects including those related to mental health, suicide, caregiver coping strategies and language processing.

Research Students

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

Addictions Research Group - Odette Hornby

Odette is Sport Psychology PhD student within the USW Addictions Research Group. Her research focuses on examining the concept of addiction in extreme sports participants. 

The research aims to draw and test parallels between addiction to extreme sport and classic substance use disorders, in order to discover the feasibility of implementing a treatment program using extreme sport for those with substance use disorders.

Elin Thorkildsen, PhD student, Psychology Addictions

Elin is a Psychology PhD student. Her thesis explores the identification of frontal lobe impairments and the dysexecutive syndrome in Alcohol Related Brain Damage. The aim is to develop a brief, ecologically valid screening tool to improve the detection of these impairments, to help reduce the risk of unmet needs in individuals with alcohol related brain damage.

Elin has prior experience of working within community mental health services, and has a MSc Clinical Psychology. She has an interest in research focusing on the screening, assessment and treatment of neurological disorders and mental health conditions, and in research focusing on aspects that can improve the affected individuals’ situations.

Visiting Staff

Professor Neil Frude, Visiting professor

Neil Frude is a consultant clinical psychologist and Visiting Professor at the University of South Wales. He has published a number of books, chapters and papers on a wide range of topics including clinical psychology and positive therapy. 

In 2004 Neil devised a book prescription strategy for mental health which has since been implemented in national library-based schemes in Wales and England that have now been used by over two million adults and children. He has also developed a number of psychoeducation courses that have been widely used within the NHS across Wales and have been delivered to over 10,000 people in the community. Neil is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and in 2014 he received the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 

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 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. 

Addictions Research group - Dr Rob Heirene

Dr Rob Heirene is Lecturer in Psychology at Charles Darwin University, Australia. After completing his PhD with the USW Addictions Research Group, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Brain & Mind Centre, University of Sydney. He is passionate about the study of addiction aims conduct applied research that can help reduce and prevent the harms associated with activities like gambling and substance use. His current research focuses on a variety of topics in the field of addiction science, including: 

  • using technology to reduce gambling-related harm
  • the assessment and treatment of alcohol-related cognitive impairment
  • exploring the parallels between the experiences of extreme sports athletes and those with substance and behavioural addictions
  •  how we can improve the way we undertake addiction research, including the adoption of open science practices and need for replication studies in the field.