Applied Health Research Group

AHRG image


The Applied Health Research Group brings together researchers from Psychology and Audiology. We are interested in applying basic biomedical, neuroscience and behavioural research to clinical and other populations. We conduct research with a variety of different populations focussing on a range of different behaviours and conditions. These include: diabetes, allergy, eating behaviour, addictive behaviour, mental illness, rare genetic conditions, hearing loss and epilepsy. We also have expertise in decision making and memory research. Our portfolio includes research from fundamental science to multi-disciplinary translational studies. The non-medical professional expertise of our group and our links with the Aston Brain Centre are internationally unique. 

Director of Research: Dr Claire Farrow

Group members:

Lou Atkinson             

Rebecca Knibb           

Valia Rodriguez          

Jackie Blissett

Michael Larkin

Rachel Shaw

Dr Katharine Chisholm

Gemma Mansell

Dan Shepperd

Claire Farrow

Robert Nash

Jason Thomas

Amanda Hall

Helen Pattison

Richard Tunney

Gemma Heath

Helen Pryce

Jane Waite


For currently available PhD research projects in the Applied Health Research Group, see here.

Research Themes:

We conduct research which makes a real difference to clinical practice and to the health of the paediatric population and their families.

Our cross cutting research themes are concerned with supporting the development of children with chronic illnesses and conditions and their clinical, psychological and social sequelae; the prevention of illness, disorders and accidents in children and young people and research which contributes to understanding children’s lives through innovative methodologies which engage children and families in research. 

We conduct research with children and families with a range of different physical and mental health conditions, including:

  • Diabetes 
  • Myopia
  • Allergy 
  • Obesity
  • Attention disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Feeding and eating disorders
  • Rare genetic conditions
  • Hearing loss
  • Epilepsy. 

Our research is cross-disciplinary; bringing together researchers in Health Psychology, Pharmacy, Optometry and Audiology. The non-medical professional expertise and links with paediatric research in the Aston Brain Centre are internationally unique. We work closely with specialist children’s hospitals and charities, ensuring that our research is clinically relevant and applied to practice. Our portfolio includes research from fundamental science to multi-disciplinary translational studies. 

For more information on Aston Research for Children's and Young People's Health please click here.

Staff members:
Dr Lou Atkinson
Professor Jackie Blisset
Dr Claire Farrow
Dr Amanda Hall
Dr Gemma Heath
Dr Dan Kirby
Dr Rebecca Knibb
Professor Afzal Mohammed
Professor Helen Pattison
Dr Helen Pryce
Dr Rachel Shaw
Dr Jane Waite
Dr Raj Singh Badhan

The Phenomenology of Health and Relationships group generally includes staff and postgraduates from Aston and further afield (we are often joined by collaborators from Birmingham, the London School of Economics, and London South Bank). We are an interdisciplinary group (Psychology, Philosophy and Social Policy) and we meet fortnightly to share and develop concepts and methods for understanding the role of relationships in health, via the lens of phenomenological inquiry.

Staff members:
Dr Gemma Heath
Dr Michael Larkin
Professor Helen Pattison
Dr Rachel Shaw
Dr Dan Shepperd
Mr William Day

The PEACh research group investigate the behavioural and cognitive aspects underpinning human eating behaviour from the earliest stages of life, through childhood and adolescence and into adulthood.
Our work examines biopsychological, affective, psychopharmacological, cognitive, and social influences on eating behaviour and adiposity. 

Projects exploit a wide range of methods, including experimental studies of responses to food stimuli and manipulations of eating behaviour, longitudinal designs, observational methods and intervention design and evaluation. We study pregnant women, the fetus, infants, children, adolescents, young and older adults, and our studies include healthy and clinical populations (e.g. obesity, autism, diabetes, mental health problems). 

Our interests span from basic physiological processes involved in eating (e.g. taste perception, neural mechanisms of appetite regulation and food choice), cognitive processes (e.g. biases of memory and attention), to social influences on food selection and intake (e.g. parent feeding practices, social norms, cultural effects). 

Our interventions are diverse, ranging from those based in community settings to e-health and apps. Our work has been funded by NIHR, ESRC, BBSRC, MRC, Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust, industry and charities, and we are very active in public engagement in science.

Staff members:
Professor Jackie Blissett
Dr Claire Farrow
Dr Rob Nash
Dr Jason Thomas
Miss Nikki Salmon

Our overall strategy focuses on exploring the lived experience of people with hearing and balance conditions across the lifespan. We aim to improve healthcare for people with hearing and balance conditions through community-based, clinically-based and population health research.

We research the experiences of people living with hearing and balance conditions, and use qualitative methods to understand what it’s like to live with conditions such as tinnitus or hearing loss. At the population level, we work with cohort studies to research the impact of hearing and balance conditions on a range of outcomes, such as health and education. We also research how service users access, interact with and are supported by clinical services. We develop, evaluate and implement interventions to improve access and shared decision making in clinical services. 

Staff members:
Dr Amanda Hall
Dr Helen Pryce

For currently available PhD research projects in the Applied Health Research Group, see HERE