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Durham University

Research & business

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Dr Gillian Cooper, BSc. PhD

Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 40466

(email at


In 2001 I completed a Bsc in Psychology at Leeds University. Following a year working in NHS Research Development and Clinical Audit, I completed a PhD in Biopsychology at Liverpool University in 2006. My interdisciplinary thesis explored effects of Novel Antipsychotic Drugs on Body Weight, Appetite and Metabolism. During a further two years as a Post Doctoral Research Associate I examined psychopharmacological and metabolic effects of endocannabinoid drugs on appetite behaviours.

I joined Durham University in 2008 to develop and manage the Durham Endocrinology and Ecology Laboratory (based in the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Well Being). This has enabled me to pursue research interests in the areas of human reproductive and metabolic endocrinology. Most recently my focus has been on individualised experience of chronic conditions such as diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Current Research

In July 2010 I was awarded a grant from the Society for Endocrinology to examine relationships between female health, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) prevelance and body shape.

I am currently Co-Investigator for a three year ESRC award (2012-2015) exploring the impact of migration and acculturation within South Asian communities in the North-East of England and London. In addition to Project Management, I am examining group differences in stress and well being using self-reported data and salivary biomarkers.

Since 2014 I have been involved in the Personalised Medicine of Diabetes Study, a qualitative feasibility study examining personal experiences of living with and managing diabetes. These data will be used to inform future diabetes care and further research in the area of patient centred care. 

Examples of previous research studies I have been involved in:

The effects of marriage and fatherhood on salivary testosterone levels among Gambian men. In collaboration with Dr Rebecca Sear and Dr Alejandra Nunez de la Mora.

Adrenarche in British and Bangladeshi youth. Analyses of levels of salivary dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS) and salivary C-reactive protein in samples from Bangladeshi migrants to assess timing of pre-pubertal maturation. In collaboration with Prof. Gillian Bentley and Dr. Lauren Houghton.

The role of the colour red on human behaviour and endocrinology (testosterone and cortisol) during competitive sports. In collaboration with Dr Russell Hill.

Developing novel methods for measuring prolactin in dried blood spots, collected from breastfeeding mothers to examine influence of cot design on likelihood of breastfeeding behaviour. In collaboration with Dr. Lyn Robinson and Prof. Helen Ball.

Examining personality traits and hormone profiles in ten year old children from the Tees Valley Baby Study longitudinal cohort. In collaboration with Dr. Lynda Boothroyd and Professor Liz Meins (Psychology).



Teaching, supervision and other contributions

I contribute to level 3 UG modules (Health and Reproductive Ecology) and MSc modules (Medical Anthropology and Evolutionary Medicine ). I also supervise several UG, MAnth and MSc students in anthropology of health related projects, within and outside the laboratory. I am an advisory member of the Durham Anthropology Departmental Ethics Commitee and also a member of the University Human Tissue Board.

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Research Interests

  • Appetite and Energy Regulation
  • Biomarkers and Endocrinology
  • Chronic conditions relating to metabolic and / or reproductive health
  • Diabetes
  • Public Health and Behavioural Change

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  • Cooper, G.D., Goudie, A.J. & Halford, J.C.G. (2010). Acute effects of olanzapine on behavioural expression including the behavioural satiety sequence. Journal Of Psychopharmacology 24(7): 1069-1078.
  • Halford, J.C.G., Boyland, E.J., Cooper, G.D., Dovey, T.M., Smith, C.J., Williams, N., Lawton, C.L. & Blundell, J.E. (2008). Children's food preferences: Effects of weight status, food type, branding and television food advertisements (commercials). International Journal Of Pediatric Obesity 3(1): 31-38.
  • Cooper, G.D., Harrold, J.A., Halford, J.C.G. & Goudie, A.J. (2008). Chronic clozapine treatment does not induce weight gain or metabolic abnormalities but enhances adiposity: Implications for animal models of antipsychotic-induced weight gain. Progress In Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 32(2): 428-436.
  • Cooper, G.D., Pickavance, L.C., Wilding, J.P.H., Harrold, J.A., Halford, J.C.G. & Goudie, A.J. (2007). Effects of olanzapine: enhanced adiposity in the absence of hyperphagia, weight gain or metabotic abnormatities. Journal Of Psychopharmacology 21(4): 405-413.
  • Cooper, G.D., Pickavance, L.C., Wilding, J.P.H., Halford, J.C.G. & Goudie, A.J. (2005). A parametric analysis of olanzapine-induced weight gain. Psychopharmacology 181(1): 80-89.
  • Goudie, A.J., Cooper, G.D. & Halford, J.C.G. (2005). Antipsychotic-induced weight gain. Diabetes Obesity & Metabolism 7(5): 478-487.
  • Halford, J.C.G., Cooper, G.D. & Dovey, T.M. (2004). The pharmacology of human appetite expression. Current Drug Targets 5(3): 221-240.
  • Rodgers, R.J., Boullier, E., Chatzimichalaki, P., Cooper, G.D. & Shorten, A. (2002). Contrasting phenotypes of C57BL/6JOlaHsd, 129S2/SvHsd and 129/SvEv mice in two exploration-based tests of anxiety-related behaviour. Physiology & Behavior 77(2-3): 301-310.

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2011: Examining reproductive hormones against health and life course history: links between reproductive and metabolic syndromes (£2340.00 from )
  • 2010: Identifying relationships between salivary steroid and inflammatory biomarkers: A comprehensive examination of the development and manifestation of reproductive and metabolic disorders
  • 2010: Interactions between steroid profiles and inflammatory marker CRP (£10000.00 from )
  • 2009: Validation of preservation models for long-term storage of saliva - Bursary (£1440.00 from The Nuffield Foundation)