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Department of Anthropology: Parent-Infant Sleep Lab

Sleep Lab Staff

Prof Helen L. Ball, BSc, MA, PhD

Personal web page

Chair of the Board of Studies, Department of Anthropology
Member of the Sleep Lab

(email at h.l.ball@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

Regional Visibility Poster

Helen Ball obtained her PhD in Biological Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1992. Her undergraduate degree was in Human Biology, and her interests span both biology and anthropology. Helen spent several years in the Caribbean where she conducted her PhD fieldwork. Following her appointment as a Lecturer in Anthropology at Durham in 1993 Helen began a programme of research on night-time infant care, established the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab in 2000, and was promoted to Professor of Anthropology in 2007. Broadly defined, her research examines sleep ecology, particularly of infants, young children and their parents. This encompasses attitudes and practices regarding infant sleep, behavioural and physiological monitoring of infants and their parents during sleep, infant sleep development, and the discordance between cultural sleep preferences and biological sleep needs. She has conducted research in hospitals and the community, and contributes to national and international policy and practice guidelines on infant care. See www.dur.ac.uk/sleep.lab/. She pioneers the translation of academic research on infant sleep into evidence for use by parents and healthcare staff via ISIS -- the Infant Sleep Information Source website (www.isisonline.org.uk).

Dr Charlotte Russell, BA, PhD

Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology
Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Sleep Lab

Contact Dr Charlotte Russell

Biography

Charlotte received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Durham in 2007, having graduated with a BA in Human Sciences in 2001. Her doctoral thesis focused on a craniometric analysis of British and Danish archaeological populations, while her undergraduate dissertation addressed issues relating to the use and knowledge of traditional (folk) and complementary medicines in a North Yorkshire village.

Having spent 3 months working as a research assistant in the Sleep Lab in the summer of 2001, Charlotte returned in 2007 as NECOT (North-East Cot Trial) project manager.

In 2011 Charlotte and Professor Helen Ball obtained ESRC follow-on funding to set up the ISISonline (Infant Sleep Information Source - online) website. This website will provide a means by which up-to-date, evidence-based information about infant sleep can be disseminated to parents and health-care professionals.

Dr Alanna E.F. Rudzik, BA (Hons), MSc, PhD

 

Alanna obtained her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2010 (Prof. Lynnette Sievert, Chair).  Her doctoral research with women from São Paulo, Brazil, focused on the effects of stressful life circumstances on breastfeeding duration in the early post-partum period, employing both biological and ethnographic research methods. Alanna was awarded a doctoral fellowship from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to fund her PhD research. Before coming to Durham, she held a SSHRC post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto, working with Prof. Daniel Sellen, in which she investigated cultural norms of infant feeding and mothering among Torontonian women. Alanna joined the Parent/Infant Sleep Lab in January 2012 upon being awarded a Durham University International Junior Research Fellowship.  Her current research focuses on the influence of breast- versus formula feeding on the development of sleeping patterns in infants through the first year of life. Other research interests include women's experiences of breastfeeding, determinants of breastfeeding duration, food security and maternal mental health, and biomarkers of stress.

Mrs Dawn Mee, MSc, BSc.

Sleep Lab Administrator

Dawn studied a Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences (biological anthropology) at Queen's campus Stockton and graduated in June 2007. Dawn was involved in a Junior Research Project having received funding from the university's Junior Research Associate Scheme. The research project was a preliminary study centred in the parent-infant sleep lab and was to further investigate whether dummies do help prevent SIDS or whether there is a difference in night time behavioural patterns of babies who use dummies and those that do not, and whether parental and infant night time interaction differs depending on whether a baby uses a dummy or not. She gained a Master of Science by research in March 2010. Her Master's study assessed intervention ideas that are used to reduce attrition in Randomised Control Trials. She was both Data Manager and Acting Trial Manager for the NECOT Trial (2007-2010) and now assists with running the Sleep Lab and developing the new MSc in Evolutionary Medicine.

 

Ms Catherine Taylor 

PhD Candidate in Anthropology 

Catherine graduated from Durham University with a BSc in Human Sciences (medical anthropology) in 2007 and was awarded 1+3 postgraduate studentship funding from the ESRC/MRC.   Catherine continued to study at Durham University and graduated in 2008 with an MA in Research Methods in Anthropology and is currently in the final year of her PhD program. 

As a postgraduate student Catherine has worked as a research assistant on the North East Cot Trial (NECOT) and her PhD research is a qualitative follow-up investigation of NECOT involving mothers who participated in the study and NHS postnatal ward staff.

In 2010 Catherine secured funding to complete a 3 month internship at the charity Diabetes UK and in 2011 she was awarded additional ESRC funding to spend 2 months visiting the University of North Carolina, USA.  During this trip she was under the supervision of Professor Miriam Labbok director of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) and also spent time at Duke University alongside postdoctoral fellow Dr Kristin Klingaman, a previous supervisee of Professor Helen Ball at Durham University.

Ms Meg Newark, MA, BA

PhD candidate in Anthropology

Meg completed a Masters of Arts in Research Methods in Anthropology at Durham University in 2008 and is in the second year of a PhD. The ESRC Case funded project is in partnership with Sure Start children's centres in Stockton-on-Tees. The study comprises the design, delivery and evaluation of two social marketing interventions targeting the sleep practices of children aged three and four years old. The interventions were designed via participatory research with a group of parents accessing Sure Start children's centres. One intervention targeted parents through centres and the other targeted children through private and school nurseries.

Ms Denise Crane, MA, BSc

PhD Candidate in Anthropology

Denise entered higher education as a mature student in 2004 completing the Foundation Programme based at Durham University Queen's Campus. Denise progressed onto her degree at Durham University and graduated  in 2008 with a BSc in Human Sciences (Biological Anthropology). In 2008 Denise received a 1+3 MRC/ESRC Interdisciplinary Studentship award  and in September 2009 completed her MA in Anthropological Research Methods. Denise is currently undertaking her PhD on the BradICS project which is researching  infant care practices and unexpected infant death in the multi-cultural urban population of Bradford.

Sleep Lab Associates

Dr Anna Cronin-de-Chavez

PhD in Anthropology completed Nov 2011

Dr Lane Volpe, BA, MA, PhD

Honorary Research Fellow, Medical Anthropology

Lane received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Durham in 2010, working with supervisor Professor Helen Ball in the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab. She previously served as the Project Director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, USA. As Project Director, Lane directed part of an interdisciplinary research project entitled "Predicting and Preventing Child Neglect in Teen Mothers" with Principal Investigators Dr. John Borkowski and Dr. James McKenna. Having trained and worked at the only two anthropology-based behavioural infant sleep labs in the world, she is well-versed in the theories and contemporary research findings surrounding infant sleep, including such topics as breastfeeding, bedsharing, SIDS, nighttime parenting, and public health policy. Lane's doctoral thesis examines the nighttime parenting styles of adolescent and adult first-time mothers and their 4-month old infants. Her research also explores how mothers receive and apply medical and public health recommendations, and how their personal experiences affect the decisions they make regarding infant care. She previously completed both her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude (1998) and Master of Arts (2002) degrees in Anthropology at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Lane has been a Durham Doctoral Fellow, a member of the Medical Anthropology Research Group, and has tutored for the Medicine in the Community module, a component of undergraduate education in the School of Medicine and Health at Durham University.

Dr Kristin Klingaman, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
Carolina Consortium on Human Development, Center for Developmental Science
Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Contact Kristin.Klingaman@duke.edu

Kristin completed her PhD in Biological Anthropology in 2009, supervised by Professor Helen Ball at Durham University. Her research focused on breastfeeding after caesarean section delivery and involved a randomised controlled trial in a Newcastle hospital.

Dr. Klingaman is a 2010-12 postdoctoral research associate in the Center for Developmental Science, www.cds.unc.edu. She is mentored by Professor Diane Holditch-Davis at Duke University's School of Nursing. Their project studies decisions and support regarding the delivery and feeding of late preterm infants. Kristin is also an associate of the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute www.sph.unc.edu/breastfeeding, directed by Professor Miriam Labbok in the UNC-CH Department of Maternal and Child Health.

Kristin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2005, where she majored in Economics and Honors Anthropology. She worked at the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory with Professor James McKenna. Her research interests include evolutionary medicine, childbirth, breastfeeding, public health, and life history theory.

Dr Caroline Jones, MA, MSc, BSc

PhD in Anthropology completed May 2011

Caroline Jones graduated with a 1st in Natural Sciences at Durham (2005) before completing a taught Msc (with Distinction) in Biological Anthropology in 2006. She was awarded an ESRC/MRC 1+3 scholarship to work with Prof. Helen Ball, Prof. Carolyn Summerbell and Dr. Tessa Pollard, for which she investigated sleep in preschool children in Stockton-on-Tees, and the associations of sleep with child health. Caroline also spent 3 months conducting research at Hasbro Children's Hospital Pediatric Sleep Clinic in the USA, and the Children's Museum of Manhattan, in 2010. She submitted her PhD thesis in Feb 2011 and passed her viva in April 2011. She now has an MRC-funded postdoctoral position at Cambridge and continues her collaboration with the Sleep Lab and producing papers for publication on her PhD research.