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Department of Anthropology: Parent-Infant Sleep Lab

Sleep Lab Staff

Dr Charlotte Russell, BA, PhD

Sleep Lab Manager & Impact Evidence Manager in the Department of Anthropology
Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Sleep Lab

Contact Dr Charlotte Russell

Charlotte's research interests focus on the practical and theoretical application of evolutionary medicine to issues relating to childbirth and childhood, with special focus on the consequences of parent-infant separation. She also works on the translation of research evidence for public consumption, its role in influencing public behaviour, and in effecting change in policy and practice. 


Charlotte received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Durham in 2007, following 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 Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS) website. This website provides a means by which up-to-date, evidence-based information about infant sleep can be disseminated to parents and health-care professionals. We also have also developed an app to complement the website; educational materials; contribute widely to policy development; and provide training sessions for HCPs and volunteers working with parents.

Charlotte now holds a full-time research position in the Department of Anthropology, running ISIS and overseeing Sleep Lab projects; supervising student projects and lab staff; and pursuing her own lines of research which complement the Sleep Lab's core themes of investigation.

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.

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