Research Team

Find out more about the research team



Dr Hayley Mills

Dr Hayley Mills is the Director of the PPARG and is a chartered sport and exercise psychologist (HCPC registered). Hayley is an experienced mixed methods researcher who contributes substantial psychological expertise to a wide spectrum of pregnancy and postnatal physical activity projects. Hayley is the Programme Director for the MSc Applied Exercise and Health Science at CCCU. Hayley also holds a seat on the scientific advisory board of ukactive and is a core committee member for UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) Physical Activity Expert Committee for Communications.


Dr Marlize De Vivo

Dr Marlize De Vivo is co-director of the PPARG. Dr Marlize De Vivo is a qualified Biokineticist (HPCSA registered) and Sports Rehabilitator and Trainer (BASRaT registered).  During her PhD Marlize delivered a multiphase research project with the aim of understanding and predicting the physical activity behaviour of pregnant women. In her present role as Senior Research Fellow at CCCU, she is involved in various projects related to the promotion and support of an active motherhood. Marlize is also a specialist pregnancy and postnatal committee member for the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) Physical Activity Expert Committee for Communications.

Dr Jamie O'Driscoll

Dr Jamie O’Driscoll is a member of the PPARG. Jamie has considerable clinical expertise and experience having worked extensively within the Cardiovascular Sciences Research Group and Fetal Medicine Unit at St Georges Hospital, London. Jamie’s specific area of expertise is the physiological mechanisms underlying normal and disease processes as well as the effects of exercise interventions. Jamie utilises novel approaches to image and analyse cardiac structure, function and mechanics, these approaches based on echocardiography as well as non-invasive autonomic monitoring and exercise testing. These measures are combined with laboratory-based cellular and molecular investigation to define the underlying mechanisms.

Recent work has investigated cardiac maladaptation’s in term pregnancies with preeclampsia, obese pregnancy and gestational diabetes. Other work has investigated the reversal of postpartum cardiovascular dysfunction in an animal model of preeclampsia.


Stacey Draper

Stacey Draper is an associate member of the PPARG and is conducting her doctoral research in physical activity and pregnancy, with particular interest in assisted reproductive treatments. She is exploring the effect of being physically active during assisted reproductive treatments, investigating current perceptions and fears about being active and documenting the need for appropriate guidelines to address this population.

Stacey is currently working as a research assistant for Spear after recently graduating from CCCU with an MSc in Applied Exercise and Health Science. She also holds a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science and has a keen interest in health psychology.

Her previous work experience consists of working in a gym environment as a gym instructor and personal trainer before going on to teacher PE at primary and secondary schools. Stacey now aspires to gain her PhD and work in academia.


Emma Brockwell


Emma Brockwell is a Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist. She treats women of all ages with all women’s health related conditions. She is passionate about pre and postnatal rehabilitation. She specialises in enabling women back to exercise, particularly running if they have any pelvic health dysfunction or are postnatal. She has co-authored the first ‘Returning to Running Postnatal Guidelines’ and has spoken about this subject at many medical and exercise conferences. Emma has written for many magazines including Women’s Running and Women’s Health magazine and is writing a book  Emma is also the co-founder of Pelvic Roar a physiotherapy led collaboration aiming to promote and unite all things ‘pelvic health’.  She is on the advisory board for The Active Pregnancy Foundation. She works at The Halos Clinic in Oxted, Surrey and Body Logic Health in Battersea, London.


Gráinne Donnelly


Gráinne Donnelly (BscHons PgCert MCSP HCPC) is an Advanced Physiotherapist and Team Lead for Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Services in the Western Health and Social Care Trust in N. Ireland. She also runs her own private practice. She is a board member on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) N. Ireland committee and a full member of the Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy professional network of the CSP. She is currently studying for a Masters in Advancing Practice at the University of Ulster and is involved in several preliminary research projects in the field of perinatal pelvic health. She is passionate about improving the quality and standard of information and services addressing physical activity in the pre- and postnatal population. She co-founded Spark Cancer Rehab, a non-profit cancer rehabilitation service in N. Ireland.



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Last edited: 27/05/2020 14:46:00