Staff Profile


Professor Simon Harvey

Professor of Evolutionary Biology

School: School of Psychology and Life Sciences

Campus: Canterbury Main Campus

Tel: 01227 922327

Profile summary

I have been at Canterbury Christ Church University since 2008, having previously worked at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol and at the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling.

I obtained my PhD from the University of Edinburgh and have a BSc in Zoology from the University of Nottingham. Additionally, I have PGCHE from the University of Bristol.

Research and knowledge exchange

I am a member of the Biomolecular Research Group and the Reproduction Group. My research focusses on genotype by environment interactions, and on using fundamental evolutionary biology to produce novel insights into applied questions.

My lab now has three foci:

1) Natural genetic variation in relation to health and disease

Using the model organism C. elegans (and related species), this strand of my work seeks to determine how variation between individuals affects lifespan and stress resistance, and how these traits interact with various dementias. This work is directly relevant to my teaching on the Biomedical Science BSc. 

2) in vitro production and animal reproduction

This work seeks to improve processes and outcomes in agricultural animal embryology, particularly in relation to pigs and cows. Key partners for this work are JSR Genetics and Topigs Norsvin, globally important pig production companies, and Genea Biomedx, an international specialist in in vitro fertilisation media and equipment.

3) The evolution of placebo effects

That placebo effects are biologically real is clear, but their origin is not. In this, the most recent strand of my work, I am seeking to understand the evolutionary origins of placebo effects, and specifically to extend knowledge through the identification of placebo-like mechanisms in model organisms that can then be used to determine mechanisms in (the far harder to study) humans.

Teaching and subject expertise

I teach on a range of the Life Sciences programmes, and bring specific expertise in genetics, bioinformatics, evolutionary biology and statistics. 

I am also the Programme Advocate for the Biomedical Science BSc.

Publications and research outputs

Selected recent publications:

Stastna, J.J., Yiapanas, A.D., Mandawala, A.A., Fowler, K.E. & Harvey, S.C. (2020) Cryopreservation produces limited long-term effects on the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Cryobiology, 92, 86-91.

Wang, Y.A., Snoek, B.L., Sterken, M.G., Riksen, J.A., Stastna, J.J., Kammenga, J.E. & Harvey, S.C. (2019) Genetic background modifies phenotypic and transcriptional responses in a C. elegans model of α-synuclein toxicity. BMC Genomics, 20(1), p.232.

Snoek B.L., Volkers R.J., Nijveen H., Petersen C., Dirksen P., Sterken M.G., Nakad R., Riksen J.A., Rosenstiel P., Stastna J.J., Braeckman B.P., Harvey S.C., Schulenburg, H. & Kammenga J.E. (2019) A multi-parent recombinant inbred line population of C. elegans allows identification of novel QTLs for complex life history traits. BMC Biology, 17(1), p.24.

Mandawala A.A., Harvey S.C., & Fowler K.E. (2018) Porcine embryology: current progress and future prospects. Reproductive Biology, 18(3), 203-211

Beedie C.J., Benedetti F., Barbiani D., Camerone E., Cohen E., Coleman D., Davis A., Edelsten C., Flowers E., Foad A., Harvey S.C., Hettinga F., Hurst P., Lane A., Lindheimer J., Raglin J., Roelands B., Schiphof-Godart L., Szabo A. (2018) Consensus statement of the Inaugural International Symposium on Placebo Effects in Sport & Exercise (IISPESE). European Journal of Sport Science, 18(10), 1383-1389.

Harvey S.C. & Beedie C.J. (2017) Studying placebo effects in model organisms will help us understand them in humans. Biology Letters, 13, 20170585.

Viney M.E. & Harvey S.C. (2017) Reimagining pheromone signalling in the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genetics, 13(11), e1007046.


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 03:57:00