Hello, thanks for exploring the site! Please read this page if you want to know a bit about me, my qualifications, my research, and my conflicts of interest.
To start: my name is Harriet, but many people know me as dr smash.
I’ve always loved knowing things. As a kid, I’d learn facts. Lots of them. As I grew older this curiosity went down the wrong path; rather than enjoying learning, I ended up enjoying being right. Righter than everyone else. Cue early adulthood and that became a bad trait. The lure of conspiracy thinking won me over. We so-called conspiracists KNEW things everyone else was too oblivious to realise, or too brainwashed to comprehend. I have believed many things with 100 % confidence, from climate change being hoax, to the cure for cancer being hidden and the cure being cannabis, to the moon landing being faked (I was a little unsure on that to be fair), to sugar being toxic and evil.
Somehow, I ended up in science.
I still like being right (I think we all do!), but now I hold myself to higher standards. I have to base my right-ness on high quality representative evidence. I also have to change my mind if new, stronger evidence is presented. I do this frequently. If you are bored enough to read my publications, you will see that my opinions on my field have changed as research has progressed. I have published papers saying that I think our status quo (which includes a good chunk of the theory underpinning my PhD, as well as my own published research) is wrong (I still love a bit of controversy of course!), but instead of claiming I am right, I claim that these ideas need to be tested.
If you think I am wrong about something, show me high quality representative evidence demonstrating my view is wrong. I will change my mind because I don't like being wrong or going against extant evidence. Being wrong is a good learning experience. I enjoy learning, so please teach me.
I also love cats. Cute and funny cat memes/gifs are ALWAYS welcome.
I mainly research the following in relation to their effects on metabolic health (particularly focused on blood sugar regulation) and appetite:
1. Water intake and hydration
2. MDMA (the party drug ecstasy)
5. (Vaccine-induced) Long COVID (check out #TeamClots on Twitter)
I also work on understanding how we regulate our thirst, and have a growing interest in (neuro-)immunology. I am very interested in open science and reform of our current system of publishing research; as such I have conducted some research into publication bias and perceptions on improving how scientific research is published.
I have also helped conduct research in several other areas:
Metabolic health in those with skeletal dysplasia
Metabolic effects of sitting versus standing, and whether electrical stimulation of the muscle can impact this
Gut microbiome and fibre
SARS-CoV-2 immunity and reinfection (SIREN study)
For those interested in research methods: most of my work is (a mix of) physiology, psychology, and (nutritional) epidemiology. I also do a fair bit of theoretical work which is my favourite thing to do (except cuddling cats).
I also enjoy running self-experiments. I go a bit far with this sometimes, like teaching my friend how to cannulate on a teddy bear, then letting them cannulate me.
You can see a list of my publications here: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4998-4675
I currently hold several posts:
2. Honorary Research Fellow, Lund University
3. Honorary Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen
And I previously worked in the NHS SARS-CoV-2 Clinical Researcher, investigating immunity as part of the SIREN study.
My qualifications are:
PhD Nutrition & Metabolism, University of Bath (2019)
MRes Health & Wellbeing, University of Bath (2015)
MSc Nutrition, Physical Activity, & Public Health, University of Bristol (2013)
BA (Joint Hons) Martial Arts Theory & Practice, & Sports Psychology, University of Derby (2011)
Based on some Twitter comments, there seems to be some confusion over what methods I am trained in, so for clarity, my postgraduate degrees included extensive study in epidemiology, physiology, and psychology. I have taught statistics and epidemiology at MSc level, including how we can determine the complex issue of causality.
I have received the following funding directly (the dates are when I received/won the money; some of these projects are still ongoing):
I also run a business helping long COVID and vaccine injured patients navigate the evidence.
I have additionally worked on studies funded by the following:
Public Health England / UKHSA (2021)
Tate & Lyle (2019)
Medical Research Council (2018)
And I have received the following which may be considered a conflict of interest:
Conference fees, travel, accommodation, and food/drink from Danone Nutricia Research every year since 2016. Danone Nutricia Research have also given me free entry to other conferences. At the 2021 (online) Hydration for Health conference (organised and hosted by Danone Nutricia Research), I was invited to speak at the conference, and I was paid a speakers fee for my time and effort. I have never received money to do research from Danone.
A quick note about conflicts of interest:
I have never been told by a company or funder what to publish, what to find in my research, how to design my studies, what to say, or how to act. If you read my work, you will see that it often goes against what we would expect industry interests to be. Research funding is not at all what I was led to believe it was. I appreciate it is hard to believe that it is not pure evil until you have received it and realised they literally give you money and leave you alone (in my case at least).
If you like what I do, feel free to support the work: ko-fi.com/drsmash