A graduate of Cambridge and Oxford, Gayle's specialization is in Modern History. Since graduating, she has held several research fellowships in Modern History at Oxford University and at the National Research University, Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her area of expertise is late 19th century/ early 20th century history. She has published her research from this period in journals such as the Slavic Review and Communist and Post-Communist Studies and has co-edited a volume for Palgrave Macmillan. Gayle, who is English, speaks also Russian and Polish. She lives in Oxford with her family.