Nicola obtained her PhD in plant molecular biology studying recombination between viruses. In post-doctoral research at The John Innes Centre (Norwich) and The University of British Columbia (Vancouver), she applied her interest in the exchange of genetic material between distinct lineages by studying the impact on genome evolution and cellular metabolism of lateral gene transfer from the genomes of primary and secondary plastids. After a visiting fellowship at the University of Melbourne, (Australia), Nicola led a group at the AgriBio, the State of Victoria’s biotechnology and research centre, focusing on the development of technologies to allow targeted gene transfer to plant nuclear genomes. In May 2013, Nicola returned to the UK to head a new Synthetic Biology venture at The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich. In 2015 Nicola was awarded a SynBio LEAP fellowship.
Andrea is a European and UK qualified Patent Attorney at Marks & Clerk LLP. She works in the biotechnology field, helping inventors secure patent protection for a range of biotechnology inventions from new pharmaceuticals, new diagnostic and screening methods to medical devices.
Her first degree was from the University of Warwick where she gained a First class honours degree in Biology with Cell Biology. She then completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge where she investigated the role of protein clearance pathways in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. She also has an MSc in Intellectual Property Law from Queen Mary, University of London.
Lalitha Sundaram currently works at the University of Cambridge’s Arsenic Biosensor Collaboration. This project seeks to devise a whole-cell bacterial biosensor for the detection of groundwater arsenic, initially for use in Nepal. Lalitha develops strategy to take this novel synthetic biology product from bench to field, with a particular focus on Responsible Research and Innovation. This involves working closely with multiple stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, NGOs, international aid agencies and the local communities using the product. Lalitha’s broader interest is in exploring how communities in low-and middle-income countries can benefit from the promise and potential of synthetic biology, and in developing mechanisms for synthetic biology to contribute to international development in an ethical and sustainable manner. Lalitha’s PhD research, also at Cambridge University, explored host cell metabolic and microRNA changes following infection by the pathogenic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, using a combination of bioinformatic, next-generation sequencing and molecular biology tools.
Natasa Solomou graduated from the University of Cyprus in 2007, receiving a BSc in Physics. She then followed postgraduate studies at the University of Surrey, graduating in 2009 with an MSc in Medical Physics. Prior to and following her graduation, she gained hospital experience and undertook placements in various Medical Physics departments across Glasgow, at the Royal Marsden (Sutton), the Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre and New Nicosia General Hospital. During this period, she also worked as a private tutor teaching Physics, Biology and Mathematics to secondary school pupils.
In September 2010, she enrolled in the Institute of Physics and Engineering of Medicine (IPEM) training for clinical scientists, East Midlands Training Consortium. The training consisted of three placements, namely Diagnostic Radiology, Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine Physics. The first two placements were undertaken at Lincoln County Hospital, whereas the last at Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, Nottingham. After successfully completing her training, she was awarded an IPEM Post Graduate Diploma in January 2014. She commenced her Advanced Training in Radiotherapy Physics in January 2014 at Lincoln County Hospital and moved to Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals in July 2014. She is a member of IPEM, AAPM, Cyprus Association of Medical Physicists and Cyprus Association of Physicists.
Alison studied a physics at Southampton University followed by a Master’s degree in Radiation Physics at what was then the Middlesex Hospital (now University College Hospital – UCLH) in London. She started work as a basic grade physicist at University College Hospital, working in Radiotherapy Physics. She moved across Tottenham Court Road to work back at the Middlesex Hospital site when the two hospitals merged to become UCLH, gaining promotion to first Senior and then Principal Radiotherapy Physicist. One of her main interests has been in brachytherapy physics (implanting radioactive sources into, or close to a tumour). At UCLH she was involved in pioneering work to treat cancer of the bile duct with a high dose-rate afterloading source via a naso-biliary tube.
In 1999 Alison became Head of Radiotherapy Physics at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and in 2002 oversaw the commissioning of a brand new Radiotherapy Department with £20m investment in technology. The Department in Norwich has expanded since this time and treatment techniques have developed dramatically in both accuracy and complexity. The Department in Norwich is one of the busiest in the country but has managed to introduce techniques such as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT), Image guided brachytherapy and most recently Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SABR) for lung cancer treatment.
Alison is currently serving as a trustee of the College of Radiographers.
Alison was also a STEMM Role Model at the 2015 Women of the Future Conference:
Nikki Collins is a Senior Environment Officer at the Environment Agency. She has a BSc in Ecology and is a Chartered Water and Environment Manager (MCIWEM). Nikki began woking at the Environment Agency over 14 years ago. In this time she has inspected numerous waste sites, investigated environmental crime and dealt with many pollution incidents. She has led cases that have resulted in several successful prosecutions under environmental legislation. She now holds a senior role in a waste team, and specialises in two sets of legislation: packaging and waste electronic equipment. Her main role is auditing companies that fall under this legislation and taking enforcement action against companies that are not compliant. She is the lead on this legislation in the Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk Area.
Rachel Austin works as a band 6 physiotherapist in the community of South Norfolk where she visits patients in their homes and makes personalised treatment plans. Before completing a 2 year Masters of Science in Physiotherapy at the University of East Anglia Rachel studied Sports Health and Physical Education at the University of Wales, Bangor for 3 years. This allowed her to study the science behind sporting performance in detail before applying her knowledge in different environments. Rachel has worked part-time at Norwich City Football Club whilst also working full time for the NHS where she rotated around different areas of Physiotherapy for 5 years. In each different area Rachel has been, and is, responsible for the wellbeing of patients with a wide range of conditions.
Jessica Fleming IAEMA has been working as a Natural Scientist for almost 30 years, mostly focussing on environmental protection but also as a Geologist. She is an Associate member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and is qualified in Botany and Geology and with some legal training. She spent almost 20years in Colorado, USA where she gained a 2nd degree in Geology and worked in the oil and gas industry. For a geologist Colorado was paradise, but she needed to change direction in the 1980s and began consulting work, first for the Environmental Protection Agency (great work tracking down environmental crimes and finding those responsible) and then working on environmental programmes for the Department of Defence and other clients.
For the past 10 years she has worked in East Anglia mostly in planning and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for The Landscape Partnership in Norwich. She was recently been elected as a County Councillor in Suffolk where her responsibilities include Environment, Waste and Communities and she sits on the planning committee.
Dr. Carole Thomas leads the ‘Women in Science’ agenda at The John Innes Centre (JIC) and played an instrumental role in JIC being the first Research Institute to be awarded a Silver Athena SWAN award, an award that recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEMM. She is also a Daphne Jackson Trustee, a UK Charity dedicated to realising the potential of scientists and engineers returning to research following a career break.
After graduating with a Biochemistry degree from Manchester University, and a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from Cardiff University she became a postdoctoral scientist at the John Innes Centre. Her research was focused on plant virus interactions and cell-to-cell communication. In 2008 she moved from research to the JIC Directorate, where she supports the JIC Director in preparing high-level scientific projects/papers and ensures an efficient and effective Directorate.
Uzo Nwamu is a Senior Engineer with Vodafone UK and has worked as a project technical lead in previous roles. She has a background in electrical and communication engineering and has had a career in the telecommunications industry for about ten years, having started as a data design engineer. Uzo holds an MSc degree in Petroleum Engineering and is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. She actively participates in promoting the study of engineering and visits schools to encourage the next generation of girls in particular to consider a career in engineering.
Harriette Stone is an Earthquake Engineer working at University College London in collaboration with the World Bank. Her research looks at how engineers predict damage to buildings in earthquakes, particularly in Central American countries. Previously she worked at the leading engineering firm Arup as a Structural Engineer, designing some incredible buildings in London and throughout the world. Harriette graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Exeter and completed her masters in Structural Engineering at the University of Surrey.