Dr. Carole Thomas


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.

Dr. Gill Malin

Gill Malin

Dr. Gill Malin’s background is in Biology. She did her BSc and PhD degrees at the University of Liverpool. She has also worked at the University of Bristol and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, USA. Her research is interdisciplinary and hard to put a label on, but ‘biological oceanography’ covers most of it. She currently works in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, which is  renowned for excellent interdisciplinary research. She is fascinated by the roles that marine organisms play in the biogeochemical cycles that are essential for the functioning of the Earth system and her research focuses on how unicellular marine plankton and seaweeds, interact, adapt to and influence their environment, and how this could alter with climate change. The work involves lab experiments on samples collected in the natural environment and cultures of marine microorganisms and  fieldwork onboard research ships, on rocky shores and at land-based coastal fieldwork sites where huge floating bags can be filled with seawater for experiments. She also teaches undergraduate students about aspects of marine biology and environmental science.

Alongside her research and teaching, Gill is passionate about ensuring equality of opportunity, the empowerment of women and stamping out unconscious bias to enable true gender equality. To this end, Gill leads ResNet, a contact, support and information network with a fairness and gender equality focus for people working in research, teaching and support roles at the University of East Anglia and the Norwich Bioscience Institutes and uses her twitter account @GillMalin to highlight equality issues (all views are my own not those of the university).

Dr. Victoria Cann


Dr Victoria Cann

Tori is a co-founder of the community group Day of the Girl Norwich and works as a Lecturer in the Humanities at the University of East Anglia, where she teaches students on the Foundation Year in the Humanities. Tori grew up in Norfolk, and attended Framingham Earl High School and then Notre Dame High School for Sixth Form. After taking a year out she decided to go to university where she discovered her passion for feminism and identity politics. In 2014 Tori completed her PhD which explored how gender is reproduced in youth cultures, and involved young people at all stages of the research process. At the UEA Tori is a committee member for ResNet, which is supporting Women of the Future, and outside of the UEA she is a committee member of the International Girls Studies Association and a member of Arts Emergency.

Tori is committed to ensuring that young people from all backgrounds are given equal opportunity to study at university, whatever their passions. This has led her to increase her work in the community, leading Norwich Feminist Network and organising events for Day of the Girl Norwich (with Dr Sarah Godfrey), a community group that aims to empower girls through art, education and collaboration.

Annis Richardson


Annis is a postgraduate student in Professor Enrico Coen’s lab in the Cell and Developmental Biology department at the John Innes Centre. Her research focuses on the role of tissue polarity in the development of complex shapes in plant organs, particularly looking at leaf and floral structures. She uses a combination of computer modelling, using GFtbox software, and molecular techniques, such as RNA in situ hybridisation, to investigate the mechanism of tissue polarity coordination.

Dr. Nicola Patron


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.

Samantha Fox


Research Scientist JIC & Director and Co-founder, Youth STEMM Award
John Innes Centre
Twitter handle: @sambrownfox

Samantha is a plant scientist at the world class John Innes Centre (JIC) and spends much of her time figuring out how to solve the complex question of how plants get their shape. Growing up as a teenager in Essex she really had no idea what she wanted to do for her career but quite enjoyed science so went on to study Biology at University. She joined the JIC as a graduate level research assistant and has since developed the skills and experience to become an expert in the field of plant growth analysis and has worked with computer scientists to publish the first computer model of a growing leaf. She enjoys presenting her findings at international conferences because it often means travelling to far flung and exotic places, particularly when she spent two weeks working in a lab in Bangalore, India, investigating the growth of exotic plant species.

Samantha really likes working with young people as she is passionate about encouraging the next generation of scientists. She lead the creation of The Year 10 Science Camp at the Norwich Bioscience Institutes, a flagship work experience training program, for which she received the 2014 JIC KEC award for excellence with impact. In addition Samantha is a champion for equality and diversity and a member of the JIC Athena SWAN committee. She recently received the Athena SWAN Silver award on behalf of the JIC at the Royal Society in London.