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CV

As well as doing research, I am involved in a range of other exciting things. Here’s my CV. If you are interested in anything in particular then get in touch!

Life as a scientist means handling rejection sometimes – negative CV coming soon!

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

Stanley Elmore Research Fellow in Biological Sciences, Sidney Sussex College (Sept 2020-2025)

Henslow Research Fellow, Downing College, hosted by Professor Andrew Lever (Oct 2015 – Sept 2019)

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge

(parental leave Feb 2018-9, Honorary Visiting Fellow Oct 2019-Aug 2020)

Only recipient of prestigious mid-career (Henslow) and senior (Stanley Elmore) stipendiary research fellowships, awarded in competition across the biological sciences based on track record and research plans. Run projects focussed on the genetic and molecular basis of cellular and viral gene expression control.

  • Part of a team working to elucidate the role of viral RNA structures in SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • Characterised a novel antiviral protein in African HIV patients.  Manuscript in revision for Nature, co-I on awarded MRC research grant to determine mechanisms
  • Analysed samhd1 genotype data in >11,000 individuals with Cambridge BioResource; the largest study of its kind.
  • Demonstrated that antiviral protein SAMHD1 perturbs mitochondria, key for future therapeutic interventions (collaboration with Antonella Spinazzola, UCL), manuscript in prep
  • Spear-headed a collaboration with Benedikt Kaufer, Freie Universitӓt Berlin, to determine if perturbation of mitochondrial function occurs during human herpesvirus-6 infection. 

May 2015 – August 2016: Out of lab, including parental leave

MRC National Institute for Medical Research/Francis Crick Institute (NIMR, PI Dr Kate Bishop)

Career Development Fellow, May 2009 – Dec 2013, Investigator Scientist, Jan 2014 – May 2015

  • Demonstrated that the newly described retrovirus, XMRV, is absent from healthy and patient cohorts. 
  • Showed that XMRV is susceptible to relevant human anti-viral proteins.

Both of these studies were key in demonstrating that XMRV is not a human pathogen and contributed to the later retraction of the original study linking the virus to disease in humans.

  • Established prostate cancer screens for other relevant pathogens (trichomonas, BKV, HPV)
  • Delineated the function and regulation of antiviral protein SAMHD1, a landmark paper in the field
  • Characterised SAMHD1’s interaction with HIV-2 Vpx, key to the understanding of viral counteraction measures to restriction and to the ongoing efforts to target this interaction therapeutically

University of Cambridge

PhD student, Dept. of Medicine (Supervisor: Professor Andrew Lever), Jan 2006–Apr 2009

  • Revealed the contribution of HIV-1 Gag and Rev proteins to translation of the viral RNA. 
  • Demonstrated that Rev stimulates viral translation and authored a key review, highly cited in the field

Masters student (Supervisor: Professor Andrew Lever), Oct 2004‐Apr 2005

Biochemical investigation of a potential packaging signal in human immunodeficiency virus type‐2.

Final year project student (Supervisor: Dr Chris Smith), Oct‐Dec 2003

Alternative splicing of genes with unusually long AG dinucleotide exclusion zones (published).

Nuffield bursary student (Supervisor: Professor Chris Howe), Jul‐Sep 2002

Investigation of evolutionary genetics of Amphidinium operculatum. Work presented at Plastid Review, 2003.

EDUCATION

University of Cambridge (2001 – 2009)
PhD Molecular Virology, MSci Natural Sciences (Biochemistry); 2.1, BA Natural Sciences; 2.1

GRANTS AND AWARDS

  • Little Princess Trust Research Grant for to fund consumables (2 yr) under consideration
  • Tsinghua – Cambridge Joint Research Initiative grant for SARS-CoV2 structure project (£20,000)
  • Stanley Elmore Research Fellowship, Sidney Sussex College 2020-2025 to fund salary and academic expenses (>£150k)
  • Co-I leading MRC research grant awarded with Prof Lever, Dr Sandhu, and Dr Mok (3 yr, PDRA, RA, £800k)
  • advisor on SARS-CoV-2 funding applications with Shift Biosciences, approached for further consultancy
  • Downing College Henslow Research Fellowship, 2015-9: to fund salary and academic expenses (>£80k)
  • Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre Pump Prime Award, 2017: £10,000 (software and consumables)
  • Competitive research grants from the Evelyn Trust and Rose Trees Trust Research, 2016: total £43,333 to fund consumables. Featured in Evelyn Trust newsletter.
  • Ita Askonas Bursary to fund collaborative work between Cambridge and the Francis Crick Institute, 2016: £1,124 to fund collaborative visits and transfer of materials
  • Interview stage for highly competitive Henry Dale Fellowships (2015,6), first reserve for MRC CDA (2015)
  • Travel and inclusion grants for conference attendance, (Biochemical Society, Microbiology Society)
  • Selected for MRC achievement-related pay award (2010)

INVITED AND SELECTED TALKS (invited, *session chair)posters not listed

  • Huawei/Globescan: Sustainability and Resilience webinar speaker 2020
  • Recently Independent Virology Researchers meeting 2016, 2017*, 2018*, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Microbiology Society Conference 2007, 2008 (offered paper), 2016*, 2018, (2020 cancelled)
  • Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, 2017
  • Selected in internal competition to present at Department of Medicine Research Day, 2017
  • Cambridge BioResource Open Evening, 2017
  • Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, 2016
  • Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, 2015
  • Cambridge Blood-borne Virus Day 2016
  • Frontiers in Retrovirology meeting 2013
  • Cold Spring Harbor Retrovirus meetings 2010,11,13
  • Third European Congress for Virology 2007

RESEARCH SUPERVISION

  • Currently providing day-to-day supervision of two postdocs and one research assistant/masters student
  • Design and supervise projects for part II/III NST and MVST students (2016-). 
  • Previously supervised technician, resulting in Nature paper and international project students
  • Selected for and participated in Emerging Research Leaders’ Development Programme
  • Cambridge-Africa THRiVE mentor, part of capacity-building and knowledge-exchange partnership with Makerere University.  Mentored potential student through successful application and fellowship

ACADEMIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION

Academic

  • External reviewer for Research Grants Council of Hong Kong COVID-19 funding calls
  • The Biochemist editorial board member 2017-, EDI Champion 2021-
  • Peer review for several specialist journals, including Retrovirology and J Gen Virol
  • Invited interview panel member for postdoc, PhD and MPhil candidates (Dept. Pathology, 2016-)
  • Conduct mock interviews for outgoing personnel (Dept. Medicine, 2016-)
  • Selected as Group Mentor for international Shaping Horizons programme: “international summit and action programme on science, policy and innovation”. Includes leadership training and mentoring of groups prior to presentation of a solution to a global challenge at the summit (2019)
  • Selected for and participated in the Royal Society Pairing Scheme

Educational/pastoral

  • Only undergraduate teacher selected to join Faculty of Biology course review panel (2017-8), contributed to thorough report with progressive recommendations
  • Natural Sciences dissertation prize selection committee (Downing College 2016-)
  • Involved in undergraduate Natural Sciences admissions (2014-, ~45 candidates pa)
  • Expert reviewer for Undergraduate Awards, selecting outstanding undergraduate research (2018)
  • Downing College Tutor (pastoral support to >70 undergraduate students, 2016-7), asked to continue to cover a colleague’s sabbatical leave.  Dealt with several challenging situations including fitness to study proceedings, disciplinary matters and successful appeal procedures

Committees

  • Recruited to Sidney Sussex Operations Working Group due to virology expertise
  • Outreach Steering Group, Downing College, contributing to access strategy and events (2017-8)
  • Elected to Downing Alumni Association, providing means to support current students (2017-)
  • Elected to Downing College Education Committee, leading academic governance of College (2016-8)
  • Governing Body, Downing College (2015-)
  • Selected for collaborative spaces working group (Francis Crick Institute, 2013-4)
  • Postdoc committee (NIMR, 2011-13), including organising 2 retreats
  • Vice Chair of graduate student conference committee (2008), organised inaugural conference still
  • Student representative on Faculty Graduate Committee (2007-8)

Formal teaching and academic mentorship

  • Supervision of NST IA Biology of Cells­ for Downing (2006-7, 2015-), Jesus (2018-), Homerton (2015-6) and Sidney Sussex Colleges (consistently 4-5/5 in feedback questionnaires).  Examiner for internal mocks, participated in Teaching Associates Programme: “best supervision I have ever observedTAP tutor.  HEA fellowship application in prep.
  • Director of Studies for Biological Natural Sciences (Downing College, Apr 2016- Mar 2017, 12 students, Sidney Sussex Oct 2020-). Oversee and advise on the academic progress of students, gave feedback on student’s dissertation to secure a first class mark, arranged supervisions, wrote references, organised careers and study skills sessions, open days and gave specialist lectures to access students.
  • Demonstrator for part IB Pathology course (2006-7)

OUTREACH AND IMPACT

  • Pint of Science and creative reactions presenter September 2020
  • Featured in year-long Cambridge Philosophical Society anniversary exhibition and popup lecture
  • Downing College Outreach Steering Group, design and run sessions on access open days (including lecture and workshop-style formats)
  • Downing College graduate-fellowship liaison lecture 2018
  • Westminster School research and admissions lecture 2018
  • Colchester County High School research and admissions lectures 2017
  • Engaged the public through NIMR and Francis Crick Institute outreach schemes, judged student essays competition, Schools’ Days and judged local school’s science fair (attracted media coverage). 
  • As graduate student, interacted with school children through “I’m a scientist get me out of here”, demonstrated the nature of DNA at the Big Bang Science Fair
  • Ongoing engagement through social media (sought out and engaged in social media training).
  • campaigned for a handwashing emoji during recent pandemic – adopted with media coverage

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Member of the Royal Society of Biology, Chartered Biologist
  • Member of the Microbiology Society, Biochemical Society, British Science Association, British Society for Immunology, STEM ambassador

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