Women of the Future 2021

Women of the Future 2021 gave Year 10 students the chance to meet women working in STEMM and ask them questions about their life and work.

Huge thanks to the people that gave their time and shared their stories. They were:

Maria Augusta Arruda

“After many years inside a lab and classroom, I now work in Research Development, and it is great fun. It is amazing being able to be involved in so many different science areas.

I’m also deeply interested in Science Diplomacy, working as a consultant in the field. I am a firm believer that greater and genuine diversity is essential for the Progress of Science.”

Alice Eseola

“The rice blast fungus poses a significant threat to global rice cultivation. Understanding the biology of the blast fungus will provide more knowledge on control strategies.

My research project focuses on using live-cell imaging to investigate the spatial dynamics of organelles in the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae. I obtained an M.Sc degree in Crop Protection from the University of Göttingen, Germany.

In my free time, I record tutorials on how to use ImageJ software for image analysis and share healthy cooking recipe on YouTube

Olivia Bradley

Olivia is the Curriculum Manager – Construction and Environmental Sustainability.

Rose McNelly

“I am a second year PhD student in David Seung’s lab at the John Innes Centre.

I’m studying starch in a wild relative of wheat, to try and discover new factors involved in starch granule formation. Understanding starch granule formation in wheat is important because it forms a key part of our diets and has roles in other processes, such as paper production.”

Jiawen Chen

“I am a fourth year PhD student at the John Innes Centre, and my research project looks at how plants make starch.”

Anna Backhaus

“I am a PhD student in the crop genetics department of the John Innes Centre.

I’m researching the growth and development of wheat spikes. For this I have experiments in the field, the laboratory as well as some bioinformatic work.

I chose to study wheat because it is very important for global food production.”

Ana Victoria Gutierrez

“I am a a research scientist working at Quadram.

I’m from Venezuela where I had the incredible experience of working in the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the Amazon jungle.

Currently I’m interested in understand how Listeria, a bacteria that contaminate foods and causes listeriosis disease, is able to survive in the food chain.”

Dr Josie Maidment

“I am a postdoctoral scientist at The Sainsbury Laboratory.

I’m part of a team of scientists working on making soybean more resistant to Asian soybean rust disease.

In my job, I design and carry out experiments in the lab, write reports, present results and lots more – a great thing about being a scientist is that every day is different.”

Felicity Knowles

“I am part of the Earlham Institute’s Business Development and Impact (BDI) Team; helping to maximise the impact of scientific research by exploring potential commercial applications.

I have a PhD in Molecular Microbiology & was a finalist in the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES)competition, which explores the commercial application of scientific research.”

Emily Tipper

“I am a 3rd year PhD student in Myriam Charpentier’s lab at the John Innes Centre.

I research how plant roots grow in response to different environments, and study the role of calcium as a ‘messenger molecule’ in this process.”

Estee Tee

I am postdoctoral scientist at the John Innes Centre.

I’m a researcher who uses molecular biology to understand how plants defend against invading pathogens.”

Mia Bereleson

“I am a PhD student based at the Earlham Institute working on the genetics of plant diseases.

I am currently working on Air-Seq which is a method to find diseases which are in the air.”

Lucy Mahony

“I am a first year PhD student trying to answer the question: “What controls if genes are turned on or off in plants?”

I’m doing this by coding and using machine learning to look at plant genomes.  I’m keen to find out about the possible career paths available in research, plant science, agriculture, the environmental sector and industry.”

Erica Hawkins

“I am a postdoctoral scientist at the John Innes Centre in the biochemistry and metabolism department.

I’m currently investigating how starch, an important carbohydrate made by plants, is made within wheat grains. I chose to work in this area as I am really interested in science which have applications which could be used to help improve plants for out use- through diet or increasing sustainability of food production. ”

Dr Helen Brabham

“I am a Team Leader in the 2Blades group at the Sainsbury Laboratory.

The 2Blades foundation discovers and advances technologies that significantly reduce, or entirely prevent, crop disease to improve agricultural output and the lives of people around the world. For one of our projects, we are identifying new resistance genes against the major pathogens of wheat in collaboration with industry.

I love researching and making new discoveries and chose to work in 2Blades as I want to ensure scientific solutions reach where they are needed the most.”

Dr Laura Wilkinson

“I’m a postdoctoral researcher in the crop genetics department at the John Innes Centre.

I’m from Adelaide, Australia, and I moved to the UK after I did my PhD. My research is about the genetics of how plant stem cells recognise seasons and figure out when it’s safe to start growing flowers.

I nearly didn’t become a scientist, but I’m glad I did, it’s really cool to know that my research helps farmers and will contribute to ensuring food security even as climate change starts hitting hard.”

Roshani Badgami

“I am a PhD student at the John Innes Centre.

I’m on the hunt for genes that make wheat heads more prone to diseases like Fusarium Head Blight. To find these genes, I do disease experiments on different wheat lines in misting chambers and polytunnel. Then, I try to find the common genes shared by resistant/susceptible lines.

I find the dramatic relationships of plant-pathogen interactions very exciting. There is so much more going on than meets the eye.”

Alice Dell’ Arciprete

“I am a UEA Maths postgraduate researcher.

I studied my Bachelor and Master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Bologna in Italy. I then moved to the UK where I am now studying maths at a higher level to gain a PhD qualification.

In my studies I take confusing maths structure called algebra and find ways of turning that into pictures, to help solve maths problem.”

Christina Mitchell

“I am a UEA Biology postgraduate researcher.

Despite having ongoing struggles with mental health, I studied biological sciences for my undergraduate degree at the University of Stirling, in Scotland.

I’m now at UEA studying biology and specifically insect behaviour and genetics, to gain a PhD qualification.”

Esmé Robinson

“I am a UEA Maths undergraduate student.

I’m in the second year of my Mathematics degree after completing a one year Foundation degree first.

I am looking towards working in career involving something around space, but am still aware that my options are very much open.”

Martha Smith

“I am a UEA Maths undergraduate student.

I’m in the second year of my degree in Mathematics after completing a one year foundation degree first.

I’ve never been sure on what I would like to do as a career, but I know a degree in STEM leaves me with lots of options. My current interest would be to go down the business route, potentially focusing on sustainability.”

Rebecca Shaw

“I am a UEA Biology postgraduate researcher .

I studied for an undergraduate degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Animal Science. After studying, I worked for a few years in a lab as a research technician in medical sciences. I carried out experiments for research projects that looked at better understanding the genes involved with eye development.

I am now a PhD student looking at genes in protected wild mammals to aid the conservation of these populations.”

Dixita Naik

“I am a UEA Medicine postgraduate researcher.

At school I was fascinated with Biology, so I decided to study Biological Sciences at the University of Surrey. My degree involved a placement year where I went to work in a microbiology laboratory at the Universidad de Navarra in Spain and developed an interest for the field.

After working for two years in microbiology laboratories at Public Health England, I started my PhD at the University of East Anglia where I now study how harmless bacteria strains evolve to become pathogenic.”

Hannah Jude

I am aUEA Biology undergraduate student.

For two years, I worked as a trainee lab technician in a veterinary microbiology lab processing samples and doing antibiotic testing.

Following this, I decided I wanted to broaden my knowledge and I’m now studying an undergraduate degree in biological science at the UEA.”

Elizabeth Gray

“I am a UEA Chemistry postgraduate researcher.

I studied my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Queen Mary University of London and am now continuing to study Biochemistry at a higher level called a PhD.

I’m looking into how bacteria can respond to changes in the world around them, which will help us understand them better and could possibly lead to new medicines.”

Katie Littler

“I am a UEA Chemistry postgraduate researcher.

I studied an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of East Anglia and am now studying Chemistry at a higher level called a PhD looking into special metals, called transition metals, which can make special molecules that can interact with some special DNA and make the DNA a fluorescent colour. This is relevant to cancer, diabetes, genetics, and other important biology-related issues.”

Bethany Hartley

“I am a UEA Biology undergraduate student.

I’m currently in my fourth year of my Biochemistry with Year in Industry degree and have a particular interest for science communication.”

Tyarna Smith

“I am a UEA Chemistry postgraduate researcher.

I studied an MChem in medicinal chemistry at the university of Liverpool. After graduating I went on to work in industry doing chemical synthesis for two years and have now returned to university to carry out my PhD in natural product synthesis. This means I’m trying to synthetically making a molecule found in nature that has been shown to have medicinal properties.”

Jen Macisaac

“I am a UEA Computer Sciences postgraduate researcher.

Before starting my advanced research degree (PhD) I gained master’s degree in biodiversity conservation and worked as an ecologist surveying protected species in the UK.

My research is investigating methods of wildlife surveying using artificial intelligence.”

Jessica Goodere

“I am a UEA Biology undergraduate student.

I’m a Biological Sciences undergraduate at University of East Anglia; I plan to do a masters and eventually a PhD.

I hope to work in predominantly pharmaceuticals but, I am very interested in other fields of biology as well.”

Michelle Fletcher

“I am a UEA Biology postgraduate researcher.

I studied an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Lincoln and am now studying neuroscience at a PhD level at the University of East Anglia.

I’m investigating how the human body processes pain, which will help to develop new medications for treating pain in the future.”

Sultanah Alhunayhin

I am a UEA Chemistry postgraduate researcher.

I studied my master’s degree in Advanced Organic Chemistry at University of East Anglia and now I am completing my studies at a higher level called a PhD.

My PhD will allow me to develop and use my skills, practical experience and knowledge gathered from past experiences, especially for my research which explores developing the synthesis and analysis of new chemical compounds.

When at school I took part in many activities including those which incorporated planning, teamwork and leadership. They are helping me now and will support me in the future to build a great career.”

Georgiana-Elena Sfeclis

“I am a UEA Computing Sciences postgraduate researcher.

Having recently graduated BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering with a Year in Industry at UEA, I had the chance to develop important skills and abilities in the engineering domain.

During my industrial placement, I worked as a Software Engineer for one of the major electronics manufacturers in the automotive and motorsport industry, which motivated me to pursue a Master’s course in Advanced Computing Science that I completed this year.

I’m currently working towards a PhD in Audio-visual Speech Enhancement using AI and deep learning – which is an emerging field of research for medical, communication and security systems (to name a few).”

Liv Bradley

“I started my career as an apprentice Site Carpenter. During my education and training I became increasingly interested in becoming a lecturer and that’s what led me to make the move into teaching.

I’ve recently joined Norfolk Adult Learning as Curriculum Manager for Construction and Environmental Sustainability, previously I was a Course Leader at City College Norwich for the T Level Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning. I was also a Teaching and Learning Coach. I am passionate about Equality, diversity, and Inclusion in the industry and keen to pass on my knowledge and experiences of working in the sector.

We need to inform and encourage more young women to enter careers in typically male dominated sectors and ensure they have positive role models to aspire to.”

This year’s event was smaller than usual due to Covid-19. We look forward to a bigger event in person in 2022.