School of Biological Sciences

Women in Biological Sciences

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Staff Profiles

Professor Christine Raines

Professor Christine Raines is our Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), our former Head of School, and the University’s Director of Athena SWAN. She holds a number of prestigious external roles including Editor in Chief, Journal of Experimental Botany and until earlier this year was the Chair of Plant Section, Society of Experimental Biology.

Christine’s research interests are in the areas of photosynthesis, genetic manipulation of carbon metabolism, field studies on the impact of elevated CO2 on carbon fixation and on acclamatory responses of diatoms. She has authored or co-authored approximately 70 peer-reviewed research papers, and six reviews or book chapters.

Dr Corinne Whitby

Dr Corinne Whitby (Senior Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology) is very active in the promotion of women in science, acting as Convenor for the School’s Athena SWAN Silver Award Application. Corinne has contributed to several outreach activities to promote women in Science including the development of the School’s Women in Biological Science (WIBS) webpage and the Biology for Schools Day.
In addition to her research and teaching responsibilities, Corinne is the founder and co-organiser of the successful ISMOS (International Symposium on Applied Molecular Microbiology in Oil systems) symposium series which brings together academia and industry and is currently co-organising ISMOS-5, Norway 2015.

Professor Elena Klenova

Professor Elena Klenova is a Professor of Molecular Oncology. She has extensive experience in the areas of gene regulation and molecular mechanisms of tumourigenesis. Elena was closely involved in the discovery and characterisation of a transcription factor, CTCF and a related protein, BORIS, which have now become the focus of modern research into the organization and function of the nucleus of eukaryotic cells. As Director of the Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute (EBSI), Elena works in close collaboration with the clinicians on the translational aspects of her research, in particular cancer biomarkers. Elena plays important roles in the School’s leadership and management team. She is a founder and current Director of our MSc Molecular Medicine and Director of the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Group. She is an author or co-author of more than 60 research papers, reviews and book chapters.

Dr Selwa Alsam

Dr Selwa Alsam (Lecturer in Medical Microbiology) is the Director of MSc Biomedical Science and the Lead Professional for BMS (UG). Selwa has a broad interest in all aspects of infectious disease and hospital-related infections. She is an active verifier and assessor of more than 15 registration and specialist portfolios representing the University and the Institute of Biomedical Science. In addition to her teaching and research responsibilities, Selwa is very actively involved in a range of outreach activities, taking part in a number of University events and Open days and more recently running the summer school at the University. Selwa is currently the Head of the Academic Iraqi Association in the UK.

Dr Leanne Hepburn

Dr Leanne Appleby Hepburn (Lecturer and Curriculum Director for Environmental Biology) is involved with teaching on numerous UG courses including Ecology, Fisheries Science, Marine Biology and Conservation Management. Leanne’s role as curriculum director involves strategic direction of degree schemes and management of environmental biology modules, including meeting student expectations. She supervises PhD students in Biodiversity Offsetting and Fisheries Management. Externally, Leanne is a Trustee at Essex Wildlife trust and work closely with them in both research and teaching. Other collaborators include Natural England and IFCA (Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority).

Dr Julie Lloyd

Dr Julie Lloyd (Senior Lecturer in Genetics, Director of Education) is a key member of the School’s senior management team with responsibility for managing and implementing the teaching strategy. This role encompasses diverse areas ranging from curriculum development to assessment and progress of undergraduate students. It involves working with different groups within the School, such as Course Directors and individual academic staff and also with student representatives and administrative staff. Duties include chairing various School committees such as the Education Strategy Group and Student Staff Liaison Committee. Her teaching includes Genetics and Evolution at first year level and Human Genetics modules taught to second and final year students.

Dr Louise Beard

Dr Louise Beard (lecturer in Biomedical Science) is involved with the teaching of a range of undergraduate modules, including molecular cell biology, cellular pathology, human genetics and anatomy and physiology. Louise also supervises students on placements within hospital laboratories. Louise has a background in molecular genetics and has worked in hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and in academic research.

Louise was awarded the Daphne Jackson Trust fellowship in open competition. Alongside Louise’s teaching responsibilities, she has participated in outreach activities such as AS level Biology conferences, Health Science conference, the Big Bang conference and university open days.

Dr Ulrike Bechtold

Dr Ulrike Bechtold (Lecturer in Plant Molecular Biology) is the study abroad officer for outgoing undergraduate students, generally promoting the year abroad in the School and mentoring students during the application process and their year abroad. Ulrike's research combines physiological, molecular genetics and computational approaches to identify novel genes controlling responses to drought stress in model plants and crop species. Ulrike's research has led to the translation of a novel gene into major crop plants for field testing.

Ulrike also regularly participates in outreach activities such as AS level Biology conferences, Science Week, the Fascination of Plant's day and University open days.

Professor Tracy Lawson

Professor Tracy Lawson is the School's Director of Impact and is involved in first and second year teaching in plant biology. She has 20 years’ research experience in plant physiology with research interests in photosynthesis and stomatal physiology. She has also applied her extensive experience in chlorophyll fluorescence techniques determined for higher plant systems to algae. She has been PI and Co-PI on several research projects funded by NERC, BBSRC, EU and KAU and supervises or co-supervised 18 PhD students. Tracy is an author or co-author on more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers and book chapters, and has acted as a reviewer for NSF grant applications as well as numerous plant and algae journals. Tracy is a handling editor for The Journal of Experimental Botany. She is also an active member of the SEB special interest group Plant Environmental Physiology group (PEPg) and is the main organiser of the biennial techniques workshop.