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CamAWiSE and MRC/LMB Career lunch

By Aldara B. Dios

Last week the MRC/LMB welcomed 3 alumni to share their diverse career journey to an audience of graduate students. From industry research scientist to policy, their engaging talks helped us to see the breadth of potential careers that are open to women in STEM.

Amanda Price

Amanda Price enjoyed working at the bench during her graduate studies but was looking for a more fast-paced environment and career stability. That’s when she began to explore careers in industry.

In 2015 she moved to Astex Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in fragment-based drug discovery and has continued to use her structural biology and biophysics skills to guide drug discovery projects through to late stage.

Her present role allows her to do the research she loves while working in teams and coordinating projects.

Her final advice was “Push through doors” to get to your end goal.

Yanlan Mao

Dr. Yanlan Mao

Yanlan Mao had a plan and designed her postdoc accordingly. She wanted independence and a question that excited her.

The key steps of her plan were:

  • Apply for a fellowship as soon as possible
    • Try to start a quick and safe proposal.
  • Prepare yourself for independence
    • Research your niche
    • Have a new idea/tool/approach to give you a competitive edge
  • And get exposure
    • Write a research proposal as soon as possible even if you don’t feel ready.

Even with extensive planning, there are things to learn. For future group leaders she stressed the importance of applying to several institutions, not being afraid to ask for what you need, and to be sure all your key equipment is in place so you can hit the ground running.

To end her talk she gave the audience some advice about fellowships and leadership. Also, she shared the belief that a scientific career is a great option for parents thanks to its flexibility.

 

Tanita Casci

Dr. Tanita Casci

The path of Tanita Casci was different. She found that her Ph.D. was too narrow for her and wanted to try a different direction.

When the opportunity to work as Associate editor for Nature Review Genetics appeared she knew she had the perfect scientific background, even though her writing experience may not have been what they were looking for. But she didn’t let that hold her back. She carried this mantra throughout her career: leverage the skills you have and be open to learn the rest. As Associate Editor she learned discipline and to know when “good” is good enough.

When she started her next job as Research and Communications Manager of Glasgow Polyomics she didn’t have experience in budget management, grants management, line management or Omics technologies. But, she had the right transferable skills to add value to the position. And she learned how to help the company grow and motivate others.

At the beginning of her present post as Head of Research Policy at University of Glasgow, she didn’t any knowledge of research outside biomedicine, experience in the research excellence framework or leading administrative teams but she knew how to manage big projects and lead a large team. She has learned the art of persuasion and that there is no strategy without implementation.

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What’s next for your career? That’s the question that the career lunch event tries to answer every year. The conclusion is always similar: There isn’t only one path, and there are plenty of options and opportunities outside academia.

Thank you MRC/LMB for making this event possible one more year.

 

Botanic garden tour

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Enjoy a guided Tour of the Garden in the company of an expert Garden Guide. The tour is tailor-made to the season and it will reflect what is looking best at the time, as well as giving a thorough grounding in the landscapes and plant collections of this heritage-listed Botanic Garden.

Book now! We have a special price of  £11 for members of the Botanical garden and £17 for non-members of the Botanical garden. Please remember to bring your Friends’ of the Botanical garden Membership Card if you are paying as a member,

Members of the Botanical garden £11 Non-Members of the Botanical garden £17
(People who have free entry to the botanical garden)
 (Entry to the Botanical garden included)
The booking is now closed The booking is now closed

Join us afterwards from 20:00 for a social gathering at Panton Arms.

Please, register for free for the reunion at the Pub so we know for how many we need to book a table. https://goo.gl/vRQbk4.
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Leadership in Antarctica

By Aldara B. Dios

After a year of preparation and three weeks in Antarctica, we were looking forward to hearing all about Catherine Sorbara and Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofer journey.  So when our Co-Chair Raheela Rehman introduced the event we were very excited.

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Raheela Rehman, CamAWiSE Co-Chair.

 

We were fortunate enough to have BAS’s support once again to celebrate this event at their first-class venue: The Aurora Center. The Director of Innovations and Impact, Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley,  opened the evening. She reminded us that women had come a long way since the days when we were not allowed in Antarctica, when 20 years ago the British research stations in the Antarctic were male-only.  Today we have two women as BAS Directors. This was important remark with Antarctica in the background of Homeward Bound. A leadership initiative which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our plane.

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Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley and Cathy Sorbara

The inspiration

It was more than a year ago, during our AGM, that Cathy Sorbara heard Deborah Pardo talk passionately about her journey to Antarctica. She was so inspired and touched that she decided she needed to live the same experience. In only three days she finished her application and a year later she started her own journey.

I went to Antarctica worried about the envioment. Now, I am a climate warrior.

Cathy Sorbara.

Hannah and Cathy started their journey a year before sailing to Antarctica. The Homeward Bound program includes a year-long program of self-discovery, mentorship, and leadership.  It includes a toolkit to help you learn who you are and how to be the best of you, to understand what story you told about yourself and if it is true or not, and to learn what kind of leadership style is your ideal and how to become that leader.

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Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofer and Cathy Sorbara

The new normal

Last February Cathy and Hannah embarked with another 76 women at Isuahia. The life on the ship quickly became their new normal.  Half their day was dedicated to the leadership program and the other half to explore the wildlife. And, of course, as scientists, they also made a symposium@sea where the themes were decided by a vote.

They had special moments with whales, laughed with penguins and learned to respect the sea lions.

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Image by Cathy Sorbara

They learned about themselves, about what means to be a good leader, about how women in the world suffer the most with the consequences of climate disasters and how Antarctica and the planet needs our protection.

The evening included interactive exercises where Cathy and Hannah helped us understand how difficult is to communicate and how we are not alone with our insecurities.

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Cathy Sorbara and Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofer

It was an empowering event and we hope that someone in the public was inspired to start her own journey to Antarctica. As the Homeward Bound motto goes “Mother nature needs her daughters”.

Group Photo

Image by Oli Samson

Applications for TeamHB04 close at 10AM AEST on Friday May 18, 2018.

 

What Next for Your Career? – The annual LMB CamAWiSE Careers Event 2018

Are you wondering how to best utilise your scientific skills? Are you planning your next step in academia or considering pursuing a career away from the bench? Would you like more information about different scientific careers from a diverse range of speakers?

The LMB’s annual careers event will take place on Wednesday 13th June 2018, 12-2pm, in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre.

The speakers will give their talks with the opportunity for questions, followed by a buffet lunch, which will provide time for networking and gaining advice about making that next step.

This meeting is held in collaboration with Cambridge AWiSE.

All are welcome (this event is NOT only for LMB employees but open to all) and the event is free to attend, but please register on this page.

Book here

 

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Dr. Amanda Price – Senior Research Associate at Astex Pharmaceuticals

Amanda PriceAmanda’s PhD and post-doc research at the LMB focussed on HIV structural biology during which she discovered a previously unknown role for the HIV capsid protein in the early virus lifecycle. In 2015 she moved from academia to industry joining Astex Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in fragment-based drug discovery and has continued to use her structural biology and biophysics skills to guide drug discovery projects through to late stage.

 

 

 

Dr. Yanlan Mao MRC LMCB Group Leader

Yanlan Mao

Yanlan Mao is an MRC Career Development Award Fellow and UCL Excellence Fellow.        Following her PhD at the LMB and post-doc at CRUK London, she established her own research group focussing on tissue mechanics to understand their complex architecture in controlling shape and size during normal development and regenerative growth. Her research uses a variety of molecular, biophysical and computational techniques.

Dr. Tanita Casci – Head of Research Policy at University of Glasgow

Tanita Casci

A genetics background during her PhD at the LMB led Tanita to switch to a career in academic publishing with an editorial team that launched Nature Reviews Genetics.  At Glasgow University she led the establishment of a big-data research facility for the analysis of data-rich fields of genetics and genomics. She then joined the University’s Research Strategy and Innovation Office overseeing research policies, recruitment, practices and the evolving changes in publishing to benefit the open sharing of data.

Tanita works in close in partnership with the Vice Principal for Research and with the Colleges to deliver the institutional research strategy. Her role is to shape policies that help research and researchers at Glasgow to be the best they can be, taking into account the ambitions of the University, and influenced by the external higher-education, funder and policy environment. The boundaries are very wide – if it involves research then somehow she will be involved!

A theme of Tanita’s career has been an interest in how research is done, how researchers develop, and how research practices evolve. She is interested in the rapid changes that are happening in scientific publishing, particularly how the open sharing of data benefits progress in science and accelerates the application of research findings.

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Brompton teams with Williams F1 to break into the E-bikes arena – Eleanor Sherwen presents

By Raheela Rehman and Anne Clarke

Eleanor Sherwen, a Brompton Bicycle Engineer, opened the Institute of Physics East Anglia Branch “Women in Physics seminar series 2018” on 11 April 2018. Travelling through a brief history of bicycles, Eleanor introduced her Brompton story that progressed her career as a woman in STEM. You might ask, how does Formula 1 drive the iconic Brompton electric-bike? The answer is surprising.

It is not the first time that the automobile industry and bicycle market have been related.
The Rover company that produced the household Rover cars, was founded by John Kemp Starley, when he invented the Rover safety bicycle in the 1880s. His revolutionary design, the ubiquitous diamond shape bike frame, was closer to the ground, with both wheels of equal size and steerable front. The bike evolution moved on to the light weight aluminium frame. In the early 20th Century, folding bicycles were used by the military for ease of mobility, with trade-off between speed and portability. The 1960s brought the Moulton, the precursor to the modern folding bike. The British bicycle manufacturer was founded by Dr Alex Moulton CBE, a Cambridge engineering graduate who had designed the rubber cone suspension systems for the Mini motorcar. Moultons are noted for their unconventional frame, and front and rear suspension. More recently, frames were designed with carbon fibre, think the Lotus favoured by the Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman.

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Andrew Ritchie MBE, also a Cambridge engineering graduate, firmly sits with the bicycle designer greats, when he invented the Brompton folding bike. It was in the 1970s whilst living in London, Andrew was introduced to Bill Ingram, who at the time was raising funds for the folding Bickerton bicycle. Their conversation inspired Andrew’s own innovative design of a new light weight folding two wheeler. Sat in his bedroom overlooking the Brompton Oratory, the name of the now world famous Brompton was born.

Crowd funding his first prototype from friends and family, Andrew headed to Raleigh to licence his new design. The unfruitful meeting led to Andrew raising funds from shareholders instead and manufacturing the first 400 bikes. Although they all sold, applications for bank loans for further funding were declined, as the banks doubted the business would succeed, heralding a four year quiescent period. However, his bicycle sales garnered traction, especially in the boating community. Here, they had a bike that was compact enough to take on board their boats. Julian Vereker, who had purchased one of the first 400 bicycles, founder of Naim speakers and a boating enthusiast underwrote a bank loan to Brompton. And so, the next leg of the Brompton journey set in motion, further funding and a factory later, full production began.

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Today Brompton Bicycle Ltd has three key features:
– two-thirds of all Brompton bikes are sold outside of the UK
– complete in-house design
– own tailored accessories

Eleanor Sherwen’s joined Brompton in 2014 as a Design Engineer. She graduated in Product Design Engineering from Brunel University, trained in Lean Six Sigma at Coopers Lighting Industries, and worked as a Mechanical Device Engineer at Measurement Device Ltd (now a part of Renishaw). Throughout her career, she has worked closely with electronics engineers. Her work at Brompton Bicycle Ltd in Research and Development includes prototyping tools, fast learning and response, CAD, Finite Element Analysis for component stress distribution, cast fatigue testing, as well as material porosity analysis to ensure there is no baseline drift, which left unchecked can lead to component failure.

For the last two exciting years, Eleanor has worked on the first Brompton electric-bike. Battery-powered, the new bike will be launched in July 2018. Her research and development experience in mechanical engineering and design provided a natural movement into programming. Developed with the motorsports giant Williams F1 Engineering, the bespoke battery provides 250W, and can be instantly mounted or removed. Not without its challenges, Eleanor worked on the technology debugging and using sensor feedback. One of the biggest tests has been the human response factor and marrying expectation with output. The smart integrated torque sensor responds to the human feedback mechanism. This provides an optimised end-user experience, including uphill cycling assist.

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As an engineer, Eleanor has taken stock of the pure versus applied sciences. The axiom of pure research provides accumulation of knowledge, underpinning the applied. From Eleanor’s personal viewpoint, application of sciences gives context to the wider world. As one part of a solution, her application impacts by way of reduction in human obesity or preventing deaths from improved air quality.

The growing market for the new Brompton electric-bike is for inner city living. Conforming to European law, the new bikes will have a staggering top speed of 25km/h. Traditionally electric-bikes have had higher suburban sales due to the availability of outside storage space. Urban spaces are at a premium, outside secure storage is limited, and therefore city dwellers prefer to store their electric-bike inside their homes. The Brompton electric also provides the ideal solution for those whose journey to work is at the borderline of cycling or driving to work.

Brompton Bicycles is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the UK. It is an entrepreneurial success story, synonymous with quality and manufacturing, and Eleanor Sherwen is a part of that. Pick up your Brompton this summer.

Join Dr Ceri Brenner (STFC Central Laser Facility, Oxford) for the next seminar in the IOP Women in Physics series: Pressing FIRE on the most powerful laser in the world: https://bit.ly/2KbMqG4

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