Women in Science 20201
Careers q&a


Dr Olga Tsigkou

Olga studied Biology at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, USA, followed by an MSc in Molecular Medicine at UCL, UK. Olga then obtained a PhD in Tissue Engineering under the supervision of Professor Molly Stevens at Imperial College London. She then moved back to the USA for a postdoc at the Vacanti lab at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she developed new protocols for the vascularisation of engineered tissues. After a postdoc at Imperial College, Dr Tsigkou was awarded a prestigious Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship. Olga joined the Department of Materials at the University of Manchester as a Lecturer in Biomaterials in 2014. Her research focuses on cell-material interactions, developing biomaterials for bone tissue regeneration and 3D in vitro drug screening platforms. Her work has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Biomaterials, Advanced Healthcare Materials. 

© 2021 Dr Olga Tsigkou

Dr Gwenllian Tawy

Dr Gwenllian Tawy is a postdoctoral research associate working within the Manchester Orthopaedic Research and Education Group at the University of Manchester. Gwenllian studied Anatomy at the University of Glasgow before moving to the University of Strathclyde to pursue a Masters of Research and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. There she developed an interest in the biomechanics and clinical outcomes of patients undergoing total knee replacement. She is also interested in the health economics of patient-specific instrumentation and new surgical techniques in orthopaedics. Her current research focuses on stability during gait in patients who have had a total knee replacement. She is also investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients whose knee surgery has been delayed due to nationwide cancellations of elective procedures. 

© 2021 Dr Gwenallin Tawy

Fatemeh Shahbazi    

Fatemeh works in the department of mechanical, aerospace and civil engineering at the University of Manchester. She is currently working on numerical simulation and design of microfluidic-integrated biosensors and developing a numerical platform for this aim. Her passion and profession is coding and numerical simulation. Her Master's degree, Bachelor of Science and PhD are all focused on computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

© 2021 Fatemeh Shahbazi


Dr Candice Kaisermann 

Over the last 10 years, Dr Candice Kaisermann has worked as a QC microbiologist, a Bioprocess Researcher, a Development Scientist, a Technical Transfer Specialist and a Project Manager. From biopharmaceutical start-up to GMP manufacturing passing through academia, Candice is currently working as an MSAT technical transfer lead in the cell and gene therapy industry. Candice believes that there is no such thing as a typical career path: your skillset can take you wherever you want!

© 2021 Dr Candice Kaisermann

Alexis Harding 

Alexis has worked as a microbiologist within the healthcare industry for over 20 years. She finds it both rewarding and incredibly motivating that she is able to contribute to saving and/or improving the lives of patients. Her enthusiasm to impart her knowledge and experience to others, especially the younger generation interested in this field, is noted by her consistently giving students the opportunity to gain experience within her scientific services team at the medical device company, where she is currently employed. 

© 2021 Alexis Harding

Grace Haddad

Since graduating from my Biomedical Sciences MSc (specialising in microbiology), I have built my scientific career by working within the pharmaceutical industry as a QC Microbiologist; within academia as a Research Technician at the University of Manchester (industrial sponsorship from Colgate Palmolive for oral hygiene) and within the medical device field as a Research and Development Microbiologist for wound care.  Working as part of the Global Woundcare Business Unit has taught me about regulatory pathways, developing products from concept to market, sales, commercialisation and marketing.  I find microbiology enjoyable as it is science that is all around us – from the bacteria on our teeth and skin to the mould we see on food. I like to be able to translate science into real life applicationы for people without scientific background.

© 2021 Grace Haddad

Computational Science and I.T.

Mary McDerby

Mary McDerby is a Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience working in Research IT at the University of Manchester, where she has collaborated on projects with the academic community (locally, nationally and internationally). Mary has experience in managing large business projects from the initial idea development and fundraising through to delivery of service. She specialises in Scientific Visualization, Big Data Analytics, and Research Data Management.

Dr Ann Gledson

© 2021 Mary McDerby

Ann is a Research Software Engineer at the University of Manchester. She did a Humanities first degree but found in subsequent jobs that she always enjoyed working on databases, so she did an IT Conversion course in 1999-2000. She has been conducting research since 2000 in the areas of data analysis, text mining, data visualisation and software engineering. She has experience in full-stack web development, building sites and web apps using Python Django, Wagtail and PHP. These have had a variety of database back-ends including SQL and NoSQL (including graph databases). She regularly performs data analysis, mainly using Python Pandas, in areas such as healthcare, website usage patterns, air quality, self-reported respiratory symptom data and has a considerable experience in geo-analytics.

© 2021 Dr Ann Gledson

Dr Tseden Taddese

After obtaining an MEng degree in Chemical Engineering from Aston University, Tseden went on to complete a PhD in the same subject at the University of Manchester. She then got a Postdoctoral Research Associate position at Nagoya University, Japan, for about 2.5 years.  After these roles, Tseden moved to her current position as a computational scientist at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Hartree Centre. In this position, Tseden works on a variety of research projects for industrial clients applying particle-based simulation techniques for material design and optimisation.

© 2021 Dr Tseden Taddese

Dr Vivian Liang Bradbury

Vivian is a business analyst at the University of Manchester, currently working to deliver multimillion-pound IT and Business Transformation Programmes as part of a five-year plan to modernise research and teaching infrastructure. Prior to joining the University, Vivian was a Management Consultant for the Kier Group. She also has worked as a senior analyst in the Civil Service on several national and international programmes focusing on priority agendas. These included Energy Efficiency, Climate Change, Public Sector Reforms and International Economic Development. Vivian has a PhD in Environmental Engineering and a Master of Science in Information Technology.

© 2021 Dr Vivian Liang Bradbury

Science Communication

Holly Jones

Holly graduated in Biomedical Sciences in 2013. Her degree afforded her the opportunity to work in lab-based settings, however, she decided her passions lay in STEM Education. She has since worked in both formal and informal education settings, including both the higher education and cultural sectors. She has been working in STEM outreach since 2016 and has supported the organisation of the 2017 and 2018 Manchester Science Festivals. She now manages the STEM Ambassador volunteer cohort for Greater Manchester, alongside her team at the Science and Industry Museum.  The STEM Ambassador Programme links young people aged 5 – 19, with volunteer role models working or studying in STEM to inspire and to enthuse young people to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. When not at work and not under National Lockdown she enjoys hanging from the ceiling at the local Aerial Arts gym.

© 2021 Holly Jones

Dr Praveen Paul

I have a doctorate in neuroscience and used to be a research scientist exploring and trying to understand how the brain works. During my postdoc days I 'accidentally' co-founded Pint of Science, a science festival which brings researchers and people together and which is now a global phenomenon across nearly 30 countries. From zero experience of scicomm, hosting and organising events, managing people or knowing the first thing about running a business, I've journeyed through a steep learning curve and grown Pint of Science from a simple idea between friends to the largest science festival in the world, which in 2019 took place in 400 cities with over 150000 attendees.

© 2021 Dr Praveen Paul


and Clinical

Dr Li Yenn Yong

I am a Blond McIndoe/Royal College of Surgeons of England Fellow, and a President's Doctoral Scholar, currently on a EPSRC Doctoral Training Academy Programme pursuing a PhD at the University of Manchester. My background is in plastic surgery, where I am currently taking a break in clinical training to explore microvascular tissue engineering strategies which can potentially meet a clinical need for coverage of large soft tissue defects.

Dr Leah Evans

© 2021 Dr Li Yenn Yong

I am a junior doctor currently working in the NHS. I studied Medicine at the University of Liverpool and completed my foundation year training at St Helens and Knowsley NHS trust working in multiple specialities such as respiratory medicine, trauma and orthopaedics, psychiatry, general practice and emergency medicine. I am currently training to become a psychiatrist and I am working for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust on a general adult psychiatry inpatient ward. I have previously been working in Adult Learning Disability psychiatry services and also in an Early Intervention in Psychosis Team. I have a special interest in medical education and during medical school helped to set up a teaching programme for HIV Education for school-age children in the Liverpool area. I am hoping to continue working in medical education in my future career alongside Psychiatry.  

Katrina Yu

© 2021 Dr Leah Evans

Katrina Yu is a specialist clinical pharmacist currently working in primary care. She moved to Edinburgh back in February 2020 after living in Manchester for over 10 years, where she did her MPharm and worked as a hospital pharmacist at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Even though the pandemic has affected her travel plans, she has become a cat mum to her ragdoll - Toshiko. 

© 2021 Katrina Yu


Catherine Altobelli

Catherine Altobelli is a PhD researcher at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law at the University of Vienna. Before moving to Austria, she studied European Law at Maastricht University and IT law at the University of Edinburgh. She is fascinated by debates concerning innovation and law, focusing in particular on intellectual property law and data protection. Besides her personal research, she is involved in a number of European research projects, as well as teaching activities at both the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Computer Science.

Doruntina Berisha

© 2021 Catherine Altobelli

Doruntina Berisha is a full-time student studying law and physics at the University of Vienna and is currently working as a student assistant at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law (University of Vienna). In the fall semester of 2019 she finished her exchange semester at the Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley (California, USA), where she combined her physics and law studies and specialized in IT-, IP and data protection law with a special focus on Artificial Intelligence and Legal Tech. Doruntina and her team at the Department of Innovation and Digitalisation in Law created and hosted the most important online tool at Vienna’s law school for teaching during Covid-19 shutdown. This online platform „Survival Guide“ was built within 24 hours after the shutdown of the universities in Austria and provides guidelines on how to successfully switch to online teaching and digital exams in times of Corona. For that, Doruntina won the European Women of Legal Tech Award 2020 and the University's Corona Award. Since 2017 Doruntina is heavily involved in organizing digital classes and digital exams for the law school.

© 2021 Doruntine Berisha


Dr Sarah Bagés Estopa

I am a biotechnologist with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Biotechnological Engineering. After the PhD, I carried out a short postdoc and then I continued my professional career in the industry as a quality manager in a laboratory where I Implemented the laboratory quality management system. I am currently a wastewater treatment plant manager ensuring an efficient and safe wastewater treatment.

© 2021 Dr Sarah Bagés Estopa

Dr Marilia Zorzato

I am a Materials Scientist, currently working as a Lead Engineer at ASML. I have a very varied background! I did my bachelor in Physics in Brazil and Germany, then moved towards applied sciences and took a Masters in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. Following this, I did a PhD in Biomaterials at the University of Manchester, where I combined different research areas into my project. Currently, I live in the Netherlands and work for a world-leading company in the semiconductor industry.

© 2021 Dr Marilia Zorzato

Chemical Engineering

Dr Natalia Sieti

Dr Natalia Sieti is a Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Consultant. She freelances and is the Sustainability & Environmental Assessment Group Leader at IRES, a Nanotechnology company based in Belgium. Natalia holds a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of the Aegean, Greece, an MSc in Environmental Systems Engineering from University College London. She graduated with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science from the University of Manchester, UK. Her interests include life cycle management, circular economy and environmental performance.

© 2021 Dr Natalia Sieti

Dr Giuliana Giunta

I am originally from a beautiful region in Italy (Sicily)! I am currently a Research Associate at the University of Manchester in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science. My project is part of the Centre in Advanced Fluid Engineering for Digital Manufacturing. In March 2021, I will start working at the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, in the Soft Condensed Matter Group for 2 years as a Postdoc. In 2014 I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at Università degli Studi di Palermo (Italy). In 2016 I obtained my Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and Sustainable Processes from Politecnico di Torino (Italy). From September 2016 I have been a PhD student at the University of Manchester in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science in a project co-funded by Continental (Germany), as part of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Materials for Demanding Environments (M4DE). In my spare time, I enjoy travelling and practising sports, in particular athletics, fit boxing and volleyball. While living in the UK, I started to enjoy different kinds of activities such as hiking. Due to my passion for the sea, in summer I love swimming and practising snorkelling and diving.

© 2021 Dr Giuliana Giunta

Lydia Gaunt

Lydia studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester and graduated in 2013. She then started working for a design consultancy where she gained experience both in the office, where she was a part of a design team and on the site with clients. She has worked in a range of industries including water, wastewater and chemicals. More recently she has been developing her skills in gravity hydraulics and working with a range modelling software.

© 2021 Lydia Gaunt


Dr Siobhan Dennis

Siobhan Dennis bio.JPG
© 2021 Dr Siobhan Dennis

Anastassia Bolotkova

Translational medic by background, Anastassia has extensive experience in translating personalised medicine from bench to bed. She was heavily involved in research, technology transfer and manufacturing autologous and allogeneic products for cancer patients. Now, Anastassia is a Business Development Lead at Alderley Park and her role entitles supporting growth of the current companies and expanding the ecosystem. She is also the Global Head of Business Development for a not-for-profit organisation, Innovation Forum that builds bridges between academia, private companies, investors and policymakers. 

© 2021 Anastassia Bolotkova

Dr Tracy Mak

I completed a PhD in endocrinology at the University of Edinburgh before moving to London to do a postdoc at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences. Currently, I am a programme manager at BenevolentAI where I work closely with drug discovery scientists for novel target identification. 

© 2021 Dr Tracy Mak


Dr Monika Tomecka

Dr Monika Tomecka is a Founder and Director of a 4-year-old Scottish startup uFraction8, which develops novel filtration systems for bioproducers. Dr Tomecka holds a BioMedical PhD from Sheffield University and has experience working as an independent scientist across Europe and Asia. She was recognised amongst Top 20 women to watch in Scotland 2018 by Insider and Top 10 of European Women Who Tech 2019. Additionally, Dr Tomecka mentors and supports other female founders at the early stages of startups development. 

Gemma Sturt

© 2021 Dr Monika Tomecka

At BioCity Gemma is working with early-stage life sciences businesses to drive them towards investment readiness. She also works closely alongside BioCity’s early-stage fund to engage with the UK’s most exciting start-up and spin-out STEM companies. Prior to this, she has held various business development roles in start-ups and has an academic background in Chemistry. Gemma currently chairs the Manchester chapter of global NFP organisation Innovation Forum, which aims to connect industry, academia and policy makers in the healthcare and life sciences industries.

© 2021 Gemma Sturt


Shejla Pollozi

Shejla S. Pollozi is a PhD candidate in Chemistry at Lehman College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She received her BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Currently, her research lies at the intersection of soft material science, chemical engineering, and education. She focuses her research on biological substitutes for fuel cell components and educational tools for increasing success rates amongst underrepresented minorities in higher education in science courses. She has previously interned for The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Climate Science Legal Defense Fund in NYC. She currently co-chairs 500 Women Scientists NYC and is the Vice President of NYC SciComm. Her interests lie in STEM diversity, equality and inclusion, education policy, communication, mentorship and civic engagement. Upon receiving her doctorate, she would like to pursue a career in science policy, advocacy and communication. Some other passions include running, yoga and learning new languages.

© 2021 Shejla Pollozi

Victoria Jackson CChem

Victoria is a chartered chemist with 19 years’ experience working in both the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industry. Victoria holds an MChem from the University of Bath. She worked for 13 years as a medicinal chemist and a project manager researching in the therapeutic areas of immunology and oncology at UCB Pharma. Building on the previous success, Victoria then took up jobs as a Chemistry Team Leader at Redag Crop Protection and Operating Officer at Globachem Discovery Ltd. At the job, she manages a team of chemists and biologists and brings novel plant protection products to market. 

© 2021 Victoria Jackson
© 2014-2020 North West Biotech Initiative and Committee of North West Biotech Initiative. All rights reserved.