Current committee


WISE 2017 committee

Back row, left to right : Sarah Faye, Annika, Maudrian, Fearon, Joanna and Kalina; front row, left to right : Madeeha, Amy, Imen, Deb and Hemalvi.

Committee members:

  • Amy Danson (Chair) – PhD student, Blizard Institute
  • Kalina Davies (Secretary and Mile End Ambassador) – Postdoctoral Reasearch Assistant, SBCS
  • Sarah Faye Harpenslager (Treasurer) – Postdoctoral Reasearch Assistant, SBCS
  • Imen Belmokhtar (Webmaster and Membership Officer) – PhD student, Maths
  • Hemalvi Patani (Hospitality and Room Bookings Officer) – PhD student, BCI
  • Deb Milligan  (Publications Officer) – PhD student, Blizard
  • Fareena Mahmood (Social Media Officer) – PhD student, EECS
  • Maudrian Burton (Blogger) – Research nurse, William Harvey Research Institute
  • Annika Rasijeff (Whitechapel Campus Ambassador) – PhD student, Wingate Institute for Neurogastroenterology
  • Kawther Hashem (Charterhouse Square Ambassador) – PhD student, Wolfson
  • Joanna Janus (Whitechapel Campus Ambassador) – PhD student, Blizard Institute, SMD
  • Madeeha Hamid Sheikh (Evaluations Officer) – PhD student, WHRI
  • Sharan Sidhu (Staff adviser) – Reader/Honorary Consultant, Institute of Dentistry

Committee advisers:


Committee Members:


Amy Danson (Chair)

Amy is a second year PhD student at the Blizard Institute, on the Whitechapel Campus at QMUL. She works on how diet during pregnancy can affect the epigenetics and genetics of offspring. When she’s not organising WISE events or in the lab, she likes to escape London to go walking and sings in the Bart’s and the London Choir.


Kalina Davies (Secretary and Mile End Ambassador)

Kalina is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Organismal Biology Department of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at QMUL. She is interested in many aspects of evolutionary biology, including convergent evolution, phylogenetics, NGS data analysis, molecular and morphological evolution, and is particularly interested in mammalian evolution. She has had a long-term interest in WISE and the issues surrounding women in STEMM subjects.


Sarah Faye Harpenslager (Treasurer)

Sarah is a Postdoc at the School for Biological and Chemical Sciences on Mile End Campus. She is studying the effects of global warming on freshwater ecosystems in the Arctic in a big NERC funded research project. As a biogeochemist, her research focuses on the effects of warming on the cycling of nutrients through the ecosystem. She is involved with WISE@QMUL to help raise awareness of inequality issues and stimulate talented young women to pursue a career in STEMM.


Imen Belmokhtar (Webmaster and Membership Officer)

A PhD student in the School of Mathematical Sciences at QMUL, Imen’s research lies  in the area of Representation Theory in abstract algebra. Being passionate about self-development, she hopes to serve in furthering WISE@QMUL’s aims. She is also the Maths ambassador for the Athena SWAN Committee of the SMS.

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Hemalvi Patani (Hospitality and Room Bookings Officer)

Hemalvi is a PhD student at Barts Cancer Institute on the Charterhouse Square campus. Her work involves using human embryonic stem cells to model the mechanisms underlying aberrant DNA methylation patterns in cancer. She is a member of WISE@QMUL committee and is enthusiastic about helping women to progress to leadership roles within the scientific community.

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Deb Milligan (Publications Officer)

Deb is a PhD student at the Blizard Institute investigating the interplay between senescence and the skin ageing phenotype using 3D organotypic modelling. She joined the WISE committee in early 2017 and is interested in promoting the fascinating and diverse work undertaken by many women in STEM industries.


Fareena Mahmood (Social Media Officer)

Fareena is a PhD student in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. Her research consists in looking at patterns of collaborations in social networks over a period of time and the network response to variations in structural characteristics. Being a returner herself, through her role as a member of WISE@QMUL, she hopes to identify and highlight the issues of women in science especially those returning from breaks- both study and career.


Maudrian Burton (Blogger)

I am a qualified Biochemist who later went on to train as a qualified Nurse specialising in Research. I am presently the Lead Research Coordinator for the Barts Cardiovascular Registry project which is supported by the William Harvey Research Institute- Heart centre and the NIHR. My research project focus is looking at diseases of the heart and circulation. I am also interested in qualitative research and is presently undertaking a research project on Consenting for Research. I recently joined WISE at QMUL to be an inspiration to other women who would like to get into Science and Engineering. I am also a committee member for Patient and Public Involvement in Research and recently helped to organise the Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival for Secondary School age Children.

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Annika Rasijeff (Whitechapel Campus Ambassador)

Annika is a PhD student in the Wingate Institute for Neurogastroenterology. She is a registered clinical scientist in gastrointestinal physiology working to provide informed diagnoses in individuals with functional gut problems such as faecal incontinence and/or constipation. Annika’s PhD research focuses on novel characterisation of rectal and anal function using new technologies and improving our current understanding of reflex and voluntary actions related to continence. Annika is a STEM ambassador with a mission to tackle everyday-sexism within communities (and the workplace).

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Kawther Hashem (Charterhouse Square Ambassador)

Kawther is a Registered Nutritionist for Action on Sugar and for CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health), a charity organisation concerned with the health effects of sugar and salt on health and Researcher at Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on the sugar content and variability within dietary sources in the UK and effect of reducing intake through reformulation. She is passionate about helping women fulfil their potential in the scientific community.

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Joanna Janus (Whitechapel Campus Ambassador)

Joanna is a PhD student at the Blizard Institute in Whitechapel (School of Medicine & Dentistry). She is researching the effect of a family of proteins called PI3Ks in oesophageal cancer, with a particular interest in drug resistance. She hopes to be able to increase awareness of the wonderful events held by WISE, an organisation she believes plays a very important role in supporting and encouraging women at all stages of their careers in Science and Engineering. She also thinks it would be great if more men got involved with WISE at QMUL!


Madeeha Hamid Sheikh (Evaluations Officer)

Madeeha is a BHF-funded PhD student at the William Harvey Research Institute in the Translational Medicine and Therapeutics department. Her research focuses on examining the effect of metabolic overload in diabetes on the blood-brain-barrier. As part of the WISE@QMUL committee, she hopes to raise awareness and inspire other women to challenge gender inequality in STEM particularly within minority groups. She is keen to engage aspiring girls into STEM research and encourage them to push their boundaries to aim high.


Dr Sharan K Sidhu (Staff adviser)
Reader/Honorary Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Centre for Oral Bioengineering, Institute of Dentistry.

Sharan has been the Staff Adviser to this group for a few years. She is a clinical academic who trained in Singapore and the UK. She has both clinical and research backgrounds, with experience of research sabbaticals in the US, Japan and Australia. She has had the experience of crossing boundaries, adapting to cross-cultural differences, as well as working in different organisations both in the UK and overseas. In addition, she appreciates the specific challenges of balancing academic and NHS commitments as well as having domestic responsibilities. She has a particular interest in the challenges faced by women from overseas and recognises the challenges of promoting women in academia for global recognition in their respective fields.

Committee Advisers:

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Fearon Clare Cassidy (WISE@QMUL Co-Chair 2016)
Fearon is a PhD student in the William Harvey Institute at the School of Medicine and Dentistry on the Charterhouse Square campus. She works on the embryonic origins of adipose tissue and the effect of imprinted gene dosage on this process. She is a member of the WISE@QMUL committee and is enthusiastic about supporting women to pursue leadership roles within the scientific community.


Kathrin Preuss (WISE@QMUL Co-Chair 2016)
Kathrin is a PhD student in the School of Engineering and Materials Science at QMUL, supervised by Prof Magdalena Titirici. Her research is focused on the development of sustainable electrocatalysts for the Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Fuel Cells. As a member of the WISE@QMUL committee she hopes to contribute in overcoming gender barriers within STEM.


Jasmin Zohren (WISE@QMUL Chair 2015)
Jasmin started her PhD at QMUL with Dr Richard Buggs in 2012. The lab collaborates closely with CLC bio – a QIAGEN company in Aarhus, Denmark, where she spent a six month placement in the summer of 2014. Her research focuses on analysing the genome and introgression pattern of Betula nana (dwarf birch) and related birch species. She is one of thirteen early stage researchers funded by the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network INTERCROSSING working in the field of genetics, informatics, and statistics. As a member of the WISE@QMUL committee she enjoys meeting a lot of inspiring people and being actively involved in the progress towards equality in science.


Louise Anderson (WISE@QMUL Chair 2014)
Louise is a fourth year PhD student in Materials Science at QMUL, developing transparent dye-sensitised solar for energy efficient glazing applications. With a background in Chemistry and through work as a STEM ambassador, Louise has become aware of how easily young people can be discouraged to pursue a career within STEM at all stages of study. Through working with WISE, Louise is keen to promote diversity within STEMM. She hopes to develop a supportive network for early career researchers to explore career options, develop their skills and build efficient networks with the aim to prevent unnecessary growth of the ‘leaky pipeline’ and to enable the pursuit of successful, life-long careers in STEM.


Joanne Littlefair (WISE@QMUL Chair 2013)
Joanne is a third year PhD student working with Dr Rob Knell in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at QMUL. She researches the interactions between nutrition and immunity in a crop pest. Her background is in zoology, and she has a first degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. After her PhD she would like to continue working in academic science by applying for a postdoc. Joanne was Chair of WISE@QMUL in 2013 and enjoyed expanding the group and running a number of successful events. She’s interested in female participation in science at all levels, and particularly helping women to get to the best leadership positions in science and industry.


Nela Brown (WISE@QMUL Chair 2012 & External adviser)
Nela is a sound artist, musician, designer, technologist and researcher based in London. Whilst focusing her PhD research at QMUL on different methods for gathering requirements for design of interactive technologies, she got involved with the following initiatives promoting and supporting female participation in STEM, for which she also won a Highly Commended WISE Leader Award in November 2013: G.Hack, BCSWomen, Flossie, inQube and WISE@QMUL.


Asmi Barot
Asmi is a fourth year PhD student in Physics at QMUL. Her research focuses on radiation damage i.e. the safe encapsulation of nuclear waste. In addition to her research, Asmi is passionate about engaging with students and discussing the option of studying Physics at university, and working towards changing the stereotypical view of students, female in particular, that Physics is a “man’s subject”. As a member of the WISE@QMUL committee she is keen to increase female participation in STEM sectors and look into why Physics stands out among the sciences for its inability to attract women.


Nishtha Chopra
Nishtha is a third year PhD student in Electronics Engineering & Computer Science at QMUL, supervised by Dr Akram Alomainy. Her research is in nanoscale communication networks for healthcare monitoring applications. Associated with engineering since her first degree, she has interacted with many students and made them aware of the vibrancy of careers in science and technology. She comes from India where there is a huge gender imbalance in STEM not only at a late career stage but also at degree level.“As humans, we all are here to contribute and it would be a huge waste of talent if women stop themselves from following their passion. Therefore, as a publicity officer, I hope to gather the attention of my female fellows and help them embark on their careers in STEM.” — Nishtha, 2014


Sophia Goldberg                                 Sophia is a PhD student in Physics at QMUL. Her research in Cosmology focuses on building a mathematical formalism which can be used to describe the effects of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity on the evolution of astrophysical structures on the largest scales in our Universe. She joined WISE to be part of a group of women in STEM who are passionate about pushing for change in the academic structure to increase diversity. Apart from research and WISE she has also sat on the Juno committee, and is interested in getting the public engaged in scientific research. She took part in organising the first Pint of Science festival at QMUL, which brought STEM subjects to the pub over the three nights. She is also collaborating with an artist for and presenting at Soapbox Science 2017.


Andrea Hatlen
Andrea is a fourth year PhD student in the School of Chemical and Biological Sciences at QMUL. She studies small RNAs, which regulate gene expression. Her research in the crop species Brassica napus, is intended to help predict crosses that would improve yield, reducing the need for costly phenotyping. She is a Marie Curie fellow in the INTERCROSSING Initial Training Network, which is made up of researchers working on a combination of genetics, informatics, and statistics. She is involved with WISE@QMUL to be a part of a group of highly motivated women, who encourage each other and work together to push the barriers in STEM fields

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Aurora Sampson
Aurora is a final year PhD student in the School of Chemical and Biological Sciences working with Dr Jonathan Grey and Prof Alan Hildrew (QMUL), and Dr Guy Woodward (Imperial College London). She is currently researching the role of methane-derived carbon within aquatic freshwater food webs. She became interested in promoting women in STEM subjects after learning about the gender imbalance for women in academic positions post-PhD. She is keen to work with WISE@QMUL to help women constructively network and build STEM careers both within academia and industry.

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Siying Wang
Siying is a PhD student in Centre for Digital Music at the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. Her research interests include music informatics and expressive performance study. She is keen to contribute to gender equality, enjoy meeting and working with enthusiastic and inspiring people.


Serena Ada Maugeri (Hospitality and Room Bookings Officer)
I am a PhD student in the Centre for Condensed Matter and Materials Physics at the School of Physics and Astronomy, QMUL. My research is mainly focused on the use of neutrons and X-rays total scattering, combined with atomic modelling (such as molecular dynamics simulations and reverse monte carlo refinements), to understand the local atomic structure of different classes of nanomaterials.
As a member of WISE my goal is to increase awareness about issues faced by women in STEM sectors, as a consequence of gender imbalance and unconscious bias.


Sol S. Gil Gallegos
Sol is a PhD student in the School of Mathematical Sciences at QMUL in the area of dynamical systems and statistical mechanics. Her research focuses on the interplay between microscopic chaos and deterministic diffusion. Sol believes that the quest for equal access to opportunities requires commitment from both men and women and she sees in WISE a perfect platform to promote gender equality.


Virginia Govoni
Virginia has graduated in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical technology at the University of Bologna in 2007 then moved to London to work in the field of cardiovascular prevention focusing on the effect of food and dietary components on vascular function at the University of Reading then at King’s College London for 6 years.
She is now Project Manager of a EU funded project called GIFTS, with 16 partners around the world, looking at genomic and lifestyle predictors of foetal outcomes relevant to diabetes and at the prevention of diabetes in South Asians.
She is based at the beautiful Blizard Institute in Whitechapel and enthusiastic about helping excellent women fulfilling their potentials and progress in STEMM fields.

Past committees


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