bryony_grahamDr. Bryony Graham


Bryony is the Public Engagement and Communications Officer for the WIMM, having previously been a postdoc at the Institute for four years. During her time as a scientist in Prof Doug Higgs’ lab, she worked on whether non-coding RNAs play a role in activating specific genes during development, using red blood cell production as a system to investigate this question. She has always been an active science communicator, and set up the WIMM blog whilst still a postdoc in December 2013 to provide a platform for other scientists working at the Institute to exercise their writing skills, and to communicate and promote the research ongoing at the Institute. Bryony is also a writer for The Conversation, and a guest blogger for BioMed Central.

kevin_clarkKevin Clark

Web manager

Kevin has been working at the WIMM since 2006 (having been a Research Assistant elsewhere in the building for many years) and currently works as an operator in the WIMM Flow Cytometry Facility. The WIMM currently has eight analysers and five cell sorters and Kevin’s job is to train people to run their samples and analyse their data, run cell sorts daily and carry out maintenance. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the WIMM website.


lauren_howsonLauren Howson

Assistant Editor/Writer

Lauren is a PhD student working in the Cerundolo lab in the MRC Human Immunology Unit at the WIMM. Lauren moved to Oxford from Australia in 2013 to start her research project on tumour immunology. Her interest in the immune system and cancer developed from her previous research into the Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease – a lethal transmissible cancer that affects a marsupial species found only in her home state of Tasmania. Now, her research focuses on immunology related to human cancers and cancer treatments.


Dr. Philippa Pettingill

Assistant Editor

Philippa is a postdoctoral researcher in Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and is based at the WIMM in the Cader laboratory. Her research focuses on understanding the pathogenic mechanism of migraine using induced human pluripotent stem cells derived from migraineurs and CRISPR-gene editing technology.


barbara_xellaDr. Barbara Xella


Barbara is a Research Assistant in Professor Richard Gibbons laboratory, in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the WIMM. She moved to the Marie Curie Research Institute in Surrey to complete her PhD in gene regulation in the yeast system, a topic she carried on studying during her post-doc at the Ludwig Institute in Oxford. She is currently interested in investigating the role of the chromatin remodelling factor ATRX in regulating G-quadruplex DNA and how these structures affect DNA replication and transcription.

kathryn_robsonDr. Kathryn Robson


Kathryn started her research career working on foot and mouth disease virus and then spent three years in Houston, USA working on phenylketonuria (PKU). Kathryn’s current research interests include inherited iron overload, one form of which is haemochromatosis. Working closely with the Molecular Haematology Diagnostic Laboratory in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Kathryn has been involved with developing a diagnostic tool to analyse 16 key genes commonly mutated in patients with iron overload, which is revolutionizing the way we identify patients with unusual forms of this disorder. Her hobbies include breeding and showing Birman cats, gardening and baking.

lucas_grederLucas Greder


Lucas is a PhD student working in the de Bruijn lab in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the WIMM. Before coming to Oxford in October 2013, his research focused on the molecular mechanisms governing cell fate decisions during cellular reprogramming. His PhD project is again focused on studying cell fate changes but this time in the context of blood stem cell formation.


martin_larkeMartin Larke


Martin is a PhD student working in the Hughes/Higgs lab in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the WIMM. He moved to Oxford in 2010 after graduating from the University of Sheffield where he studied Genetics and Microbiology. Martin’s interests in transcriptional regulation and genome biology have developed through his previous roles as a genetic technologist working for the NHS and as a research assistant based at the Oxford genomics centre. His DPhil project is focussed on understanding the role of distal regulatory elements in transcriptional regulation by promoter proximal pausing of RNA polymerase II.

miriam_ohanlonMiriam O’Hanlon


Miriam is an A-Level student who did a week long placement in July 2015 with the Drakesmith group, followed by a two month placement with the Hughes group in October 2015. She is hoping to study biomedical sciences at University with a sandwich year in industry, before completing a PhD and entering a career in medical research. She is very interested in science communication but has yet to decide what area she will specialise in.


eva_masmanianEva Masmanian


Eva is a medical student at the University of Oxford who spent four months in Professor Tatjana Sauka-Spengler’s lab in Summer 2015, funded by a Wellcome Trust Scholarship. She is studying Molecular Medicine in her final undergraduate year of her medical training. Her research interests are wide-ranging, including understanding how genes are regulated, the biology of chromosomes, and cancer development. She plans on integrating medical research into her clinical career, and has a keen interest in scientific communication.

harriet_dempsey_jonesHarriet Dempsey-Jones


Harriet is a researcher at the Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB Centre), University of Oxford. She is a recent arrival in Oxford, moving from Australia in 2015 after completing her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Queensland. Her research mostly covers plasticity of the adult brain, particularly within the somatosensory system – the area of the brain responsible for touch, body position sense and other sensations from the body. Harriet also loves teaching, and has taught a variety of courses in experimental psychology and neuroscience within The University of Queensland and Oxford University.

layal_liverpool.jpgLayal Liverpool


Layal Liverpool is a Wellcome Trust funded PhD student in Jan Rehwinkel’s lab with an interest in investigating virus-host interactions. Layal writes science articles for BSGCT Blogs, is a regular public engagement volunteer at Science Oxford and Oxford University Museums and was a Fame Lab Oxford 2016 finalist.


tomasz_dobrzyckiTomasz Dobrzycki


Tomek is a PhD student in the Patient lab in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the WIMM. Before coming to Oxford, he completed a four-year BSc in Genetics from the University of York, which included a year of research experience at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. His main interests are molecular genetics and developmental biology and his PhD project is on the transcriptional regulation of developing haematopoietic stem cells.


jakub_chDr. Jakub Chojnacki


Jakub is a postdoctoral research scientist in Christian Eggeling’s group in the MRC Human Immunology Unit at the WIMM. His work is focussed on applying advanced super-resolution microscopy techniques to study the distribution and dynamics of single molecules on the surface of individual virus particles as well as infected cells. After hours he keeps busy drawing as well as making 3D scientific illustrations and animations.


Previous contributors

raffaella_facchiniDr. Raffaella Facchini

Assistant Editor/Writer

Raffaella was a PhD student in Professor Sten Eirik Jacobsen’s laboratory in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the WIMM. The research focus of the lab is to understand blood cell cell development and regulation of this process. The focus of Rafaella’s PhD project was to investigate how a specific factor within the stem cell niche microenvironment can influence the development of blood stem cells. In addition to the WIMM blog, she has been involved in several Public Science Education events including the Oxford Museum of Natural History’s Wow! How? Science Event, the MRC’s Centenary Oxford Science Fair and the Science Museum’s ‘Lates’ events in London. Raffaella currently works for Havas Life Medicom in London.

gemma_swiersDr. Gemma 

Assistant Editor/Writer

Gemma was a postdoctoral research scientist in Marella de Bruijn’s group and funded initially by the MRC and later by the LLR. Her research focussed on understanding how blood stem cells are made. In 2014 Gemma left the bench and to work for Research Services at the University where she is involved in negotiating research-related agreements for the medical sciences division. Gemma has always been interested in promoting and disseminating scientific research and has participated in several outreach activities including I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here in 2014.

aimee_fenwickAimee Fenwick

Assistant Editor/Writer

Aimee was a PhD student in Professor Andrew Wilkie’s lab, the Clinical Genetics group, at the WIMM. The aim of her thesis was to identify new genes involved in craniosynostosis – a type of skull malformation that affects around 1 in 2100 new-born children every year. Aimee worked in Andrew’s lab as a Research Assistant since 2009, and prior to this completed a Masters’ degree in Genetics (University of Manchester) investigating the molecular mechanisms of cleft lip and cleft palate. During her time in Oxford, Aimee was also been a STEM Ambassador –encouraging young people to become involved in science. Aimee is now a Medical Writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis.


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