WaLN Committee members

Anita Blakeston

I am research manager for a European HORIZON 2020 medical “Big Data” project, relating to oral health. I am a fellowship level chartered accountant who recently completed a PhD in Physics on biomimetic photosynthesis. Before this I worked for many years in strategic business development, process reengineering and project/people management in industry and the public sector. I am/have been a voluntary member of committees in the NHS, local GP forum and at faculty level at University. Music occupies my time outside of work, as a sound engineer at live music events and playing four instruments in a band.

Abby Gaya

I graduated in Chemistry and currently working on my PhD in the School of Mechanical Engineering as part of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Tribology. My research focuses on developing new lubricants which complements my previous industrial experience in fuels and marine diesel R&D. I initially joined the university to work within student support before making the transition into my research role. This has given me a fantastic insight into the workings of the university as support staff and as a student.

Christina Craven

I am HR Manager with responsibility for the Faculty of Biological Sciences and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences.  I am a member of the Athena Swan working groups in both Faculties and the University Athena Swan Steering Group.  I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and balance work with bringing up two teenage boys.


Eleni Iacovidou

I am a Research Fellow in the School of Civil Engineering, and I have a background on Chemistry and Environmental Management. My research focuses on the assessment of the whole life design and reuse of infrastructure components, and the optimisation of environmental, economic, social and technical value of resources recovered from waste. My previous work was on the sustainability assessment of municipal solid waste management, with a focus on food waste; hence I love food and I hate waste.

Fouzhan Hosseini

I am a Research Fellow at School of Computing, Faculty of Engineering. With a strong background in computer science, I am passionate about building software systems which help scientists to understand our world better. My current research is focused on exploiting advances in functional programing for highly parallel implementation of data visualization algorithms. Being busy and productive is a source of satisfaction to me. Equally, I am at home with people and find deep satisfaction in working with friends and colleagues to achieve a goal. I am devoted to equality and diversity.

Harriet Peel

I am a first year PhD student in the Faculty of Engineering, my background is in Aeronautical Engineering which I studied at the University of Bristol. My PhD project is applying computer vision techniques to civil engineering infrastructure and is part of a wider project, ‘Balancing the impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural systems using Robots which has the vision of creating self-repairing cities. Outside of university, I enjoy being outdoors, and love to go cycling and walking around the Yorkshire dales.

Dr Jenny Spear

I am a Technology Innovation Manager for the Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre, a national centre that accelerates the commercial development of new medical technologies.
I am responsible for managing the Medical Technologies Technology Pool, a live record of exciting research breakthroughs and for identifying new opportunities that could be developed into Proof of Concept projects. I’m a Mechanical Engineer with significant medical/ pharmaceutical device industry experience, formerly leading product development project management with companies such as Cardinal Health Plc., Weston Medical Ltd. and OsteoTec Ltd. I have a sound background in research development and innovation within higher education.

Ms Joanna Elvy

I am a third year PhD student based in the Institute for Transport Studies. My main research interest is in transport equity and my PhD is looking at the role of social capital in participatory transport planning processes. Before my PhD I worked for just under 10 years as a GIS technical officer and visiting lecturer in the Department of Human and Environmental Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire. In that role I particularly enjoyed providing student/staff support for workshops, projects, IT sessions and field trips. Outside of university I enjoy travelling, swimming, watching sport and board gaming. Email: gy06jde@leeds.ac.uk

Oluwatoyin Jegede

I have masters degree in both  political science and materials engineering. I am currently a third year PhD student in Chemical and process engineering. My research is on solidification of metals under micro gravity conditions. In my spare time, I am involved in activities that promotes education of the girl child and empowerment of women especially in Nigeria where I am from.


Rachael Fox

I’m a chemistry graduate currently working as a technician in the School of Chemistry: my main areas of focus are safety and operations, including developing and maintaining systems and training for researchers in the department. I’m passionate about diversity in technical sectors; recycling and science communication so I also run a Women in SET network on LinkedIn; Bright Club Leeds (the thinking person’s comedy night!) and help out with RORO – a charity that recycles scientific equipment for use in research institutes in developing countries.
Follow any or all of my twitter accounts: @cherryhead  @BrightClubLeeds  @RORO_Charity

Reem El-Gendy

I am a research fellow at the department of Oral Biology. My research is a multidisciplinary research, where I investigate regeneration of dental tissues. I have finished my PhD from Oral Biology at Leeds University in 2011. I used to be a clinical dentist before deciding to carry out a career shift into academic research. I joined the Women in Leeds network in 2014, and participated in organising its first Inaugural conference meeting in March, 2015. Currently I am leading the career development group, where we organise workshops to help staff/students decide on their next career steps.

Sarah Cluderay

I am a Blended Learning Officer at the Leeds University Business School. In my role I help to support the use of technology in learning and teaching using a variety of resources and tools. Prior to my role in LUBS I worked in Information Technology Management at the School of Healthcare which covered a variety of remits such as Timetabling, supporting the VLE, Estates, and Health and Safety. I graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA (Hons) in Communication Studies.

Dr Sarah Myers

Dr-Sarah-Myers I work as a Research Technician in the Oral Biology Department which is part of the School of Dentistry. I am passionate about raising the profile of support staff within the university.  I am actively involved in research. I plan new experiments, work at the bench, train staff and students and contribute to academic papers. I am a Safety Supervisor and part of the Health and Safety Forum. I am part of the Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team in the School of Dentistry.  I enjoy going to The Edge and I am learning to climb at the indoor climbing wall.


Dr Sumia Bageghni

Dr Sumia Bageghni is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Research, at the Department of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research, Leeds Institute of Genetics Health and Therapeutics (LIGHT), School of Medicine, University of Leeds.  Sumia’s research focuses on investigating the role of different proteins in helping the heart restore its function following a heart attack. Sumia has an MSc in Biological Sciences (Immunity and Infection), and PhD in Cardiovascular research both from University of Leeds. Throughout her postgraduate studies and current position in academia, Sumia has been trying to balance between her roles as a mum of three and her work. Sumia is now a committee member of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (WiSET) to support working women (especially in academia). Email: medsba@leeds.ac.uk

Professor Cath Noakes

Cath-Noakes I am a Reader in the School of Civil Engineering and Director of the Pathogen Control Engineering (PaCE) Institute. I am a chartered mechanical engineer and my research focuses on indoor air quality in buildings, with a particular interest in understanding airborne transmission of infection and how engineering approaches can reduce the risk of infection. I lead a research group applying experimental and computational modelling approaches to this challenge. I live with my husband in North Yorkshire and we both juggle full-time work with entertaining our 8 year old son.


Samantha Haynes

I am based in the School of Earth & Environment, working both as the project administrator for Petroleum Leeds (http://www.petroleum.leeds.ac.uk/home/) and as a research support administrator for the Institute of Applied Geoscience (http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/research/iag/). My previous experience includes almost 9 years working on various UK government funded women in STEM projects at the UKRC (now part of the Wise Campaign: http://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/), where I worked on mentoring and coaching programmes, and mechanisms for supporting women returning to STEM. I am also the School of Earth and Environment’s Equality and Inclusion coordinator and a member of the Faculty of Environment Athena SWAN committee. I currently tweet on behalf of the Women at Leeds network (@Women_at_UoL).


Patricia Gray


I’m a Senior Training and Development Officer, SDDU, responsible for a large programme of training and professional development for researchers in the hard sciences.  I am a former chair and founder of WiSET, which I founded in 2009. Now in its fourth year I’m delighted with the growing numbers of women involved who are taking up opportunities to develop their own networks, personal and professional impact. I would see my most significant achievements at Leeds as seeing others achieve their life and career goals. It’s great when they succeed!  I also know what it is to balance studies with employment and family life, undertaking both undergraduate and postgraduate work as a mature student while working, parenting and co- caring for an elderly dependant relative within our household.


Dr Jane Cahill


Formerly the Athena SWAN manager for the University of Leeds, I am the incumbent Chair of the newly launched Women at Leeds Network. I am a senior research fellow at the School of Healthcare and have published widely in the field of psychological therapy effectiveness research.  I continue to work and publish within the field of mental health with an especial focus on the therapeutic alliance, evidence based practice and practice-based evidence approaches.  I combine working full time with living with my eleven year old son and his cat in Leeds, so have ample experience of the work-life balance conundrum!


Cecilia De Ita

Cecilia-De-ItaI am in the last year of a PHD in Sustainability. My research looks at socio-political factors as drivers of Environmental Sustainability in Tourism.  This covers a wide range of elements such as how social and cultural sustainability influence environmental management and conservation. Previously, I worked for an Environmental Consultancy predominantly undertaking Environmental planning. My personal and extra-curricular interests involve working with cultural and social organizations in Mexico and Europe; as well as participating and organizing outreach events for science promotion. Email: cde_ita@hotmail.com