Introducing the new Student Voice committee

It may only be November, but it’s a new year here at the Student Voice. Having welcomed a new group of PhD and MSc students and celebrated as theses were handed in, we held our annual elections this week. So let’s hear a little more about those elected in their own words.

SVC_RachelRachel, chair

Hi, my name’s Rachel and I’m the new SVC Chair. I come from Lyme Regis, in Dorset, and before I moved to JIC for my PhD I took a degree in Biological Sciences at Oxford University. At JIC, I am in my second year of a PhD with Prof Mike Bevan in Cell & Developmental Biology, investigating a ubiquitin-mediated mechanism of seed and organ development in Arabidopsis. In my spare time, I enjoy bellringing, playing badminton and going to the pub with my friends!

SVC_JemimaJemima, vice-chair

Hi I’m Jemima and I’m the new SVC vice chair! I come from Suffolk originally but I moved to Cambridge for my undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences (Biological), before starting on the rotation PhD course here at JIC last year. I now work in Crop Genetics for Cristobal Uauy on mechanisms controlling grain length and width in wheat. In my spare time I like travelling, going out with my friends and getting creative with nail polish!

SVC_CorinneCorinne Arnold, secretary

I am a first year PhD student at the John Innes Centre and I am studying the molecular evolution of host-specificity in a plant pathogen. This involves studying powdery mildews that grow on cereals and wild grasses. Outside of my work, I enjoy going caving with my university friends in various locations around the UK.

Sibyl and Tharsini, social secretaries


Hi, I’m Sibyl, a second year PhD student in Steph Bornemann’s lab in the Biological Chemistry department. I did my undergraduate MSci in Natural Sciences at the University of Durham, where I studied a mixture of maths, chemistry and biology. My PhD project investigates sugar metabolism in Mycobaterium tuberculosis with a view to making new chemical tools or therapeutics, which may help combat drug-resistant forms of the bacteria. Outside of the lab I enjoy live music, salsa dancing and cooking. I also love to travel to new places when I can and this summer I qualified as a PADI open water scuba diver in Indonesia.

SVC_TharsiniHi, I’m Tharsini also known as Dash. I’m a second year PhD student at the Institute of Food Research working in Richard Mithen’s group. I did my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at King’s College London then pursued an MRes in Clinical Research in Human Nutrition at Imperial College London. My project focuses on the effect of a natural compound found in broccoli on prostate cancer metabolism. Currently, I am running a human study where healthy volunteers are fed three types of broccoli and stilton soups. Outside of work, I enjoy playing hockey for UEA and playing the Veena (South Indian music instrument).

SVC_CathyCathy, treasurer

I’m Cathy and I’m the SVC treasurer for this year. I have just started at JIC as a first year rotation student and I’m currently working Enrico Coen’s lab on plant development. I am trying to image the plant meristem in order to help understand what controls the positioning of leaves. As a rotation student, I will complete two additional projects this year. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, playing the cello and going for long walks in the countryside.

SVC_MarcMarc, webmaster

I’m Marc, the new Webmaster for the SVC. I was born and raised in Mid-Wales, close to the border with England. I went to University in Cambridge and upon graduating made the relatively short journey to start my PhD in Norwich last year. My PhD project focuses on flowering time in Brassica napus, a species of plants which includes oilseed rape. Oilseed rape plants have a bright yellow flower which makes them very visually striking, especially when you see entire fields of the plants in flower at once. The project is largely computational, so I spend most of my day sitting in front of a computer coding; quite fitting for a Webmaster really! When I’m not working on my project I enjoy playing and creating video games. To escape from screens and give my eyes a break I also play board games regularly, go for walks in Norwich’s ample green spaces and play bass guitar.

SVC_DaisyAnastasia, seminar organiser

Hi, I’m Anastasia (or Daisy if you like) and I’m a second year PhD student at the John Innes Centre, having previously done a Biochemistry MSci course at the University of Cambridge. I study enzymes from oats that add sugars to specialized metabolites, such as an anti-fungal UV-active molecule made in oat root tips. I enjoy singing, running, drawing and taking photos of the weird and colourful stuff that gets made in our lab!

SVC_SueSue, photographer

Hi, I’m Sue. I am a first year PhD rotation student, currently working on a 10-week project in Rob Field group in Biological Chemistry Department at JIC. I am trying to identify a protein from Euglena that can produce beta-glucan, a carbohydrate molecule that has been shown to have anti-cancer properties and human immune stimulant. Outside my work, I enjoy playing racket sports, especially squash and tennis. I also love travelling and photography (only when the weather is nice!).

SVC_MabonMabon, communciations

I’m Mabon, and I’ll be looking after this blog for the next year. I came to JIC just over two years ago for a Master’s course, just after graduating from the University of Manchester. I’m now a second year PhD student in the Coen lab, where I’m trying to figure out how bumblebees’ learning behaviour affects flower colour evolution in our favourite plant species, the snapdragon. Outside that, at the risk of sounding like my CV, I enjoy writing, making music, baking, graphic design and all things science communication!

We’re also joined on the committee by the reps who will be representing the postgraduate students on the institute’s committees. We would all like to thank the outgoing committee for all their work over the past 12 months. And we’re all looking forward to getting started in our new roles!


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