Introducing this years committee…


Chair – Alicia Russell


Hi, I’m Alicia and I’m the new chair for the JIC SVC. I’m currently a third year PhD student in molecular microbiology, working in Andy Truman’s lab. My research focuses on the discovery and characterisation of novel natural products from Streptomyces bacteria. I’m originally from Battle in East Sussex (where the Battle of Hastings actually happened). Before coming to Norwich, I studied an integrated master’s in biomedical science at the University of Warwick. Outside of the lab I enjoy music, food and seeing friends. @alisia_russel


Vice Chair – Josh Joyce


Hi, I’m Josh and I am the JSV vice chair. I am in the first year of my PhD project researching the signalling mechanisms involved in plant-aphid interactions in the Hogenhout lab. I am from Melbourn, a village in S. Cambridgeshire (not Australia), and did my undergrad degree at Durham Uni. I have also undertaken summer projects there and at Cambridge Uni investigating plant defence responses to biotic stresses. Cycling of various forms takes up most of my free time along with skating and hanging out with good people. Please drop me a message or grab me sometime if you want to chat about the JIC/JSV or about almost anything else.  @joshjoyce5


Treasurer – Sebastian Samwald


Hi everyone, I’m Basti and I’m the treasurer. I’m originally from Austria and did my undergrad and Master’s degree at the University of Vienna. For my Master’s thesis I did an Erasmus traineeship year at the University of Manchester and now I am already in the second year of my PhD, even though it sometimes feels like I just started a month ago. I am in the Faulkner group working on plasmodesmata proteins and signalling. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, skiing and baking and since there are no mountains in Norwich I’ve also picked up Judo along the way. @samwalds


Secretary – Anna Backhaus


Hello, Hello, I am Anna and I will be your JSV secretary for the next year, which means I will send you some emails now and then about exciting events, or upcoming opportunities! This year I started as a rotation PhD and currently I am working in the group of Cristobal Uauy. Next I will be with Richard Morris and Matthew Moscou. And all these projects will be focused around my love for Wheat genetics. In the past I already came to Norwich for my Bsc at UEA after which I went home and did my Masters at the University of Bonn but during the last 4 month I worked at ICARDA (int. breeding center in Morocco). If I am not in the lab or field, I like to hang out with my dog, go cycling, surfing, running, oh and eating! @AnnaBackhaus


Social Secretary – Javier Martinez



Hiya! I’m Javi, your new JIC Social Secretary. I’m originally from Spain and Agricultural Engineer by training. I’m a first year PhD student in Jake Malone’s lab investigating Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidae (Psa), the major threat to the world kiwifruit industry. And, on my spare time I enjoy travelling and doing outdoor sports.



Welfare – Jessica Hughes


Hi I’m Jess, this year’s Welfare Officer and your Graduate Studies Rep. I’m in the second year of my PhD in Steve Penfield’s Lab, which is all about understanding feeding preferences in flea beetle, an important pest for oilseed rape. I did my undergraduate degree in Sheffield, which included a project on bedbugs.

If I’m not in the insectary, you’ll find me playing the drums, or at a metal gig. Please feel free to contact me about any issues, I’m always happy to help.



Outreach and Communications – Shannon Woodhouse


Hi I’m Shannon, this year’s outreach and communications officer! Originally from Essex, I did my undergraduate degree at UEA and have called Norwich home ever since. I’ve just started my second year (already!) and I’m split between Richard Morris and Judith Irwin’s labs trying to understand developmental transitions in Brassica.

Outside of the lab I enjoy sketching, live music and tending to my ever-growing houseplant collection. Please look out for outreach opportunities and let me know if you’d like to contribute to the blog! @shwoodhouse


Student Seminars – Lira Palmer 


Hi! I’m Lira, a second year PhD student in the department of Biological Chemistry. My role in the JSV is to organize student seminars, laid back events where students can present to their peers about their research. I have also served as the JSV social secretary, which was a great way to get to know everyone in the JIC and the other NBI-ALL institutes. If you are interested in giving a student seminar, email me! @FlatPalmTree



Photographer – Siegfried Leher


Hi, I’m Sigi, the JSV photographer and last year’s Secretary. I’m in the second year of my PhD on magnesium-homeostasis, -sensing and -signalling, in the Sanders/Miller lab. The aim is to perform a mutant-screen for magnesium signalling factors, using a luciferase reporter, but I also work on magnesium-transporters. I did my bachelor’s degree at the University of Glasgow, in molecular and cellular biology (with plant science), but originally I’m from Austria. In my free time, I do yoga, play video games and read.



Inclusivity and Diversity Rep – Becca Doherty


I’m Becca, this year’s student representative on the Inclusivity & Diversity Committee! I’m also the student rep for the Learning and Development Committee and I’m part of the new team for the Green Impact Award with JIC students. I came from NI to Durham to do my undergrad and masters, and now I’m a first year PhD student with Steve Penfield studying day length and temperature effects on seed dormancy and vernalisation. When I’m not hunched over seeds I enjoy travelling, going to shows and having games nights!



Finally, thank you to our outgoing committee for all the fantastic work they did last year!

Cover Image: Inflorescence of an oilseed rape plant,Marie Bruser, John Innes Centre, NRP-198

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