Introducing this years committee…

Chair – Jessica Hughes 


Hi, I’m Jess and I’m this year JSV Chair! I’m in my third year of my PhD in the Steve Penfield group studying the cabbage stem flea beetle, a notorious pest of oilseed rape. I hope to be able to find resistance or tolerance genes to this pest within Brassica napus to aid plant breeding. Previously, I studied at the University of Sheffield and completed a Masters focusing on blood lusting bedbugs. It’s safe to say I much prefer working with plant pests as opposed to human pests! Outside of work I enjoy playing the drums, dog walking, bird watching and to the pub!

Vice Chair – Javier Martinez-Perez


Hiya! I’m Javi, the new JSV vice-chair. I’m originally from Spain and an Agri-food and Biological Systems Engineer by training. I’m a second year PhD student in Jake Malone’s lab and I do investigate Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidae (Psa), the major threat to the world kiwifruit industry looking at natural products that can fight back the disease. On my spare time I enjoy travelling, partying, doing theatre improvisation, cooking and doing sport.


Treasurer – Jiawen Chen 


Hi everyone, I’m Jiawen and I’m your JSV treasurer this year. I’ve just started the second year of my PhD, based in David Seung’s lab in Metabolic Biology. My project is about the protein interactions and mechanisms involved in starch granule initiation in Arabidopsis and wheat. I grew up in the Netherlands and I did my undergrad in biochemistry in Edinburgh. Outside of the lab, I like baking, playing violin in the UEA orchestra, and having food with friends.

Twitter: @Jiaaawen

Secretary – Anna Colvile


Hello! I’m Anna and I’m the new JSV secretary. I’m a first year PhD student in Jake Malone’s lab, studying protein-ligand interactions which are important for Pseudomonas syringae infection of plants. Before moving to Norwich, I studied Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh, a beautiful place which I recommend visiting, and I am originally from Devon. When I’m not in the lab, you’ll find me dancing the lindy hop or balboa and running the UEA Swing Dance Society’s committee. I also enjoy practising yoga, singing, and playing the piano (although not at the same time!)

Social Secretary – Aaron Ang


 Hi, I am Aaron and I’m the new JSV social sec. I am originally from Malaysia but I did my undergraduate in Plant Science at the University of Edinburgh. During that time, I have had the opportunity to work in the Feng lab at the JIC and the Leyser lab in TSL Cambridge as summer internships. I am now in my first year of PhD, working on elucidating a non-canonical auxin signalling pathway in the Ostergaard lab. Besides science, I also enjoy cooking, baking, weightlifting, playing the piano and gardening.

Twitter: @AaronVFT

Welfare Officer – Lola González Penadés


Hello guys! I’m Lola and I’m the new Welfare Officer. I am currently a third year PhD student in the Crop Genetics department, working in Paul Nicolson’s lab. I’m originally from Alicante, a lovely Mediterranean city on the Southeast coast of Spain. I studied my undergrad at the University of Alicante and the M.Sc. degree on Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement at the UEA. In my daily life I like being outdoors (travelling, hiking, photography) but I also enjoy having indoors activities like cooking, macrame, painting… and, of course, playing with my cats!

Outreach and Communications Officer – Melissa Davie 


Hi everyone, I’m Mel, the new JSV Outreach and Communications officer. I am in the first year of my PhD in Barrie Wilkinson’s lab, working on an antibiotic called obafluorin produced by Pseudomonas bacteria. I am from Halifax, a little town in the Pennines in Yorkshire and in my spare time I love walking up hills (sad times living in Norwich..), anything outdoors and illustrating cute pics! Let me know if you are interested in contributing to the blog or have any cool outreach activities for me to promote/get involved with!

Twitter: @melissajd_

Student Seminars – Lauren Grubb


I’m currently a 2nd year PhD Student in the lab of Myriam Charpentier researching calcium signalling in symbiosis. I’m originally from Canada and before coming to Norwich I did my undergrad and MSc at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. As part of my MSc research, I received an NSERC MSFSS travel grant to join The Sainsbury Lab (TSL) for 4 months. When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy being outdoors and swing dancing.

Twitter: @Lauren_Grubb13

Photographer – Abraham Gomez Gutierrez


Hi everyone! I’m Abraham, and I am the new JIC SVC photographer. I am from Spain, specifically from a small city called Elda, 30km away from the south-east coast. I did my undergrad at the University of Alicante and my Master’s at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. For my Master’s thesis, I did an Erasmus internship at the John Innes Centre, where I decided to apply for the PhD position. Currently, I am in my third year of the PhD, working in Christopher Ridout group and trying to find and map new resistances against Downy Mildew in Baby Leaf Kale. On my free time, I enjoy travelling, photography, music and playing videogames.

Inclusivity and Diversity Rep and Graduate Studies Rep – Sam Warner


Hello, I’m Sam and a first year rotation PhD student currently exploring across JIC. Before coming to Norwich I did my undergraduate degree at University of Bristol in biology. On the JSV I represent student voices at the graduate studies executive committee and the inclusivity and diversity committee so please catch me in person or send me a message if you have anything you want me to bring up in a meeting.

Twitter: @SamWarnerPlants

Webmaster – Josh Waites 


Hello! I am Josh and I am the master of the internet. I am a first-year Rotation student currently rotating in the Wulff, Seung and Balk labs. I am a wheaty-boi who has a love for hexaploid genomes (don’t contact me unless you have ≥4 sets of chromosomes). I recently completed a Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement Master’s degree at UEA/JIC, and previously I did a Biology Bachelor’s degree at the University of Bristol. When I am not in the lab, I love doing an art or music project. I wish I had a dog.

Twitter: @JoshOWaites

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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