BCD home logo

RSB logo

Information on the chairs and speakers that took part in the 2024 Bioscience Careers Day can be found below.

BCD 2024 Chairs

cara cropped

Cara Froggatt

Senior professional development officer, Royal Society of Biology

Cara is the senior professional development officer at the Royal Society of Biology (RSB). She has worked at the RSB for two and a half years, and prior to this she worked in student support at Leeds University, where she also studied BSc Biology, with a focus on behavioural ecology, genetics and evolution. Her role at the RSB involves managing the development and delivery of the RSB's professional development activity; professional registers, training, CPD and careers support, and she enjoys supporting individuals who work, or are looking to develop their careers in the biosciences through her role. 

Cameron Furley Smith

Cameron Furley-Smith

Education and examinations executive, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

Cameron is the education and examinations executive at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). He graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Arabic with classics, however with a keen interest in education. During his two and a half years in his role, he has supported the delivery of the ABPI Professional Examination, whilst promoting and creating careers and education content for the ABPI websites. 

Cath head shot

Dr Catherine Heath 

Education, public engagement and training manager, Biochemical Society 

Catherine completed her undergraduate degree in molecular biology at the University of Sheffield, before undertaking a PhD in RNA localisation. Cath became a teaching assistant, where she supported undergraduate students and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2019. Following this, she started a postdoctoral fellowship, focused on non-coding RNAs in metabolism, at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer at the University of Edinburgh. Cath moved into her current role as education, public engagement and training manager at the Biochemical Society in 2022. 

BCD 2024 Speakers


Hana Ayoob

Illustrator and science communicator

Hana is an illustrator and science communicator who has spoken at Cheltenham Science Festival, the Crick Institute, the Natural History Museum and more. In her continuing quest to understand the world around and within us, she has also co-hosted the science and tech podcast Why Aren't You a Doctor Yet?, illustrating a range of science and maths books, and taken to the stage to discuss everything from invasive species and overlooked fungi to air pollution and theoretical physics.

Kip Heath

Kip Heath 

Clinical microbiologist and science communicator, NHS

Kip joined the NHS on a degree apprenticeship scheme directly after school and has spent almost twenty years in the health and social care sector. She has worked in pathology laboratories across the UK and Sierra Leone carrying out diagnostic tests for patients. Specialising in clinical microbiology, she has a particular interest in viruses and how something so small can cause so much damage! Currently, Kip is deputy lead scientists for the Biomedical Research Centre and lead assessor for Healthcare Science Apprenticeships at NHS England. Sometimes she even finds time to sleep. 


Dr Alastair D G Lawson D.Sc. h.c

Vice President and Immunology Fellow, UCB 

Having been awarded a First in Biology in 1980, Alastair studied for his Ph.D. under Professor George Stevenson at the Tenovus Research Laboratory, Southampton General Hospital, working on a patient-specific, antibody-based, therapy for B cell leukaemia. He joined Celltech in 1983 as a research scientist, and during his career at Celltech/UCB has been closely involved with the discovery of six approved drugs, one of which has won a Prix Galien Award. He also developed technology to support antibody and small molecule discovery. In recognition of his contributions to drug discovery, The University of Bath awarded Alastair an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 2022.

Diane Purchase

Professor Diane Purchase CBiol FRSB

Professor of environmental biotechnology, Middlesex University London

Diane is a professor of environmental biotechnology at Middlesex University London. She is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology and the Institute of Environmental Sciences, and a Titular Member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Diane serves as a Trustee of Applied Microbiology International and is on the editorial board of several international journals as well as The Biologist. As a professor with over 20 years' experience in the field, in particular researching the role of microorganisms in protecting the environment, she is keen to make a meaningful contribution to raise awareness of microorganisms and the environment. 


Daniel Similaki  

Founder, Afro Caribbean Commercial Science Network (ACCSN)

Daniel, a German-born Afro-European with a BSc Honours degree in Chemistry, boasts an extensive experience in the commercial science sector, spanning biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Currently serving as a DE&I lead in his organisation, he is dedicated to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion. Daniel's passion for societal contribution led him to volunteer for a three-year medical outreach program in Africa. In response to the industry's dearth of diversity initiatives, he founded the ACCSN. Fuelled by personal challenges in envisioning career advancement without diverse role models, the ACCSN strives to address this gap and boost representation in the commercial science field. 

Amy Vincent 1

Dr Amy Vincent

Newcastle University Academic Track Fellow, Newcastle University

Amy completed her undergraduate MSci degree in biochemistry and genetics at the University of Nottingham. After graduating, she moved to Newcastle University to take up a PhD studying mitochondrial pathology patients with muscle disease. Following this, she secured a Henry Wellcome Fellowship to start developing her research area. In 2023, she became a Newcastle University Academic Track Fellow, allowing her to establish her independent research group. Alongside her research, Amy is an executive group member of the UK Young Academy, active in public engagement and teaches on UG and MRes modules at Newcastle University. 

BCD 2024 Workshop Facilitators

 Sarah Blackford 3

Sarah Blackford (SFHEA)

Independent careers advisor

Sarah is an independent careers adviser and an honorary teaching fellow at Lancaster University. Having started her career in bioscience research and scientific publishing (many years ago!), she moved into careers work in her early 30s, working in UK universities and for the Society for Experimental Biology. In 2017, Sarah set up her own business, specialising in providing career development education and coaching to bioscience undergraduate students, doctoral researchers and university academics. In 2013, she published her book, Career planning for research bioscientists, and much of her advice and resources can be found on her website.  

Kerry Broom

Dr Kerry Broom CBiol FRSB

HPRU knowledge mobilisation manager, UK Health Security Agency

She has worked at the UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) for over 18 years. During that time, Kerry has provided scientific secretariat to government expert committees and has also led research on the neurobiological effects of electromagnetic fields and has supervised several PhD, MSc and work placement students. Kerry has been a STEM Ambassador for over 22 years and has been involved with the RSB Thames Valley Branch since 2007, becoming Chair in 2023. Kerry’s current work entails maximising impact and translation of research. She works with numerous committees, including the Joint Academic Training Committee for PhD students.

LCoulthwaite Photo

Dr Lisa Coulthwaite

Principal lecturer in medical microbiology & department of life sciences education lead, Machester Metropolitan University

Lisa is an employability lead for the faculty of science and engineering and education lead for the department of life sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her experience includes biomedical science taught masters network lead, MSc medical microbiology specialism  lead, university liaison officer for the Institute of Biomedical Science, and over 10 years as life sciences academic placement tutor. Her teaching interests include diagnostic microbiology, infectious diseases, infection prevention & control, employability, professionalism and healthcare science practitioner education. Lisa's educational research interests include educational leadership, developing learning, teaching and assessment methods, and embedding employability and professionalism within the curriculum. 


Alison Kusinska

Employability assistant and qualified careers advisor, University of Leeds

Alison has worked in employability and careers support in the faculty of biological sciences for seven years. She supports mainly undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in their career development. Facilitating student-alumni connections is a particular interest. Prior to this, she acquired the PGDip (QCG) Careers Guidance qualification at the University of Huddersfield and also has experience in regulatory affairs in the chemical industry. With a BSc (biochemistry-toxicology) from the university of Surrey - she finds combining her scientific background knowledge with supporting biological science students in their career development a good combination. 


Jonathan Lancaster-Shepherd

PGR admissions officer, University of Leeds

Jonathan has worked in postgraduate research (PGR) admissions since April 2023, in a role that covers both the faculty of biological sciences and faculty of medicine & health. He supports applicants through the admissions process from submitting their application to issuing offers for future PGRs. His job role includes preparing applications for offer, liaising with academic staff and checking UK equivalences of international degrees. Jonathan previously worked in schools and colleges and has enjoyed different areas and levels of the UK education system. 

Phil Lang profile 1

Phil Lang (AFHEA)

Placements and employability specialist, University of York

Phil comes from a social sciences/ teaching background, including teaching English for several years in Japan and Australia. He has worked in HE since 2010 and specifically in Biological Sciences since 2014. For the last five years, Phil has been placements coordinator in the Department of Biology and Natural Sciences at the University of York. This involves managing placements, careers and employability for hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate students, engaging with academic colleagues and external organisations, and working to build equity of opportunity through widening participation schemes such as GenerationResearch.


Helen Mylne 

PhD researcher, University of York

Before starting her PhD, Helen spent a fair amount of time looking at various options and practising writing postgraduate applications. With a first class degree in natural sciences from the University of Bath, she was encouraged to pursue a PhD immediately, but decided to go for the Masters first to build up her skill set some more. She learnt a huge amount from the University of Exeter, both about her field and about the world of academia. Now, Helen is in her third year of her dream PhD project, studying the social behaviour of male African savannah elephants at the University of York. 

Amy Padfield 2

Amy Padfield

Head of professional development, British Ecological Society 

Amy has worked within education and engagement at the British Ecological Society for seven years, supporting individuals through career development, training and schools outreach. Key projects include the BES Summer School and Student Futures and Research conference, showcasing the wide range of ecological careers available. Having graduated from zoology, she undertook a masters in ecology whilst working in a financial services organisation. This was followed by a range of roles within conservation charities and other learned societies, including as a presenter at RBG Kew and careers at the Royal Society of Biology. Amy has a passion for wildlife, in particular nature connection and inspiring young people to engage with nature. 

Adama Saccoh

Adama Saccoh

PhD student and Founder of TCIM careers blog

Outside of her PhD, Adama is the Founder of a life sciences careers blog 'TCIM' - the catalyst in me. TCIM hosts 90+ interviews from people with life science degrees getting a detailed insight into how science journeys started and the different wats to make the most out of your life sciences degree. TCIM also hosts other posts on navigating the science journey, with the aim of making as many paths, journeys into or out of life sciences seen. She has worked in hospital environments, pre-clinical research, clinical trials and science communication - including as a Biology Week intern for the RSB! All before her PhD, investigating the associations between the heart and the brain using population data. You can find more information on her LinkedIn page or website

Fiona Stubbs

Fiona Stubbs

Careers and employability manager, University of Glasgow

In her role at Glasgow, Fiona supports students from the College whether they be life science or medical students. She is a huge believer in the fact that students should start to think about their future from day one of their time at university. Being aware of their strengths and making a plan to get experience whilst at university is critical to giving students choice and in putting their best selves forward. In the past, Fiona has worked not only with undergraduates but MBA students, secondary schools and those with apprenticeships. 

Mimi Tanimoto photo

Dr Mimi Tanimoto

Science communications and engagement consultant

Mimi is a freelance consultant with over 11 years' experience leading communications, engagement, policy and training initiatives for scientific organisations. She began her career as a plant geneticist before joining the RSB's science policy team to run the UK Plant Sciences Federation. She then went on to manage science communications and educations programmes at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, before venturing into freelance work. Her diverse portfolio includes the development of several sciences communications strategies, the production of science festivals, community outreach events and conferences, evaluating the impact of public engagement programmes, and managing high-profile public - and policy -  facing publications. You can find more information on her LinkedIn profile.