Our Ambassadors

Our ambassadors are researchers who give up their time to help raise awareness and grow the community because they share the vision of a global research community. If you would like to represent your University or region then please get in touch.
Become an ambassador

Ken Dutton-Regester



Dr Ken Dutton-Regester is an active cancer researcher exploring new ways to treat late-stage melanoma. Completing his PhD at the Queensland University of Technology in 2012, Ken also did a postdoc at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute in Boston, Massachusetts before pursuing an independent research program back in Australia. Ken is also the founding director of Excite Science, a scicomm start-up explaining complex science in creative ways. Their first product was Makings of a Malignancy, a cancer biology-themed escape room and has been exposed to 10,000+ people across Australia. Having served on a number of leadership bodies including the National Postdoctoral Association and the Associate Member Council for the American Association for Cancer Research, Ken founded Stemventurist as a community resource helping scientists in their careers, inside or outside of academia.



Helena Hartmann




Helena Hartmann's research is all about feeling other people's pain in your own brain, also known as empathy! She finished her Master of Science in Clinical and Biological Psychology in 2017, where she investigated empathic abilities and evidence for emotional egocentricity in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Directly after that, she started her PhD at the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit led by Claus Lamm at the University of Vienna. In her dissertation, she is investigating why and how we understand and share the pain of other individuals around us. More specifically, Helena is interested what role our own pain processing plays in empathy for other people's suffering and the showing of prosocial behavior, specifically focusing on somatosensory pain processing in the human brain. She is enthusiastic about conducting transparent research through open science principles and loves transmitting her research to the public via science communication.



 Sofia Bariami





Sofia Bariami is a computational chemistry PhD student, at the University of Edinburgh. With a diverse background in applied mathematics and physics, and having experience working in a pharmaceutical company, she is using her expertise to develop and use theoretical models to understand small active molecules, that can be used as drugs (Computer Aided Drug Design). Her research focuses on two important aspects of computational chemistry: the development of forcefield parameters, focusing on host-guest systems that can be used as molecular carriers; and the modification of existing Molecular Dynamics frameworks using programming to incorporate new features, using as a test-case the HIV reverse-transcriptase. Apart from her research, she is part of the “Scientist next door” community, a group of scientists that share with children their passion for science, hoping more of them will find it as exciting. At her free time, she participates in public engagement activities, and she enjoys sketching. She is also always up for travelling and meeting new people.



Alexander Thom




Alexander (Ali) Thom is a 3rd year chemistry PhD student at the University of Glasgow. His initial research project focused on novel methods to alter the surface chemistry of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for biomedical applications. MOFs are porous materials with a wide range of potential applications including use in biomedicine as well as gas storage for carbon capture and hydrogen storage and transport. His PhD focuses on synthesising and characterising novel MOFs for future use in gas storage applications. Apart from his research, Ali was the president of the University of Glasgow chemical society (aka Alchemists’ club) in 2018-19. In his spare time he volunteers with Glasgow City Mission at their main project in helping to combat homelessness in Glasgow as well as being involved in their winter night shelter. He is an avid rugby fan, even though that means being under the perpetual curse of being a passionate supporter of Scotland rugby.



Beth Eyre



Beth's PhD research at University of Sheffield investigates a mechanism called neurovascular coupling. When neurons in the brain fire, there should be a large increase in blood flow to that same region, to redeliver oxygen and glucose that have been used up, this relationship is termed neurovascular coupling. This relationship is really important because it ensures that cells in the brain get the oxygen and glucose they need to survive.

When she is not studying the brain, Beth likes to take part in public outreach and widening participation activities. She has recently become a Brilliant Club tutor, whereby she goes into schools and delivers university-style tutorials. The scheme is aimed at getting more young people from underrepresented backgrounds into highly selective universities- something that she is really passionate about because university should be for everyone and should not depend on your background. In her spare time you’ll most likely find her watching documentaries (about whales) or eating pizza.


Thiru Somasundaram



Thiru (Thiruchenduran Somasundaram) is a PhD researcher developing seaweed supplements for dairy cows in Australia under Deakin University Postgraduate Scholarship grants. Thiru is one of the past postharvest scientist at National Aquatic Resources Research and Development agency (NARA) in Sri Lanka. As one of the cruise “Food Safety and Nutrition-Scientist”, Thiru cruised with R/V Dr Fridjtof Nansen sampling Sri Lankan territorial waters. He has contributed in expert scientific panels for FAO’s EAF-Nansen Programme at Institute of Marine Research, Bergen and at FAO headquarters Rome.

He currently explores the potentials of seaweed as a supplement for dairy cattle in several platforms including, source of essential nutrients for cattle, natural way of fortifying milk and milk product and improving quality, mitigating health cow’s health issues like bloating and subacute rumen acidosis and reducing greenhouse gas emission through altering gut microbiota. Thiru believes networking is the most important quality of growing early career scientist.


Pauline Oustric



Pauline is a third-year PhD researcher at the University of Leeds. As an Engineer in Nutrition from AgroParisTech (Paris), her background covers multidisciplinary challenges in life science from the field (agriculture) to the fork (food science and nutrition). She then wanted to understand why we eat and created her PhD on food reward (our pleasure and motivation to eat) in weight management. Her PhD is investigating the biopsychology of food reward to improve weight management outcomes such as food intake in adult.

She is passionate about communication, cooking and coding. She is PGR-rep and Mental health & Wellbeing Champion at the School of Psychology and member of the Research & Scientific Advisory Committee for the Association of Study of Obesity (ASO). She loves organizing workshops and conferences for early career researchers and she delivers workshops on networking, communication, and data visualization. She aims at bringing people together to create a strong community of researchers.




Elpida Vounzoulaki



Elpida Vounzoulaki is a PhD Student in Diabetes Epidemiology at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research focuses on preventing type 2 diabetes in women who had gestational diabetes by understanding uptake to screening, progression rates and healthcare costs, using evidence synthesis methodologies.

Elpida has a strong interest in communicating science to the public and making it accessible. She is an active STEM Ambassador for the WISE campaign and STEM UK aiming to inspire young people to follow a career in science and research. Elpida also enjoys organising workshops and conferences for PhD students and early career researchers and is a Postgraduate Student Representative for Health Sciences for this academic year. In her spare time, she enjoys playing music and singing, while she is also a member of the Leicester University Theatre society.



Eleanor Sheekey



Eleanor Sheekey is a 1st year PhD student at the Cancer Research UK – Cambridge Institute (CRUK-CI). This follows from her MSci in Biochemistry achieved at Peterhouse, University of Cambridge. Her research interests lie in the most frequently mutated gene in cancer, TP53, which encodes the protein p53, and cellular senescence, a cell fate linked with both cancer and aging. When not in the lab, Eleanor is a keen runner and football player and sings soprano in her college chapel choir at Peterhouse. Moreover, she enjoys spending time creating videos for her YouTube Channel “The Sheekey Science Show”.



Becky Dewhurst

Twitter: @becky_dewhurst


Becky graduated from the University of Sunderland, with a BSc in Biomedical Science. In 2019, Becky completed her Masters of Research (MRes) in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at Newcastle University, before starting her PhD in September 2019.
Currently Becky is a DiMeN DTP MRC funded PhD student studying in the Institute of Translational and Clinical Research in the Sayer-Miles group, Newcastle University. The group predominantly focuses on a collection of diseases known as ciliopathies which are conditions affecting the cilia, finger-like protrusions found on the surface of almost all our cells. Throughout Becky’s project she will be investigating how urine-derived patient specific cells can be used to develop disease models. Becky is also currently a member of the North East Postgraduate Conference’s organising committee for 2020.



Rebekah Penrice-Randal


Rebekah Penrice-Randal is a virology PhD student at the University of Liverpool. Rebekah has multidisciplinary background in international public health and physiology, and a long-term interest in how viruses effect the physiology of people and the impact disease can have on communities. Rebekah started her PhD looking at Ebolavirus and mutations within the viral RNA genome using reverse genetic systems and progressed onto working on Coronaviruses starting with a collaborative project on Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS) in Saudi Arabia. Strategies learnt within the team were then utilised during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, allowing the research team to study the viral genome and the microbiome of patients with COVID-19.

Rebekah is passionate about science communication and in March 2020 set up The Science Social to challenge misinformation and fake news being shared about the virus with Co-Founders Charlotte Blake and Lucia Livoti.