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Role Models

Professor Silvia Gordani

Head of Chemistry Department | Dublin City University

Silvia Giordani is full Professor Chair of Nanomaterials and Head of School of Chemical Sciences at Dublin City University. She received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Miami, USA and carried out postdoctoral research at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Ireland and at the University of Trieste, Italy. In 2007 she received the prestigious President of Ireland Young Researcher Award and was a Research Assistant Professor at TCD from 2007 to 2013. In September 2013 she founded the new “Nano Carbon Materials” research lab at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) and in December 2016 she was appointed Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry at the University of Turin, Italy. Her main research interests are in the design, synthesis, and characterization of a wide range of nanomaterials for applications in smart and responsive bio-related nanotechnologies. She has authored over 140 peer-reviewed publications in International journals from 2001 to date, including Chemistry Society Reviews, Nature Nanotechnology, PNAS, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano and J. Am. Chem. Soc. that collectively have received over 8,000 citations and her results have been highlighted in journals such as Science, Nature, and New Scientist. Prof. Giordani has also presented her work at numerous conferences around the world e.g. in the United States, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, India, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and across most of Europe. She has served as the thesis/dissertation advisor or mentor to 43 undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral fellows. In 2012 she was awarded the L’Oréal UK & Ireland Fellowship For Women in Science and in 2014 she was invited to give a “Women in Science” Masterclass at the Royal Irish Academy. In 2018 she was awarded the William Evans Fellowship from the University of Otago (New Zealand). She is Visiting Scientist to the Bio-Nano Institute at Toyo University (Japan). She is Associate Editor for Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology and for Frontiers in Chemistry - Supramolecular Chemistry. (

Professor Yuliya Semenova

Photonics Research Centre | School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering | Trinity College Dublin

Yuliya Semenova received her Master in Electronic Engineering degree from the National University “Lviv Polytechnic” in Ukraine in 1992 and her Ph.D. in Physics from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in 1999. She is Professor in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Technological University Dublin, where she has been since 2001, and Director of Photonics Research Centre since 2019. She has over 350 publications in the field of photonics with over 5500 citations to her work. She has given numerous invited talks and tutorials and supervised to completion 14 PhD graduates. She is an Associate Editor of several journals in her field including IET Electronics Letters,
Journal of Lightwave Technology and Sensors. Her current research interests span both photonics and applications of photonic devices in engineering with a focus on fibre optics. Much of her work to date has been on improving the design and performance of optical fibre sensors with applications ranging from macro- to nanoscales. Some of the specific areas of her interests are: whispering gallery mode effects in microfiber resonators, plasmonic structures and photonic (liquid) crystal fibre sensors.

Dr Anna Puig-Centelles

Project Officer at European Commission

Dr. Anna Puig Centelles received her degree in computer engineering from the Universitat Jaume I (Spain) and the M.Sc. from the Vrije Universiteit (The Netherlands) on medical protocols. Anna obtained her Ph.D. on computer graphics after doing a research internship in Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain) and Université de Limoges (France). After working in Academia for many years, Anna started working as project manager focused on neuroscience and satellite technologies. Anna joined the European Commission in 2018 as programme officer in DG CNECT. Her current responsibilities include working as project officer for H2020 and HE projects in HADEA, the Health and Digital Executive Agency established by the European Commission
You can follow her on Twitter (@APuigCentelles) and LinkedIn

Belinda Finch

Chief Information Officer | Three UK

Belinda is an experienced Group Chief Information Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the technology industry. Skilled in Business Process Design, Business Case, IT Strategy, Business Transformation, and Senior Stakeholder Management. Strong information technology professional with a BSc (Econ) focused in Economics from Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd.
Belinda has a wealth of experience in telecommunications and utilities infrastructure, having previously held a Group CIO and Chief of Staff role at Centrica, and 8 years in digital transformation roles at Vodafone.
Belinda brings together all existing IT functions at Three UK under one management team. In this role, she is responsible for delivering the final stages of Three’s IT transformation programme, working with Three’s product teams to drive system improvements that will drive a better customer experience.

Professor Anna Baldycheva

Head of STEMM Lab | Centre for Graphene Science | University of Exeter

Dr Baldycheva completed her BSc(Hons) in Physics at Saint-Petersburg University in 2008 and PhD in EEE at Trinity College Dublin in 2012. After Postdoctoral Position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she took a position of an Assistant Professor in Electronic Engineering at the University of Exeter in 2014, where she founded STEMM Laboratory.
She has over 100 scientific publications, plenary and invited talks to date. She is a Fellow of the Royal Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of Royal Microscopical Society. Prof Baldycheva is an editor of the Nature Scientific Reports and Nanoscale Research Letters journals, and is an executive chair of the Royal Microscopical Society Engineering Section.
Dr. Baldycheva is a leader of STEMM Laboratory - a highly interdisciplinary academic research lab working on applied R&D of smart materials, devices, and systems for real world applications. STEMM Lab actively cooperates with the representatives of the industry, specifically conducting applied research that can be expeditiously commercialised and introduced to the market in short-terms.

Professor Heather A Harrington

Mathematical Institute | University of Oxford

Professor Heather A Harrington is an applied mathematician interested in dynamical systems, chemical reaction network theory, topological data analysis, and systems biology. She is professor of mathematics, and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, where she heads the Algebraic Systems Biology group.

Professor Harrington went to Concord-Carlisle High School in Massachusetts. As an applied mathematics student at the University of Massachusetts Amherstshe won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, and graduated summa cum laude from in 2006. She completed her Ph.D. in 2010 at Imperial College London. Her dissertation, Mathematical models of cellular decisions, was jointly supervised by Jaroslav Stark and Dorothy Buck.
After postdoctoral research in theoretical systems biology at Imperial from 2010 to 2013, she joined the Mathematical Institute at Oxford as Hooke Research Fellow and EPSRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and as Junior Research Fellow at St Cross College, Oxford. In 2017, she became an associate professor and Royal Society University Research Fellow at Oxford. In 2020, she became professor of mathematics.
She is a board member of the EDGE Foundation (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education).
In 2018 Professor Heather Harrington was one of the winners of the Whitehead Prize of the London Mathematical Society. She was a co-winner of the 2019 Adams Prize of the University of Cambridge, which had the topic 'The Mathematics of Networks'. She was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2020 for advances in analysis of noisy data.

Professor Louise Bradley

Professor in Physics | Bradley Photonics Research Group | Trinity College Dublin

Prof. Bradley leads a vibrant research team in the field of photonics, with current research interests mainly in the area of nanophotonics. Her research is directly relevant for development of higher efficiency light emitting devices, solar cells and sensing applications. She has previously made significant contributions to the development of novel devices for optical telecommunications systems. In 1992 she received a BSc (First Class Hons.) in Experimental Physics from University College Dublin. She was awarded Forbairt and Trinity College Dublin scholarships to pursue postgraduate studies at Trinity College Dublin, obtaining a MSc in 1994 and a PhD in 1998. During her PhD she studied nonlinear optical processes in semiconductor microcavity systems. As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow she worked on the development of semiconductor microcavity devices for lighting applications. In 1999, she became a Lecturer in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, before returning to join the academic staff of the School of Physics in 2000. Subsequently, she was appointed Senior Lecturer and elected to Fellowship of the College in 2009, and promoted to Professor in 2016. Dr. Bradley has won over 3.55 M in competitive funding from Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Research Council. She has published over 140 scientific papers and collaborates with national and international research teams.

Professor Christl Donnelly

Head of Department | Professor of Applied Statistics | University of Oxford

Professor Christl Donnelly is Professor of Applied Statistics and Head of the Department in the Department of Statistics, University of Oxford. She is also an investigator in Oxford’s Pandemic Sciences Institute. She has been involved in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work at University of Oxford and, previously, at Imperial College London. Her research programme develops statistical and biomathematical methods to analyse epidemiological patterns of infectious diseases, with links to ecology, conservation and animal welfare. Building upon her experience working with policymakers on diseases of humans and animals, she is the Academic Champion for Policy Engagement across the university.

Professor Helen Gleeson

Cavendish Professor of Physics | School of Physics and Astronomy | University of Leeds

Professor Helen Gleeson OBE is the Cavendish Professor of Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds. She has held leadership positions in both the University of Manchester (Head of School, Dean for Research for Engineering and Physial Sciences) and at the University of Leeds (Head of School). She has more than 35 years of experience of experimental studies of liquid crystals, from a fundamental, deep understanding of their physical properties to new device inventions and discoveries.

Helen graduated from the University of Manchester in 1983 with a 1st class degree in Mathematics and Physics and with a PhD in experimental physics in 1986. she rapidly progressed as an academic, becoming the youngest professor of physics in decades at Manchester in 2003. She has pioneered many experimental techniques for the study of liquid crystals and devices, developing a deep understanding of their physical properties relevant to uses. She has invented devices including smart, switchable focus contact lenses, novel sensors and, most recently the first molecular auxetic material.

Helen has supervised more than 33 postgraduate students, collaborating with many industrial partners. She has co-edited textbooks for liquid crystals, published more than 185 papers in leading journals and given hundreds of conferences presentations. Her research achievements have been recognised by national and international awards by learned societies; the Hilsum and George Gray Medals of the British Liquid Crystal Society; the Holweck Prize, the Institute of Physics and French Physical Society Bilateral award, and the Rank Prize Lecture in 2016. Helen is very active in outreach and in issues around equality and inclusion. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2009 that acknowledged her work on equality and inclusion in physics in addition to her scientific achievements. She won the 2018 Times Higher Education Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year award, reflecting both her approach to mentoring early career researchers and to improving the environment for minorities. She was appointed as the Institute of Physics Advisor to Council for Inclusion and Diversity in November 2021.

Dr. Olga Kugatkina

Senior Director at Infosys

15+ experience in the financial services industry, advised senior leadership at financial institutions, PE firms and Pension Funds in the UK, US and Europe, working at top consulting firms. Led design and delivery of strategic advisory solutions, focused on change, growth and sustainable performance increase across the globe.
Led over 100+ deals in the M&A context in the US, the UK and Europe
Advisor to the Board, support operationalization of the strategy
Scaled businesses from idea to multimillion revenue
Currently Senior Director, at Infosys
Ph.D. in International Economics

Professor Yang-Hui He

Professor of Mathematics | City University of London | Lecturer in Mathematics | Merton College | Chair Professor in Physics

Professor Yang-Hui He is a mathematical physicist working on the interface between geometry, number theory and quantum field theory/string theory. Recently, he helped introduce machine-learning into the field of pure mathematics by using AI to help uncover new patterns and raise new conjectures (cf. interview by Science [Vol 365, July, 2019] and by New Scientist [Dec 9 Issue, 2019]).

Yang studied at Princeton University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Physics, with a Certificate in Applied Mathematics and a Certificate in Engineering, Summa cum Laude (Highest Honours, Phi-Beta-Kappa). He then obtained a Certificate in Advanced Mathematics (Tripos) at the University of Cambridge, with Distinction. He went on to receive his PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics from MIT. Yang continued with postdoctoral work in the University of Pennsylvania before joining University of Oxford as the FitzJames Fellow in Mathematics and then the UK STFC Advanced Fellow in theoretical physics.

Yang joined City in 2010 as Reader. He is currently Professor of Mathematics. He concurrently holds the Chang-Jiang Chair Professorship at NanKai University, China and jointly remains a Tutor and Lecturer at Merton College, Oxford where he taught since 2005. In 2021, he became Fellow of the London Institute of Mathematical Sciences at the Royal Institution, and is thus splitting his time.

Professor Emma Sokell

Head of the School of Physics |Co-Chair of UCD Gender Equality Action Group | University College Dublin

Emma Sokell is a Professor in the School of Physics at University College Dublin, where she has been on the faculty for over 20 years. She graduated with a PhD from Manchester University in 1995, on the topic of experimental photoelectron spectroscopy carried out at the Daresbury synchrotron. She did post-doctoral research at the Tokyo Electron Beam Ion Trap (EBIT) and with femtosecond lasers at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse. After joining UCD her research interests expanded to include spectroscopy of laser produced plasmas. Currently her research is focussed on laser produced plasmas for soft x-ray applications and molecular double photoionisation. Emma is Head of the School of Physics and Co-Chair of the UCD Gender Equality Action Group

Dr Lise Pape

Digital Health Entrepreneur | Founder at Walk With Path Limited

Lise Pape is the Founder of Walk With Path and in charge of business development, strategy and partnership.
Lise holds a BSc in Human Biology from King’s College London and a double masters MA/MSc in Innovation Design Engineering from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. In addition, Lise has worked in finance for J.P. Morgan, where she held roles in Product Management, Network Management, and was responsible for client and stakeholder relationships internally and externally. She has also worked in advertising for AOL’s, where she was a Delivery Manager responsible for the Nordic region. Additionally, Lise has worked as Investment Manager at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark at the Royal Danish Embassy in London, where she was responsible for job creation into Denmark within life sciences and clean technologies.

Lise founded Walk With Path in 2014, based on her developments during Innovation Design Engineering, and her personal experience with Parkinson’s suffered by her father. The company launched it’s first product in 2017; Path Finder, a visual cueing shoe attachment to help those with Parkinson’s. The second product, a haptic feedback insole to improve balance; Path Feel, is in development.
Dr Pape has been awarded many prizes and awards, including:
2020 - MassChallenge HealthTech Diamond Award
2019 - Horizon Prize for Mobility
2019 - Forbes - 53 Women-Led Startups Disrupting HealthTech
2017 - Patient Innovation - Caregiver Award
2017 - Cartier Women's Initiative Award - Finalist

Professor Monica Craciun

Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the Engineering Department | University of Exeter

Prof Monica Craciun is Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the Engineering Department at the University of Exeter, UK. She is part of the Centre for Graphene Science, the Nano Engineering Science and Technology (NEST) Group and the Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation.
Prof Craciun has over 19 years of research expertise in the areas of Advanced Materials, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. She held one of the 5-year EPSRC Engineering Fellowships for Growth awarded to only 8 UK leading academics for maintaining UK’s research leadership in the area of Advanced Materials (identified as one of the Great British Technologies). Prof Craciun is/was investigator on more than 30 EPSRC, Royal Society, Innovate UK, EU and industrial research grants with a total funding of over £10 million.
The academic work of Prof Craciun spans from engineering research in nanotechnology, electronic and optoelectronic devices to fundamental science research in nanoscience (quantum phenomena, molecular electronics, nano electronics, spintronics) and materials science (discovery of new materials and manufacturing methods, understanding the properties-performance relationship). She has over 160 publications in leading international journals (e.g. Nature & Science family journals, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters), with many papers ranked in the top 1% in Materials Science, Engineering and Physics, which have attracted an h-index of 39, an i10-index of 73 and more than 5200 citations. Prof Craciun leads a research group working on two-dimensional materials with the aim of harnessing their novel properties for electronics, photonics, energy, sensing and healthcare.
Prof Craciun gained a PhD in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), an MSc in Materials Physics (Joseph Fourier University, Grenobe, France), an MSc in Applied Physics (University of Bucharest, Romania) and an MSc in Materials Engineering (Catholic University Leuven, Belgium). Before joining Exeter she was postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and at the University of Tokyo were she was awarded a prestigious fellowship of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. Prof Craciun joined the University of Exeter in January 2010 as research fellow and took up her current position in April 2017.
Several research fellows such as Marie Curie and Royal Academy of Engineering were hosted and mentored by Prof Craciun. She also mentored 13 postdoctoral researchers and is/was supervisor of more than 30 PhD students (17 to completion), as well as more than 60 Msc, MEng, BEng and MPhys dissertation students. Several of the researchers supervised by Prof Craciun have progressed to academic positions or are in leadership positions in industry.

Dr Yolana Ohene

Postdoctoral Research Associate | The University of Manchester | University of Manchester

Dr Yolanda Ohene is a neuroimaging scientist, STEM communicator and co-founder of the Minorities in STEM network. She was awarded the Institute of Physics Bronze medal in 2019 for outstanding contribution to physics by an early career researcher, for her work in the development of a new MRI technique. Yolanda holds an MSci in Physics from Imperial College London (2013), a Masters in Plasma Physics from Ecole Polytechnique, France (2014) and a PhD in Medical Imaging from UCL. Yolanda is a science communicator; she has spoken on BBC Tomorrow’s World Live and is a speaker for Maths Inspiration and regularly give talks for schools. She has also spoken at some of the biggest UK science events including Cheltenham Science Festival (2016/2017), New Scientist Live! (2017) and Einstein’s Garden at GreenMan Festival (2019). Yolanda is a recipient of the British Science Festival Award Lectures (2021). She is one of the founding members of The Blackett Lab Family, collective of UK Black physicists. Yolanda is currently a postdoctoral researcher within the Neuroimaging group at GeoffreyJefferson Brain Research Centre at The University of Manchester.

Professor Laura Schaposnik

Visiting Fellow - All Souls College, Oxford Professor in Mathematics - University of Illinois at Chicago

Professor Schaposnik is an accomplished geometer with an MSC in Maths from the University of La Plata, Argentina, and a DPhil in mathematics from the University of Oxford. She is currently a Professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) and has held notable positions including a Research Professorship at MSRI, a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls, Oxford, and a Clarendon Scholarship.
Prof. Schaposnik is a recipient of numerous accolades including an NSF CAREER Award, a Humboldt Fellowship, and a Simons Fellowship. During her sabbatical year 2022-2023, she is spending time at both Berkeley and Oxford.

Dr Jennifer Stopford

Lead Product Quality & Reliability Engineer at Intel

After graduating from Trinity with a degree in Science of Materials, Jen began her career as an engineer with Canon in Japan. She continued to work in the semiconductor and electronics industries in Europe and the US, primarily in senior applications and systems integration engineering roles. In 2007 she joined the School of Electronic Engineering, DCU as a Senior Technical Officer, and completed her PhD in Electronic Engineering while working there. Jen joined Intel Ireland in 2011 and is currently employed as a quality engineer, where she tackles complex product quality challenges and guides teams though Integrated Circuit (IC) qualification in an ambiguous and fast paced environment. Jen is a keen sea swimmer and you can catch her once a year diving into the dark waters of the Liffey in the historic Liffey Swim.

Professor Ruth Saunders

Associate Professor at Humboldt State University | Department of Physics and Astronomy at Humboldt | Trinity College Dublin

Dr. Ruth Saunders is the Pathways to STEM coordinator in Trinity Access Programmes. Prior to this she was an Associate Professor in the department of Physics & Astronomy at Humboldt State University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics with first class honours in 2000 from Dublin City University in Ireland, her Masters of Science from the University of Oregon in 2004. She returned to Ireland and obtained her PhD from Dublin City 2012. Before joining Humboldt State, she spent 3 years at California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo.
Ruth’s research is into the world of small, nanophysics. Continuing her thesis work, she conducts both experimental and theoretical research into the growth of Zinc Oxide nanowires. She also models the behaviour of two-dimensional Carbon Nanotube networks. She is committed to exploring the issues surrounding the inclusion of minoritized students in STEM, focusing on the building of communities within Science to support students (and faculty).