Seirian Sumner at our next BYO lunch networking session 14 February 2017

New year, new term, new chance to meet fascinating colleagues from different disciplines across UCL! If you haven’t been to one of our events before, why not make it your 2017 Resolution to change this?

Join us on 14 February 2017 for an informal talk in our popular ‘Who am I – what am I doing?” series, from Seirian Sumner, who has recently joined us as a Reader in Behavioural Ecology in the Division of Biosciences. Apart from Seirian’s fascinating research into the societal behaviour of insects, we will hear more about Soapbox Science, a unique international public engagement project that she co-founded with Nathalie Pettorelli. See Seirian’s biography at the bottom for more information. The title of her talk is “Soapbox Science – Taking Science to the Streets”.

We’ll meet from 12.30 to 2 PM in the usual place: room 305 of the hospitable Department of Psychology: 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP. Go to the seminar room on the 3rd floor. You can buy drinks and sandwiches at the Café next door to the seminar room, or from one of the many eateries in Torrington Place, or bring your own! In honour of St Valentines, be warned that some of us may attempt themed baking! Step-free access is available immediately to the right of the main entrance.

And don’t forget to save the dates of the next two get-togethers (details closer to the time):

Thurs April 13 1-2.30
Wed June 14 1-2.30


Seirian’s work seeks to explore the interface between behavioural ecology, biodiversity and conservation. She uses a combination of field ecology and genomics techniques to address questions about how and why animals live in societies. Her journey began with a Zoology BSc (Hons) degree at University College London. She stayed on at UCL for her PhD where she studied reproductive conflicts in Malaysian eusocial hover wasps, with Prof Jeremy Field (now at University of Sussex). She then went on to a postdoc position in University of Copenhagen with Prof Koos Boomsma, to explore social parasitism of leaf cutting ants, in Panama. Thereafter, she held a succession of independent fellowships funded by Smithsonian Institute (STRI, Panama), L’Oreal for Women in Science Fellowship Award from L’OrealUNSECO/Royal Society, RCUK, and the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London. She moved to the University of Bristol as a Senior Lecturer in November 2012. She took up her current position in October 2016 as a Reader in Behavioural Ecology at University College London.

As well as being passionate about behaviour, biodiversity and insects, Seirian is an active advocate for equality in science. In 2011 she co-founded Soapbox Science, a no-frills public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do, as a regular annual science outreach festival. She led the Athena SWAN Bronze committee for the School of Biological Science in Bristol, and now sits on the Athena SWAN committee as a GEE representative for the Division of Biosciences at UCL.

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