Latest from UCL Women

Dr Emmanuelle Charpentier: 2017 UCL Women’s Flagship Lecture

Emmanuelle

7 March 2017 from 17:30

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Dr Emmanuelle Charpentier, a pioneer of CRISPR-Cas9 technology, will give the 2017 UCL Women’s Flagship Lecture. CRISPR went from obscure bacterial defence system to household name in a few short years thanks to its immense power to ‘edit’ the genome. In this seminar, we’ll hear the inside story of this fascinating journey as well as learn more about the woman behind it.

There’ll be a drinks reception in the Cloisters (Wilkins Building, main quad of UCL) from 5.30pm, followed by the lecture in Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1 at 7pm. The lecture will be enhanced afterwards by a Q&A session, moderated by Alok Jha, science correspondent for ITV News.

This event is free and open to all, but spaces are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment! You can register for a maximum of two tickets.

Biography – Emmanuelle Charpentier

Dr Charpentier, a French biologist, is currently director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. Her work was instrumental in understanding the molecular basis of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 “immune system” and exploiting it as a tool for genome editing. In collaboration with Jennifer Doudna and her team, Charpentier’s group worked out how to make precisely targeted mutations via synthetic “guide RNA” molecules. The method is now widely used to edit the DNA sequences of plants, animals, and mammalian cells, which will have wide-reaching effects on biology, healthcare and technology in the future. Charpentier has won the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Gruber Foundation International Prize in Genetics and the Leibniz Prize, Germany’s most important research prize. In 2015, Time Magazine named Charpentier one of the 100 most influential people in the world (together with Jennifer Doudna).

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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

Speaker
soapbox-science-2016-471

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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Christmas BYO lunch networking event – 16 December

Many mince pies with star decoration dusted with confectioner's sugar.jpg
By Me!bourne Mermaid – originally posted to Flickr as Mince Pies, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Term is nearly over and we’re all ready for a festive break! So we’ll be getting together for a BYO lunch on December 16th, from 1pm to 2pm in our usual venue: room 305 of the Department of Psychology, 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP.

We will provide mince pies and satsumas and you can buy drinks and sandwiches at the Café next door to the seminar room, or bring your own! We don’t have a speaker, but the theme is science-inspired Christmas presents – for children or grown-ups. Come laden with ideas you can share.

How to get there

The seminar room is on the 3rd floor. Step-free access is available immediately to the right of the main entrance.

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Save the dates – our upcoming BYO lunches for the coming academic year

We just wanted to let you know when our upcoming lunchtime sessions would be, so you can make a plan to attend one, or a few, or all!

We will either have a speaker, or just have lunch and a chat – details closer to the time.

Friday Nov 4 1-2.30
Friday Dec 16 1-2.30
Tues Feb 14 1-2.30
Thurs April 13 1-2.30
Wed June 14 1-2.30

All are held in room 305 of the hospitable Department of Psychology: 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP (the same place as usual). 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 bring your own! Step-free access is available immediately to the right of the main entrance.

Please don’t be shy: we’d love to meet you.

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Wine and Cheese evening, 28 November 2016

It’s a new academic year and it seems winter is just around the corner. We all lead such busy lives, so it’s always a struggle to find the right time for our UCL Women get-togethers.

We will be having our regular two-monthly lunchtime events, and we have some dates for these in the academic calendar year to be announced in due course. But for starters, we have organised a wine and cheese evening on 28th November at 26 Bedford Way, from 6-8pm. There will also be soft drinks and non-dairy dips.

We appreciate that it isn’t ideal if you have young kids, and we hope that with advanced notice, you can organise childcare. But we do like to have some events for people who regularly can’t make lunchtimes. We hope having events at different times and on different days will provide the maximum opportunity for as many people as possible to meet and network with women from different academic backgrounds.

Please sign up for this free event on Eventbrite so we have an idea of numbers, and we will let you know the exact room number closer to the time.

We really hope to see you there! Please let your colleagues know, and do sign up your postdocs too.

Looking forward to seeing you,

The UCL Women Committee

PS. To join the UCL Women network, email sally.day[at]ucl.ac.uk and she’ll add your name to the mailing list

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UCL networking event and copper spoons at the Institute of Making!

copper spoons

Makes the medicine of academia go down

Fancy a bit of creativity and a chance to meet interesting UCL colleagues?

Join us for a very special get-together at UCL’s Institute of Making in Malet Place on Wednesday 20th July from 10am to 12noon.

Starting from a piece of copper pipe, you can fashion your very own shiny spoon, under the expert guidance of Olivia Clemence, and meet some of the other members of the UCL Women’s network. You don’t need to be a member of the Institute of Making to attend, but you will want to join once you’ve seen what is possible!

Please sign up on Eventbrite – it’s free but spaces are limited.

Hope to see you there!

About the Institute of Making:

The Institute of Making is a multidisciplinary research club for those interested in the made world: from makers of molecules to makers of buildings, synthetic skin to spacecraft, soup to diamonds, socks to cities. Membership of and day-to-day access to the Institute is available to all UCL staff and students.

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Hanna Vehkamäki at our next BYO lunch networking session

All around the world, there are fascinating women doing fascinating research. We are fortunate enough to have one such person in town for our next bring-your-own lunch networking meeting – all the way from Finland. At the same time, you can meet other friendly colleagues and get to know more people in your own neighbourhood.

Join us on 7 June 2016 for an informal talk by Professor Hanna Vehkamäki, a physicist at the University of Helsinki specializing in atmospheric sciences.

We’ll meet from 12.30 to 2 PM. Please note that the venue is different this month: the Barlow room on the 8th floor of the Roberts Building (Engineering, entrance in Malet Place). There will be light refreshments provided, but if you want a proper lunch, bring your own or buy one from the ground-floor café or one of the many eateries in Torrington Place.

Speaker

To carry on in our series “Who am I – what am I doing?”, our inspiring speaker is Hanna Vehkamäki. The title of her talk is, “Is gender equality a reality for STEM women in the University of Helsinki?”

We look forward to seeing you there!

Hanna’s biography

Hanna
Photo credit: Vapa Media

After completing her DPhil in theoretical physics at University of Helsinki, Hanna spent 1998-1999 as a post-doctoral researcher at UCL, after which she returned to Helsinki. She is now a professor in computational aerosol physics, studying cluster and nanoparticle formation in the atmosphere on a molecular level. She has led the equality and work well-being group in the Division of Atmospheric Sciences in the Department of Physics, University of Helsinki since 2011. Hanna will speak about efforts to understand why female members of the STEM community feel less appreciated and consider the practices of the workplace less fair than do their male counterparts, as well as proposing practices to alleviate the situation. She will also comment on whether combining family and a scientific career might differ between Finland and the UK.

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Belinda Brown at our next BYO lunch networking session

Feeling isolated, bogged down in work, unconnected or just in need of a change of scene? You can’t work all of the time. If you’ve not been before, why not make May the month you decide to finally meet other amiable and inspiring colleagues at our next bring-your-own lunch meeting?

Join us on 11 May 2016 for an informal talk by Belinda Brown, a Research Fellow at the Young Foundation and Research Associate at the UCL Centre for Transport Studies. The title of her talk will be “Do Gender Equality Policies further Meritocracy?”

We’ll meet from 12.30 to 2 PM. Please come to room 305 of the hospitable Department of Psychology: 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP (the same place as usual).

How to get there

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 bring your own! Step-free access is available immediately to the right of the main entrance.

Speaker

To carry on in our series “Who am I – what am I doing?”, our inspiring speaker is Belinda Brown. She’ll be telling us about herself, her career and some of her thinking about gender equality policies.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Belinda’s biography

Belinda

Belinda is a Research Fellow at the Young Foundation and Research Associate at the UCL Centre for Transport Studies. She has conducted research on a wide range of areas including childcare, migration and children’s independent mobility. She started writing and speaking on family, gender and feminism when she gave up work to care for her sick husband and is now a regular contributor to The Conservative Woman, The Daily Mail and Women’s Hour. She is author of The Private Revolution: Women in the Polish Underground Movement and a number of well-cited academic papers. She recently set up the Gender Equity Network with Dr John Barry and Professor Geoff Dench.

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Gerta Vrbová at our next BYO Lunch Meeting

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to come out of hibernation and get networking! Meet other amiable and inspiring colleagues at our next bring-your-own lunch meeting.

Join us on 27 April 2016 for an informal talk by Gerta Vrbová, Emeritus Professor of Developmental Neuroscience in the Division of Biosciences.

We’ll meet from 12.30 to 2 PM. Please come to room 305 of the hospitable Department of Psychology: 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP (the same place as usual).

How to get there

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 bring your own! Step-free access is available immediately to the right of the main entrance.

Speaker

To carry on in our series “Who am I – what am I doing?”, our inspiring speaker is Gerta Vrbová. She’ll be telling us about herself, her amazing life story and her long and illustrious career.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Gerta’s biography

Gerta-Vrbova
Gerta Vrbová in 2014, and with husband, Rudolf Vrba, in Bratislava after the war [picture from Daily Mirror]

Gerta Vrbová (born 1926, in Slovakia) wrote “Archibald V. Hill’s Contribution to Science and Society”. She herself lived through the Holocaust. The story of her escape to England, where she eventually became a professor at UCL, is like an adventure novel.

As an academic she was able to gain permission to travel between the Soviet states of Eastern Europe, and on a visit to a conference in Poland in 1958, she decided to make her escape. Travelling on foot across the mountains back to Czechoslovakia, she collected her children aged four and six, crossed the Polish Czechoslovak border with them and took a train to Warsaw. Having unofficially entered the names of children on her passport, she was able to obtain a transit visa for Copenhagen, from where, after a year, she was able finally to come to England. [Adapted from David Colquhoun’s website feature]

For more information about Gerta, see also this interview in the Physiological Society Oral History Project

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Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell: our speaker for International Women’s Day week 2016

During the week of International Woman’s Day, UCL Women hosts an annual lecture by a high-profile female scientist. Last year we launched the initiative with a talk from Elizabeth Blackburn. This year, we are thrilled to announce that our speaker will be Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered the first radio pulsar.

Launch of IYA 2009, Paris - Grygar, Bell Burnell cropped.jpg

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE, FRS, PRSE, FRAS. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

The title of her talk is: “Women in STEM – at home and abroad”

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Reception in North Cloisters, Wilkinson Building, University College London, Gower Street. London WC1E 6BT at 17.15

Lecture in Darwin B40 Lecture Theatre at 18.00

The lecture is free but seats are limited: book now to avoid disappointment!

We are indebted to the Provost of UCL, Michael Arthur, and to the Vice-Provost for Research, David Price, for financial support for this event.

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