Prof Sonia Rocha (originally from Portugal) joined the University in 2017 as Head of the Biochemistry Department. Following a Faculty restructure, Sonia was successfully appointed to the role of Executive Dean of the new Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology.
Sonia is a cell and molecular biologist with interest in oxygen sensing and signaling in health and disease. Sonia did her PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH-Zurich) jointly supervised by Prof. Kasper Winterhalter and Prof. Martin Pruschy (University of Zurich), where she studied the role of ionizing radiation induced apoptosis. Sonia was formerly based at the University of Dundee, where she initially started as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Neil Perkins, studying the role of NF-kappaB in cancer. She obtained a tenure track position in 2005 also at the University of Dundee, investigating the crosstalk between HIF and NF-kappaB in hypoxia and inflammation. She obtained tenure in 2010. In 2011, was awarded a Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellowship. Sonia was promoted to Reader in 2014 and was made Professor in 2016. Apart from her research, Sonia was Deputy Director of the Center for Gene Regulation and Expression from 2012 until 2017. She is actively involved in several grant panels and was a member of UoA5 REF sub-panel. Her research is aligned to the institute area of "Understanding the rules of Life"