NPDC banner 1000px x 355px without UoL logo

National Postdoc Conference 2021 Special #3: Successful futures

In this National Postdoc Conference special podcast we chat with Dr Kate Baker, Dr Shirin Ghodke, Dr Siobhan O'Brien and Dr Katy Roscoe on successful futures, a key theme of the National Postdoc Conference hosted by the University of Liverpool taking place in Sept 2021.

Dr Alex James (co-host) completed a MChem in chemistry at the university of Hull, graduating in 2016. He then started a PhD at the university of Sheffield in October 2016 working in the area of microporous polymers for applications in CO2 capture and storage. Upon completion of his PhD in October of 2019 he gained a 3 year postdoctoral research position at the University of Liverpool with prof. Andrew Cooper FRS working with industry in designing novel porous materials for challenging gas separations. IN addition to his postdoctoral research role Alex is also a co-chair of the RSA which aims to run events for postdocs and ECRs a well as acting as a bridge between researchers and the university to raise concerns postdocs may have. Outside of work Alex enjoys playing tennis where he plays at Mersey bowman tennis club and so far this season remains unbeaten! This is in stark contrast to his boyhood football club, Sheffield Wednesday, which has just been relegated to league 1. 

Dr Katy Roscoe is a historical criminologist, with a focus on intersections between punishment, imperialism and maritime geographies. It was during her masters in world history at King’s College London, that she first became interested in global penology. She completed her PhD at the University of Leicester (2013-17) on a European Research Council project Carceral Archipelago, researching a global history of penal colonies. Her thesis, which won the Boydell & Brewer doctoral prize, explored how islands were used to incarcerate Indigenous people and European convicts to enable the colonisation of Australia. She went on to fellowships at the University of London and the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, researching convict labour on dockyards in Bermuda and Gibraltar. She joined the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool in 2018 as an Economic and Social Research Council fellow. She created a database of 2500 prisoners on Cockatoo Island (Sydney’s colonial-era “Alcatraz”) for genealogists to trace their criminal ancestors, available on a website Cockatoo Island Convicts. Since January 2020 she’s been a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at Liverpool, researching the integral role of convict workers in enabling the steam revolution which transformed global travel in the nineteenth century. She’s also a co-chair of the Research Staff Association, organising career development opportunities for ECRs and representing their interests at a strategic level. Katy spends her free time reading fiction, cuddling her cat, and playing boardgames with friends.

Dr Shirin Ghodke is a scientific publication writer with focus on dissemination of data from pharmaceutical clinical trials in diabetes. After getting her Masters in Biochemical Technology in India, she started her 3-year long PhD work in Aarhus University, Denmark in the field of peptide misfolding and aggregation (in 2008). This was followed by postdoctoral experience in biophysical aspects of lipoproteins at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. During this period, she attended the European Medical Writer’s Association (EMWA) congress at Berlin, which inspired her to make the jump to the pharma corporate world. Armed with appropriate training with EMWA and serving briefly as an editorial board member for their journal, Medical Writing, she got her first professional writing job at a clinical research organization Siro Clinpharm Pvt. Ltd. in India in 2014. For 5 years, she has enjoyed working as a publication writer at Eli Lilly Services India Pvt. Ltd, an Indian affiliate of the pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly and Company, USA. Outside work, Shirin spends most of her time reading and looking after her toddler!

Dr Kate Baker is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool who works on the genomic epidemiology of bacterial pathogens and antimicrobial resistance. She originally trained as a veterinarian in Australia at the University of Melbourne and after a couple of years in clinical practice moved to the UK to take up a PhD position at the University of Cambridge. After completing her doctorate on emerging viral zoonoses from African bat populations (2012) she trained in bioinformatics through a postdoctoral position at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Having refocused her skills on bacterial genomics and public health surveillance she then won a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship which she took up in parallel with a Tenure Track fellowship at the University of Liverpool in 2016. Here, she continued her work on enteric pathogen genomics and epidemiology and was confirmed in post as a Senior Lecturer in 2019. She has broad collaborative experience with public and animal health providers as well as science policy advice roles. Outside of work, Kate is a mum to two young children and sings vocals in cover bands.

Dr Siobhan O’Brien is a Tenure-Track fellow in the Dept of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour at the University of Liverpool. She is an evolutionary microbiologist, asking how microbes evolve and adapt to environmental stress. Siobhan graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Zoology in 2010. She then moved to the UK to do a MSc and PhD at the University of Exeter, followed by postdocs at University of York and ETH Zurich. In 2018 she won the John Maynard Smith Prize from the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, which allowed her to spend four months at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. In 2019 she began her Tenure track position at Liverpool and in 2020 secured a BBSRC Discovery fellowship. Next month Siobhan will move to Trinity College Dublin to take up the role of Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin. Siobhan is a keen advocate of work life balance and enjoys sea swimming and hanging out with her one year old daughter.

Subscribe, Listen, Rate and Review

You can listen on your preferred platform: Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify and Stitcher. Just search for ‘Developing Practice’

Let us know what you think by tagging in The Academy on twitter.

Further reading

Access the reading list for this podcast.

Music and FX

This podcast uses sounds from freesound: and music from Purple Planet: