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Department of Life Sciences Newsletter
February 2018
Newsletter Archive
Staff Information
Health & Wellbeing

Proteins behaving badly and the havoc they cause in the human body were the key themes of the 2018 Sir Ernst Chain lecture. The annual lecture has become one of the most prestigious events in Imperial's calendar. This year, renowned chemist Professor Christopher Dobson from the University of Cambridge, was the invited speaker, delivering a lecture focused on diseases that stem from rogue proteins. He explained how the presence of amyloid, a rogue state of proteins which enables them to clump together, is now known to link a whole range of conditions with different symptoms and outcomes. Find out more about the lecture here.

Mosquito nets distributed to combat malaria are often used for fishing instead, impacting fish populations and human health in developing countries. The first-ever global assessment of mosquito net fishing (MNF), published today in the journal PLOS ONE, reveals full scale of the practice and calls for collaborative solutions. lead author Rebecca Short from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial and ZSL’s Institute of Zoology said: “Recent decades have seen the broad distribution of free or subsidised mosquito nets, which has had a hugely important impact on reducing incidences of malaria in developing countries. Find out more here.

Welcome to New Staff

Research Associate
Akash Sharma (Andrea Crisanti), Margarida Castro Gomes (Alain Filloux)

BBSRC DTP Administrator
Joel Santana-Mondo

Postgraduate Administrator (maternity cover)
Annie Murphy


Wright, A. E., Fumagalli, M., Cooney, C. R., Bloch, N. I., Vieira, F. G., Buechel, S. D., Kolm, N. and Mank, J. E. (2018), Male-biased gene expression resolves sexual conflict through the evolution of sex-specific genetic architecture. Evolution Letters. doi:10.1002/evl3.39

Elfekih S, Etter P, Tay WT, Fumagalli M, Gordon K, Johnson E, et al. (2018) Genome-wide analyses of the Bemisia tabaci species complex reveal contrasting patterns of admixture and complex demographic histories. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0190555.

et al. Pore-forming activity of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III secretion system translocon alters the host epigenome. Nat. Microbiol.

Demetrius Lira Martins won the price for Highly Commended Poster in the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting held in Ghent, Belgium . The meeting was in December 2017 and the nomination came out two weeks ago.
Other News
Stephen Curry has been appointed as Chair of the steering group of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA;, an international initiative that is attempting to challenge the mis-use of journal impact factors and promote best practice in the evaluation of research and researchers. The February relaunch of DORA with new funding was announced in an op-ed piece that Stephen wrote for Nature.

Women@Imperial Week 5-9 March

Women@Imperial Week is an annual celebration centred on International Women’s Day (8 March) to celebrate female staff and students at Imperial, and to raise awareness of the schemes that the College runs to support women. Find out more about the 2018 Women@Imperial Week programme.

DoLS International Women's Day Lecture

‘Taking to Our Soapboxes to Tackle Inequality in Science’

Dr Nathalie Pettorelli

Please register for free via Eventbrite.

8 March 2018


SAF Lecture Theatre G16
Soapbox Science is a grass-roots science outreach initiative that brings cutting-edge science to the public on urban streets while promoting gender equality and diversity in science careers. Soapbox Science challenges stereotypes of what scientists look like by providing more diverse role models for the next generation, and also wants to revolutionise how scientists integrate their science with society. The initiative has been very successful, with events now established in Canada and Germany as well as the UK and with almost 1000 women in science having participated. But Soapbox Science is not just about the event organisation; the initiative acts as a networking platform for a growing community actively seeking to address gender imbalance in STEM. This talk will introduce Soapbox Science, describe its achievements so far, and discuss how initiatives such as these can help improve overall diversity in STEM.

Suggestion Box

The Department is committed to becoming a place to work and study that is inclusive and supportive.
We want to enable everyone in the department to help us in achieving that goal.
A reminder that in September 2017 the DoLS Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee launched an online  suggestion box to enable staff and students to make suggestions or raise issues relating to gender balance, diversity and inclusion, please visit our online suggestion box. 
The form is secure and allows comments to be made anonymously.

Active Bystander Training

Wednesday 9th May


This training aims to empower staff to challenge poor behaviours, and bring about cultural change through the reinforcement of messages defining the boundaries of unacceptable behaviour.


From Prof Stephen Curry: “I can highly recommend the  Active Bystander training course run by Scott Solder, which I have done myself. He’s an excellent speaker and facilitator; the session was very engaging and very useful. Active Bystander training is just one part of the College’s efforts to address issues raised by the recent review of our institutional culture and the most recent staff survey, which showed that a significant minority of people have experienced some level of harassment at work. We need to address that problem together. The training will equip participants with tools and strategies for challenging poor behaviour and I would encourage staff to attend. I think you will find it worthwhile. You can find more details here.” 


If you would like to take part in this training session, please sign up via doodle here.

HoD Citizenship Awards
Throughout 2018 we will be showcasing staff who were presented with a HoD Citizenship Award at the end of 2017.
For the month of February we have Lucy Barron....

As Postgraduate Administrator I am responsible for the administration of five postgraduate Masters courses. I support the Course Directors, teaching staff and students to ensure smooth running of the programmes. The role involves coordinating assessment and exam arrangements, organising teaching timetables, arranging student events, and convening course committees and exam boards. It is great to see the students through their academic cycle; from initial admissions enquiries and enrolment, through to giving them their degree results at the end of the year.