2015-2016 Committee (Current)

The 2015-2016 Committee was constituted on the Annual General Meeting on March 2015. It started its functions during a handover period supervised by the previous committee for the following two months.

Scroll down to see all the members. Click on their names for accessing their University of Southampton profiles. There you can find more information about their research and CV.


Name: Annabelle Damerum

Research Status: 2nd year PhD student

PhD Project: I am working towards improving lettuce by molecular breeding, focusing on increasing shelf life and nutritional quality. This provides a mixture of field, laboratory and bioinformatics work

Fun Fact: I despise lettuce. Just kidding!



Name: Emily Farthing

Research Status: 3rd year PhD candidate

PhD Project: My project investigates how plants (particularly Arabidopsis and wheat) regulate their internal manganese concentrations homeostatically. Manganese is critical for both plant and human nutrition but becomes toxic when present in excess, causing big crop yield losses under both toxicity and deficiency. Understanding how plants are able to control their manganese levels could help us to improve agricultural yields in the future

My Role on BSPS: As vice president, my main role is to support the president and other committee members in the general running of the society

Fun Fact: Manganese is not the same as magnesium!



Name: Sarmi Sri

Research Status: 2nd year PhD student

PhD Project: My project aims to understand the changes occurring at the synapse that are responsible for the early cognitive deficit observed in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

My Role on BSPS: My role as treasurer is to oversee the finances of the society. In addition to applying for funding, I will be working alongside the events team so that we can allocate these funds to run more new and exciting events!

Fun Fact:I am a student by day and ninja by night



Name: Chloe Rose

Research Status: 1st year PhD student

PhD Project: My research is to design a lab on a chip diagnostic test to determine allergy in patients to specific drug compounds. It is to achieve this by separating blood into white blood cells and red blood cells and further down will immobilise basophils – 0.2% of your white blood cells responsible for your allergic response. My PhD is mostly lab based, though requires lots of calculations as engineering takes a large part in ensuring the device will work!

Fun Fact: My office at the hospital are vampires, always donating blood samples to each other!



Name: Anna Page

Research Status: 1st Year PhD Candidate

PhD Project: Using aubergine domestication as a model for evolution, with a focus on NGS and population genetics

My Role on BSPS: Hiding behind a computer

Fun Fact: Spoiler! It turns out Bruce Willis was a ghost all along


Name: Miguel Ramírez

Research Status: 1st Year PhD Student

PhD Project: For my project, I am working on the broad field of circadian rhythms. Using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as model organism, my research tries to understand the relationship between the core molecular clock inside the brain and the regulation of actin cytoskeleton.  That means I am assaying a lot of flies for behavioural tests, but also that I take a deep look on these neurons

My Role on BSPS: At the Media and Communications Office, it is our work to ensure you find our different social profiles active, informative and interesting. We will keep you up-to-date about society, events, grants or studentships and breaking news of the scientific community. We also make the coverage during our events, so you get nice memories and information for the next time

Fun Fact:  Still trying to find someone who does not say “I thought they were bigger” after their first contact with Drosophila



 Connor Frapwell

Research Status: 1st year PhD student

PhD Project: My research looks at the role of biofilms in the development of antimicrobial resistance and how we can develop novel targeted therapies to treat tolerant and resistant bacterial infections

Fun Fact: I am in a hair metal band that covers ABBA and Ricky Martin. There is too much hairspray.

Name: Emma Joslin

Research Status: 1st year PhD candidate

PhD Project: My research is in the area of sustainable intensive agriculture and ecosystem services. It focuses on how the selection and management of non-crop plant species in apple orchards can enhance pollination and natural pest regulation services

My Role on BSPS: To work with Connor in order to organise events so that hardworking PhD students can occasionally have fun as well!



Name: Prutha Patel

Research Status: 1st year PhD candidate

PhD Project: I am investigating the ability of neurons to process long-range signalling of trophic factors in models of normal ageing and neurodegeneration.

My Role on BSPS: As Career and Education Officer I am responsible for the organisation of non-scientific seminars and career workshops.



Name: Paul Ibbett

Research Status: 2nd year PhD

PhD Project: My research investigates whether systemic inflammation can exacerbate neurodegeneration within the retina

My Role on BSPS: To find opportunities for collaboration within and outside of the university and work together to deliver events

Fun Fact: I can finish any quote from Friends and can name all 50 states of America in 6 minutes



Name: Sebastian Shepherd

Research Status: 2nd Year PhD Candidate

PhD Project: My research is looking at the effects of stressors on insect models, pests and pollinators. So far in this broad research field I have looked at the effects of electromagnetic fields on different levels from behaviour to physiology and gene expression in desert locusts and honey bees. The aim is to elucidate the stress responses caused by electromagnetic radiation and determine if they have the potential to interact with other stressors, e.g. insecticides

My Role on BSPS: On the society as PR and Sponsorship officer I am working with Ben in a public relations role. I also take charge of aiming to raise funds for the society and have a major role organising fundraising for charity events that we do

Fun Fact: Winter is coming


Name: Ben Yarnall

Research Status: 2nd year PhD candidate

PhD Project: Using X-ray crystallography to solve the structure of a membrane protein conserved across eukaryotes

Fun Fact: Meat loaf is the only man alive who knows what I will not do for love



Name: Flora O’Brien

Research Status: 3rd year PhD student

PhD Project: I am investigating interactions between soil microbial communities, plants and insect herbivores using a combination of ecological, molecular and microbiological approaches.

My Role on BSPS: Health and safety, taking care of you!

Fun fact: Before starting my PhD, I spent a year in Costa Rica working on a conservation research project in the rainforest!



Name: Mike Allwright

Research Status: 3rd  year PhD project

PhD Project: Working to understand the genetic basis of yield and wood quality in bioenergy poplar.

My Role on BSPS: I help out with events and meetings as and when required by the committee

Fun fact: I don’t get sunburnt!


Name: Grace Isabella Hallinan

Research Status: 1st year PhD student

PhD Project: My project is examining the mechanisms by which disease-associated protein spreads in Alzheimer’s disease, infecting healthy cells as it travels from brain cell to brain cell.

Fun fact: I can say the alphabet backwards faster than I can say it forwards.


Name: Moritz Machelett

Research Status:  2nd year PhD candidate

PhD Project: My current area of research interest lies with nutrient uptake of ubiquitous marine bacteria. I use X-ray protein crystallography to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of transport. Another part of my PhD looks into affinities for certain nutrients by undertaking field-based uptake experiments in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

Fun fact: Neptune granted me leave to cross the oceans – got beaten up, covered in foul vegetables and had my head shaved in return.