Royal Society announces Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows for 2020

23 September 2020

The Royal Society has announced the seven successful Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows for 2020. The successful researchers will take up their new posts at institutions across the UK from the start of October.

The Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship scheme offers a recognised first step into an independent research career for outstanding post-doctoral scientists who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities.

In order to support excellence and the next generation of research leaders, this year’s applicants were also able to apply for enhanced research support as part of their Fellowship.

The newly appointed Research Fellows will be working on a wide and diverse range of research projects spanning the mathematical, physical, chemical and biological sciences. 

The complete list of 2020 appointments are: 

Dr Isobel Eyres (University of Sheffield) - Investigating the impact of facultative sex on speciation
Dr Eyres’ research will focus on the process of speciation and the evolution of barriers to interbreeding between groups of organisms. Dr Eyres will be investigating facultative sexual groups, which reproduce both sexually and asexually, and are common in a wide range of taxa including diseases and pests. This research will fill an important gap in understanding the process of speciation, with implications for how we understand the evolution of emerging diseases and crop pests.

Dr Betina Ip (University of Oxford) - Investigating the neurochemistry of human binocular perception and plasticity using advanced in vivo high field MR spectroscopy
Dr Ip will use advanced methods in non-invasive MR spectroscopy imaging of the brain to investigate the binocular visual system and to study how a neurochemical switch in the human brain is involved in visual perception and plasticity. By looking inside the brain of human participants and studying what input flips the switch up and down, Dr Ip hopes to find out how the switch is controlled and thus gain a greater understanding of how the healthy and abnormal brain can learn better.

Dr Dimitra Kosta (University of Glasgow) - Pure Mathematics for Statistical Inference
Dr Kosta’s proposed research has a two-fold overarching aim: firstly, to apply powerful tools from algebraic geometry, an area of pure mathematics concerned with the study of polynomials, to advance statistical methods, and secondly, to generate new mathematics motivated by questions in evolutionary biology and statistics.

Dr Janin Lautenschlaeger (University of Cambridge) - Liquid-liquid phase separation of alpha-synuclein at the presynaptic terminal
Dr Lautenschlaeger will investigate alpha-synuclein (aSYN), a protein that is important in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and has been shown to form physiological condensates. In particular, the research will focus on aSYN’s function at the synapse to determine the factors influencing aSYN condensation, how increased or decreased aSYN condensation affects synaptic function and, using super-resolution microscopy, visualization of where in the synapse these condensates form. Combining this information will allow better understanding of aSYN’s role and what goes wrong in disease.

Dr Celine Maistret (University of Bristol) - Arithmetic of abelian varieties and the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture
Dr Maistret’s research lies in Number Theory, the branch of mathematics concerned with studying numbers and solving equations. The overall goal of the project is to focus on the equations of elliptic curves, which are of primary importance in cryptography because their complex mathematical structure is key to securing our online communications.

Dr Ann Rowan (University of Sheffield) - Rethinking ice-marginal moraines as a paleoclimate archive
Dr Rowan will explore sedimentary landforms known as moraines using a new, state-of-the-art computer model of ice flow and sediment transport through mountainous topography combined with measurements of the geometries and ages of glacial landforms. This will enable better predictions of how glaciers will change in future to address the impacts of climate change on the availability of water supplies and global sea level rise.

Dr Elena Scarpa (University of Cambridge) - Investigating the role of compressive forces in asymmetric cell divisions and genome integrity
Dr Scarpa will focus on understanding how dividing cells cope with mechanical stress. Cells move through our body by squeezing into very small spaces and this can sometimes cause stress to cells by damaging their DNA or by causing errors during cell division, which can contribute to cancer. Dr Scarpa will look at a specific population of cells called neural crest cells which migrate through a small space shaped like a channel in the trunk of zebrafish embryo and are also known to sometimes originate a cancer in children called neuroblastoma. This research will ultimately help shed light on the origin of neuroblastomas.

The 2021 round of the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship scheme is now open for applications and closes on 10 November 2020. For more information on how to apply, please visit the Fellowship scheme page