Royal Society announces Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships for 2022

21 February 2023

The Royal Society has announced seven successful Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship candidates for 2022. The researchers began to 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. It is designed to help successful early career candidates progress to the next chosen career stage such as permanent academic positions in the UK.

Fellows will work on a diverse range of research projects spanning the mathematical, physical, chemical and biological sciences.

The complete list of 2022 appointments is as follows:

Dr Anna Borlase (University of Oxford) - Modelling morbidity for the neglected tropical disease endgame

Dr Borlase’s research will focus on evaluating the complex relationships between community infection dynamics and individual morbidity for trachoma and schistosomiasis. These two diseases cause disability and suffering in the world’s poorest communities. This work aims to inform optimal strategies for surveillance and control by making projections regarding how morbidity may be experienced by communities as elimination targets are achieved as well as in the years beyond.

Dr Laura Dearden (University of Cambridge) - Origins of obesity: Molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of maternal obesity on offspring hypothalamic development and function

Dr Dearden will investigate how obesity during pregnancy impacts on development of the baby’s hypothalamus - an area of the brain which is essential for controlling food intake and when disrupted leads to obesity. This research will help us understand how we can stop the inter-generational transmission of obesity risk.

Dr Oliver Gould (University of Nottingham) - Reliable gravitational wave predictions for tests of the electroweak phase transition

Dr Gould's work aims to leverage gravitational wave observations to learn about the electroweak phase transition, a dramatic event in the very early universe whereby elementary particles first gained mass through the Higgs mechanism. This research bridges the very small and the very big, and will provide important insights about both particle physics and cosmology.

Dr Georgina Gregory (University of Oxford) - Mixed Electron- and Ion-conducting Elastomeric Polymers for Energy Storage Applications

Dr Gregory will develop stretchable polymers optimised for ion and electron transport using renewable and precision polymer chemistry. These materials will address challenges limiting next-generation energy storage technologies and advance emerging wearable and implantable electronics  so-called electronic skin.

Dr Gavin Lamb (Liverpool John Moores University) - Gamma-ray Bursts and Gravitational Wave Astronomy

Dr Lamb will explore the mechanisms that produce the observed features of gamma-ray bursts and the related electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources. Through an improved understanding of their physics, gamma-ray bursts and gravitational wave counterparts have the potential to revolutionise our knowledge of how the Universe has evolved over cosmic history.

Dr Jo Saul (University College London) - Elucidating mechanisms of language growth in minimally verbal autistic individuals

Dr Saul will investigate the prevalence and significance of speech-motor planning difficulties in autism, and how they relate to expressive language development. This will help us understand why some autistic people have difficulty acquiring verbal communication skills, and how best to support them.

Dr Caitlyn Witkowski (University of Bristol) - The spark for Paleozoic mass extinctions and radical environmental changes (SPARC)

Dr Witkowski will investigate climatic, environmental, and ecological changes in the leadup to mass extinctions to determine what initially sparked these events. By exploring several distinct mass extinction events, this research will highlight similarities that lead to radical and catastrophic moments in Earth history, relevant for our rapidly changing planet today.

This year, applicants can submit a research proposal and costs for an eight-year fellowship, and can apply for up to £90,000 research expenses per year, subject to satisfactory progress. For more information on how to apply, please visit the Fellowship scheme page.