Distinguished Speakers

We invite inspirational male and female scientists and opinion leaders to share with us their perspective on the societal, cultural and personal issues affecting equality in science. All talks are followed by networking sessions.

Below are short filmed interviews of our speakers to capture the salient points of their talks.


Dr Patricia Alireza (2012)

Dr Patricia Alireza is a physicist from the University of Cambridge Cavendish Lab.


Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas (2019)

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas is a Senior Research Fellow and Athena SWAN Project Manager at Birmingham City University

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas reading Glass

Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas reading her poems:


Professor Dame Kay Davies (2011)

Professor Dame Kay Davies is Dr Lee’s Professor of Anatomy at Oxford University and a fellow of Hertford College. Director of the MRC functional genomics unit, a Wellcome Trust governor and a director of the Oxford Centre for Gene Function.

Professor Dame Athene Donald (2014)

Professor Dame Athene Donald is Professor of Experimental Physics and Equality and Diversity Champion at the University of Cambridge.


Jeremy Farrar (2017)

Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust


Dame Julia Higgins (2018)

Dame Julia Higgins is a Senior Research Investigator in the Department of Engineering at Imperial College London.


Inspiring Scientists (2014)

Inspiring Scientists event for International Women’s Day 2014. Richard Durbin, Karen Steel and Laura Huckins talk about the female scientists who have most inspired them in their career to date.


Dr Sally John (2011)

Dr Sally John was Head of Human Genetics at Pfizer at the time of the interview and is now Vice President of Genomics and Computational Biology at Biogen Idec.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson (2014)

Professor Dame Anne Johnson, University College London, Wellcome Trust Governor


Professor Suzanne Leal

Professor Suzanne Leal, Director of the Center for Statistical Genetics and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine


Professor Ottoline Leyser (2017)

Ottoline Leyser is Professor of Plant Development and Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

Laura Liswood (2016)

Laura Liswood, senior adviser for Goldman Sachs, Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders and author of The Loudest Duck.


Gary Loke (2019)

Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery, Advanced HE


Dr Maria Martin​ (2013)

Dr Maria Martin, Team Leader, UniProt (Development), EMBL-EBI


Dr Vivienne Ming​ (2018)

Dr Vivienne Ming, Faculty, Cognitive Science, Singularity University


Professor Sara Mole (2019)

Sara Mole is a Professor of Molecular Cell Biology and Provost’s Envoy for Gender Equality at University College London

Professor Cynthia Morton(2016)

Prof Cynthia Morton is Professor of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Cytogenetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Dr Elizabeth Murchison (2013)

Dr Elizabeth Murchison, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge


Professor Inke Nathke (2019)

Professor of Epithelial Biology, Associate Dean, Professional Culture – University of Dundee


Dr Camilla Pang (2021)

Author of “Explaining Humans” a memoir that uses scientific principles to understand human behaviour through the lens of someone who has autism and ADHD. The book won the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize in 2020 – she is the youngest writer to ever win the prize and the first writer of colour. Please click on the link or photo of Dr Pang to view the Q&A.

Q&A with Camilla Pang – April 2021


Research careers in academia and industry​ (2014)

Contributors: Pauline Williams, Cristina Rada, Julie Barnes, Ana Cvejic and Jane Greatorex


Professor Sara Rankin (2020)

Professor Sara Rankin is Professor of Leukocyte and Stem Cell Biology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. Sara is the NHLIs lead for outreach and public engagement and leads the EDI committee. Her public engagement focusses on engaging with WP audiences and aims to increase diversity in STEM. She has won awards for Leadership, Collaboration and Innovation in Societal Engagement. She is dyslexic and her most recent project “2eMPower” seeks to make STEM accessible for students with learning disabilities throughout their education

Professor Curt Rice (2015)

Professor Curt Rice is a professor at the University of Tromsø; he leads Norway’s committee on gender balance in research and heads the board of Current Research Information System in Norway.


David Ruebain (2019)

David Ruebain is Chief Executive of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama. Prior to that he had been Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit, a policy and research agency funded to advance equality and diversity in universities in the UK and colleges in Scotland.


Professor Sir Mike Stratton (2012)

Professor Sir Mike Stratton is the Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, joint head of the Cancer Genome Project, and Professor of Cancer Genetics, Institute of Cancer Research.

Sir Jim Smith (2019)

Director of the Science Review, Wellcome and Visiting Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute


Dr. Carole Thomas (2020)

Dr. Carole Thomas, Head of JIC Directorate, The John Innes Centre. Advancing Equal Opportunities: The John Innes Experience, a joint talk with our Sanger Technicians Commitment. Hosted by Burcu Bronner Anar

Professor Dame Janet Thornton(2011)

Professor Dame Janet Thornton was Director of the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute and is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge


Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu (2019)

Ijeoma Uchegbu is a Professor of Pharmacy at University College London where she also holds the position of Pro-Vice Provost for Africa and the Middle East. Professor Uchegbu gave a talk on “Diversity and Inclusion – Not Just About Fairness”


Professor Sir Mark Walport (2012)

Now UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser for the UK Government, Professor Sir Mark Walport was Director of the Wellcome Trust at the time of the interview.


Professor Paul Walton (2016)

Professor Paul Walton, Professor of Chemistry at the University of York and Athena SWAN Champion.

Professor Jane Worthington (2012)

Professor Jane Worthington, Professor of Chronic Disease Genetics, University of Manchester


For further information contact Dr Saher Ahmed: saher.ahmed@sanger.ac.uk