Current Junior Research Fellows

We currently have nine Junior Research Fellows in the Fellowship:

Photo of Dr Elise Burton, Junior Research Fellow

Elise Burton

Associates’ Research Fellow

Elise is currently the Associates’ Research Fellow at Newnham College.

Elise Burton’s research page

She earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley, achieving High Honors in two subjects, Middle Eastern Studies and Integrative Biology (specialising in evolutionary genetics). Her undergraduate research focused on the teaching of evolutionary biology in the state education systems of Iran, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia. In 2017, she completed her PhD in History & Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University with a thesis on the history of human genetics research in Iran, Turkey, and Israel from the First World War to the present.

Hana D'Souza

Beatrice Mary Dale Research Fellowship

Hana D’Souza’s research page

I currently hold the Beatrice Mary Dale Research Fellowship in Psychology at Newnham College, and I am a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. I am also an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London.

I completed a Master’s degree with a focus on Clinical Psychology at Masaryk University, Czech Republic. During these studies I spent a year at the University of Toronto. I then obtained an MSc in Psychological Research from the University of Oxford. Subsequently, I undertook a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Following my PhD, I became a Postdoctoral Researcher at UCL and at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London. As part of the London Down Syndrome (LonDownS) Consortium, I have been investigating individual differences and interactions between various domains and levels of description across development in infants and toddlers with Down syndrome. The LonDownS Consortium is a multidisciplinary team of human geneticists, cellular biologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and mouse geneticists, whose aim is to understand the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, and to identify protective and risk factors that could inform interventions.

Kirsty Sinclair Dootson

Henry Sidgwick Research Fellow

Kirsty Sinclair Dootson’s research page

Kirsty’s research considers how materials and technologies have critically shaped visual culture from the Victorian era to the present, with a particular interest in British and American art and film. Her current book project examines how new ways of making colour transformed the meaning of colour in modern Britain, from the development of synthetic textile dyes in the 1850s to the arrival of colour television in the 1960s. Dr Dootson is also collaborating on a history of Technicolor cinema in China. She received her PhD in History of Art with Film and Media Studies from Yale University in 2018 and also holds degrees in Film and Television Studies from Warwick University, and in History of Art from Cambridge University. Her work has been recognized with grants, fellowships, and awards from the Museum of Modern Art, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Huntington, the British Association of Victorian Studies, the AHRC, the Yale Center for British Art, and The British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies.

Gabriella Heller

Rosalind Franklin Research Fellow 

Gabriella Heller’s research page

Gabi Heller studied Chemistry and Mathematics at Pomona College in Claremont, California. She first came to Cambridge in 2014 as a Churchill Scholar to pursue an MPhil degree in the Chemistry Department, and remained there as a Gates Cambridge Scholar for her PhD. Gabriella is now the Rosalind Franklin Research Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge.

Gabriella Heller’s research focuses on intrinsically disordered proteins, biomolecules lacking a single, rigid three-dimensional structure that instead exist as a dynamic equilibrium of conformationally distinct states. These proteins are highly prevalent in diseases such as dementia and cancer, yet are often considered therapeutically ‘untargetable’ as they are not amenable to traditional drug discovery techniques.  She aims to understand whether and how intrinsically disordered proteins can be targeted by small molecule therapeutics using a combination of computational and experimental biophysical techniques.

Photograph of Dr Susan Imrie, Amy Whiteley Research Fellow

Susan Imrie

Amy Whiteley Research Fellow

Susan Imrie’s research page

Susan completed her PhD in 2017 at the University of Cambridge, examining family functioning in infancy in families created through assisted reproductive technologies. Her post-doctoral work is based at the Centre for Family Research and explores parents’ and children’s experiences and relationships in families with trans parents.

Her research explores family functioning in new family forms, with a focus on parent-child relationship quality, child development and children’s perceptions of their families. Her previous work has included studies of parent-infant relationship quality in families created using IVF and egg donation, and the experiences of surrogate mothers and their families. She is currently carrying out research with trans parent families in the UK, looking at parents’ and children’s experiences, relationships and wellbeing both within and outside their families.

Asiya Islam

Joyce Lambert Research Fellow

Asiya Islam’s research page

She studied at Aligarh Muslim University, where she was awarded the Dr Zakir Hussain Medal for Academic Excellence. She holds a Master’s in Gender, Media and Culture with Distinction from the London School of Economics, where she was awarded the Best Degree Performance Award. Her PhD at the University of Cambridge was funded by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2015-18). She is now Joyce Lambert Research Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge.

Dr Asiya Islam’s research explores the gendered politics of class formation in urban India. In addition to addressing the under-exploration of gender in class analysis and the lack of attention to the politics of ‘becoming’ middle class, her work takes a ground-up approach by seeking women’s narratives about their identities and aspirations at the interconnected sites of family, work and leisure.

Photo of Dr Naomi Moris

Naomi Moris

Constance Work Research Fellow

Naomi Moris’s research page

Naomi studied Biological Science as an undergraduate, and found herself particularly interested in developmental biology and epigenetics. After some time spent researching at Cancer Research UK London, she came to Cambridge to do a PhD between the departments of Genetics and Haematology. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, with Alfonso Martinez-Arias’ group.

Her research is in the field of developmental biology, which involves studying early embryo development and how individual cells make decisions. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of these decisions, including the role of random chance (stochasticity) and gene expression variability (heterogeneity), and how cell fate is coordinated across the embryo in space and time. To better understand these questions, she uses mouse embryonic stem cells in 3-dimensional ‘organoid’ culture systems which mimic features of the early mouse embryo.

Gemma Murray

Wheldale Onslow Research Fellow

Gemma Murray’s research page

Gemma is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, and holds the Wheldale Onslow Junior Research Fellowship in Evolutionary Biology at Newnham College.

Gemma studied Physics as an undergraduate at the University of St Andrews, and Philosophy as a postgraduate at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Cambridge. She began her study of evolutionary biology at the University of Edinburgh, where she completed a master’s degree in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis, and worked as a Research Assistant for a project on infectious disease in East African cattle.

Gemma undertook her PhD in the Department of Genetics in Cambridge, where she developed methods of analysing bacterial genome sequences to understand how pathogens evolve and respond to selective pressures. Following this, she spent two years as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied the genomes of extinct and endangered animals through analysis of ancient DNA.

Gemma is an evolutionary biologist, whose research has involved investigating genome evolution across a variety of taxa. She is interested in the influence of natural selection on the evolution of populations,
especially in relation to the evolution of bacterial pathogens.

Gemma is currently investigating why bacteria that cause disease often have smaller genomes and fewer genes than their closest non-pathogenic relatives. She is studying this link in Streptococcus suis, which is an important pathogen of pigs that is also capable of transmission into humans.

Sakthy Selvakumaran

Isaac Newton Trust Research Fellow


Sakthy Selvakumaran’s research page

Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran studied Engineering at the University of Cambridge (MA, MEng). She then lived and worked internationally in design, construction and R&D roles within industry and international development, becoming a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng, MICE). Her roles in industry ranged from designing new bridges to working on sites to reconstruct housing destroyed by earthquakes. She returned to Cambridge for her PhD, spending part of her doctoral training as a Visiting Researcher with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and received the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) Leslie H Paddle Award for her work. Her achievements include being named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe List (2016), and the Financial Times Top 100 Most Influential Women in UK Engineering list (2020), and being appointed to the Young Professionals Panel of the National Infrastructure Commission in the UK (2018). Dr Selvakumaran is currently the Isaac Newton Trust / Newnham College Fellow in Engineering.

Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran’s research interests focus on contributing toward more sustainable and resilient cities. She has particular expertise in using remote sensing (satellite monitoring) to understand its relevance, utilisation, and limitations to urban environments and civil engineering applications. Other research interests include topics which support overseas organisations she works with such as microhydro schemes in the Andes and sustainable wastewater treatment.