International Women's Day
We were joined by guest speakers Sarah James, author, innovator and Principal and Section lead for Data and Digital Advisory with Jacobs; and Matt Guille and Ania Noble, lead researchers in frog embryology at the University of Portsmouth, and colleagues for 21 years.
Discover more about our Women in Leadership forum here.
Sarah James is a dynamic and energetic author, innovator and Principal and Section Lead for Data and Digital Advisory with Jacobs. Sarah has over 20 years of delivery excellence and experience in analytics, AI, IoT and data and their use within technology and engineering.
Sarah has worked worldwide, monitoring volcanoes in Hawaii, analysing traffic data in Sydney, petrol stations in Romania, flood mapping in the UK and mining data for optimisation in Perth, Western Australia.
Sarah is also the co-founder of Jacaranda Hill Farm – an award-winning off-grid, sustainable farm in the Darling Ranges using IoT innovations to be Western Australia’s first tech-focused holistic permaculture farm open to visitors and campers.
Sarah is also author of “Are you ready to change the world? – Technology leadership for the future.” A book that inspires people to be more do more and make a difference.
Matt grew up on Guernsey prior to moving to the UK to study for a degree and PhD in Biochemistry at King’s College London – where he did blue skies molecular biology research in the eggs of the African clawed frog, called Xenopus. As a student he met Kath, they have been married for 32 years and have two children. After post-doctoral research at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, he returned to working on frogs, making discoveries around how blood formation is controlled in animals. Moving to Portsmouth, Matt started his own research group, studying how genes are switched on and off in the early embryo.
For years the frog-using medical research community had been trying to get a centre funded to act as a hub for research and resources in Europe and eventually, with colleague Liz Jones, Matt obtained the funding. Accepting the funding was, for Matt, dependent on Ania (below) agreeing to take on the Head Scientist role in the European Xenopus Research Centre (EXRC). With the day-to-day running of the EXRC in excellent hands, Matt’s research group now uses the techniques developed there to use tadpoles to help clinicians diagnose children with rare genetic diseases, a major challenge for modern medicine.
Away from the lab Matt enjoys boating with the family, is a coach on the Olympic shooting pathway and (still) represents Great Britain as a target rifle shooter.
Ania was born in northern Poland. She received her Master’s degree in Molecular Biology from Nicolaus Copernicus University and moved on to her PhD, studying sperm development in larch. During her student years she spent her summer holidays working on a strawberry farm in Somerset where she met her Scottish husband. They have two children.
Ania tried to settle down in Poland, but after completing her PhD in 2001, she moved to Portsmouth to start a post-doctoral research position with Matt. It was a big jump, not only changing countries with a young daughter, but also changing model organisms and molecular techniques.
At the end of the post doc working on CGG repeats Ania had her son. During her maternity leave, Matt secured the funding for the EXRC and here we are nearly 17 years later. Using and developing new research techniques gives Ania lots of pleasure as does seeing the EXRC growing and supporting lots of excellent scientific projects all over the world. This job allowed her to travel to lots of countries, visiting different labs and work closely with the best scientists.
In her free time Ania loves traveling, hiking and gardening – a new passion she discovered living in the UK.
Tuesday 8 March 2022
12pm – 1.15pm