Microbiology has the potential to revolutionise how the global community tackles some of today’s largest challenges, including antimicrobial drug resistance, environmental sustainability and the safe supply of food. To gain the maximum public benefit from applied microbiology, it is important that decision makers in government and parliament are able to access the highest quality scientific evidence and advice. SfAM works to represent the views and knowledge of its members, through consultation responses and liaison with science policy stakeholders. We also proactively seek the expertise of microbiologists to inform our position on topical and upcoming issues.

SfAM encourages and supports microbiologists to create their own links with stakeholders in industry and the public sector. In particular, we aim to inspire the next generation of microbiologists to engage with government and parliament. If you would like to know more about how you can get involved, contact

Science policy responses image
Science policy responses
Science policy briefings image
Science policy briefings
Position statements image
Position statements
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Policy networks

Policy Subcommittee

The Policy Subcommittee is responsible for guiding the Society’s science policy and public affairs engagement, ensuring that SfAM’s position on issues and activities align with the Society’s strategic priorities. This subcommittee advises the EC on current science policy topics and provides recommendations on the Society’s policy engagement activities.

The Policy Subcommittee meets three times each year and is chaired by the Society’s General Secretary. The subcommittee also comprises the Society’s President, Vice-President, ECS Policy Officer, elected Members of SfAM, the Chief Executive and Policy & Public Affairs Manager. Occasionally, an external policy adviser may sit on the subcommittee as an observer, to provide specialist guidance.

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    Clare Taylor

    General Secretary and Chair of the Policy Subcommittee

    Clare has been a Society member since 1997, when she was a PhD student at the University of Manchester. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology at Edinburgh Napier University, where she is also Head of Student Experience and Employability in the School of Life, Sport & Social Sciences. The main focus of her research is on understanding host-microbe interactions, particularly of intracellular bacteria that cause human infection, and the aims of her research are to understand how bacterial gene expression is modulated in response to the host environment, and how this contributes to microbial pathogenicity. Clare is also involved in several multi-disciplinary projects and the applied aspects of her research include developing novel antimicrobial strategies. She has a keen interest in public engagement, including performing at Edinburgh Fringe, and also chairs the University’s Public Engagement Forum. Clare is active in encouraging women into science working alongside colleagues across STEM disciplines and Equate Scotland. Clare served on the Executive Committee of the Society from 2010 – 2014 and is also a Features Editor for Microbiologist.

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    Mark Fielder


    Mark began his career at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath where he became a trainee Biomedical Scientist. He completed a Microbiology degree at Kings College, London and followed that with a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, working on bacterial causes of rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Following this he won the Tadion Rideal prize for outstanding post-graduate work in molecular science. Mark then moved on to St George's Hospital medical school to work with Professor David Lewis and Professor George Griffin on the use of Cholera toxin and the heat labile toxins of E. coli as adjuvants for mucosal vaccines. Following this, he became a Lecturer at Kingston University which is where he is currently based and in 2011 became Professor of Medical Microbiology.

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    Linda Thomas

    Committee Member

    Linda began her career at the Central Public Health Laboratories Colindale (now PHE) where she worked on serotyping schemes for enteric pathogens, and investigated the virulence of enterotoxigenic E. coli. After completing her PhD there, she moved to Wales with her family and began postdoctoral research at Cardiff University, investigating (among other things) food safety models and lactic acid bacteria. This resulted in a move to Danisco, where she became Principal Senior Scientist leading a team developing novel natural antimicrobial food preservatives. Her current role as Science Director for Yakult UK Limited involves supervising the company’s collaborative research at UK universities and hospitals, in a broad range of areas including gastrointestinal disorders, liver disease, immunology and infectious disease. She also directs a programme of communication to healthcare professionals about the science of probiotics, and heads the PR department.

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    Sarah Maddocks

    Policy Subcommittee Member

    An enthusiastic, self-motivated microbiologist and principle investigator with extensive expertise in the field of infectious disease, a good publication record and significant experience in the design, execution and management of research projects. Possesses excellent presentation skills and can prepare comprehensive documentation and reports as required. Experienced in data processing, is quick to grasp new ideas, technologies and concepts, and is skilled in a range of industry-standard software packages. Works well both independently and as part of a team, demonstrating the motivation and organisation required to meet demanding targets. Combines an analytical and professional approach with excellent interpersonal skills and can communicate concisely at all levels.

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    Joey Shepherd

    Policy Subcommittee Member

    Joey is a Lecturer in Microbiology at the University of Sheffield’s School of Clinical Dentistry. After graduating from Leeds University in 1995 with a BSc. in Microbiology, and the University of Sheffield with an M.Med.Sci. degree in Microbial Pathogenicity, Joey completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2002. She then moved to Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, to work for Prof. Peter Libby developing near infra red in vivo molecular probes. Joey returned to the University of Sheffield in 2007 as a PDRA, where she developed a 3D model of infected tissue engineered human skin, subsequently used in several further studies. Joey took up my first academic post as a Senior Lecturer in the Biomedical Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University in 2014, and was appointed to her current post in April 2015. Joey's research interests are largely translational in nature and lie primarily in novel approaches to a) the acceleration of wound healing, and b) detecting and treating bacterial infections without traditional use of antibiotics, including the use of polymer-based systems, ultrasound and acoustic vibration, novel wound dressings, and using 3D tissue engineered models to examine effects of infection and treatment on both bacteria and human cells. She collaborates with Sheffield Hallam University, Liverpool John Moore’s University, Bradford University, the LVPEI Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, 11 Institutions across 8 European countries as part of a Horizon 2020 grant, and Smith & Nephew.

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    Christine Dodd

    Policy Subcommittee Member and President 2014-2017

    Christine's first degree was a BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester and she continued at Leicester for her PhD in Microbiology in the newly formed Microbiology Department. After research positions in the Universities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne, she came as a postdoc to the University of Nottingham in 1985, joining a newly revived Food Microbiology group in the then Faculty of Agriculture at Sutton Bonington. Christine was appointed as Lecturer in Food Microbiology in 1989 and after several promotions and site name changes was appointed Chair in Food Microbiology in 2006. She is now the Head of the Division of Food Sciences. Her research work is centred on ensuring the safety of the food supply and involves characterization of microbial populations in food products and production environments at the species and sub-species levels and examining the factors influencing their introduction and survival. Christine has a long association with the Society and was previously a Main Committee member from 1990-1993, and 2010-2013; was the local organizer for several conferences; and won the W H Pierce Prize in 1993.

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    John Threlfall

    Policy Subcommittee Member

    Since being awarded a PhD in Microbial Genetics in 1969, John Threlfall has worked in the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) (formerly the Public Health Laboratory Service, now Public Health England) in a variety of roles. Most recently he served as Director of the HPA Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens from 2004 to 2008 and as Head of R & D in the Gastrointestinal, Emerging and Zoonotic Infections Department from 2008 to 2010. In 2007 he was appointed Project Director for the EU-funded Med-Vet-Net Network of Excellence, and continued in this role in the Med-Vet-Net Association until 2011. From 2010 to 2012 John was employed as Programme Manager for the HPA for the EU-funded EURLOP (EU Human Reference Microbiology Options Project) and ECDC-funded EU-LabCAT project, which were targeted at rationalising various aspects of human reference microbiology within the EU. The recommendations from these projects are currently being implemented. He was appointed to the European Food Safety (EFSA) Biohazards (BIOHAZ) Panel in 2009 and has recently been elected for a second three-year term of office. His principal interests are in antimicrobial drug resistance in bacterial zoonotic pathogens and the molecular epidemiology of food-borne zoonoses, and has published extensively in these areas.

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    Lucky Cullen

    SfAM Policy Intern & ECS Policy Officer

    Lucky completed her undergraduate degree in Medical Biochemistry at Kingston University in 2014, where her passion for microbiology originated through summer research internships and a research scholarship funded by the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC). A recurring factor in all of her research was antimicrobial resistance including next generation sequencing techniques to identify antimicrobial resistance within the nasopharyngeal niche, pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation and the bacterial profiling of mastitic cows. Lucky progressed onto a PhD at Kingston University, where she is characterising the emergence of antimicrobial resistance through mutation mapping of the resistome. During her PhD Lucky has attended many ECS and SfAM conferences, as well as events such as Parliamentary Links Day. Lucky presented her research at the ECS Research Symposium in 2016, and was given the opportunity to present at the SfAM Antimicrobial Resistance Meeting. Lucky was recently awarded the SfAM presidency fund to present at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) conference in New Orleans. TWITTER : @LuckyCullen

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    Diane Purchase

    Policy Subcommittee Member

    Diane is a Professor of Environmental Biotechnology and has a keen interest in safeguarding and improving the environment. She is an alumna of King’s College London where she was awarded a PhD degree in Environmental Microbiology in 1992. As an Executive Member of the Committee of the Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES) in the UK, a Fellow of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), Diane engages in the advancement of environmental microbiology through teaching, knowledge exchange, research and scholarship in the UK and international higher education sectors. She was appointed to the Subject Benchmark Review panel for Earth Science, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Study by the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in 2014. Diane’s research interest focuses on the role of biotechnology in pollution control and bioremediation. She has published widely and has supervised a number of PhD students in this area. She is member of the editorial boards of the two international journals published by Springer Nature: Environmental Geochemistry and Health and Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

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    Suzy Moody

    Policy Subcommittee Member

    Suzy completed a Microbiology degree at Cardiff University, then took the unusual step of doing her Post-Graduate Diploma in Adult Nursing. She studied for her MSc Infectious Disease with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a distance learning student, while working full time as an ICU nurse. On completion of her Masters, she spent the next few years working in clinical settings in both Africa and Asia. She came back to the UK in 2009 to do her PhD at Swansea University, looking at novel antimicrobial metabolites produced by Streptomyces bacteria. Her post-doctoral work focussed on transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics of a variety of environmental microbes. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at Solent University, and busy establishing her own research group which will indulge her passion for understanding how microbes survive stress and do interesting things.

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    Jacob Hamilton

    Policy Subcommittee Member

    Jacob started off as a chemist, completing an undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Science at Kingston University in 2017, including a year-long placement at GlaxoSmithKline’s Ware site. During his undergraduate, a module on infectious disease caught his attention and inspired his intertest in microbiology. Jacob then went on to do a Masters by Research in Microbiology in Prof Mark Fielder’s lab, where he investigated the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance markers in the microbiome of birds of prey, during this time he became an active member of SfAM, attending various events and writing blog pieces. Currently Jacob is conducting his PhD in Prof Matt Hutching’s lab at the University of East Anglia, where he is researching microbial symbiosis with insect and plant systems, and how these may be a source of novel antimicrobials.

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    Lucy Harper

    Chief Executive

    After completing a BSc in Medical Biochemistry at Birmingham University, Lucy worked in hospital laboratories and university departments across the West Midlands. In 2003 she completed a PhD entitled: "Renal Dopamine and Salt-Sensitive Hypertension" and continued her research career, completing several postdoc projects. During this time, Lucy also taught molecular biology practical classes to final year BSc students and spent her spare time writing articles for various publications. Through this experience she decided that her passion for science came from talking about it rather than doing it. She was offered the honorary Editorship of Microbiologist magazine and when her postdoc contract ended, she took the position of Communications Officer for Med-Vet-Net, the EU FP6 project on zoonotic disease. Lucy began working as Communications Officer for SfAM in June 2006. Since then, she has developed SfAMs Communications remit and in June 2009 she was promoted to Communications Manager. In 2010 Lucy was awarded a MBA with distinction, which she completed part-time at Aston University. After a period of maternity leave, Lucy returned to the Society as Deputy CEO, and was then appointed as Chief Executive in November 2014.

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    Chris Brown

    Policy & Public Affairs Manager

    Chris developed his passion for the application of science to real life problems throughout his PhD study on the development of potential small-molecule therapeutics for the neglected tropical disease Leishmaniasis. Working at the interface of chemistry and parasitology gave him an insight into the importance of fostering interdisciplinary relationships to appropriately tackle prominent issues such as improving world health. It was during this period that Chris also kindled his interest in the vital role that public policy plays in this process. After completing his postgraduate project, Chris worked as a researcher at a healthcare public affairs consultancy, where he gained exposure to the fast-paced health policy environment. This experience reinforced his resolve to be involved in the science policy sphere, and subsequently he joined SfAM in October 2016, where he will support microbiologists across academia and industry in making their voice heard throughout the development and implementation of policy.

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    Andrew Miller

    External Advisor to the Policy Subcommittee (2017-18)

    Miller was first elected to the House of Commons at the 1992 general election. In Parliament, Miller has served on numerous select committees and served for four years from 2001 to the ministers at the Department of Trade and Industry. In 2010 Miller was confirmed as the first Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee to be elected by all members of the House. In 2005 he was confirmed as chairman of the House of Commons Regulatory Reform Committee. Since leaving Parliament Miller has continued to work in the area of science policy. He chairs the University of Chester, Thornton Science Park Advisory Board and the Engagement Advisory Board of the Grantham Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield. In November 2014 he was awarded an honorary DSc by the University of Chester and an Honorary Fellowship at Liverpool John Moore’s University in July 2015.

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