Our ECS Members are an integral and highly valued part of our Society. Early career scientists represent the future of applied microbiology. Supporting and highlighting their work is a core part of SfAM’s vision.

If you are based in the UK and identify as an early career scientist (or are still in full time education), then join now. SfAM's ECS members gain access to ECS-specific events (including the ECS Annual Research Symposium and workshops by Sense about Science), grants to aid with attending conferences, networking opportunities, and guidance from your peers at the same stage as you are.

ECS Research Symposium 2020 image
ECS Research Symposium 2020
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Voice of Young Science
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British Science Association Media Fellowships
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SfAM's Early Career Scientists also have their own committee, dedicated to all matters ECS - including organising events for the ECS and making sure our ECS members have their say in how their society is shaped. If you are already an ECS member and are interested in joining the ECS committee, click here for more information, and click on the panel below to get to know your current ECS committee.

ECS Committee

The Early Career Scientists Committee meets three times a year and is responsible for providing the EC with the Early Career Scientists perspective on all the activities the Society takes forward. Members of the ECS Committee are represented on the Policy and Meetings Subcommittees and are in attendance at Executive Committee meetings. 

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    Jennie French

    ECS Chair

    Jennie joined the committee three years ago as the undergraduate representative. After graduating from the University of Nottingham with a BSc (Hons) Microbiology, she became the ECS communications officer. During this role and subsequently as Vice Chair, Jennie studied for an MSc in Science Communication and graduated from the University of West England in 2019. She currently works at Techniquest, the science centre in Cardiff Bay, as a content designer, focusing on working with the local communities to create engaging events and sourcing temporary exhibitions to increase the relevance of science to new audiences. TWITTER: @jenniefrench95

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    James Williamson

    ECS Secretary

    James is currently a Post doc at the University of Warwick, focusing on engineering environmental bacteria for the utilisation of waste plant material, with an aim to produce high value products. As a PhD student at the University of Nottingham, his research centred on trying to integrate high value plant chemical biosynthetic pathways into carotenogenic members of the Enterobacteriaceae. His research interests include industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology. James joins the ECS after attending several of their events and observing how the group makes such a difference to the microbiology community. TWITTER: @JamesJW90

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    Phillip Butterick

    ECS Lead Events Officer & Vice Secretary

    Phil completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences (Cardiff Metropolitan University) in 2013. Phil then moved on to work for the NHS pathology department specializing in microbiology. During his time there Phil has developed an interest in the isolation, identification and treatment of pathogenic bacteria and has seen the prevalence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Phil has since left the NHS employ due to his interest in the development of new antibacterial agents. Phil is currently completing his PhD in Medical Microbiology with Dr. Rowena Jenkins and in conjunction with industry partner Neem Biotech Ltd. The project aims to determine the effects of a novel new bacterial agent against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Phil joined the ECS committee in January 2018 and hopes to raise the awareness of SfAM across all sectors that employ microbiologists and how they can assist people who are new to the field. TWITTER: @Micro_phil

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    Lucas Walker

    ECS Policy Officer

    Lucas completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Sheffield in 2015, during which he worked on a number of different microbiology-focused research projects. After graduating, he worked as a research technician in a virology lab at UCL. Lucas is now undertaking his PhD at the University of Birmingham where he is looking at the regulation of infection and biofilm formation in Vibrio cholerae. During the first year of his PhD, he worked at SfAM for 3 months as a policy intern and was keen to continue supporting the work of the society thereafter.

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    Kate Bamford

    ECS Policy Officer

    Kate is currently a final year PhD student at the University of Warwick where she studies sheep mastitis, investigating the bacterial communities within the udder. She joins the committee after presenting her work at the ECS symposium in 2019 and seeing how well the committee worked together as a team to create a great event for applied microbiology. Her interest in politics and Government policy came about while she was studying the Graduate Diploma in Law, and now she hopes to use her scientific research to shape policy in the future. Kate has just finished a 3 month policy internship at Defra where she got first-hand experience on how policy is shaped and influenced by science.

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    Nicola Williams

    ECS Industry Representative

    Nicola recently joined the SfAM ECS Committee as an Industry Representative in the ECS Policy team. Nicola's interests include microbial biotechnology, biochemistry and science communication. She is also an artist and loves drawing microbiology-themed cartoons!

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    Nasmille Larke-Mejía

    ECS Welfare Officer

    Nasmille is Postdoctoral Researcher at GROW Colombia working in the Agricultural Diversity Programme. She focuses on studying the microbial ecology of soils associated to different crops (sugarcane and coffee) and the Colombian Páramo environment. Nasmille is an Environmental Microbiologist, specialized in the use of cultivation-dependent and cultivation-independent methods to study the microbial ecology of microorganisms in the terrestrial environment. Nasmille finished her PhD in 2018 at the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV) at University of East Anglia (UEA) funded by a Colombian government (Colciencias) Scholarship. Under the supervision of Professor J Colin Murrell, Nasmille worked on characterizing soil and phyllosphere microorganisms that use isoprene as their sole source of C using techniques including stable isotope probing (SIP), amplicon sequencing and metagenome analysis. Previously, as part of the CIMIC lab at Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, Nasmille isolated and studied ANFO-degrading bacteria from an open coal mine pit and their expression of nitrogen cycle genes in presence of the explosive.

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    Alli Cartwright

    ECS Communications Officer

    Alli completed her undergraduate degree in Marine Science before carrying out a MRes studying freshwater crayfish and a PhD studying the interaction between microbes and freshwater sponges. She studied at Ulster University, Northern Ireland. Alli works as a lab technician at the Northern Regional College, Coleraine, Northern Ireland and spends her weekends working for the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Alli is a regular contributor to the Society for Applied Microbiology's blog and is keen to take on new writing ventures.

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    Jake Bell

    ECS Events Officer

    Jake joined the ECS committee in 2017 as the undergraduate representative, after attending the ECS Research Symposium and annual conference, observing the positive environment the Society creates for early career researchers. He recently completed his undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition at Kingston University, which included multiple summer internships in the microbiology laboratories. He also undertook a placement year at the Jodrell laboratory of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, working on plant-microbe interactions through various molecular methods. Jake is about to begin a PhD at Royal Holloway (University of London) under the supervision of Professor Paul Fraser, in plant and microbial molecular biology. Twitter: @_JakeBell1

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    Caleb Marsh

    ECS Events Officer

    Caleb recently completed his undergraduate degree in Medical Biochemistry at Kingston University and is about to begin a PhD at the University of Nottingham, in the field of Agriculture and Food Security. He will be selecting a title focused on Antimicrobial Resistance. Caleb has been passionate about AMR since first hearing about it while volunteering in a veterinary practice as a teenager. The importance of this issue was stressed to him and dictated his choices from that point on. He completed a summer internship assessing the antimicrobial properties of a novel coper containing fabric and in his final year dissertation project; optimising an on-site rapid diagnostic for Staphylococcus aureus in the Kingston microbiology lab. This confirmed his passion for microbiology and research. Whilst completing his undergraduate degree, Caleb enjoyed organising talks and events with fellow students. He hopes to continue this as part of the ECS committee, while continuing the effort to welcome new and current members to engage with ECS events. Twitter: @CalJMarsh

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    Temilola Olanrewaju

    ECS Events Officer

    Temilola completed his undergraduate degree in Marine Biology with an ecotoxicology specialisation at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Having worked as a water quality analyst for a few years, he went on to earn an MSc in Environmental Monitoring and Analysis from Aberystwyth University. He is currently undertaking his PhD with the Freshwater Biology Research Group at Ulster University, studying the propensity of filter feeding freshwater invertebrates to facilitate the transmission of antimicrobial resistance genes in Enterococcus faecalis. Twitter: @temibambi

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    Hannah Brace-Thompson

    ECS Undergraduate Representative

    A current undergraduate student at Edinburgh Napier University, Hannah is studying Microbiology and Biotechnology. After attending talks on the microbiome and workshops at the ASCUS Lab during the Edinburgh Science Festival in 2015, she decided to change her career from early years education to Microbiology. During the summer of 2017, Hannah worked in the laboratory of Dr. Rosa De Llanos, learning about and culturing yeast as well as working with Listeria monocytogenes in the model organism Galleria mellonella. She is interested in a wide range of Microbiology topics from the seeding of the human gut microbiome to microbial degradation of plastics and is looking forward to completing her degree and working in the field of Microbiology.

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    Elitsa Penkova

    ECS Undergraduate Representative

    Elitsa is completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter, studying Evolutionary Biology. She began her studies, with a focus on zoology and conservation, however quickly grew fascinated with the world of microbiology during her first-year lab practical classes. She spent several months volunteering at the university laboratories, where she assisted with research on the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. There she became certain transferring to her current course was the best decision for her. Recently, she completed a 12-month research internship at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), looking into the potential role of commonly used disinfectants as drivers for antibiotic resistance in the aquatic environment. She feels happiest when working in the lab and looks forward to expanding her education and pursuing a career in research.

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    Chris Fanitsios

    Communications Intern and ECS Committee Member

    Chris is currently a PhD student at School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick in the Department of Chemistry. Chris completed his MSc at the Laboratory of Microbial Biochemistry of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Ioannina, Greece, entitled “Study on degradation of aromatic compounds by Pseudarthrobacter phenanthrenivorans Sphe3 using metabolomic analysis: Investigation of the contribution of 1,2-benzoate dioxygenase. Simultaneously, he participated in a funded project, entitled “Development of novel biofunctional foods and total quality enhancement of traditional dairy products by suitable management of their microbial ecology” in the same lab and his work included the complete molecular characterization of selected indigenous strains and molecular in situ study of novel cultures.

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    Aled Roberts

    ECS Committee Observer

    Aled completed his undergraduate degree in Microbiology (Cardiff University) in 2009 which included an industrial placement year with Pfizer’s Bioprocess Development Group at their European research headquarters. Aled then went onto complete a PhD in Microbiology in Prof. Rose Cooper’s lab (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff) in 2013, looking at the inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by manuka honey. During this period he became acquainted with various members of the ECS committee whilst attending both ECS and SfAM events. Aled went on to complete a Post-Doc in Dr. Steve Diggle’s lab in 2015, looking at the evolution of biofilms and their 3D-spatial structure before returning to Cardiff. He's currently looking into the effects of manuka honey on Cystic Fibrosis pathogens in Dr. Rowena Jenkins’ lab. Aled joined the ECS committee September 2014 as an events officer and became ECS Chair following the conclusion of the 2016 ECS Research Conference.

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