Championing

The Department of Surgery and Cancer has a number of postdoc representatives, who form part of Imperial's Postdoc Reps Network and work in line with Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre to enable it to stay abreast of the needs and issues facing postdocsReps are the essential bridge between the Department and the postdoc community across campuses and play a vital role in championing postdoc issues via the People and Culture Committee.

Departmental postdoc reps

If you want to find out more about the support and opportunities that are available please get in touch with your relevant postdoc rep:


Hammersmith Campus postdoc reps

Parts of the Division of Cancer are based in the Hammersmith Hospital campus, and are the ones represented by our team, which is currently made of Dr Biancastella Cereser, Dr Vessela Vassileva, Dr Nina Moderau, Dr Sladjana Zagorac and Dr Megha Prakash Bangalore.

We closely collaborate with the other Hammersmith Postdoc reps to create a more interdisciplinary environment for our postdocs and to organise group events. We bring the views of postdocs and fellows actively contribute to Divisional Executive meetings and the People and Culture Committee. The P&C Committee is set to encourage transparency and fairness in all aspects of Departmental life to all groups and to monitor the implementation and success of Athena Swan Initiatives across the Department. The Committee also supports the dissemination of College level policies and initiatives, identifying local adjustments and improvements.

What we do
Our postdocs reps help to organise workshops and tailored events for fellow postdocs, alone or in collaboration with the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centreensuring their views are heard and their issues tackled. The group provides a range of events, including:

  • Regular scheduled coffee mornings to improve networking, and to obtain suggestions and feedback from the postdocs community
  • The Annual Imperial College Biomedical Symposium, attended by postdocs, PIs and students, showcasing the postdoctoral research and facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration between the Departments.
  • Workshops and courses to promote academic professional development, usually organised in South Kensington campus, our postdocs would like to see more organised events in Hammersmith as well
  • Tailored events, such as CV clinics and Career Fairs, to offer advice on professional alternatives to academia.

Get in touch
You can get in touch with the reps via: hammersmithpdr@imperial.ac.uk

Learn more about our Hammersmith postdoc reps
Find out more about the Hammersmith reps, why they got involved and what they are doing to champion the postdoc community. 

Postdoc reps

Nina Moderau

Nina Moderau After completing my Diploma in Biology and my Doctorate in Molecular Biomedicine in the University of Bonn in Germany, I relocating to UK for my first appointment as a postdoc in Barts Cancer Institute. In 2017 I joined the Department of Surgery and Cancer as a research associate in Prof Stebbing’s group to develop a 3D model of breast cancer evolution. I was a postdoc representative at Barts, which allowed me very quickly to adapt and build up my professional network within the postdoc community. Additionally, being involved in the organisation of networking, career development and charity events significantly increased the number of my inter-department collaborations and my personal visibility among fellow postdocs. After joining Imperial College for my second appointment I decided to continue with my engagement in postdoc representation and hope to be able to support and encourage initiatives that will help fellow postdocs to progress in their careers and development.

Additionally, I took the opportunity to join the People and Culture committee of the Department of Surgery and Cancer to be involved with the Athena SWAN application. Here, I can help to improve equal opportunities for women in research and academia. To achieve that and to increase female stuff progression in academia, we first need to understand the postdoctoral culture better to be able to act on it. To tackle this, monthly meetings with the postdoc reps from the Faculty of Medicine (Hammersmith Campus) are arranged, to discuss views and issues and to act on them to improve the environment.  Additionally, a survey was conducted to address career development and progression amongst other topics, which hopefully will give us a deeper insight into the postdoctoral culture and expectations. This will allow us to draft an accurate action plan for the Athena SWAN application and to consolidate equality and diversity in career development and progression. 

Sarah Spear

Sarah SpearI received my PhD from Barts Cancer Institute, following which I joined Prof McNeish group in 2018. I investigate the relationship between tumour cell genomics and the immune microenvironment in high grade serous ovarian cancer.

I became a postdoc rep in Oct 2020. I was inspired to join after watching the Q&A event with the heads of department. I felt it was important to stand up for postdocs and try to improve the working culture.

I also sit on the Committee for Health and Safety, where I can voice concerns of postdocs and champions my own views on green and sustainability in research culture.I am particularly passionate about helping postdocs skill up, in terms of bioinformatics training or any other hard skills postdocs need. More so now, after the pandemic, I think postdocs are looking for alternative/ more secure career options.

Since joining the postdoc reps I have met a lot of new postdocs, which has been fantastic. I sit on the Hammersmith postdoc rep committee, where reps from other departments come together to share ideas and issues. Its great to get experience planning and hosting events, learning from the other reps. We are particularly keen to provide personal events, that will really benefit Surgery and Cancer postdocs, and always happy to have new suggestions.

Marc Lorentzen

Marc LorentzenI am a post-doctoral bioinformatician in the Bevan lab, which I joined in 2019 following my PhD in the Marie-Curie ETN MICROWINE at the Institute of Vine and Wine Science in Bordeaux. My work is primarily in Prostate Cancer, where I investigate regulation of the Androgen Receptor by microRNAs. Coming from a wet-lab background, I’m keen on the transition to bioinformatic work.

I joined the postdoc reps in 2020 to get involved in the organization of the College and to ensure that the concerns of postdocs are represented in the committees. I also think that it is important for us to share and support the opportunities provided by the College and the Postdoc and Fellow’s Development Center. Since joining the postdoc reps, I have joined the S&C Research Committee, which so far has focused on the development of an informal/internal peer review process to provide guidance for grants.

Ilaria Belluomo

Ilaria BelluomoI obtained my PhD by working between the University of Bologna (Italy) and the University of Bordeaux (France), as part of the European PhD program Doctor Europaeus. In 2017, I joined the group of Professor George Hanna at Imperial College London, where I am studying the analysis of volatile organic compounds in breath for early diagnosis of cancer using different mass spectrometry techniques.

I am a postdoc representative for the Department of Surgery and Cancer since 2019. I decided to join the reps after I started attending the networking events: I realised how important these kind of events are to communicate with other postdocs. One of my priorities is to promote networking and socialising.

The role of postdocs is crucial for all research groups and it is important that our voice is heard. For this reason, I am also interested in the communication with the College, organisation of scientific talks and improvement of career paths. The role of the postdoc is a transitional one and it is important for us to be aware of the different career possibilities we have after.
I am also involved in the Culture and Engagement Committee, where we focus on how to improve inclusivity and gender equality. Being part of this committee compliments my role as a postdoc rep as our postdoc community is so diverse.

Martine Nurek

Martine NurekI am a cognitive psychologist studying doctors' decision making. Specifically, I’m interested in the cognitive biases that can lead to misdiagnosis/mismanagement of patients, and whether Artificial Intelligence (e.g., decision aids) can help to mitigate these. I support Open Science via study preregistrations, Registered Reports, and data sharing in the Open Science Framework. I also support the development and advancement of early-career researchers, as a Postdoctoral Representative on both departmental and national committees.

There are two issues that I am particularly passionate about, as a Postdoc Rep. The first is bringing postdocs together. At this stage in our careers, it is critical to build strong networks and lasting collaborations, but many postdocs don’t know where to start. Therefore, we launched the (extremely unromantic) ‘Speed-dating for Postdocs’ scheme, whereby postdocs are paired-up (at random) for coffee every month. This, we hope, will help postdocs to connect and communicate – one-on-one – on a regular basis.

My second passion as a Postdoc Rep is job precarity. Postdocs are an extraordinarily well-trained and industrious group, yet most are uncertain of their long-term prospects in academia. A systemic solution is needed but, until then, the Reps are working hard to ensure that postdocs are aware of their career options, both inside and outside academia.

In light of the above, it’s helpful that I sit on the Surgery & Cancer Research Committee, which oversees collaborations, career development, research strategy, and funding within the Department. My aim, in this role, is to ensure that postdoc needs and views are factored into departmental solutions/strategies (bottom-up) and that departmental solutions/strategies are communicated effectively to postdocs (top-down). If there is anything that you’d like to bring to the attention of the Committee, please do give me a shout!

Lauren Ford

Sarah FordI received my PhD from the University of Leeds in 2017, following a post-doc in Queen’s University Belfast I moved to Imperial College in 2019 as part of surgery and cancer to undertake a research associate position in metabolomics. I am working on the iEndoscope project which is a specially designed ambient mass spectrometry probe which can be used in endoscopic resections for early detection of cancer.

I became a post doc rep early 2020 and I have really enjoyed helping to organise events for the department. I think the reps do really important work in organising these events as the department of surgery and cancer is very spread out – crossing 4 campuses. Therefore, I think these networking events are important for career progression but also to make friends and socialise.

I think one of the biggest benefits of being a rep is the opportunity to get to know so many people in the department. I enjoy talking to other post-docs and hearing their opinions – we are always interested to know how we could do better to make life as a S&C post doc better.