Imperial College London

CLCC Welcomes new Director

by

Ana Costa-Pereira in lab

On 1st August 2020, Dr Ana Costa-Pereira began her new role as Director of the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication.

“The CLCC really is the cherry on the cake!” Dr Ana Costa-Pereira Director, CLCC

Having been Co-Director for a handover period since 1st July, Ana was afforded a warm welcome by the whole staff team at the 2020 Summer Party (held online) on 7th July.

About Ana's Career

Ana was fascinated by cancer cells and their behaviour from an early age. She initiated her undergraduate studies in Biochemistry in her native city of Coimbra in Portugal, in one’s of Europe’s oldest Universities. She was one of the first Portuguese Erasmus students, enabling her to carry out her 3rd year Biochemistry studies in Cork, Ireland. She quickly fell in love with the Emerald Island and, never returned home, concluding her undergraduate studies at University College Cork (UCC).

Her urgency to fight cancer saw her pursuing a PhD in cancer biology straight after her degree, under the supervision of Prof. Tom Cotter. With him, she studied different ways of pushing prostate cancer cells into ‘committing suicide’, a process known as apoptosis. She then moved to London where she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr Ian M. Kerr in what was known as Imperial Cancer Research Fund, then Cancer Research U,  and now The Francis Crick Institute.

It was with Dr Kerr that she became interested in cytokines and how these molecules regulate not just immune responses, but also how they play key roles in the development and progression of cancer. She has been a research group leader in the Department of Surgery and Cancer since 2005.

A Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Medicine, Ana joins the CLCC having been School of Medicine Head of BSc Programme Development (2015-2019), Head of Programme for the BSc Medical Biosciences and BSc Medical Biosciences with Management since their launch in 2017, and Head of Innovation in Undergraduate Science Education in 2020.

Ana Costa-Pereira in lab 2Ana has, therefore, significant experience in developing and leading innovative educational programmes. She was responsible for the pedagogical design and the development of the BSc Medical Biosciences programmes, which include Lab Pods, a ground-breaking laboratory programme for undergraduates underpinned by core principles of scientific research and experiential learning.

These were the first fully-blended undergraduate programmes within the College: biomedical science programmes also placing emphasis on transferable skills not traditionally associated with science degrees. It is therefore unsurprising that they have so far attracted over a thousand applications per year!

'I am super excited’: Ana on her new role

Talking about her experience of developing the BSc Medical Biosciences programmes, Ana says:

"I realised that a lot of employers do not seem concerned about what our graduates know – they assume our graduates will have a good solid theoretical underpinning of their chosen subject – but invariably mentioned the lack of sufficient soft skills in the graduates they employed.

The CLCC plays a critical role within the College Dr Ana Costa-Pereira Director, CLCC

"There is a dangerous tendency to focus on STEMM and forget the Humanities, as if being human and having a more diverse and global understanding of what it means to be human and to inhabit our planet past and present isn’t as important as knowing maths and physics.

"The CLCC plays a critical role within the College, enabling our students to study beyond their discipline, widening their horizons and promoting cross-disciplinary work, whilst experiencing learning in a way that is totally different from that experienced within their main degrees. The CLCC really is the cherry on the cake!"

Asked about her feelings as she joins the Centre, Ana says: "The CLCC enjoys a privileged spot in the College, and it is known and respected by many for its student-centric excellent teaching, vibrancy and creativity. I am super excited to be its new director and it really is a huge privilege for me to take over the helm and lead the CLCC for the next five years."

Ana succeeds Prof Roberto Trotta as CLCC Director, leading the Centre and its key areas of work: Imperial Horizons, Evening Classes, Science Communication and Languages. She will retain her affiliation and research activities within the Department of Surgery and Cancer in parallel with her 50% appointment as CLCC Director.

Visit Dr Ana P. Costa-Pereira's webpage

Reporter

Cleo Bowen

Cleo Bowen
Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication