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About us

The Early Careers Researchers Club (ECR Club) is an forum for Early Career Researchers - PhD students, research technicians, PostDocs and clinical and academic fellows - from the Department of Infectious Disease that will allow us the opportunity to hear from and engage with speakers on a range of topics pertinent to our scientific careers, mental health and wellbeing as well as different facets of science, and network over food and drinks! 

Speakers will be invited to discourse on topics including: 'patient and public engagement in clinical research', 'fostering successful collaborations' and 'tips for a stress-free career break', among others. Some meetings will take the form of a 'Chalkboard Talk' where speakers present their research on a whiteboard and open up discussion on the scientific rationale, future direction and translational scope of their work. Meetings will also provide an insight into the range of career options available to ECRs working in medical research and offer the opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences of people on different career paths. The subject matter is deliberately chosen to be diverse and provoke thought and discussion that is distinct from more scientifically focused departmental seminars.  

Attendees are encouraged to network following the session. A major aim of the club is to bridge the gap between clinicians and non-clinicians with the dept. Fostering collaboration at the early stages of our careers will lead to greater appreciation and understanding of each other’s work, culminating in better outcomes for patients with infectious diseases in the future.  

Upcoming events

  • 18 April: Dr. Laura Martin-Sancho Dr. Lucy Thorne Collaboration in the Pandemic Age
    Thursday, 18th April 2024, 5.00pm G62, Medical School Building St Mary's Campus

  • TBC May: Apply AI to Infectious Disease

  • TBC June: Careers session


Meet the Committee

  • Goedele N. Maertens

    Personal details

    Goedele N. Maertens Reader in Molecular Virology


    Goedele received her BSc in Chemistry and MSc in Biochemistry from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL, Belgium). During her PhD in Biochemistry in the laboratories of Yves Engelborghs and Zeger Debyser at the KUL, she trained for two years in the Alan Engelman lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA). Following a 4-year postdoctoral fellowship in molecular oncology at Cancer Research UK (London, UK), in the lab of Gordon Peters, she joined the Cherepanov lab at Imperial College London for 18 months. In 2011, she joined the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London as a Lecturer. She is now a Reader in Molecular Virology in the Department of Infectious Disease and since 2020 the Deputy Head of Section of Virology. Her research interests include mechanisms of retroviral integration with a particular focus on deltaretroviruses such as human T-cell lymphotropic virus.

  • Beatrice Cockbain

    Personal details

    Beatrice Cockbain Academic Clinical Fellow and Specialist Registrar in Genitourinary Medicine and HIV


    I am an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow and Specialist Registrar doctor in Genitourinary Medicine and HIV. My clinical work is based at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust and my academic research within Professor Graham P Taylor's group at Imperial College London. My research interests include vertical transmission of retroviruses (HIV and HTLV-1) and addressing healthcare inequities faced by minoritised communities, particularly in relation to sexual health and HIV.

  • Mphatso Kalemera

    Personal details

    Mphatso Kalemera Research Associate


    My scientific general interest is exploring viral-host coevolution, whether during a single infection as the virus evolves to counter host immune responses or over millions of years as viruses co-opt host factors into their life cycles. My current research focus is defining the molecular interactions that allow retroviruses to insert themselves into our genomes. I am passionate about race equity in STEM, and in my days as an early career researcher, I have sat on an EDI committee and helped draft a diversity and inclusivity survey. Outside of work, I can be found in a gym, on a dimly-lit dancefloor in the early hours, in a park with a book or manga in tow or, most often, in the kitchen.

  • Anita Meier

    Personal details

    Anita Meier Postdoctoral Research Fellow


    I am an MSCA postdoctoral research fellow in the single-molecule imaging lab of Prof. David Rueda. I study the intricate mechanism of HSV-1 genome replication on the single-molecule level. For this, I am using techniques such as smFRET, c-trap and cryo-EM. I really enjoy learning about the biology of different viruses from the molecular to the clinical level. When I'm not in the lab, I enjoy playing the piano or engage in outdoor activities such as kayaking.

  • Kate Slade

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    Kate Slade PhD student


    I am a PhD student in the Maertens Lab. Having completed the MSc in the Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses, I started my PhD in the Maertens lab focussing on the role of host factors in the requisite integration step of the δ-retrovirus HTLV-1 (Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1). Here, I am to characterise the molecular interactions between identified host and viral proteins to determine their role in integration and therefore establishing viral infection. Outside of the lab I enjoy cycling, camping and all things outdoors.

  • Aaron Logsdon

    Personal details

    Aaron Logsdon PhD student


    I am a PhD student in the Maertens Lab. My research is based around Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a δ-retrovirus which interacts with host factors to integrate into the host genome and, thus, establish infection. I am using a combination of structural bioinformatics and machine learning to identify actionable differences between the host-virus and host-host interactions to inform selective drug design against HTLV-1 infection. Beyond research, I enjoy playing racket sports, reading short novels, and drinking beer.