Spotlight – Dr Jonathan Hughes

Jonathan Hughes with a dinosaur skull
Jonathan Hughes in the lab

My current role is as the technician with responsibility for those practical classes that fall under ecology and zoology, although my background is in molecular biology so I’m often involved in molecular biology and microbiology sessions as well.

I completed my PhD looking at how to improve crop water use efficiency via modulation of the number of stomatal pores in the epidermis of barley, at the department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at Sheffield University. This was followed by a brief stint as a secondary school teacher before I joined the University of Lincoln in my current role in 2018.

I decided to become a technician as I really enjoy the hands-on aspects of science and I was also seeking a career with a more favourable work-life balance after being a teacher.

My current role is great as it’s very varied in terms of the different practical classes we offer here. Also, the Ecology and Conservation practical classes provide me with many opportunities to work outdoors which I really enjoy, even if the weather is often uncooperative!

Spotlight – Emily Green

A picture of Emily Green
Emily Green at work

I’m a PhD student in the School of Life Sciences, studying Palaeontology, more specifically the evolution of complexity. I started my palaeo career at the University of Bristol, completing an integrated masters in Palaeobiology. I have been involved in a number of projects tackling a wide range of paleontological questions, from the position of ctenophores in the tree of life, to 3D reconstructions of modern life’s closes cousins, Ediacarans. My favourite project so far has been a study of fossilised poo from the Triassic, which we used to create a food web for a 205-million-year-old ecosystem!

One of my favourite parts of Palaeontology is how varied it is. As a discipline, it utilises any methods it can get its hands, from geology to chemistry, and so each new question can lead you down so many different paths when trying to answer it! Palaeontology always fascinated me as a child, mainly because it seemed as close as one could get to studying real-life dragons. It combines both science and a bit of imagination to picture and understand all these distant bygone lands, that all satisfyingly operate under unifying biological principles.

I have loved furthering my studies at Lincoln, especially with the support of my wonderful supervisors, being so welcoming and helpful!

There is a great community of post-grad students, always up for a weekly coffee break and chat, which has been lovely during the pandemic…

I never have a good answer to “What is your favourite dinosaur?”, a response which I feel I should have locked and loaded, ready to answer any 7-year-old that asks. I prefer a good mammoth…..

Spotlight – Dr Natalia Fili

An image of Dr Natalia Fili
Dr Natalia Fili

I have recently joined the School of Life Sciences as a Lecturer of Biomedical Biochemistry. Following my PhD at CRUK-London Research Institute, I pursued a Postdoctoral Career Development Fellowship at the MRC-National Institute for Medical Research in London. After a short postdoctoral position at EPFL, Switzerland, and then a PDRA position at LMU Munich, Germany, I returned to the UK as a Royal Society Newton International Fellow, at the University of Kent. I then continued my research as a PDRA in the group of Dr. Toseland, before relocating with his group to the University of Sheffield.

It is great to have joined the welcoming and friendly environment of the School of Life Sciences and I am looking forward to exciting and stimulating teaching and research.

My research interest focuses on myosins, motor proteins that move along the actin cytoskeleton. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms through which these proteins are regulated in mammalian cells and how disruption of this regulation can lead disease. To achieve this, I follow an interdisciplinary approach that combines cell biology and protein biochemistry with advanced fluorescence microscopy and single molecule imaging.

Spotlight – Chelsy Cliff

Chelsy Cliff
Chelsy Cliff at work in Joseph Banks Laboratories

I am a PhD student in the School of Life Sciences and funded by a University of Lincoln scholarship. Whilst studying my MBio in Bioveterinary Science at the University of Lincoln, the staff were supportive and encouraging and so I was keen to continue studying my PhD here. I met with my supervisor, Dr Claire Hills, who supported me throughout the application process which included a presentation of my previous research to date in front of a staff panel.

Receiving the scholarship has opened so many career opportunities by allowing me to study for my PhD without financial pressures. As part of my scholarship I demonstrate in undergraduate practical experiments that has allowed me to develop a new set of skills and will contribute to a Higher Education Academy application.

The staff members in the School of Life Sciences and PGR community have helped me to develop the skills needed to progress in the future and challenged me to be the best I can.

Spotlight – Alice Buckner


We are going to run a series of Spotlights on committee members, staff and students to raise the profile of colleagues in the School and get to know each other now we are socially distanced and a lot of us are based at home. Here Alice Buckner, one of our research postgraduates and a PGR rep, introduces herself.

An image of Alice BucknerAfter studying BSc Bioveterinary Science at the University of Lincoln I knew I wanted to continue my academic journey with an MSc, and where better than at the very university I have grown to love and call home! I am currently working my way through MSc Bioveterinary Science by Research studying the parasite liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) in cattle and sheep. This really is the ideal course for me with the perfect level of freedom in developing my own research project alongside the support provided by the PGR community.

The School of Life Sciences has really been key in my development throughout my time here, not just in terms of teaching, but in the wider perspective of support. I started off my time at the university in 2017 as an extremely shy individual, but through the careful nurturing and unending support of the staff I have become the more self-confident and outgoing person I am today. I have been able to do things I never believed I could do at the start of my degree – I’ve been elected one of the course reps for both my BSc and MSc degrees, I’ve worked alongside my peers and tutors to run the Bioveterinary Science Society, and I have engaged in extracurricular courses which have really helped me grow as a person and scientist.

The current pandemic has really shown the resilience and determination of the staff and students here and I think this Spotlight is a great way of introducing us to each other and ensuring the continuity of the community feeling of the School I have grown to love.

Despite never meeting the majority of the people on my course, I feel as if I am getting to know them with my time as a PGR rep enabling me to be a voice communicating their feedback to staff and student representatives. From previous experience, the staff really take into account student feedback and ensure their views are included in decision making. I can’t think of another place I’d rather be living or studying and know that my experiences here stand me in good stead for wherever my future may take me.

Spotlight – Beth Williams


We are going to run a series of Spotlights on committee members, staff and students to raise the profile of colleagues in the School and get to know each other now we are socially distanced and a lot of us are based at home. Here Beth Williams, our postgraduate representative on the EDI committee introduces herself.

Bethany WilliamsI am a first year PhD student at the University of Lincoln, with a love for baking and playing music. I joined the university as a Biomedical Science undergraduate student in 2016 and have lived in Lincoln and studied at the university ever since!

Entering my fifth year at the University of Lincoln, I felt I wanted to get more involved with the organisation of the university. So, when the opportunity arose to become the postgraduate research representative on the EDI (Ethnicity, Diversity, Inclusivity) committee this summer, I jumped at it!

I have always been passionate about inclusivity and a feeling of community, always striving to ensure those around me have a sense of belonging in their place of work or study. I believe everybody, regardless of their background, deserves equal opportunities and representation. I enjoy being an advocate for others, striving to ensure every voice is heard and listened to.

I have been lucky enough to find Lincoln a very inclusive and welcoming place, but improvements can always be made. I am passionate about using my role within the EDI committee to bridge the gap between the student and staff community, ensuring inclusivity and the celebration of diversity is felt equally across all members of the university.

I am always open to suggestions and happy to report any feedback to the wider EDI committee – if anyone has any comments, I would welcome any emails to bewilliams AT lincoln dot ac dot uk.

Thank you!