Find out about some of the many UoB researchers who are interested in and active in public engagement with research.

This page has been added because our research community suggested we create it! We hope this page will help you find other like-minded researchers, allowing you to share expertise and to forge public engagement collaborations in the future. If you would like to have a profile added here, contact we’ll send you the profile form to complete. We’ll then aim to get you added within a few days.

Don’t forget our Leading to Engage academic champions and PERC Chairs too, as well as the PER team.

Our community of engaged researchers include (in no particular order):

Julia P Myatt (Lecturer) 

E:          T: 0121 414 5598

Tw: @JuliaPMyatt                      www:

Research Interests:

My research focuses on the physical and social adaptations an animal has to its environment. I work on animal locomotion, musculoskeletal anatomy and social structure in apes and African carnivores. I am an experienced field biologist, working in Indonesia and Botswana and also work on captive animal welfare in zoos. Techniques I have used include GPS/accelerometers for remote tracking; behavioural obs. and dissection.

Public Engagement Experience:

I have experience as a STEM Ambassador and regularly give talks/hold workshops in/for schools. I have media experience including assisting with BBC programmes (‘Life’ and ‘Secret Life of Cats’) and have been interviewed for the radio/TV in various countries. I work with local organisations e.g. Birmingham Wildlife Centre, together with our students to develop Outreach projects. I previously had a Public Engagement grant which resulted in multiple publications on human crowd behaviour.

Keywords + Hobbies: Animal Behaviour, Locomotion Conservation, Social Structure, Field work, Ecology, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Interdisciplinarity, Photography, Dance, Nature, Travel, Baking


Leah Fitzsimmons (Public Engagement with Research Officer)

E:          T:

Tw: @barbs86uk                                www:

Research Interests:

I am interested in how viruses can affect the fate of the cells they infect. I work on a very common virus, called Epstein-Barr virus (or EBV). Although almost everyone in the world has it, very few people have heard of it. This is because it is usually harmless. However, EBV can play a role in causing some cancers. My work aims to find new ways to treat EBV associated cancer. When I’m not in the lab, I love to share my passion for research and virology because science should be for everyone.

Public Engagement Experience:

I have been involved in lots of different engagement activities and I’m always looking for new ways to connect people with science and evidence!

  • Public talks e.g. Skeptics in the Pub
  • Supporting charities e.g. Sense About Science (SAS), Ask For Evidence, Cancer Research UK talks and lab tours
  • Demos e.g. British Science Festival
  • Schools e.g. Big Bang Fair judge
  • Researcher impact e.g. Sense About Science workshops, talks and training for PGRs and ECRs

And much more!

Keywords + Hobbies: Viruses, Cancer research, Evidence, Microbes, Cell survival, Genes, Lymphoma, Ukulele, Travel, Cooking, Theatre, Singing


Lucy Garrett (PhD Student) 

E:          T: 07716195691

Tw: @garrettlucy1                   www: go to my webpage

Research Interests:

My main interests lie within animal ecology and conservation. I have worked in bird conservation for over 6 years prior to taking on my PhD. I am mainly interested in animal behaviour and study the social structure of a large seabird colony. I am also looking at population genetic structure and more fine-scale relatedness of individual birds.

Public Engagement Experience:

Public engagement is a big part of my PhD skill set which I have tried to improve. I have taken part in a course called engaging research where I produced a short film about my research, I was then asked to demonstrate on the next course. I have undertaking a teaching project at a school focused on my PhD over 7 lessons with students having to write an essay. I organised a student conference with a special focus on engagement.

Keywords + Hobbies: Ecology, Conservation, Animal Behaviour, Birds, Group living, Genetic relatedness, Animal social networks, Island biogeography, Seabirds, Marine environment, Printmaking, Art, Mountain biking, Travelling, Nature walks


Jack Richardson (PhD Student) 

E:       T:

Tw: @jack_seeds                 www: watch my YouTube vid

Research Interests:

My research revolves around the world of salt and magnetics. My main goal is to establish the use of magnetic anisotropy on salt deposits in Nova Scotia, Canada. This involves field work to N.S where I look at rocks exposed along the coast and also within a salt mine there. I am becoming increasingly interested in the role of public engagement and science communication with research and how it can be used effectively.

Public Engagement Experience:

I volunteer at the Lapworth Museum, I create videos for them and help at public events. My favourite way of communicating science is through videos and I want to develop this into more engagement and help create support for other researchers. I have training in public engagement from the Open University, the University of Manchester and from Infohackit. I also love doing workshops and going out to communities to engage with them over geological experiments.

Keywords + Hobbies: geology, drones, nature, science, travel, fieldwork, rock cutting, singing, videography, climbing, dancing, birdwatching


Steve Busby (Professor) 

E:          T: 0121 414 5439

Tw:                                          www: visit my webpage

Research Interests: Gene regulation in bacteria.

Public Engagement Experience: Lots of talks in Schools and Colleges

Keywords + Hobbies: Bacteria, Genes, Disease, Molecules, DNA, History, Geography, Exercise


Emma Dunne (PhD Student) 

E:        T:

Tw: @emmadnn                     www:

Research Interests:

I am a palaeontologist currently researching the large-scale diversity patterns of vertebrates through time. My background lies in zoology/ecology, and I am broadly interested in the research themes of biodiversity, evolution, and conservation. Given that a lot of my research is computer-based, I enjoy employing new technology and computational techniques (e.g. coding, 3D reconstruction) into my work.

Public Engagement Experience:

I work closely with schools and museums for the majority of my outreach and engagement activities. I am currently an Advanced Skills Tutor with the widening participation charity The Brilliant Club. I also regularly take part in activities at the Lapworth Museum on campus. In the past I have worked in various natural history museums and zoos delivering a variety of activities from taster lectures to bespoke handling sessions.

Keywords + Hobbies: Palaeontology, Biology, Zoology, Evolution, Conservation, Biodiversity, Animals, Natural History, Reptiles, Data Science, Photography, Nature, Outdoors


Sue Quick (PhD Student) 

E:   T: 0162 982 3435

Tw: @SEQ616                                    www:

Research Interests:

Ecohydrological effects and resilience of woods to increased CO2 and climate change; managing woodland structure, species diversity & adaptation, citizen science projects

Public Engagement Experience:

Citizen scientist drawn back into research & new sciences subjects through projects such as Observatree and Track a Tree. Drawing on a lifetime’s experience of engineering and risk management employment.

Keywords + Hobbies: woodland / forest, climate change, trees, understorey, pests and diseases of plants, phenology, ecohydrology, soil hydrology / geology, folk and classical music (player), butterfly conservation, gardening & allotments, landscape archaeology, industrial history


Coralie Acheson (PhD Student) 

E:             T: 07828 675 916

Tw: @coralfrog                          www:

Research Interests:

I am researching the role of World Heritage values of Ironbridge Gorge (the ‘birthplace of the Industrial Revolution’) in the experience of the site by tourists. World Heritage values are the things about the site which are considered to make it a globally important heritage site. I am interested in storytelling and performance (how people act in places) as well as broader ideas about how we think about urban and rural spaces, memory and identity in the context of heritage tourism.

Public Engagement Experience:

My research involves talking to lots of people, including tourists, locals, business people and policy makers. This has allowed me to share my work quite naturally, and I volunteer with an organisation of World Heritage practitioners, allowing me to engage a wider group of professionals. I also created an experimental participatory film and social media art installation called #SlowIronbridge, which I’ve used to connect with locals, practitioners and artists.

Keywords + Hobbies: Industrial Revolution, Tourism, Storytelling, Heritage, Archaeology, Micro-ethnography, Rurality, Psychogeography, Posh Coffee, Art (landscapes and photography), Walking Boardgames


Catherine McGrath (NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer) 

E:         T:

Tw: @Medicastra                            www:

Research Interests:

As a rheumatology doctor, I am involved in studies in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. My research work is metabolomics. This is the study of metabolism (chemical reactions needed for life). We study many samples – blood, urine, poo and the information tells us about diseases and response to medications. We aim for personalized medicine where, based on the results of tests, we can provide each patient with their own individual plan to manage their medical condition and maintain quality of life.

Public Engagement Experience:

I have presented to local patient support groups. I like to get my audience thinking and this starts with a cryptic title – imagine what “Fuzzy Dice” was about? On that occasion “Red Ferrari” made my day. There have also been opportunities to engage with the public in Research Showcases. Although many of us use and interact on social media, paradoxically it is often more difficult to find good information on-line and I actively use Twitter to highlight and share information with my followers.

Keywords + Hobbies: Medicine, Rheumatology, Metabolomics, Arthritis, Lupus, Travel, Foreign Languages, Science Fiction


Christopher Berry (Research fellow)

E:        T: 01214 146541

Tw: @cplberry                     www:


Research Interests: 


I am a gravitational-wave astronomer—I use gravitational waves, stretches and squashes of the fabric of spacetime, to learn about the Universe. Gravitational waves can tell us about systems that are invisible to other types of astronomy, such as the mergers of black holes. I am interested in what we can learn about these systems. Are the black holes exactly as predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity? Can we determine how these black holes systems formed? My work is mostly data analysis, with a little bit of theorising too, and much of my time is spent working on projects as part of the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

Public Engagement Experience:

I regularly give public talks (for example to amateur astronomical societies, school groups or at informal events like Pint of Science), and I help to organise the Astronomy in the City series of events as part of the University of Birmingham Observatory team. Together with others from the Astrophysics & Space Research Group, I sometimes coordinate school workshops and events at science festivals. I also do a little blogging about my research and teaching.

Keywords + Hobbies: Gravitational waves, astronomy, cake, physics, Astronomy in the City, blogging, Pokémon, teaching



Lisa Bortolotti (Professor of Philosophy )

E:          T: 0121 414 4398

Tw:  @lisabortolotti                   www: visit my webpage

lisa bortolotti

Research Interests:

Mental health, rationality, ethics of biomedical and cognitive sciences.

Public Engagement Experience:

I have done some public lectures (e.g. Hay Festival) and outreach activities for different audiences (e.g. sixth formers, medical professionals). I have also organised several events as part of the Arts and Science Festival (open to the public). I have also been interviewed on my work for radio programmes, podcasts, newspapers, and magazines.

Keywords + Hobbies: 
mental health stigma,rationality, responsibility, delusions, optimism, cognitive biases, memory distortions, prejudiced beliefs, superstitious beliefs