Promotions for Two Early-Career Life Sciences Staff

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Posted on 01 April 2016

Drs Catherine Merrick and Mark Skidmore were promoted in March to Senior Lecturer level.

Catherine Merrick joined the School of Life Sciences in September 2011. She quickly established a research group within the Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology, winning two Research Council grants from the MRC and BBSRC within 2012, as well as competitive funding for a PhD student, and is currently leading research projects supported by almost £1million in grant funding. She also gained her Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education in 2012, currently teaches on final-year undergraduate and MSc modules, and has twice received nominations for a Keele Teaching Excellence Award.

Catherine's research group studies the human malaria parasite and aims to improve understanding of the basic biology of this important pathogen, and the impact of this biology on virulence, using molecular genetics and biochemical techniques.  She has built a network of collaborators spanning from Cambridge and Montpellier Universities to The MRC unit in The Gambia, has been invited to deliver seminars at top research institutes (including the Paris Pasteur Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and was recently selected to speak about her research at the 'Molecular Approaches To Malaria' Conference in Australia.  Catherine also serves on the Council of the British Society for Parasitology and is active in science communication, writing about science for the general public in various forums and contributing substantially to Keele's outreach activities. 

Professor Jonathan Wastling, PVC & Executive Dean of Natural Sciences, said: "Catherine's research is widely recognised as highlighted by her network of both UK and international collaborators and we are delighted to be able to reward this with a well-deserved promotion."

Mark Skidmore arrived at Keele in 2010, appointed as a Lecturer in Biochemistry within the School of Life Sciences, continuing his research into the structure:function relationships of the medically important glycosaminoglycan class of carbohydrates. Mark has developed a strong network of cross-disciplinary, international and national collaborators from both industry and academia.

With direct involvement in research funding to-date in excess of £1.8 million, his current research interests lie in the development of new instrumentation and methodologies that facilitate glycosaminoglycan sequencing and separation. Other research interests involve the use of glycosaminoglycan analogues as novel therapeutic agents for future application in a wide range of settings, from Alzheimer's disease through to fish aquaculture.

Professor Wastling said: "We are delighted with Mark's well-deserved promotion. His dedication in forming UK and international collaborations, together with his extensive research funding is truly valued by the Faculty."