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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Celebrating SBBS' Women in Science

The 11th February marks UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS), which aims to recognise women’s contributions in science, smash stereotypes and defeat discrimination against women and girls in the sciences.  

This year the focus was on the role women and girls in science have in meeting Sustainable Development Goals, namely clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry innovation, and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities and means of implementation. 

Here in the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences, we have many female role models who are helping to further scientific understanding and encouraging more women and girls to consider careers in science.  


Dr Elisabetta Versace 

Dr Elisabetta Versace is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. Her research is aimed at understanding foundations of knowledge and evolution of behaviour. Specifically, her research explores the evolution of the fundamental building blocks of behaviour and cognition, predisposed behaviours and specialized learning mechanisms. Her analyses span from behavioural to genomic data and precocial species (e.g. chicks of the domestic fowl, tortoises) and insects are valuable models to conduct her studies. 

She teaches on modules: Diversity and Ecology (SEF033), Animal Behaviour and Cognition (PSY315), Essential Skills for Psychologists (PSY100), Comparative Psychology (PSY235).  

Dr Giulia de Falco 

Dr Giulia de Falco is a reader in Pathology and Molecular Clinical Microbiology, Nanchang Joint Programme. She is interested in the mechanisms used by viruses to drive malignant transformation, with a particular attention to the viral molecular mimicry. Her research over the last years has been focused on investigating the role of HIV and Epstein-Barr (EBV) in B-cell lymphomagenesis, being both viruses often associated with B-cell tumours. 

The results of her research show that both viruses have a direct involvement in cancer, due to viral-encoded genes and/or microRNAs. She has also investigated the role of HIV in contributing to transformation focusing on its major transactivator, the Tat protein. Her goals in the future are to further investigate the complex interplay existing between viruses and host cells, which may lead to malignant transformation.

Dr Janelle Jones 

Dr Janelle Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology and Director of Graduate Studies and teaches on several undergraduate modules. She is interested in how our social connections (e.g., friends, family, clubs, social categories), and related identities, influence the ways we see ourselves, shape our interactions with others, promote resilience, and impact our health and well-being. Some of her recent research has helped create a straightforward framework of five common understandings about identity changes in psychosis, which can assist discussions between patients and clinicians. 

She is also the Intersectionality lead on the SBBS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where she evaluates how combinations of protected categories (i.e., age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability) and other category memberships (e.g., class, education) can influence opportunities and outcomes for staff and students and works to promote equal opportunities. 

Dr Isabel Palacios 

Dr Isabel Palacios is a Lecturer in Cell Biology on the Nanchang Joint Programme and a visitor scientist at the University of Cambridge. She is also a member of the SBBS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, focusing on Intersectionality. 

Her ultimate scientific aim is to contribute to the understanding of diseases, and she believes that to achieve this goal we need to understand fundamental cell biophysical mechanisms underpinning health. 

Dr Palacios is one of the founders of the DrosAfrica Trust. The charity aims to build an African biomedical research community using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. So far, the charity has run workshops for over 100 people from nine institutions across eight different African countries including Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia. Several participants have gone on to establish their own fly labs to help develop the next generation of African biomedical scientists. 




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