Steering Committee


[tab class=”active” type=”tab” href=”#dws_first_pre91″ title=”Project Team”][tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_first_tab94″ title=”Steering Committee”]
[dropdown id=”dws_dropdown94″ title=”Biographies “]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17901785580″ title=”Jonathan Ashmore”][tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17901785594″ title=”Melanie Aspey”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17907197294″ title=”Lynn Drummond”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17911897594″ title=”Diane Edwards”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17916530794″ title=”Patricia Fara”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17923714594″ title=”Georgina Ferry”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17926736394″ title=”Uta Frith”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17933191694″ title=”Lesley A Hall”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17936506694″ title=”Sue Hawkins”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17940937194″ title=”Felicity Henderson”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17943882494″ title=”Emily Holmes”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17946790294″ title=”Frank James”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17949983694″ title=”Claire Jones”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17953914894″ title=”Averil MacDonald”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17956969394″ title=”Pat Morton”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17961011394″ title=”Haifa Takruri”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17963675894″ title=”Tilli Tansey”]
[tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17963675899″ title=”Jennifer Thomas”][tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17965831780″ title=”Christine von Oertzen “][tab type=”tab” href=”#dws_tab17965831794″ title=”Ruth Watts”]
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The WISRNet project team consists of the following Steering Committee members.

  • Sue Hawkins (Kingston University)
  • Claire Jones (University of Liverpool)
  • Rupert Baker (Royal Society)
  • Jennifer Thomas (Rothschild Archive)
  • Melanie Apsley (Rothschild Archive)























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The full Steering Committee.  Click on their name in the drop-down tab above to see their biography.

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  • Jonathan Ashmore
  • Melanie Aspey
  • Lynn Drummond
  • Dianne Edwards
  • Patricia Fara
  • Georgina Ferry
  • Uta Frith
  • Lesley A Hall
  • Sue Hawkins
  • Felicity Henderson
  • Emily Holmes

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  • Frank James
  • Claire Jones
  • Averil Macdonald
  • Pat Morton
  • Haifa Takruri
  • Tilli Tansey
  • Jennifer Thomas
  • Chistine von Oertzen
  • Ruth Watts











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Professor Jonathan AshmoreJonathan Ashmore is Bernard Katz Professor of Biophysics at University College London. He is a physiologist specialising in the neural and molecular mechanisms of hearing and was one of the founding members of the UCL Ear Institute.  If pressed he would admit to being a hands-on biophysicist and lab rat.  Starting his scientific career as a theoretical physicist and working as a postdoctoral fellow with Abdus Salam he moved into biology on the award of a Nuffield Fellowship.  He has held positions at the University of California, the Universities of Sussex and Bristol, before moving to his current position at UCL in 1996. Jonathan Ashmore is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Until 2006 he was Chief Scientific Advisor to the charity Defeating Deafness. He is Chair of the Royal Society Library Archives Committee and the Paul Instrument fund. Jonathan is the current President of the Physiological Society.















[/tcontent][tcontent class=”” id=”dws_tab17901785594″]Melanie Aspey















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Dr Lynn Drummond has a strong track record within the life sciences sector, bringing over twenty five years of management and advisory experience. Lynn spent 16 years (until 2010) at Rothschild in London, most recently as a Managing Director within the investment banking division, with a particular focus on transactions within the healthcare sector. Prior to this she worked in the Cabinet Office in London as Private Secretary to the Chief Scientific Advisor. She spent the early part of her career as a research scientist, including a year in Tokyo, Japan as a post-doctoral research fellow.

Lynn was Chairman of Breast Cancer Haven, a charity which supports women through breast cancer, from 2004 – 2009; she is  currently Non Executive Chairman of Infirst Healthcare and a Non Executive Director of Consort Medical plc , Allocate Software plc and Shield Holdings AG.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Glasgow and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London; She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.




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Professor Diane EdwardsDianne Edwards is currently Distinguished Research Professor and Director of Innovation and Engagement and previously Head of School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University where she has spent most of her research career as a palaeobotanist investigating early land plants.  Her interests outside the University include Botanic Gardens (Founder Trustee of the National Botanic Garden of Wales and former Trustee at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh) and conservation (former Council Member of the Countryside Council of Wales).  As president of the Linnean Society, her concerns rest with teaching and research of systematics and biodiversity.  She has recently been involved in the creation of The Learned Society of Wales and is the Vice President in charge of STEM subjects.

On the personal side, Dianne enjoys gardening, opera (a great fan of Welsh National Opera and Mozart); she can appreciate the challenges of balancing an academic career in science with motherhood, having, quite successfully (she thinks), produced a son, who trained as a biologist, but now has a career in financial management.



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Dr Patricia FaraPatricia Fara has a degree in physics from Oxford University and a PhD in History of Science from London University. She lectures in the History and Philosophy of Science department at Cambridge University, where she is the Senior Tutor of Clare College. Her major research specialities are science in eighteenth-century England and scientific imagery, but she also writes and lectures on topics related to women in science.

Patricia is a regular contributor to popular journals as well as radio and TV, she has published a range of academic and popular books on the history of science, including Newton: The Making of Genius (2002), Sex, Botany and Empire (2003) and Pandora’s Breeches: Women, Science and Power in the Enlightenment (2004), as well as a book designed for teenagers – Scientists Anonymous: Great Stories of Women in Science (2005). Her Science: A Four Thousand Year History (2009) is being translated into nine languages and was awarded the Dingle Prize by the British Society for the History of Science. Her most recent book is Doctor Darwin: Sex, Science and Serendipity (2012).

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Georgina FerryGeorgina Ferry is a science writer, author and broadcaster based in Oxford. Beginning as a section editor on New Scientist magazine and a contributor to science programmes on BBC Radio, she has since been largely self-employed. Her book Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life (Granta 1998) the first biography of Britain’s only female Nobel-prizewinning scientist, was short-listed for the Duff Cooper Prize and the Marsh Biography Award. She has since published The Common Thread: A Story of Science, Politics, Ethics and the Human Genome, co-authored with Sir John Sulston (Bantam); A Computer Called LEO (Fourth Estate); and Max Perutz and the Secret of Life (Chatto). In 2010, the centenary of Dorothy Hodgkin’s birth, she wrote and produced a one-woman play, Hidden Glory, based on the scientist’s life and writings.

Between 2000 and 2007 Georgina was Editor of Oxford Today, the alumni magazine of the University of Oxford. She is Deputy Chair of the Trustees of Science Oxford; Chair of the Advisory Board of the British Library’s Oral History of British Science project; a member of the Advisory Groups of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing at Wolfson College and the Wellcome Trust’s Human Genome Archive Project; and was Writer in Residence at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History during 2010-2011.



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Professor Uta FrithUta Frith was born and educated in Germany. She read first Art History and then Experimental Psychology at the University of Saarbrücken, and trained in Clinical Psychology at London’s Institute of Psychiatry. She is Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London and Visiting Professor at the University of Aarhus.

Autism and dyslexia have fascinated Uta throughout her career, and she has worked towards unravelling the underlying causes in mind and brain to explain the core features of these conditions. Her books include Autism: explaining the enigma (1989, second edition 2003); Autism: A Very Short Introduction (2008); and Autism in History (with R. Houston, 2000).

Uta has received an Honorary DBE and honorary degrees from numerous universities. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the British Academy, a member of the Leopoldina and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. A self-confessed museum addict, she is a Trustee of the Sir John Soane Museum, London. Uta’s other interests include the application of insights from neuroscience to education and the support of women in science.





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Lesley A. HallLesley A Hall, PhD, DipAA, FRHistS, has been an archivist at the Wellcome Library (formerly the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine) for over 30 years. During that time she has catalogued the papers of a number of women medics and scientists, including Dame Honor Fell, Harriette Chick and Alice Stewart, and those of male colleagues and the institutions in which they worked. This resulted in several chapters in edited volumes, most recently ‘Beyond Madame Curie? The Invisibility of Women’s Narratives in Science’ in L Timmel Duchamp (ed), Narrative Power: Encounters, Celebrations, Struggles (Aqueduct Press, 2010), and the giving of a number of talks on women in science, including the George Hay Lecture 2012, besides posts on her own and the Wellcome Library blogs.

She has also published extensively on issues of gender and sexuality in the UK during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and was the founder of the H-Histsex listserv. Her publications Outspoken Women: women writing about sex, 1870-1969 (Routledge2005), and The Life and Times of Stella Browne, feminist and free spirit (IB Tauris, 2011)  draw attention to women’s involvement in creating and disseminating new kinds of sexual knowledge. Her website covers her various academic and other interests.



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Dr Sue HawkinsDr Sue Hawkins is a senior lecturer in history in Kingston University’s Centre for the Historical Record. She gained her doctorate on nursing in Victorian London, which investigated the changing nature of nursing and nurses in the late 19th century. This research has led her into wider consideration of the professional roles of women in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since 2003 she has been involved in the Historic Hospital Admission Records project (HHARP) which has built databases of admissions to children’s hospitals in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and made them available to the general public via a dedicated website. In addition to the history of children’s hospitals and nursing, her research interests include women’s and gender history in the 19th century and the history of healthcare. She is also an experienced oral historian and is a keen adherent of the use of technology-based methodologies in history, such as prosopography. As a member of the Centre for the Historical Record she is interested in breaching barriers between academic historians and the public, and particularly how digital technologies can be harnessed with this goal in mind.


[tcontent class=”” id=”dws_tab17940937194″]Felicity Henderson















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Emily HolmesEmily Holmes is programme Leader at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. She is an Honorary Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford and Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow. Her research places cognitive science alongside clinical psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience to investigate psychological processes with a focus on PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), Depression and Bipolar Disorder.  Holmes received her degree in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. She completed her clinical training doctorate at Royal Holloway University of London, and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge.





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Professor Frank JamesFrank James is Professor of the History of Science at the Royal Institution, where he is also Head of Collections and Heritage. His main research concentrates on the physical sciences in the nineteenth century and how they relate to other areas of society and culture, for example art, business, media, religion, technology and the military. He edited the Correspondence of Michael Faraday now complete in six volumes published between 1991 and 2012. He has edited a number of collections of essays including ‘The Common Purposes of Life’ – a set of essays on the Royal Institution. His Michael Faraday: A Very Short Introduction was published by OUP in November 2010 and his sesquicentenary edition of Faraday’s Chemical History of a Candle was published the following year also by OUP.

Frank has been President of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology, the British Society for the History of Science and the History of Science Section of the British Science Association. He is chair of the National Executive Committee for the XXIVth International Congress for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine to be held in Manchester in July 2013. He was elected a member of the Academia Europaea in 2012; he is also a Corresponding Member of the Académie internationale d’histoire des sciences and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers.

For a full list of publications see



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Dr Claire JonesDr Claire Jones is a teacher and honorary fellow at the University of Liverpool. Her research interests centre on the intersections of society and science in the 18th and 19th centuries, specifically with reference to understandings of gender, both femininity and masculinity, and ideas of the ‘gendered intellect’.  She has a special interest in the history of women’s involvement, both formal and informal, with learned scientific societies and also with gender and theosophy in the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in Liverpool.

Claire has published about the history of women in science, mathematics and medicine in both an academic and popular context. Her first book, Femininity, Mathematics and Science, 1880-1914 (Palgrave Macmillan) won the 2010 Women’s History Network Book Prize; her book chapters include ‘Femininity and Mathematics at Cambridge c 1900’ in  Jean Spence, Sarah Jane Aiston and Maureen M. Meikle eds, Women, Education and Agency, 1600-2000 (London: Routledge, 2010) and ‘The Laboratory: A Suitable Place for a Woman?’ in Krista Cowman and Louise A Jackson eds, Women and Work Culture: Britain c 1850-1950 (Ashgate 2005).  Claire is presently writing a biography of the physicist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton and researching the botanist, pioneer filmmaker and early ‘lady fellow’ of the Linnaean Society, Henderina (Rina) Scott.



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Professor Averil MacdonaldAveril Macdonald is Professor of Science Engagement at the University of Reading with particular emphasis on Impact from Public Engagement and for leading the University’s gender and equality initiatives through the Athena SWAN award scheme which recognises good practice in employment to ensure recruitment and progression of women in science to the highest levels in universities.

Averil is a trustee of the Science Museum Group, sits on the STFC Advisory Panel for Public Engagement and on the Council of the Institute of Physics, is a Director of the Cheltenham Festivals and sits on the Court of Imperial College.

Averil chairs the Expert Group for Women in Science reporting on the success of the Government’s Strategy for Women in Science, on the Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN Advisory Committee and, previously, on the Institute of Physics Diversity Committee. She sits on judging panels for the Athena SWAN awards and is currently leading the ECU project to develop an award scheme comparable to Athena SWAN for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences departments. She is UK representative on the EU ‘Helsinki Group’ advising on good practice on gender equality in innovation and research in the EU framework research awards.

Averil   has been awarded the international Bragg Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics, London, the accolade of Woman of Outstanding Achievement in Science in recognition of her work in Science Communication, the prestigious Plastics Industry Award for Personal Contribution to the Industry and an Honorary Doctorate by the University of York.



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Dr Pat MortonDr Pat Morton is a Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, UK,  leading the Women in SET team (WiSET) in the Centre for Science Education. She led the national Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Subject Choice and Careers project (2008-2011) on behalf of the Department for Education, working with stakeholders, teachers and careers advisers across England. Pat is also a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and spent twenty years working in the built environment sector before moving into academia.

Pat has worked on a wide range of projects and research addressing gender segregation since 1998 and was involved as a core partner with the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET (UKRC) from its start in 2004. Her research interests include the experience of female students in STEM and built environment education, inter-sectionality and social justice in education,  equality and diversity in STEM subjects and career, vocational education, work related learning and work experience, action research and feminist methodologies. She has presented papers at a range of conferences nationally and internationally and produced a number of published reports.;


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Dr Haifa TakruriHaifa Takruri is a professor in Engineering and Science Engagement at the University of Salford and an advocate for the promotion of engineering and science to young people, in particular girls and minorities. She is heavily involved in research projects, public engagement projects and initiatives that aim at addressing the under-representation of women and minorities in engineering and science studies and careers. She collaborates with a number of organisations as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Ambassador.  In June 2009 she was awarded an MBE for services to Women, Black and Minority Ethnic people in Science, Engineering and Technology Education in recognition of her contribution.

An electronics engineer with a multidisciplinary practice, Professor Takruri’s current teaching focuses on wireless and mobile networking. Her technical research focuses on integrating networking technologies and instrumentation, in particular wireless sensor networks and their applications in intelligent buildings, networked appliances, precision agriculture and energy saving.

Professor Takruri is also an advocate for equality and diversity at the University. For a number of years, she served as a member of the University’s Equality and Diversity Committee. She also served three years as the elected academic member of University Council in recognition of her long standing work and contribution to the University.



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Dr Tilli TanseyTilli Tansey gained her first degree and PhD (on Octopus neurochemistry) at the University of Sheffield, and spent several years as a neuroscientist, working for the Medical Research Council in Edinburgh, the Multiple Sclerosis Society at St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School London, and also at the Stazione Zoologica Naples, and the Marine Biological Association’s Laboratory in Plymouth. In 1986 she joined the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London and achieved a second PhD in 1990, on the career of Sir Henry Dale, FRS (1875-1968). She was a member of academic staff of the Wellcome Institute, later the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL until 2010, becoming Professor of the History of Modern Medical Sciences in 2008. She joined Queen Mary, University of London in October 2010.

Tilli is currently the Honorary Archivist of the Physiological Society and the meetings secretary and deputy president of the History of Medicine Faculty at the Society of Apothecaries; she has also served on the History of Medicine Funding Committee of the Wellcome Trust. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2007 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2008. In 2011 Tilli was awarded a DSc by the University of Sheffield  and elected  a Foreign Fellow of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, Russia.

Till’s current research is in the history of modern biomedicine particularly physiology, pharmacology and the neurosciences, and is also interested in the development of medical research funding and policy. She is the co-author of a history of the Burroughs, Wellcome & Co. pharmaceutical firm (Carnegie, 2007) and the co-editor of several books including Women Physiologists (Portland Press, 1993), Drugs, medicines and contraceptives in Dutch and Anglo-American healing cultures (Rodopi, 2002) and the Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine series (vols 1-45, Wellcome Trust, 1997-present) available at



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Dr Jenni Thomas is project director of ‘The Rothschild Scientists’ hosted by The Rothschild Archive, London which seeks to examine and contextualise members of the Rothschild family’s participation in and contribution to science. Jenni completed her PhD at Queen Mary, University of London on natural history collecting in the long eighteenth century and has previously worked on the online edition of the Hooke Folio (see  and on ‘Reconstructing Sloane’, a collaborative project between the Natural History Museum, British Museum and British Library to investigate Sir Hans Sloane’s former collections dispersed between the three institutions.

Jenni’s current research interests consider the practice and process of building, maintaining and using early twentieth-century collections of natural history and the relationship between state and private funding to enable and also determine the trajectory of collections-based research.













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Christine Von OertzenChristine von Oertzen is a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. The focus of her current work is the creation and maintenance of female academic networks in western Europe and North America since the late-nineteenth century. Her monograph, “Science, Gender, Internationalism: A Transnational History of Female Academic Networking, 1917-1955,” was published by the Wallstein press in Göttingen in September 2012. An English-language translation of this study is forthcoming. The project’s website containing a biographical database is available at

From 2010-2013, von Oertzen has organized an international working group at the MPI, entitled “Beyond the Academy: Histories of Gender and Knowledge.” ( Her own work in this framework considers at-home scientific observation of infants in fin-de-siècle America.

A further interest of hers is the science of statistics and the politics of censustaking. In this project she examines the societal and scientific ramifications of mechanized “data power” from the late-nineteenth century onward.

Von Oertzen earned her Ph.D. at the Free University of Berlin in 1998. Subsequently, she taught at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Women and Gender at the Technical University in Berlin. Before joining the MPI in 2005, she served as a Research Fellow at the German Historicial Institute in Washington, D.C.





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Professor Ruth WattsRuth Watts is Emeritus Professor of History of Education at the University of Birmingham. She has published much on the history of education and gender, publications of the last five years including Women in Science: A Social and Cultural History (Routledge, 2007) for which she won the History of Education Society Book Prize in 2010. Her published articles on women and science include ‘Scientific women: their contributions to culture in England in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’, in Jean Spence, Sarah Jane Aiston, Maureen M. Meikle eds., Women, Education and Agency, 1600-2000 (London: Routledge, 2010), 49-65; ‘Whose knowledge? Gender, education, science and history’ History of Education, vol.36 (2007), no. 3, 283-302; ‘Science and women in the history of education: expanding the archive’, History of Education, vol. 32 (2003) , no. 2, 189-99  ‘”Suggestive Books”: the role of the writings of Mary Somerville in science and gender history’, Paedagogica Historica, vol. 37 (2002), no. 1,163-86. Her biographical publications include seven biographies for the OBNB.

Ruth is ex-President of the British History of Education Society, an honorary life member of both the latter and the International Standing Conference for the History of Education, Chair of the Martineau Society and a member of the Women’s History Network.