Promotions for academic staff
Published on 20 January 2021
Ingo Hein, Jens Januschke, Steve Land, Beatriz Baragana, Sheriar Hormuzdi and Susan Wyllie promoted as part of the 2020 Annual Review process for academic staff.
Inke Nathke, Interim Dean of School said, “I am delighted to congratulate Ingo Hein, Jens Januschke and Stephen Land on their promotions to Reader, Sheriar Hormuzdi to Senior Lecturer and also Beatriz Baragana and Susan Wyllie. It is a fitting acknowledgment of their outstanding contributions to research and teaching and I am proud to have such accomplished colleagues in our School.”
Ingo Hein is a Principal Investigator in the Division of Plant Sciences and James Hutton Institute and has been promoted to Reader. Ingo has developed targeted enrichment sequencing approaches that allow him to specifically study a number of gene families in the potato genome involved in disease resistance. This research has given him an unprecedented insight into the genomic organisation and diversity of disease resistance genes in commercial potato cultivars compared to wild Solanaceae species which form an important reservoir of disease protection. One major applied aspect of the research is the ability to inform breeding in regard to the most appropriate parental sources to combine complimentary resistances against the most important diseases in potato: late blight, nematodes and viruses.
Ingo Hein said “Modern Genomics has opened the door for us to understand the dynamics of host-pathogen co-evolution. Key to the work is the team involved in the research.”
Jens Januschke is a Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow and deputy head of the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology. He has been promoted to the position of Reader. His research focus is on how stem cells work and sometimes malfunction in the developing nervous system of Drosophila.
Steve Land has been promoted to the position of Reader. He was Programme Lead for Biomedical Sciences until the end of 2020 and his promotion comes in recognition of his stewardship of the Biomedical Sciences Programme across the Schools of Life Sciences and Medicine as well as his contribution to curriculum development and enhancing the student experience at Dundee. This latter point extends beyond the borders of Scotland where Steve established a set of study abroad partnerships with several US universities whose students have joined us to study courses in Life Sciences and Humanities.
Steve said “It is wonderful to receive this recognition for the part I’ve played in building our undergraduate programmes to where they are today. We are lucky to have a vibrant and close-knit team of people who contribute in all sorts of ways to our outstanding teaching reputation. Add to this a student community that is second to none and you will understand how fortunate I feel to live and work as part of the Dundee community”.
Steve will be taking up a new role as the Academic Regional Lead for Middle East and North African student recruitment in the New Year which will run alongside his teaching activities in the Biomedical Sciences programme.
Beatriz Baragana is the leader for the Apicomplexan Portfolio in the Drug Discovery Unit part of the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research. Beatriz has extensive experience of early phase drug discovery and lead optimisation project both in industry and academia. She has played a key role the discovery of DDD0107498 a drug candidate for the treatment and prevention of malaria currently undergoing clinical trials and her team has received twice the Project of Year award from Medicines of Malaria Venture (MMV) in 2014 and 2018. Beatriz has been instrumental in gaining substantial funding to support the malaria and cryptosporidiosis drug discovery activities in the School.
Beatriz said, “I would like to think that this promotion is a recognition of the achievements of our team at different stages of the drug discovery for malaria and cryptosporidiosis. Both diseases are life threatening for the most vulnerable population, small children in low-income countries, and new treatments could save many lives. I am very fortunate to have both an excellent team of very dedicated scientists working with me and a very supportive mentor. I would like to thank all the members for the DDU and WCAIR for their support.”
Sheriar Hormuzdi has been promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer in recognition of a body of work he has undertaken as part of the D’Arcy Thompson Unit. Sheriar teaches predominantly within the biomedical stream of the undergraduate programme which is due to his expertise in the neurosciences and his previous appointment as a lecturer in the Medical School. Since joining the DTU, he has become a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and worked with DTU and other teaching staff to ensure that our Royal Society of Biology accredited degree programmes deliver an excellent educational experience.
Alongside his teaching, Sheriar is the SLS lead for Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and am also the Academic Lead for International Exchanges. He has worked with Paul Davies and the MRC PPU, to help establishing two year-in-industry positions for undergraduate students so that they may benefit from a year-long industrial experience before they graduate. In collaboration with Skills Development Scotland and the University Careers Service, Sheriar established "Industry-led Masterclasses for the Life Sciences". The initiative has been such a success that is has been expanded this year to be a pan-Tayside initiative that includes students from Abertay and St Andrews Universities. The programme will be shepherded by SULSA.
Sheriar said “I am extremely pleased to be promoted to Senior Lecturer and would like to think that the committee valued my contribution to teaching but also recognized my commitment to student welfare and employability. I am particularly proud of my efforts to enhance student employability and to that end have worked closely with Paul Davies and the summer vacation scholarship team, Carol MacIntosh, and the Careers Service to ensure that opportunities are created, promoted and taken up by our undergraduate students.”
“Perhaps it is pertinent to point out that our undergraduates have consistently recorded the best employability prospects of equivalent departments in Scotland as reported in the various year-end rankings. This is a testimony to their hard work and skill. But it is also the inevitable consequence of the excellent teaching, mentorship, and management provided by staff in Carnelley and the two Schools involved, and reflects the numerous opportunities given to undergraduates to engage in research by our world-leading departments. I am lucky to be a member of the team!”
Susan Wyllie is Head of the Mode of Action (MoA) group within the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research. She has been promoted to the position equivalent of the Senior Lecturer. The principal goal of the MoA group, established by Susan in 2015, is to determine the molecular target(s) and/or mechanism(s) of action of compounds showing promise for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases. This enables the group to feed these now chemically-validated drug targets back into our drug discovery programs to facilitate target-focused drug discovery. To date, the group has identified the molecular targets of 28 compound series, including three clinical candidates.
Susan said, “I am delighted to have been awarded this promotion in recognition of my work in establishing the MoA group. We are mindful that our work has the potential to help deliver better treatments for neglected tropical diseases. It is a privilege to work in this field and play a small part in improving patient lives in some of the poorest countries in the world. It has been my absolute pleasure to work with the talented and committed scientists in my group over the last 5 years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their tremendous efforts.”