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Women in Chemistry Conference and Careers Event


Friday 8th March 2019


09:30 - 19:00


Senate Chamber, Trent Building, University Park





Online registration


Is this for you?

Women in Chemistry 2019 will bring together inspiring female leaders from varying research areas in both academia and industry, to celebrate International Womens' Day.

The conference will host a stimulating and innovative forum to highlight issues of equality and diversity in chemsitry careers, and provide career advice to attendees of all genders. The day will consist of 6 talks from a diverse range of speakers: 3 from academia, 2 from industry and 1 working in science communication. The talks will be a combination of thier scientific research, as well as the stories behind their personal career paths.

There will be a poster session during lunch, giving attendees the oportunity to showcase their own work, network with experts in their fields, and potentially win prizes. After the talks there will be a 30 minute panel session, for which attendees are invited to anonymously submit questions for the speakers throughout the day. The event will conclude with an informal networking reception.

Conference Programme

09:30 – 10:15 Registration

10:15 – 10:30  Welcome Remarks by Shearer West (Vice Chancellor)

10:30 – 11:15 Dr Deborah Kays (University of Nottingham)

11:15 – 12:00  Professor Rachel O’Reilly (University of Birmingham)

12:00 – 13:00  Lunch and Poster Session

13:00 – 13:45  Dr Jessica Gould (Croda)

13:45 – 14:30  Dr Suze Kundu (Digital Science)

14:30 – 15:00  Tea and Coffee

15:00 – 15:45  Nessa Carson (@SuperScienceGrl)

15:45 – 16:30  Dr Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro (University of York)

16:30 – 17:00  Panel Session

17:00 - 17:30  Closing Remarks by Sarah Sharples (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion)

17:30 – 19:00  Networking and Wine Reception

Conference essentials

Location map

There will be poster prizes! If you wish to present please submit an abstract using our template to Dara O'Brien by 8th February 2019. Template

Contact Dara O'Brien


Thank to all our sponsors

Logos of Sponsors 

Also Sponsored by the EPRSC CDT in Sustainable Chemistry



Dr Deborah Kays

Dr Deborah Kays


Deborah Kays (née Coombs) completed both her MChem in Chemistry and her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at Cardiff University. After postdoctoral research, also at Cardiff University, she began her independent research as a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford (2005-2007). Following this, she was appointed as Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Nottingham in 2007, and promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. Deborah is the recipient of the 2018 Chemistry of Transition Metals award from the Royal Society of Chemistry for “outstanding recent contributions to the development of very low-coordinate, electronically unsaturated compounds of the transition metals”. 



Professor Rachel O'Reilly

Professor Rachel O'Reilly


Rachel O’Reilly is currently a Chair of Chemistry and Head of School at the University of Birmingham. She got her first degree from the University of Cambridge and went on to complete her PhD at Imperial College, London in 2003. She then moved to the US to work as a post-doctoral researcher under the joint direction of Professors Craig J. Hawker and Karen L. Wooley. In 2006 she took up a Royal Society Fellowship at the University of Cambridge and then in 2009 she moved to the University of Warwick and in 2012 was promoted to full professor. Earlier this year she moved to her current position.

Her group undertakes research in the area of catalysis, responsive polymers, nanostructure characterization and DNA nanomaterials. She has published over 175 papers to date and has received a number of awards, including the IUPAC-Samsung young polymer scientist award in 2012, and in 2013 the American Chemical Society Mark Young Polymer Scientist award. In 2017 she was awarded the Macromolecules/Biomacromolecules young investigator award from the ACS in recognition of her innovative research in polymer science. She is on the reviewing board of editors for Science and an associate editor for Macromolecules. 



Dr Jess Gould

Dr Jess Gould


Dr. Jessica Gould currently works as a Lead Research Scientist at Croda Europe specializing in the development of acrylic polymers for a wide range of applications from Personal Care to Battery Additives. She gained her PhD in synthetic inorganic chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Martin Schröder at The University of Nottingham. Since joining Croda in 2013 she has developed a wide range of expertise in synthesis of new products focusing on tailored dispersants and rheology modifiers.



Dr Suze Kundu

Dr Suze Kundu



Dr Suze Kundu has a BSc in Chemistry, a MSc in Analytical Chemistry and a PhD in Materials Chemistry from University College London. A passionate educator, she has also studied for a PGCE in Senior School Science, and an MEd in University Learning and Teaching. One of the RSC's 175 faces of chemistry, she is an ardent science communicator as a previous winner of the I'm a Scientist competition and delivers regular public lectures at schools, universities and science festivals, is a presenter on the Discovery Channel’s You Have Been Warned and is a science writer for numerous websites including Forbes and Standard Issue. After six years lecturing in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London and at the University of Surrey’s Chemical and Process Engineering Department in the research area of functional nanomaterials; she has recently stepped fully into science communication as head of public engagement at Digital Science.



Nessa Carson

Nessa Carson


Nessa Carson is a high-throughput experimentation chemist who uses lab robotics for reaction optimization in drug discovery. Her background is in synthetic organic chemistry, in which she earned Master's degrees from Oxford University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nessa's reason for living is to improve efficiency in the lab.





Dr Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro

Dr Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro


 Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro is an organic chemist trained in the synthesis, spectroscopic and electrochemical analysis of supramolecular and polymeric materials. She graduated a BS in Materials Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2010. After completing her PhD studies with 2016 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Sir Fraser Stoddart FRS, she relocated to the United Kingdom in January 2016 to launch her independent academic career as a research group leader in the Department of Chemistry at Durham University. There, she has been supported by a prestigious Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1951 Research Fellowship. In 2018, she was awarded a five-year Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow (jointly sponsored by the Global Challenges Research Fund) and will be joining the Department of Chemistry at the University of York in January 2019 to take up her joint post as an honorary Lecturer in Molecular Materials Chemistry. Here, she and the Avestro Group will make up the energy research leg of the newly formed Molecular Materials Research Grouping (#MolMatYork) at York.

Alyssa’s research interests are focussed on developing a fundamental understanding of through-space π-electronic geometries in one, two, and even three dimensions within (supra-/macro-) molecular and hybrid molecular materials featuring rather unconventional rational design. Such materials will be developed with an eye towards raising the relevance of π-organic molecules for efficient optoelectronics, semiconductors, chemical sensors, advanced nanotechnologies, functional surfaces, and energy transport–storage–and conversion devices.





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