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Staff Biographies

Karina Prasad

Head of Office


Karina has spent more than 20 years as a senior project manager for the Charity and Higher education sectors both in the USA and UK. These included a leading national Children’s charity in the US and Age Concern (Now AgeUK) here in the UK.

Following a number of years working with graduate matters and programmes related to clinical academics, Karina is now the Head of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPdA), at the University of Cambridge. Previously Karina spent eight years at the University’s Clinical School of Medicine where she set up and ran the Clinical Academic Training Office.

Karina is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, a Professional By-Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge and holds positions on numerous Cambridge University committees including human resources, researcher development, entrepreneurship and leadership development, volunteering, and equality and diversity matters related to gender. Karina also engages widely with national and international organisations related to early career research staff.

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Liz Simmonds

Assistant Head of Office (Strategy)


Liz has been working with postdocs for more than 12 years. In 2007, she joined the University of Cambridge where she helped to set up the Postdoc Careers Service, developing workshops, resources and offering individual support to help postdocs achieve their career aspirations.

Prior to joining the University, Liz worked as a Programme Manager at STEMNET, an organisation dedicated to engaging young people in STEM subjects, and as a News Editor for Chemistry in Britain magazine. She has a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

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Susie Chan

Assistant Head of Office (Operations)


Susie joined the University of Cambridge in 2000 and has worked in a number of roles, including the creation and management of central finance support teams, business process improvements, project management for building refurbishment, as a member of the Finance Division’s management team and interim finance manager for the Judge Business School.

She has served on the Staff Childcare Committee, Greenwich House Management Committee, Greenwich House Green Impact Team and as chair for the Social Committee. She currently sits on the NWC Stakeholders Group, serves as a non-executive director for two University subsidiaries and oversees operational aspects of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and its three centres.

Susie’s interests include enhancing the customer/user experience and implementing improvements to the work-life balance of staff and the volunteer corps. She is committed in helping with the building of the new community at Eddington.

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Katia Smith-Litiere

Entrepreneurship & Industrial Engagement Project Manager


Katia is the project manager of the postdocs 2 innovators (p2i) programme. The p2i network is a partnership between five leading European HEIs and four global businesses with the aims to develop and strengthen an entrepreneurial mindset in postdoctoral researchers and encourage not just entrepreneurial activities but a broad approach to endeavours both in and outside academia.

Katia has over 15 years experience in life sciences and the healthcare sector, initially as academic researcher and subsequently through consulting for government and for pharmaceutical, diagnostics, medical device, biotechnology and consumer healthcare organisations. Previously, co-founder and Director of Programmes and Partnerships of the Cambridge Science Centre, an educational charity aimed at highlighting the relevance of science, technology, engineering and maths to our every day lives through hands-on exhibits, events and outreach programmes.

Katia is currently a director of Biomakespace Cambridge, a non-profit organisation creating an open access laboratory outside academic and industry premises, providing members with affordable access to a well equipped lab and prototyping space as well as to training and social events.

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James Brown

Leadership Training Project Manager


On secondment from his role as Assistant Head of Office (Strategy), James is heading a project to develop an exciting and innovative research leadership training programme for postdocs in Cambridge.

Prior to joining the OPdA, James worked at the Cambridge Muslim College and before that was a postdoc himself at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

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Kristen Frers

Projects & Programmes Coordinator (Maternity Leave)

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Kristen oversees the OPdA’s projects and programmes for postdocs which includes a Fellowships programme, a mentoring scheme, internship/secondment opportunities and College affiliations.

Previously, she worked as a Research Coordinator at the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences coordinating internal funding streams and a social sciences research programme.

Prior to moving to Cambridge to pursue a PhD, she worked in the museums sector in the US. Kristen holds a BA (Hons) in English and History from Loyola University Chicago, an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a PhD in History from Cambridge.

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Nicole Horst

Projects & Programmes Coordinator (Maternity Cover)


Nicole oversees the OPdA’s projects and programmes for postdocs which includes a Fellowships programme, a mentoring scheme, internship/secondment opportunities and College affiliations.
Nicole previously worked as a postdoc in the Departments of Psychology and Physiology, Development and Neuroscience. She was instrumental in the foundation of the Psychology postdoc committee and helped shape University policies and practices related to postdocs as a member of the Departmental Postdoc Committee Chairs Network and the GRAduate Students and Postdocs (GRASP) Forum for the Graduate School of Life Sciences.
Prior to moving to Cambridge from the US, Nicole completed her PhD in Neuroscience followed by a postdoctoral project, both at Yale University. She also holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University, which required extensive periods of cooperative, practical experience working as a student within Ford Motor Company.

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 Anke Friedrich

Fellowships & Programmes Administrator


Anke supports a range of programmes and training events within the OPdA, with a particular focus on the Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowship.

After finishing as a postdoc at Cambridge University, Anke has worked in the third sector for a number of years. In her last position she managed a STEM programme with the aim of supporting teachers and schools in the teaching of physics.

Anke is currently chair of a small umbrella group assisting groups and supplementary schools for bilingual children and families around Cambridge.

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Jenny Hayward

Communications Coordinator


Jenny manages all of the OPdA's communications, including the website, weekly newsletter, social media channels, and films. She also provides communications support for the OPdA's projects, such as comms strategy, graphic design, production of materials, and promotion.

Jenny has worked at the University since 2015, initially in the Office of External Affairs and Communications, where she worked in Research Communications, before joining the OPdA in 2016.

She also sits on the WiSETI Working Group for promoting and supporting women in STEMM at the University, and the Communications Committee for the p2i network.

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Hollie Godden

Postdoc Societies Administrator

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Hollie supports postdoc societies with day-to-day tasks, event and meeting administration, as well as projects and larger events. She also works to support committees in the OPdA.

Hollie has an administration background from her time in the NHS and Unified Administrative Services. Before this she was working in an administrative role, within a University department, supporting the department including postdocs in research groups.

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Ceren Kaser

Centres Facilities Administrator


Ceren joined the OPdA as a volunteer in 2014 and is currently working as a member of staff providing administrative support with the running of the three postdoc centres and volunteers corps.

Ceren created and runs the OPdA Wellbeing Lunchtime Series “Postdocs' Work & Family Life” which focuses on the personal challenges of being a postdoc and explores ways to balance professional and personal responsibilities. The series also creates opportunities for postdocs to meet other researchers and share their personal experiences in a supportive environment. 

She also assists with OPdA’s programme of industry engagement and social enterprise initiatives.

Prior to joining OPdA, Ceren worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 11 years in sales and product management.  

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PPD Committee seeking new postdoc representative

May 20, 2019

The PPD Committee is seeking a new postdoc representative, to start from September 2019.

Join the Open Research Steering Committee

Mar 18, 2019

The Open Research Steering Committee are seeking two postdocs (one from STEMM and one from AHSS). Apply by 2 April 2019.

The Borysiewicz Fellows - Meet Team GC Connect

Feb 21, 2019

Meet Team GC Connect - they are on a mission to maximise the global impact of Cambridge research by creating opportunities for researchers to apply their expertise in the context of international development.

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