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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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James Brown

Assistant Head of Office (Strategy)


James manages engagement with stakeholders inside and outside the University, including support for the Postdocs of Cambridge Society and Departmental Postdoc Committees Chairs Network, in order to enhance the ongoing improvement of support and opportunities for postdoc research staff.

He previously 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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Susie Chan

Assistant Head of Office (Operations)

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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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Shima Barakat

Entrepreneurship Education Advisor


Shima is obsessed with making the world a better place. Her work over the last 20+ years has focused on how entrepreneurial mindsets and activities can solve big global challenges.

She has held several posts at the University of Cambridge since 2007 and is currently the Entrepreneurship Education Advisor at the OPdA where she brings her particular interest and expertise in sustainability and gender to develop entrepreneurship training and support for the postdoctoral community. She has recently been heavily involved in the €400M EU funded EIT Food project and was involved in shaping the strategic direction of both the education and venture creation activities.

Shima currently sits on the Board of Directors of the EIT Food Northwest regional company and contributes to the target of educating 10,000 people and creating 350 new ventures through EIT Food. Shima has also co-founded several ventures and personally supported the early stages of over 100 start-ups. Her latest initiative is Impact Women’s Network to increase the visibility of the impact of women’s enterprising activities and catalysing greater change, together. Shima is one of the women featured in the book “Women at Cambridge: Meaning of Success".

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Kristen Frers

Projects & Programmes Coordinator

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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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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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Veronica Egorova

Events Administrator


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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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University launches Rental Deposit Loan Scheme

Nov 08, 2018

To improve support to staff and assist both recruitment and retention, the University has introduced a new rental deposit loan scheme for all current and prospective members of staff.

Join the Committee for Shaping Horizons 2019 - Fostering Diplomacy through Science and Technology: apply by 11 November

Nov 02, 2018

Shaping Horizons 2019 is a novel science-entrepreneurship diplomacy initiative and will be the first of a series of biennial summits with the ambitious purpose of bringing together leaders from two different regions of the world to discuss pressing challenges and promote diplomatic ties.

Free places for postdocs at the Genomics! Venture Creation Weekend

Oct 16, 2018

15 free places at the Genomics! Venture Creation Weekend (16-18 November, at Cambridge Judge Business School) are available to Cambridge postdocs through the OPdA and p2i network.

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