Community Action Team

IMSR Community Action Team

To create a research culture where public and patient engagement and involvement is embedded into the fabric of what we do, we realize that this will require us to work together as a community to learn, adapt and commit to ways of working that value the contributions, experiences and skills of others who are affected by our research.

IMSR has therefore established a cross-theme Community Action Team (CAT) comprised of PGRs and PostDocs who are passionate about engaging patients, diverse young people and the wider public with our research. Working as a collaborative team, CAT continue to develop their public engagement skills and cascade their learning to others in the IMSR through shadowing and general support. CAT plays an instrumental role in supporting the wider involvement of the IMSR research community in institute-level IMSR community events – such as We Are IMSR Community Day – which bridges links between different research themes to pull together a diverse, interesting and varied programme of public activities. By working together on key IMSR community events, we hope to reduce some of the challenges associated with researchers doing engagement activities alone, whilst also raising the profile of the IMSR as a whole.

Events will focus on the priority audiences identified by the IMSR community during internal consultation related to our engagement and involvement strategy. This includes:

  • Patients and lived experience groups relevant to IMSR research
  • Diverse young people primarily from the West Midlands region
  • The support networks of the above groups e.g. family members, carers, relevant charities, educators etc.

In addition, we are also committed to strengthening the IMSR community by building an opportunity for researchers to learn more about each other’s work and to invite their families to discover more about what they do at the IMSR e.g. such as “Bring your child to work day”.

Activities open to the public will be listed under the Events tab.

CAT Chair: Dr Caroline Gillett

Hi, I’m Caroline! My background is in psychology, brain imaging and cognitive neuroscience, but I have been working in public engagement and patient involvement since 2014 and I moved to the IMSR in 2020. I’m interested in working with researchers and communities to co-craft meaningful projects that bring greater awareness, advocacy and involvement to the world-leading research underway in our institute.

Meet the Community Action Team…

(alphabetically ordered)

John Allotey

Hello! I’m John and I use different research methods to produce high quality evidence to help understand why a woman and her unborn child can become ill and how they can stay healthy.

I work with researchers all around the world to improve the care pregnant women and their babies receive, and also work with women who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth to make sure that my research is done effectively and is relevant to their needs.
Amarah Anthony

Hi! I’m Amarah and I’m a PhD student. My work focusses on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a condition that can affect women of all ages.

PCOS is caused when a woman has higher than normal levels of certain hormones, called androgens. I am working on identifying the impact of these androgens on liver health and how they cause excessive fat build-up in the liver, which is a common symptom of PCOS. My ultimate goal is to identify potential drug targets for the treatment of PCOS associated liver conditions!

Catherine Dunlop

Hi, I’m Catherine! I am a medical doctor working in the UK looking after pregnant women and other women’s health problems. I am also a researcher, writing my PhD at the moment at the University of Birmingham.

I am very interested in improving the care that pregnant women receive in the poorest parts of the world. My PhD focussed on understanding how we can stop pregnant women in Malawi from getting infections when they come to hospital.

Cristina Escribano
Hi! I’m Cristina and I come from Valencia, Spain, where I did my degree in Biotechnology. After working in a microbiology lab testing food for the presence of bacteria, I decided to move into research and joint the Tennant group. Our focus is in the metabolism side of cancer.
Specifically, I’m working on multiple myeloma, which is cancer developing in the bone marrow. I’m interested in how some treatments available to patients stop being effective after some time and how certain changes in the DNA can affect the processing of nutrients and contribute towards the development of myeloma.
Punith Kempegowda
Hi, I am Punith. I come from India and have been in the UK for 10 years, giving me the advantage of having insights from both worlds. I am a doctor by profession, currently doing my PhD at the university.
My research interests are the impact of androgens, also known as male hormones, on glucose and fat metabolism. I am passionate about education and public engagement, the latter to do research on more patient related outcomes.
Isabella Marinelli

Hi, I’m Isabella! I’ve loved Mathematics and Biology since a was a little girl. And, with time, I’ve learned how to study both! In my research, I use mathematical models to better understand the mechanisms underlying diseases such as epilepsy or diabetes. I’m involved in several, exciting projects with the ultimate goal to facilitate the diagnosis or the development of patient-specific treatments. I’m Italian and, after doing my PhD in Bilbao (Spain), I moved to the UK to work at the University of Birmingham.


Himani Rana

Hi, I’m Himani! I’m a PhD student in the Tennant lab! I am working on a research project which is focused on glioma. This is the most common form of brain tumour in adults in the UK! Mitochondria are like the ‘batteries’ of our cells, and we are trying to understand how the mitochondria in tumour cells change the way they use nutrients, like glucose and oxygen to survive and grow.

In my spare time, I enjoy trying new recipes, running, and binging Netflix shows! I have also recently started reading for fun again, so if you have any good book recommendations, send them my way! 🙂

Atif Shahzed
Hi, my name is Atif and I am a medical device engineer. I work with the doctors and other medical staff to identify problems that they face in providing care to the patients, and develop new solutions to solve these problems with the help of other scientists, engineers and medical industry.
I am working on several exciting projects that will help improve the patient care by providing safe options to diagnose and treat heart disease and cancer.

Are you a member of the IMSR passionate about engagement and involvement? Please get in touch with Caroline if you would like to discuss becoming a member of CAT.


We’d also like to thank and acknowledge our previous CAT members who have moved on to new roles elsewhere, including:

Daniela Nasteska

Hi, my name is Daniela and I am a scientist researching about diabetes. I am from Macedonia and originally trained as a medical doctor, but fell in love with science. There is more than one way of helping people and as a team, both at the bedside and at the bench, we make a difference.
I did my PhD in Japan and continued doing research in Belgium before moving to the UK. I use cool microscopes to look into normal processes regulating blood sugar and how a gene predisposition + life style choices turn health into diabetes.

Luke Tait

Hello! I’m Luke and I use maths and physics to understand brain diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. I use recordings of brain activity from patients to build ‘virtual brains’ (a set of mathematical equations which simulate the activity of the brain), which I can then use to (A) develop tools to help doctors with diagnosing the disease, and (B) understand what causes the brain activity to change in order to help develop better treatments.