skip to content

Postdoc Academy


On 14th June 2018, nine early career researchers embarked on the new Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowship Programme to work on major challenges facing the modern world. The programme will support these outstanding researchers in seeking to shape the future for the betterment of society.

2018 Borysiewicz Fellows

Selected as nine of the most exceptional postdoctoral researchers working in Cambridge, they are currently working across the biomedical sciences, from cancer research and infectious diseases, to the treatment of neurological disorders. 

The programme will enable these researchers to focus on a range of global challenges in addition to their primary research, as well as undertaking a programme of leadership and entrepreneurship training.

One of the Fellows, Dr Johnny Habchi from the Department of Chemistry, said: "I am extremely excited for having received the Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowship. It represents an exceptional opportunity not only for promoting my leadership skills but, most importantly, for allowing me to pursue major concerns of the modern world as part of a team of extremely talented and interdisciplinary scientists.

“The expert mentoring, the engagement opportunities, and the bespoke training programme that will be provided will undoubtedly transform my career."

Speed mentoring 15

Dr Dilrini De Silva, a Borysiewicz Fellow based in the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said: “I was keen to apply for this fellowship as it offers a unique experience to enhance your entrepreneurial skills and the freedom to explore other sectors in contrast to a conventional academic role 

“I am excited about using this opportunity to improve access to genomic technologies for infectious disease diagnostics and precision medicine for better patient outcomes in the developing world.”

Speed mentoring 3

The Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowships have been developed in honour of Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, a pioneer in the biomedical sciences, who as Vice-Chancellor of the University led and shaped the development of key provisions for Cambridge’s postdoc community.

Much of the world-changing research at the University is underpinned by postdocs – qualified researchers with fixed term contracts, and with more postdoctoral researchers than most other institutions, Cambridge sees postdocs as key to its future strength.

Professor Borysiewicz said: “Our postdoctoral researchers are the bedrock of what Cambridge is able to achieve, particularly in terms of its research area. We want to make sure that we can bring the very best here, and that they are fully embedded into our community. I am delighted and honoured that the Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowship Programme is being created in my name."

Borys keynote 2

"It is an honour to host the new Borysiewicz Postdoctoral Fellowship and a testament to the commitment by this University to the future leaders of research and innovation," said Karina Prasad, Head of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at the University of Cambridge, which will manage and deliver the programme. 

It is the aim of the Borysiewicz Fellowships to provide career enhancement to support outstanding researchers seeking to shape the future for the betterment of society.

The programme will provide opportunities to interact with senior figures from academia and industry, a bespoke programme of leadership and entrepreneurship training, and support the Fellows to work in small teams on major interdisciplinary challneges.

Speed mentoring 1

At the end of the first year, Fellows will have the opportunity to bid for a period of truly independent time to pursue their own work. The projects can be anything from a conventional research project, to starting a business, to political or civil society-engagement.

The inaugural Fellows of the Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences Fellowship Programme are:

  • Dr Paulo Amaral - Department of Pathology at the Gurdon Institute
  • Dr Mireia Crispin-Ortuzar - Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
  • Dr Dilrini De Silva - Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
  • Dr Johnny Habchi - Centre for Misfolding Diseases, Department of Chemistry, and Head of R&D at Wren Therapeutics
  • Dr Luke Meredith - Division of Virology, Department of Pathology
  • Dr Alexander Patto - EPSRC NanoPhotonics Centre, Department of Physics, and CEO of WaterScope
  • Dr Velislava Petrova - Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • Dr Christopher Proctor - Electrical Engineering Division, Department of Engineering
  • Dr Pietro Sormanni - Centre for Misfolding Diseases, Department of Chemistry

Biographies of all the Fellows can be found here.

Latest news

The Proactive Postdoc

18 January 2021

Our new podcast series showcases former Cambridge postdocs to shed light on how they maximised their time to learn and develop while working in the University.

Remembering Professor Chris Abell FRS FMedSci (1957-2020)

28 October 2020

A tribute to Professor Chris Abell, a kind and compassionate man who went out of his way to champion the postdoc community.

Postdoc Appreciation Week 2020 Round-up

25 September 2020

Highlights from the celebrations for Postdoc Appreciation Week 2020 at Cambridge.

Tweets from the Postdoc Academy