College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Research staff champions

The College has appointed research staff champions to discuss issues relating to your role as an early career researcher.

Our network of CMVM research staff champions  has  a specific remit of working locally within institutes and centres to ensure visible and active support for research staff at an early stage of their career. 


What is the role of a champion?

  • Be a recognised and visible advisor who can be approached for direction to the best source of support for: 

- Training in current role, careers and support for transition to next role in or beyond academia

- Other issues related to work (this may include wellbeing, bullying/harassment, research integrity)

  • Take a proactive approach to engagement with local research staff 
  • Champion the interests of research staff in local management structures


How to contact a champion

You are welcome to contact any of the champions.  Champions will aim to meet with you within two weeks or discuss an alternative arrangement that suits both parties.


Meet your champions


Silke Salavati

Silke Salavati (Hospital for Small Animals, Easter Bush campus) 

I am a vet by training, a specialist in small animal internal medicine, FRCVS and FHEA with a particular interest in gastroenterology. I am enthusiastic about networking and interconnecting across disciplines and species, as well as about sharing my own experiences. I’m also passionate about #WomenInSTEM. I have nearly 20 years of experience in navigating the challenges of a combined clinical and research career in academia. I am passionate about the integration of veterinary clinical research into the wider concept of translational medicine and #OneHealth.












Marja Main

Marja Main (Edinburgh Neuroscience, FU205 Chancellor's Building, BioQuarter campus or G.3 at 1 George Square, Central area)

I did a PhD in Neuroscience and after that moved to the professional services side. I’ve worked at ERO (helping with grant applications), at the CMVM Research Office (helping with the REF impact case studies and subsequently co-developing an impact strategy, supporting core facilities, the clinical trials pathway and the CMVM Research support website), at the Usher Institute as the Research Strategy Manager (secondment) and I'm now the Scientific Strategy Coordinator at Edinburgh Neuroscience.

I’ve learned a lot about the wider landscape and efforts at College, University and UK level to help researchers to deliver research of the highest quality, integrity and impact – and support their wellbeing at the same time. I’m now in a position to point ECRs to a wide range of different support and help available. Researchers are the key engine of the College, so I want them to feel as valued and supported as possible.










Tim Czopka

Tim Czopka (Chancellor’s Building, GU.586, BioQuarter campus)

I am a biologist by training and obtained my PhD in 2009, and have been a Principal Investigator since 2015. My group does curiosity-driven research on the roles of oligodendrocytes for neural circuit development, function and dysfunction. We use high-resolution optical imaging methods, cellular/genetic manipulations, in vivo physiology and behaviour using zebrafish as model organism. Besides being a researcher, I have a genuine interest in helping to foster the next generation of excellent scientists by promoting their career progression. I myself have been very fortunate to always have had this support which has been invaluable for my own development. In continuation with this spirit I am available to provide guidance to early career researchers to help them understand academic processes, in particular, postdoctoral researchers who are transitioning to independence and everything that comes with it. 










Sarah Farnworth-McHugh

Sarah Farnworth-McHugh (Child Life and Health, Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Centre for Inflammation Research, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, W2.16, BioQuarter campus)

I am a Laboratory and Finance manager, but I've enjoyed a career in both research and support roles. Over the years my research studies and career focused on various aspects of inflammation in multiple diseases, and these roles spanned purely academic to translational to R&D. I latterly moved into my current support role of Laboratory and Finance Manager where I manage one of the shared labs in the Centre for Inflammation Research and the Child Life and Health Unit within the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People. I have experienced first-hand how challenging a career in research can be. Having spent the majority of the last 18 years working within or with close links to the CIR and CMVM, and having directly benefitted myself from a wide range of support, I would like to give something back and offer my experience and support to CMVM researchers.













Lindsay Jaacks

Lindsay Jaacks (Alexander Robertson Building. Room 1.15, Easter Bush campus) 

I am a nutritional epidemiologist interested in understanding the human health co-benefits of more sustainable food systems, such as organic and flexitarian diets. I moved to the UK from the US during the pandemic and know how challenging it can be joining a complex organisation like the University of Edinburgh. As a research staff champion, I hope to make the transition easier for ECRs. The areas of ECR experience I have experience of or are passionate about are: Securing funding; developing interdisciplinary collaborations and projects; and mentoring students.












Bhuvaneish Thangaraj Selvaraj

Bhuvaneish Thangaraj Selvaraj (CCBS/UK-Dementia Research Institute, BioQuarter campus) 

I am a translational neurobiologist with a research focus on understanding mechanisms of neuronal vulnerability in neurodegenerative diseases such as motor neuron disease and dementia. Through this role as a research staff champion, I hope to provide active mentoring to ECRs about the career development model in UK HEIs, especially to expats who are otherwise oblivious of this. I am also keen to offer career development advice.













Julie Rodor

Julie Rodor (Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, BioQuarter campus

From a wet lab background, I am now using computational approaches to develop my research interests which include RNA biology, vascular biology and disease, and transcriptomics. In becoming a champion, I am interested in promoting a better integration of new research staff and developing staff networking across the College. I am keen to advertise and share my experience with several University support schemes such as IAD courses, career transitioning support, mentoring and wellbeing support. I am also passionate on promoting Research Integrity. As a bioinformatician, I would like to improve the connection among the bioinformatics community across the College.











Luke Daines

Luke Daines (Usher Institute, Teviot Place and Bioquarter campus)

I’m a GP and post-doctoral research fellow working within the Centre for Medical Informatics and Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at the Usher Institute.  I completed my GP training in 2015 and have balanced my clinical and academic commitments since that time, including completing a Masters in Public Health (2017), PhD (2021), working as a clinical teaching fellow (2021) a clinical lead for respiratory prescribing in NHS Lothian (2021) and as a GP.  My research interests are respiratory medicine, prediction modelling and routinely collected primary care data. My current research projects include developing a prediction model for long-COVID, implementing a decision support system for asthma diagnosis and investigating the value of nasal saline irrigation in preventing asthma exacerbations.   As a research champion I hope to be a point of contact for early career researchers and share my experiences of working as a clinical academic and balancing different roles.