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Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences


The activities of the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences is managed and supported by a small team based at the University of Cambridge, with input from an advisory board made up of of academics and industrial scientists.



Professor Chris Lowe OBE, FREng, FInstP, FRSC


Professor Emeritus of Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge and was founder director of the Institute of Biotechnology, where he conducted multi-disciplinary research in the healthcare biotechnology sector. He has been the driving force for the establishment of a number of spin-out companies, has several directorships and fosters entrepreneurship in the University.


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Professor Anne Willis OBE


Anne obtained a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London while working in the Imperial Cancer Research Fund laboratories (now CRUK) on DNA repair. In 2004 she was appointed Director of Cancer Research Nottingham and Chair of Cancer Cell Biology. In 2010 Anne became Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit, which will relocate to Cambridge in 2020. She was awarded an OBE for services to biomedical sciences in 2015, and appointed Fellow of the British Toxicology Society in 2018. Anne joined CATS as co-director in April 2020.

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Professor Laura Itzaki


Laura's background is in Chemistry and Biochemistry. She moved to the Department of Pharmacology in 2013 and was appointed Professor of Structural Pharmacology in 2017. Her group's interest is in applying protein engineering and design to interrogate and modulate cellular processes. She is scientific co-founder and CSO of PolyProx Therapeutics, a biotherapeutics company based at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge. Laura joined CATS as co-director in April 2020.


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Meghana Patel PhD

Executive Manager

Meghana is the Executive Manager at CATS and is responsible for the development and operation of the activites of CATS. She manages the CATS team and drives collaboration and partnership in research translation, education, training and policy. This includes working with academics and senior staff across the University, industry leaders and external partners, actively seeking new opportunities for funding and collaborative activities to bring mutual benefit. Meghana obtained her PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she later continued her scientific path as a research associate. She later joined GSK to work in drug discovery in the Academic Industry partnership. Meghana has over 15 years of experience spanning academia, industry and the charity sector. Before joining the CATS team, she was working at LifeArc and commercialisation offices across various universities in London (UCL, Imperial College and QMUL). She joined CATS in June 2020. 

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Jenny Versnel PhD

Director of MPhil in Therapeutic Sciences and Policy

Jenny is the Course Director of the MPhil in Therapeutic Sciences and Director of Policy. Prior to joining CATS, Jenny was Academic Director for the MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise (MBE) at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. With a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge, Jenny has worked as a scientist in the academic, commercial and charitable sectors for more than 20 years, particularly in the field of neuromuscular disease. She has also held numerous appointments to boards, consortia and committees with advisory and policy responsibilities across diverse health sectors.

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Amy Wilson PhD

CAMS Manager

Amy joined the CATS team in 2019 on secondment from AstraZeneca where she is a Senior Scientist within the Genetic Toxicology team. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Amy completed her PhD in cell and molecular biophysics at Kings College London. Amy’s role within CATS is to support the Cambridge Alliance on Medicines Safety and connect researchers at the University and industry whose work relates to medicines safety/toxicology.


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Padraig Mulcahy PhD

Education & Training Programme Manager

Padraig joined the CATS team in 2017, having spent three years with the University’s Office for Translational Research. He has a PhD in neuropharmacology and spent a number of years as a post-doctoral researcher prior to joining the University. Padraig works to develop and deliver training and research programmes (Masters and PhD) to educate a new generation of scientists and clinicians, driving this development through close collaboration with academic and industry experts and leaders. 


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Carmen Smith PhD

CATS Team Administrator

Carmen joined the CATS team in 2018, having completed an internship at the United Nations Research institute for Sustainable Development in Geneva and worked as Centre Coordinator for the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity at the University of Surrey. She has a PhD in sustainability from the University of Bath. Carmen provides administrative support across CATS activites including the Expert in Residence and Access to Expertise programmes as well as managing the CATS communications and events portfolio.


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 Juraj Rievaj PhD

 Senior Research Facilitator

Juraj became the CATS team member in 2020, after spending 11 years in wet lab physiology research in both academic and industrial environment. He has a background in medicine and physics and PhD in Neurobiology. He is responsible for implementing the University’s Institutional Translational Partnership Award from the Wellcome Trust by encouraging academics to engage in translational research, organising Gateway to Translation seminar series, supporting collaboration between the University and with industry, and administrating funding schemes aimed to support translational research within the University.

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 Taha Firdous Shah MPhil

 MPhil and Training Administrator

Taha Firdous Shah is the MPhil and Training Administrator at the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences. She provides administrative support for the MPhil course, which includes managing the course timetable and assessments, as well as liaising with lecturers and students. She also supports CATS with its industrial partnerships such as AstraZeneca. Taha has an MPhil in Modern Asian Studies from the University of Cambridge. Before joining the CATS team, she was working as an Examination Advisor at Cambridge University Press and Assessment. She joined CATS in 2022. 

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