Here you can find short biographies of our guest speakers, along with the topic of their talk.

We encourage attendees to pre-prepare any questions you may have for our presenters to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity!


To attend an event, please join our Microsoft Teams Page and register on Eventbrite to receive an invitation.

Tuesday 13th October

18:30 - 19:30

Teams Link

“Octopus: A Revolution in Scientific Publishing”

Dr. Alexandra Freeman


Alexandra Freeman is the Executive Director of Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge.


Before joining the Winton Centre in 2016, she had a 16-year career at the BBC, working on series such as Walking with Beasts, Life in the Undergrowth, Bang Goes the Theory, Climate Change by Numbers and as series producer of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. Her work won a number of awards, from a BAFTA to a AAAS Kavli gold award for science journalism. In addition to developing and making television series, Alex worked with associated content across a whole range of other media – designing websites, games, formal learning resources and social media content – to bring science to the widest possible audience.


Now back at the Winton Centre she has a particular interest in helping professionals such as doctors, journalists or legal professionals communicate numbers and uncertainty better, and in whether narrative can be used as a tool to inform but not persuade. She is an advocate of Open Research practices and the reform of the science publishing system.

Alexandra will be giving a talk on Octopus, a new publishing platform designed to replace journals and papers as the means of sharing scientific knowledge and ideas. It is designed to serve the needs of science and scientists above all else: to use every digital tool possible to ensure that good scientific practice is recognised and rewarded, and that there is no longer any advantage to questionable research practices.

Wednesday 14th October

18:30 - 19:30

Teams Link

“Dear Editor, you really should publish my paper…”

Dr. Saran Shantikumar


Saran Shantikumar is a registrar in public health and NIHR clinical lecturer at the University of Warwick.  


Having completed his MBChB at the University of Leeds, along with a BSc in Clinical Sciences, he pursed the Academic Foundation Programme followed by Academic Clinical Fellowships in Vascular Surgery and Public Health, picking up qualifications in statistics and a PhD in molecular biology along the way. 


A self-confessed medical meanderer, the common theme during his training has been academia and the related requirement to publish. He is developing a research interest in infectious disease and primary care.

“Getting published as a medical student or junior doctor can sometimes feel like a barely achievable feat; the holy grail grasped only by future professors, beneficiaries of cronyism or those lucky enough to be allocated a clued-in supervisor. But that’s not true – and please stop looking for excuses – because there’s a future PubMed record with your name on it, if you want it. I’m a junior doctor in public health, and I’ll talk about the lessons I’ve learned during my successful and failed attempts at publishing. Please do come prepared to discuss any of your own publishing experiences; whether admirable, adequate, or awful, the learning will be of great service to your colleagues.” 

Thursday 15th October

18:30 - 19:30

Teams Link

“Developing a Research Idea”

Professor Martin Underwood

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Martin Underwood is a Professor of Primary Care Research at Warwick Medical School, adjunct Professor at Monash University, Director of Warwick Clinical Trials Unit and NIHR Senior Investigator.


After training in Manchester, Professor Underwood worked as a GP in Lusaka, Manchester, Tower Hamlets, and latterly in Coventry. He has been actively engaged in a wide range of research, with his main area of research focused upon improving the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal disorders, particularly back pain and osteoarthritis.


In this area, he has a large portfolio of primary care studies, including qualitative studies, systematic reviews, observational epidemiology, and definitive randomised controlled trials. Completed and ongoing trials have evaluated the use of therapeutic approaches to chronic musculoskeletal disorders and improving care pathways. Furthermore, he his work encompasses a broad range of rehabilitation and secondary care interventions, and he has chaired guideline development groups on behalf of NICE.

Drawing upon his extensive research experience, including leading large primary care studies, Professor Underwood will be discussing his approach to developing a research idea; how to move from a idea and concept, to a tangible research question, to desiging an executing an effective research project!


Attendees are strongly encouraged to come to this session with a research idea in mind (not lab science or animal studies), to observe the thought process which goes behind designing an appropriate research project.