Henslow Fellows

About the Henslow Fellowship

Alongside travel grants and research funding, the Society regularly sponsors three-year Research Fellowships, “Henslow Fellowships”, in the fields of Natural Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science and Clinical Sciences.  The Henslow Fellowships are named in honour of John Stevens Henslow, Professor of Botany in the University of Cambridge and co-founder of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. The Fellowships are awarded to selected colleges to augment research fellowship provision within colleges, rather than to substitute for existing schemes. Find out more about Henslow Fellowships and how to apply here

Meet our Henslow Fellows

We asked some of our Henslow Fellows about their work and the benefits of their Fellowship.

Emily Mitchell

Emily Mitchell

Earth Sciences

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Emily Mitchell

Earth Sciences

I’m Dr Emily Mitchell. I started my university studies with an undergraduate degree in Physics at Imperial College. I moved to York to do a Masters in Mathematics, to St Andrews for a Masters in Ecology and then studied for my doctoral degree, in Palaeobiology, in Cambridge. After completing my PhD, I took some time out to start a family and returned to work in 2016 with my Henslow Fellowship at Murray Edwards College.

CPS: Can you summarise your area of study?

Dr Mitchell: My research utilises complex spatial statistical techniques and theoretical models to extract biological and ecological information from fossil spatial patterns. Specifically my research focuses on Ediacaran macro-organisms that are the oldest large, complex organisms in the fossil record, found 585-540 million years ago, just prior to the Cambrian explosion. My analyses requires large datasets, which I record from field sites in Newfoundland, Canada and Charnwood Forest in the UK, using a laser scanner to create high-resolution 3D maps. The combination of these three dimensional maps, coupled with quantitative analyses, enables me to test detailed hypotheses relating to Ediacaran life.

CPS: What encouraged you to apply for a fellowship?

Dr Mitchell: I had a clear idea of how I wanted to develop my PhD research, and funding and support from this Henslow Fellowship enabled me to actually do this.

CPS: What did you enjoy the most about being a research Fellow connected to the society?

Dr Mitchell: I really appreciate the weekly lecture series that happen during term – finding out about different fields and the research that goes on in them. I also very much enjoy meeting with other members of the Society and hearing about their work.

CPS: How has it helped your work?

Dr Mitchell: This fellowship has been instrumental in enabling me to establish myself within my field, and to expand the areas that I am working on from the start of animal life to throughout the fossil record.

Arne Jungwirth, Henlsow Fellow, Cambridge Philosophical Society

Arne Jungwirth

Zoology

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Arne Jungwirth

Zoology

Hello I’m Arne Jungwirth, I studied biology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany (2004-2010: BSc and MSc), before moving to Bern, Switzerland, for my PhD (2011-2015). In 2015, I was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation early postdoc mobility research grant to come to Cambridge and work with Professor Rufus Johnstone. Since 2016 I have been a Cambridge Philosophical Society Henslow Fellow at Hughes Hall, Cambridge, UK.

CPS: Can you summarise your area of study for us?

I work on the evolution of life histories, senescence, and life span in Lake Tanganyika cichlids. The aim of this work is to unravel the evolutionary causes and the mechanistic underpinnings of different rates of ageing across the animal kingdom. To this end I apply comparative approaches in ecological, behavioural, and molecular studies, as well as developing game theoretical models. Ultimately, I hope to use the cichlid system to address those bio-medical issues that we currently see in human societies that reach ever-older ages.

CPS: What encouraged you to apply for a fellowship?

Dr Jungwirth: Before focusing on ageing biology, I had studied social evolution. Making the switch into a different area of research is always a risk, and few funding opportunities exist that encourage or simply support such switches. The Henslow Fellowship was very attractive to me because it allowed me to venture into scientific territory into which I had not previously set foot. I have since been incredibly grateful for the academic freedom that this type of fellowship afforded me. I feel that I have grown as a researcher in a direction and to a degree that would not have been possible under most other funding schemes.

CPS: What do you enjoy the most about your membership of the society?

Dr Jungwirth: The multi-disciplinary nature of the Philosophical Society makes for a very inspiring environment. I have particularly enjoyed the dinners after the Society’s lectures: while the talks themselves are always interesting, having the opportunity to chat to speakers about their work in more detail, and to engage with the other members of the Society in an informal setting, has widened my academic horizon significantly. Being exposed to schools of thought and interests very different to my own research focus is a tremendous pleasure.

CPS: How has it helped your work?

Dr Jungwirth: The Henslow Fellowship has given me the freedom to change research trajectory, to participate in a Cambridge college, and to become involved in teaching within the University. As such, it has provided me with insights into academia in general and the workings of Cambridge University in particular that I would not have gained otherwise. Most crucially, I consider this fellowship the main reason why I am still able to work on questions that I am passionate about.

Sarah Morgan, Henslow Fellow at the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Sarah Morgan

Psychiatry

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Sarah Morgan

Psychiatry

Hello, I’m Dr Sarah Morgan. I have a background in theoretical physics and have completed a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Exeter and a PhD in Physics at Cambridge University, in the Theory of Condensed Matter group (TCM). My PhD focussed on open quantum dynamics and building atomistic descriptions of complex, optically active materials, both biological and organic.

CPS: Can you summarise your area of study for us?

Dr Morgan: I study brain connectivity using both structural and functional MRI brain images. I am particularly interested in whether there are changes in brain connectivity in schizophrenia and whether we can use MRI brain images to understand, diagnose and ultimately treat schizophrenia.

CPS: What encouraged you to apply for a fellowship?

Dr Morgan: After a PhD in theoretical physics I spent two years as a postdoc working with Prof. Ed Bullmore, looking for differences between MRI brain scans from patients with schizophrenia and healthy control subjects. I found the work fascinating and I applied for a fellowship to look more closely at how patients’ brains change over time in the early stages of psychosis.

Also, my Fellowship is associated with Lucy Cavendish College, which is where I studied for my PhD. So I already knew that the College was a great place to be based, with a friendly atmosphere.

CPS: What did you enjoy the most about your membership of the society?

Dr Morgan: The society brings together people from a wide range of disciplines and I enjoy meeting other Fellows and learning more about their research.

CPS: How has it helped your continuing research?

Dr Morgan: My Fellowship has given me the opportunity to work on new, longitudinal data from patients with first episode psychosis, which has been collected as part of an EU project called PSYSCAN. Having longitudinal data means that we can look how an individual patients’ brain changes over time, rather than just studying group differences between patients and healthy control subjects. Ultimately, schizophrenia is thought to be a neurodevelopmental disorder so understanding how it develops is incredibly important, and may be the key to finding new treatments or preventative measures.

Former Fellows

Alex Lui

Alex Liu

Earth Sciences