Meet the organisers


Deanne Brettle was the BIFoR Project Officer, University of Birmingham. 
Deanne was part of BIFoR since 2014 and has helped to organise the 7 previous annual meetings! 
2024 Deanne Brettle

Marine Cambon is a microbial ecologist interested in host-pathogen-microbiota interactions. Marine is specifically fascinated by tree and insect diseases that involve more than one partner, such as vector-borne diseases and polymicrobial infections. She has been working on Acute Oak Decline for the past three years, trying to understand how bacterial pathogens interact with the tree, its microbiota, and a bark boring beetle.

2024 Marine Cambon

Imogen Carter is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham. Imogen now works for BIFoR as a Research Technician. 

2024 Imgoen Carter

Dr Bruno B L Cintra is a Forest Ecologist interested in understanding the determinants of the forest resilience, tree growth and ecophysiology responses to climate extremes. He researches this topic using a combination of tools, including forest monitoring, tree rings and stable isotopes.

Bruno is currently a Research Fellow in Project MEMBRA (BIFoR), which focuses on understanding if trees retain a molecular “memory” of past environmental stresses such as droughts and heatwaves (


Naya Desai is a PhD student in the Department of Civil Engineering. Naya's research looks at the benefits and disbenefits of trees which are currenlty poorly quantified due to a lack of observations at tree canopy level, and the difficulties of translating such in-situ measurements made around individual trees (of a specific size, species, and growing conditions) into information that can be used at multiple scales across out cities to support decision-making. Her project will apply novel machine learning techniques to quantify the role of urban trees in climate adaptation and mitigation in an urban environment. 


2024 Naya Desai

Dr Sabrine Dhaouadi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow specializing in plant pathology. With a keen interest in the intricate interactions between trees and their environment, her current research focuses on understanding how trees respond to bacterial diseases. Dr. Dhaouadi aims to uncover the pathways and molecular mechanisms that pathogens use to suppress host defenses and access nutrients, contributing to the development of more resilient plant species.



Dr Samantha Dobbie is a Learning and Engagement Lead at BIFoR. She is a qualified secondary science teacher with an academic background in plant sciences. She has experience in translating research outputs into engaging outreach activities, teacher CPD sessions and innovative educational resources for pupils in KS3 to KS5 that are rooted in best practice. 

2024 Sam Dobbie 2

Dr Dion Dobrzynski is a Research Fellow in the Department of English Literature, University of Birmingham. He is an environmental humanities scholar interested in literary responses to ecology and environmental crises. His PhD, funded through BIFoR's Forest Edge programme, explored forest ecology in fantasy fiction through immersive walks and workshops at Ruskin Land in the Wyre Forest. Dion is now working on projects which seek to expand BIFoR's interdisciplinary educational resources and develop the College of Arts and Law's wider relationship with BIFoR.

2024 Dion Dobryzski

Dr Emma Ferranti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. 

Emma leads exciting interdisciplinary research at the intersection of infrastructure, the built environment and green infrastructure. She currently holds an EPSRC Fellowship examining how Nature Based Solutions can deliver infrastructure resilience to extreme weather and climate change. Emma also leads and contributes to a range of projects in the fields of transport, infrastructure resilience, climate adaptation, air quality, and green infrastructure at the University of Birmingham.   Emma co-facilitates the national Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) network, co-organising the online Seminar Series, and co-developing evidence-based resources for built environment practitioners.

20024 Emma Ferranti

Dr Scott Hayward is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biosciences. Dr Hayward’s research group seeks to understand how organisms cope with variable and stressful environments. Temperate, polar and tropical terrestrial invertebrates (insects, mites and nematodes) are the primary focus of this endeavour.  His lab uses state-of-the-art tools, and a systems biology approach, to investigate how these organisms detect, repair and stabilize the cellular and molecular damage induced by environmental stress, as well as their broader physiology and ecology. 

2024 Scott Hayward

Stephen Hill
 is Glasshouse Research Technician responsible for the day-to-day management of the Wolfson Advanced Glasshouses. Background in microbiology and horticulture. He has been at UoB for four years, first as an MSc student and then as a technician.

2024 Stephen Hill

Felicity Humphries is a 4th year MSci Biological Sciences student.  Felicity is especially interested in Zoology and Conservation and has recently completed a field trip to Norway for an extended research project on Alpine Freshwater Invertebrates. Felcity also helps run the BIFoR Instagram page and leads the UoB hedgehog group.

2024 Felicity Humphries

Dr Lisa Ellevera Lamberte is seasoned Research Fellow with a keen interest in microbial evolution. Her expertise spans various research domains, particularly in human and plant microbial communities and their pivotal role in shaping our understanding of health and the environment.


Prof Jon Sadler is a Professor of Biogeography in the School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences. Jon is a biogeographer and ecologist whose research focuses on species population and assemblage dynamics in animals (sometimes plants). His work is highly interdisciplinary, bisecting biogeography, ecology, urban design, riparian management and island Biogeography. 


2024 Jon Sadler

Dr Diana Vinchira-Villarraga is a postdoctoral research fellow interested in studying plant-bacterial interactions from a metabolomics perspective. Currently, she works in tree-bacteria pathosystems focusing on the production of antibacterial compounds on trees as a response to the pathogens' infection and how other factors, such as age and health status, can affect it. Other research she collaborates with include the evaluation of the effect of drought on Sitka spruce leaf metabolome and the metabolic profiling of different lichen species and its correlation with the lichens' microbiome.