Meet the team - Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences

Our Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences team is drawn from across the University's wide-ranging disciplinary expertise. Our academics are developing innovative solutions to big issues across the arts and sciences.

Professor Diana Spencer

Dr Diana Spencer

Dean, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences
Professor of Classics

Diana’s research explores the nature of individual and collective identity in ancient Rome during the late Republic and 1st century CE. This puts her in regular conversation with intellectual and political luminaries: Cicero, Caesar, Horace, Vergil and Varro.

Dr Lloyd Jenkins

Dr Lloyd Jenkins, Deputy Dean, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences - University of Birmingham

Deputy Dean, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Historical and Cultural Geography

Dr Jenkins is a Historical Geographer, with an interest in landscape change and people’s relationship with the past.

Dr Ilija Rašović


Director of Natural Sciences
Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences Academic Lead: Subjects in Engineering and Physical Sciences
Lecturer in Engineering and Physical Sciences

Ilija’s research interests lie at the interface of materials science, chemistry and medicine, harnessing supramolecular chemistry, particularly with carbon nanomaterials, for use in medical applications. He also focuses on practical science communication, aiding students, staff and research groups throughout the university.

Dr Simon Scott

Photograph of Dr Simon Scott

Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences
Admissions Tutor
Associate Professor in Philosophy

Simon's research has focused ancient and continental philosophy, particularly the trajectory of Plato, Nietzsche and Deleuze. He is currently working on 'Deleuze's strategy for overcoming ressentiment in his reading of Nietzsche', and 'Shame and erotic love in Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus'.

Dr Betsy Porritt

Betsy Porritt






Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences
Teaching Fellow in Interdisciplinary Humanities

Betsy is a poet and literary scholar, with a special interest in post-war American poetry. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Kent on the inter-disciplinary practice of painter, writer, sound artist, and archive diver Susan Howe. Betsy’s own poetry practice uses visual and sound elements to think about the poem as site of potential resistance and reimagination.


Dr Julia Myatt

Julia Myatt

Academic Lead: Subjects in Life and Environmental Science
Senior Lecturer in Behavioural Ecology and Morphology 

Julia's research interests have focused on the morphology-behaviour-habitat interface in non-human Great Apes and the collective behaviour of group-living animals. 

Dr Abigail Bellamy-Carter

Abigail Bellamy-Carter

Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences
Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Sciences

Abigail contributes to the delivery of the core LANS modules and is a personal tutor. Her background is in surface science, investigating self-assembly and chemical reactions of molecules when confined to surfaces such as high ordered pyrolytic graphite and Ag(111).


Dr Jennifer Marshall

Image of Jennifer Marshall

Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences Academic Lead: Subjects in Medical and Dental Sciences
Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences

Jennifer’s research interests are fibroblasts in inflammatory diseases. She is also an imaging using a variety of imaging and analysis methods to obtain insight into patient disease stage and outcome. Jennifer is an enthusiastic and engaged member of the teaching community within the Medical School as a lecturer, personal tutor and developer of new teaching material. Her previous post-doctoral work and PhD studies concentrated on B cell responses; how they respond to different antigens in vitro and in vivo. This encompassed vaccine design, aging and B cell differentiation.


Dr Julian Pänke


Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences Academic Lead: Subjects in Social Sciences
Associate Professor in European Politics

Julian's role draws together Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences (LANS) and the College of Social Sciences (CoSS). In LANS he is a personal tutor, lead for subjects in social sciences, and oversees the Cultural Programme. In POLSIS he is teaching Comparative Politics. Julian is promoting interdisciplinary learning within the Social Sciences with a specific focus on civic leadership and social enterprise. 

Julian is interested in comparative foreign policy analysis, German and East Central European politics. His research explored EU foreign policy, the impact of history on foreign policy making and specifically how tensions between nation and empire building shape a state's external behaviour.  Thus, more broadly the relation between culture and power. Furthermore, he is excited about possibilities to include questions of civic engagement, experiential learning and sustainability in the wider curriculum. 

Dr Steffen Prauser

Steffen Prauser

Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Conflict Studies

Steffen's research and teaching interests are in the areas of War Studies, Social and Political History of Contemporary Western Europe in general, and on France and Italy under German occupation during the Second World War in particular. For LANS he also runs the Summer School on Conflict Studies in France and teaches “French Reading” classes.  

 Zoe Bulaitis

Zoe Bulaitis

Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences

Zoe is a humanities educator with specific expertise in public humanities, economic humanities, contemporary and nineteenth-century literature, critical theory, and creative industries research. As a result of these interests, she is an advocate for the value of the arts and humanities in many parts of public life.

 Neil Nelson 

Neil Nelson 230 x 230 

Operations Manager

Neil provides professional managerial support to the Dean and works with business partners responsible for planning, quality, marketing, HR, external relations and the international office. He also liaises with our academic colleagues across the colleges.

 Ruth Johnson 

Ruth Johnson 230 x 230

Wellbeing Officer

Ruth supports the management and development of educational provisions working closely with senior academics and Professional Services colleagues. 

Ruth is responsible for the management and optimisation of administration for all learning, teaching and quality administrative processes. She also manages the Educatoin Support administrators.

 Nicole Darby

Nicole Darby 230 x 230

Wellbeing Officer (Covering Maternity Leave)

Nicole (she/her) is experienced in working with mental health, particularly providing welfare and study related advice to students.

Nicole is currently completing an MSc in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, and works as a counsellor in training as part of her studies.

Mary Ann Clarke

Mary Ann Clarke 230 x 230

Senior Education Support Administrator

Mary Ann provides students with an initial point of contact for programme matters, including assessment, feedback and module registration, communicating on your behalf to other Schools. She also assists in the management of events, such as Open Days and Offer-holder Visit Days.

 Sharmaine Afferion 

Sharmaine Afferion 230 x 230

Senior Education Support Administrator

Sharmaine supports students with module choices and registration, communicating on your behalf to other Schools. She also provides support to our Academics in terms of exam boards, assessments and marking.  Sharmaine also assists in the management of events, such as conferences and graduation.

Jodie Eagles 

Jodie Eagles 230 x 230

Student Experience and Wellbeing Officer

Jodie has worked across various departments in the University for many years, and has long been interested in student wellbeing and experience. You might see her as a Wellbeing Officer, where she offers practical and emotional support to students. The other part of her role focuses on student experience and projects, so she will be looking after our Student Reps and the Staff-Student Forum.