Professor Sonia Rocha takes up a new position at the University of Liverpool as Head of Biochemistry this month. Sonia has been in Dundee for over 16 years, starting as a postdoctoral researcher for Professor Neil Perkins and being progressively promoted up to Professor at the end of last year. Sonia was also the academic representative for PICLS and was the head of the MRC PhD programme.

Throughout her time in the School, Sonia has been in the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression (GRE) where she became their Deputy Head in 2012. During that time, she has been proud to be part of a Centre that has provided a fantastic working environment but also through its status as a Wellcome Trust Centre, has invested £12 million in infrastructure, strategic goals as well a technical facilities and expertise. “If I could move GRE with me, I would. The Centre is interactive, supportive, friendly, and provides an environment for scientific discussion and collaboration. I plan to try to use what I have experienced in GRE and implement it in Liverpool,” explained Sonia. “I have learnt a lot from all the senior management in the School, especially Angus Lamond, the former Head of GRE and from Tom Owen-Hughes. They have always been very approachable and provided invaluable advice especially as a junior PI. Female leaders, such as Tracy Palmer, have been important for me as well and I want to follow the examples set by them.”

Leaving GRE and Dundee has not been an easy decision. “The support from my lab has been important in me deciding to move to Liverpool. I am fortunate that the majority of my lab is coming with me and that provides essential continuity for the research.”

Looking forward to being in Liverpool Sonia said, “Liverpool is a very friendly place and reminds me of Dundee. I am looking forward to interacting with the clinical researchers within the clinical trials unit who have a focus on cancer and identifying new areas of synergy within the Biochemistry department to instigate new avenues of research. I will still be collaborating with researchers in Dundee, especially Angus, Jason and Tom Owen-Hughes who I have ongoing projects, so I will still be working closely with the School.”