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Council (2021)

This is an archived page. For the latest list please follow the links from the Association landing page:

Below you will find the 2021 list of Council members of the Palaeontological Association:

*attends Council meetings but is not a Trustee
** co-opted on to Council at October 2020 meeting.
‡ member of diversity group


Patrick J. Orr ‡ - University College Dublin; e-mail

Paddy is at the School of Earth Sciences, University College Dublin. His research interests are in taphonomy and what the trace fossil record tells us about organisms’ activities in early Phanerozoic environments.  Away from work enjoys playing and watching football (soccer).

Paddy was honoured to be elected President of the Palaeontological Association for 2021-2023. He would welcome suggestions and feedback from members on the Association’s activities



Fiona L. Gill ‡ - University of Leeds; e-mail

Fiona is an Associate Professor of Palaeontology and Geochemistry in the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds. Her research focuses on the chemistry of fossils and their modern analogues, especially chemical evidence for interactions between microbes and macrofauna in the geological record. Fiona has a long-standing interest in palaeontological outreach and public engagement and a growing interest in art-science collaboration.  

As one of the Vice-Presidents, Fiona sits on Council to provide independent input into Council business, based on her previous experience of Council membership. As well as chairing and participating in grant-awarding sub-committees, Fiona has a particular interest in equality, diversity and inclusion issues on Council, and currently oversees the Palaeontological Association’s mentoring scheme.


Richard J. Butler - University of Birmingham; e-mail

Richard is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on Palaeozoic and Mesozoic tetrapod evolution, particularly early archosaurs, as well as reconstructing large-scale patterns and drivers of biodiversity change in the fossil record. He conducts much of his research internationally, and also has extensive experience of working for and with the museum sector.   
As one of the Vice-Presidents, Richard sits on Council to provide independent input on all matters, based on his previous experience of Council membership, as well as in the academic and museum palaeontological communities. He is expected to lead and/or participate in important sub-committees, particularly those tasked with making recommendations for grants and awards. 


Executive Officer*

Jo Hellawell ‡

  • e-mail
  • Telephone: +44(0)191 386 1482
  • Address: The Palaeontological Association, Alport House, 35 Old Elvet , Durham, DH1 3HN, UK. 

As Executive Officer of the Palaeontological Association, Jo is employed full-time to oversee and manage things day-to-day. Jo facilitates the smooth running of the Association by assisting the Council with delivery of its key aims and strategy. Her duties are varied and include aspects of finance, sales, meetings organisation and logistics, public engagement and outreach, and website maintenance. If members need any assistance they can get in touch with her, preferably via e-mail.

Jo’s research background is in geochemistry and palaeontology. She has previously held various technical and administrative posts, and has been in this role since 2016.



Manabu Sakamoto ‡ - University of Lincoln; e-mail

Manabu Sakamoto is Senior Lecturer of Zoology at the University of Lincoln. His research focuses on revealing hidden evolutionary patterns in the tree of life, particularly in dinosaurs, using phylogenetic and data science approaches.

As Treasurer, Manabu's role on Council is to oversee the financial management of the Association, providing an independent sounding board for financial matters and being the link between the Executive Officer and the Trustees on finance. Manabu is keen to support palaeontologists in vulnerable positions and increasing DEI.



Crispin T.S. Little - University of Leeds; e-mail

Cris Little is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, UK. His research interests are in macroevolutionary questions relating to chemosynthetic communities (hydrothermal vents, hydrocarbon seeps and whale-falls) across four billion years from the recent to the Archaean, and mass extinction events (principally the early Toarcian event in the Lower Jurassic). His main areas of expertise are in palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental analysis, the latter by integration of palaeobiological, geochemical and sedimentological data, and he also works on fossil systematics, having described a fair few new mollusc and other animal species over the years.

The Secretary has a wide range of duties and responsibilities. In addition to preparing agendas and keeping the minutes of all the Association’s meetings, the Secretary also has a major role in keeping written records up to date, such as drafting the annual Trustees Report, recording results of elections at Annual Meetings, and drafting changes to the Constitution. The Secretary also acts as line manager for the Association Officers and has oversight on major new initiatives that Council members propose. The Secretary works closely with the President, Vice Presidents and Executive Officer on the workings and policies of the Association.


Chair of the Editorial Board

Mark A. Purnell - University of Leicester; e-mail

Mark is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester. His research interests range across taphonomy and exceptional preservation, functional morphology, palaeobiology and palaeoecology, including experimental analysis of soft-tissue character decay and preservation, tooth microwear texture analysis of diet, and palaeobiology of conodonts and other early vertebrates.

As Chair of the Editorial Board, Mark works with the other members of the board and the handling editors to oversee the selection of manuscripts and peer review processes for the Asociation's journals Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology, whilst also keeping an eye on the publishing landscape and the implications for our journals. He has several years’ experience as a member of Council in other roles, and is involved in chairing and participating in grant-awarding sub-committees.


Publications Officer*

Sally J. Thomas; e-mail

Sally is the Publications Officer of the Palaeontological Association, a full time role that involves managing the journals Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology. She works with authors, editors and the production team at Wiley to see papers through from submission to publication.

Sally’s background is in geology and palaeontology, and worked on Devonian tetrapods before moving to Cambridge University Press. She took on her present role in 2013.


Editor Trustees

Nicholas J. Butterfield - University of Cambridge; e-mail

Nick is Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge.  His specimen-based research is focussed on Proterozoic and Cambrian microfossils, but he spends rather more time thinking about the early evolution of eukaryotes/multicellularity/animals, the means by which they have been captured in the fossil record, and their co-evolutionary implications for planetary function.  He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Association journals Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology.


Susannah C.R. Maidment - The Natural History Museum; e-mail

Susannah Maidment is a Researcher in dinosaurs and Curator of non-avian archosaurs at the Natural History Museum, London. Susannah’s research focuses on the palaeobiology of the bird-hipped dinosaurs, dinosaur locomotion, and the geological context of dinosaur evolution. 

Susannah sits on Council as a member of the Editorial Board of the Association journals Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology


Newsletter Editor

Emilia Jarochowska ‡ - GeoZentrum Nordbayern, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; e-mail

Emilia is an Assistant Professor at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. She studies conodont ecology, which is broad enough to allow her to sneak into areas as unrelated as biomineralization, sclerochronology and stratigraphic palaeobiology. Emilia grew up and studied in Warsaw before moving to Germany for her PhD. Most of her fieldwork took place in the Ukraine, Estonia, Sweden and the UK.

Emilia has been the Association's Newsletter Editor since the beginning of 2021. She works with other Council members and Association members on identifying and soliciting contributions concerning topics which are important for the palaeontological community, including career perspectives, new methods, EDI, outreach and many others. If you are interested in contributing to the Newsletter or have a topic that you would like to see covered, please e-mail Emilia


Reviews Editor

Thomas Clements ‡ - University of Birmingham; e-mail

Thomas is a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Birmingham. His research is focused on understanding the processes of soft-tissue preservation (particularly phosphatization and concretion formation), mainly through the use of decay experiments. Outside of work, Thomas enjoys hiking, making videos and sports. 

As the Reviews Editor, Thomas’ role is to solicit reviews of media from the membership for the Newsletter. Traditionally, these have been in the form of book reviews, but we are now branching out into all types of media from video games, films, and even software packages. If you are interested in contributing a review or to ask for a review of particular media, please contact Thomas at the e-mail address above.


Publicity Officer

Susannah J. Lydon - University of Nottingham; e-mail

Susie is Assistant Professor in Plant Science at the University of Nottingham. She teaches about plants, rocks and science communication, and is Course Director for the Plant Science undergraduate programme. Her research background is in Mesozoic palaeobotany and she has also worked in various outreach, education and science communication roles.

As Publicity Officer, a big part of Susie’s role is to drive the Association’s social media. She also works closely with the other members of the Council’s Public Engagement Group to develop and deliver our programme of public engagement work.


Internet Officer

Russell "Garfield" Garwood ‡ - University of Manchester; e-mail

Russell is a palaeontologist based at the University of Manchester. He uses X-ray and computational approaches to study fossils, evolution, and the origins of a range of different groups of organisms (though his first and true love is the arachnids). 

As Internet Officer, Russell’s role is to run the Association’s web infrastructure: its website, web shop and e-mail system, for example. 


Outreach Officer

Zoë E. Hughes - Natural History Museum, London; e-mail

Zoë is Curator of Fossil Invertebrates (Brachiopods and Cephalopods) at the Natural History Museum in London. Given the breadth of the collections her interests are also broad, but her main interest is evolving to be Jurassic brachiopods of the UK. As part of her role at the NHM she participates in many forms of outreach and is always willing to give most things a try at least once! Outside of the Museum she likes to make things and is currently enjoying making model tanks (though knows nothing about them). 

As Outreach Officer on council Zoë is involved with the Association’s outreach programmes and administering the Engagement Grants. If you have ideas about outreach or need some outreach support, please e-mail her.   


Education Officer

Elspeth Wallace - Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences; e-mail

Elspeth is the Education and Public Engagement Officer for iCRAG, the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences. Elspeth specializes in the development, running and evaluation of high quality public engagement activities. She is an experienced science communicator, and is particularly passionate about engaging young people and female identifying people with the sciences. Outside of her day job, Elspeth is completing a PhD in palaeontology and enjoys knitting, singing and most things crafty!

As the Education Officer, Elspeth works closely with Zoë (Outreach Officer) and Suzannah L (Publicity Officer) in the Public Engagement Group. Together, the Public Engagement Group take care of all the Association’s engagement activities. Elspeth is always looking for new and creative engagement ideas, and is happy to support the development of your engagement activities. Her door is always open to anyone wishing to get in touch! 


Meetings Coordinator

Uwe Balthasar ‡ - University of Plymouth; e-mail

Uwe is a Lecturer in Palaeontology at the University of Plymouth with a background in early Palaeozoic brachiopods and fossil preservation. His current research interests are more about the formation of calcium carbonate and the evolution of biomineralisation through time.

In his role as Meetings Coordinator, Uwe ensures that the Association is present at most of the major international meetings in the wider Earth Sciences domain. He also coordinates the Association’s Postgraduate Travel Fund and the Exceptional Lecturer Scheme and works with the organizer of the Annual Meeting to put in place mechanisms that ensure diversity and delegate safety. 


Diversity Officer

Farid Saleh ‡ - Yunnan University; e-mail

Farid is a postdoc at Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology at Yunnan University. His research focuses on exceptional preservation, particularly organism-mineral interactions, and preservation biases in the fossil record. Outside of work Farid enjoys painting and cooking.

Farid is the Association's Diversity Officer. His role is to make sure that our palaeontological community continues to become more diverse and inclusive.


Ordinary Members

Sam Giles ‡ - University of Birmingham; e-mail

Sam is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. She is a vertebrate palaeontologist and uses x-ray imaging (CT scanning) to unlock the external and internal anatomy of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic fossil fishes.

Sam is an Ordinary Member, and has remit to get involved across Council's activities. She works particularly closely with the Diversity Group, which aims to remove barriers to participation in palaeontology. Sam also sits on the Undergraduate Research Bursary committee. 


Tom H.P. Harvey - University of Leicester; e-mail

Tom is a Lecturer in Geoscience at the University of Leicester. His research focuses on using exceptionally preserved fossils to explore the history of life through the Proterozoic--Phanerozoic transition. 

As an Ordinary Member, Tom helps with reviewing grant applications and judging presentations.  


Liz A. Hide ‡ - Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences; e-mail

Liz is Director of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge.  She is interested in ways in which museum collections can better support research and teaching, and in addressing the barriers that prevent people from engaging with palaeontology.  This includes investigating the legacies of empire within our palaeontological collections, role models and representation in museums, and how public engagement with palaeontology can address social inequality and disadvantage.

As an Ordinary Member of Council, Liz contributes to the Association’s work on Public Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion.   


Robert Theodore ‡ - Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences; e-mail

Rob is the Exhibitions and Display Coordinator at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. Rob’s work involves engaging with academics, students and the local community to make Earth Sciences research accessible and diversify the stories and voices found in the museum through co-curated exhibitions, displays and other gallery interventions. Rob is actively engaged in investigating the legacies of Empire within palaeontological collections and is part of the University of Cambridge Museum’s Changemakers Action Group.

Rob was recently elected an Ordinary Member of the Council. He is aiming to contribute to the Association’s work on Public Engagement and Diversity and Inclusion. He is a member of the council’s Diversity Group.



Alan R.T. Spencer - Natural History Museum London/Imperial College London; e-mail

Alan is a Senior Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London and Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum London. He is interested in the early development of seed plants and plant-fungi interactions. Specializing in non-destructive visualization techniques he can — when not teaching or wandering around mountainsides — be found sitting behind a computer screen with coffee in hand, staring at overly pixelated fossilized plant/fungi data while simultaneously contemplating the meaning of life.

Alan has been involved with Council for more years then he cares to admit (or remember!). His most recent role, before becoming co-opted, was as a Trustee and Internet Officer. He continues to serve the Association as (the unofficially titled) “Emeritus Internet Officer” - using his extensive knowledge of the Association’s digital infrastructure to help the incumbent Internet Officer.


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