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Department of Genetics


The Department of Genetics is delighted to report that our Professional Services Team were announced as winners of the 'Working as a Team' award at the Professional Services Recognition ceremony on Monday 12 December. The award recognised an outstanding level of service in the face of the considerable challenges associated with keeping an ageing building operational.  The team are Sara Singlehurst, Marion Martin, Emily Kempin, Chris Lilley, Liam Browne, Sandra Taylor, Daniel Jordan, Nicha Yamprasong, Clelia Merloni Gois de Araujo, Monika Frackiewicz and Ralica Dinkova.  The award was collected by Nicha, Liam and Daniel (pictured below) on behalf of the team.  

The biggest impact this team has had on the department has been to get us through the COVID period in such a safe and efficient way. In order to get our research community up and running as quickly as possible, Sara's team had a huge job on their hands. During the first lockdown Sara and Maz keep the department ticking over; they monitored -70 freezers (which breakdown periodically) and dealt with unexpected emergencies (such as the basement flooding due to drains blocked on the Downing site). Sara dealt with the enormous burden of risk assessment (and repeated re-assessment) needed for every area of the department. Early on in the pandemic she had the foresight to secure mobile air filtration systems, that enabled us to use safely many spaces within the department, including teaching, office and library areas. Her team's diligence in making sure every box was ticked meant that we were one of the first departments to re-open. During this time Sara and Maz worked constantly, with very little downtime, ensuring that whatever had to be done was done. Our maintenance technician, Chris, was ever present to conduct water testing, make adjustments to work spaces, move furniture, install hand sanitiser stations and signage, along with a myriad of other tasks. It goes without saying that the (usually unsung) work of the cleaners has never been more important. The whole team were the first people back in the building, every day, when most staff were still working from home or popping in for short periods. 

"The technical support staff are often out of sight in the basement but their work to keep the Department running smoothly deserves to be celebrated in daylight! They are stretched thinly over a variety of operations and their willingness to go the extra mile, filling-in for each other when necessary, has been essential, especially during the recent challenging times as the Department emerges from the shadow of Covid. I am very pleased to support the nomination of Sara and her team for an award under the Recognition Scheme" Dr David Summers

"My teaching duties include delivering practicals to first year students, requiring preparation of many complex agar plates, aliquoted buffers and reagents. The success depends entirely on the work of Sara's team (specifically Maz and Emily) which needs to be accurate, reliable and on time. Collaboration between team members is crucial for the the delivery of the material and this has worked brilliantly during the past years. The smooth running of the Department more generally relies on Sara's team, from receiving and sorting the parcels at the reception by Sandra to providing the coffee in the tearoom by Nicha. They are all there to solve the day to day problems and to make the life in the Department pleasant. I take the opportunity to thank them all"  Dr Marco Geymonat

"The support staff team provide an outstanding level of service in the face of considerable challenges associated with keeping an aging building operational. Led by Sara, the team work closely to ensure that the research and teaching is well supported and constantly have creative solutions to problems. The way the team managed the building with the pandemic restrictions was exceptional, fully focused on safety they worked together and with other departments to ensure aspects like first aid cover were always available despite occupancy restrictions. The challenging landscape around the changing support from the Estates Division require that the team often need to develop new capabilities quickly and they have been extremely agile in this respect" Professor Steve Russell

"Sara is the Principal Assistant and is the reason the whole team works so well together. Sara is responsible for getting things done. She is firm but fair with everyone - from professors to undergraduate students, her colleagues, as well as outside workers; her approach ensures that things get done and get done properly. Sara is incredibly well organised, very motivated, unfailingly hard working and has forged about her a fantastic support team. The department is very fortunate to have her and the team that she leads in such a magnificent way". Dr Christine Farr