- The team -

Soapbox Science Brighton 2024

11am - 2pm
Saturday 1st June, 2024

Brighton & Hove beach

By the i360

Soapbox Science Brighton 2024 was held on Brighton & Hove beach on Saturday 1st June 2024, when we were graced with wonderful weather throughout the event!

We have produced a photo-story summarising the event, with quotes from all the speakers involved - do take a look!

This page details the speakers and topics presented at the 2024 event.

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Photographs of Soapbox Science Brighton, 2024.

Speakers at Soapbox Science Brighton 2024

The following speakers presented at Soapbox Science Brighton 2024 on the 1st June, 2024. Full details about all of our speakers can be found below the table (in first name alphabetical order), or by clicking on an individual's name.


Emily ThriftPlastic ingestion by UK hedgehogs and their food.
Hannah HersantWomen in Sport Science: How You Can Make an Impact.
Jessica LockParticle Detectives: Searching for Subatomic Secrets.


Prof Claire SmithYour Body is NOT a Textbook example.
Jo Herbert
& Matilda Clark
The Enzyme Revolution: How the Environment can Help us Recycle Plastic.
Dr Eva-Maria MuellerShining light on Dark Energy.


Amber ShepherdBuilding lasers to discover new physics.
Susmita AownMeadow spittlebug, the 'foam lover'.
Dr Ferheen AyazEnergy Sharing for Caring about the Environment.
Dr Liat LevitaHow everything you thought about teens is wrong - Teen brains rock!


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Amber Shepherd

Building lasers to discover new physics

Presentation slot: 1pm-2pm
Amber studied an integrated Master's in chemistry at the University of Sussex, which she completed in 2021. She is currently working towards a PhD in quantum technology at the University of Sussex in the Ion Trap Cavity-QED and Molecular Physics group. Her project aims to build a molecular clock to test fundamental physics.

Professor Claire Smith

Your Body is NOT a Textbook example

Presentation slot: 12noon-1pm
Professor Smith is a multi-award winner, BAFTA nominated Scientist and Science Educator. Her work is focused on how we can understand the human body, and push the boundaries of our assumptions. Her recent work on the Channel 4 documentary “My Dead Body” brought about the first public dissection on TV, to critical acclaim. She has published over a 100 research articles on the human body and how to teach using deceased donors. She has authored 9 textbooks including Gray’s Surface Anatomy and Ultrasound. Professor Smith teaches a range of undergraduate and postgraduate students in a laboratory environment and is a member of the Court of Examiners for the Royal College of Surgeons.

Emily Thrift

Plastic ingestion by UK hedgehogs

Presentation slot: 11am-12noon
Emily is a PhD student researching plastic pollution within terrestrial mammals in the UK. This research is the first to look at these voles, mice, shrews and hedgehogs in the UK and found microplastics in all the species tested. Her latest work which will be peer reviewed soon looks at the way microplastics enter the European hedgehog through looking at both supplementary feed and wild prey species. Further work also looked at the risk plastic entanglement cause the European hedgehog.

Dr Eva-Maria Mueller

Shining light on Dark Energy

Presentation slot: 1pm-2pm
Eva-Maria Mueller is currently an Ernest Rutherford Fellow and proleptic lecturer at the University of Sussex studying the large scale structure of our Universe to decipher the mystery of Dark Energy. Previously, she was a Dennis Sciama Fellow at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravity at the University of Portsmouth, and a research fellow at the University of Oxford. Eva-Maria gained her PhD from Cornell University researching extensions to the cosmological standard model.

Dr Ferheen Ayaz

Energy Sharing for Caring about the Environment

Presentation slot: 1pm-2pm
Ferheen Ayaz is a Research Fellow at the 6G Lab, School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex working on the Network Plus Project “A Green, Connected and Prosperous Britain”. She is formulating energy-efficient solutions for electric vehicle charging enabled by 5G communications. Previously, she has worked on security of deep neural networks for IoT devices at University of Glasgow. She completed her PhD thesis at University of Sussex on the topic of blockchain solutions for the security and privacy of vehicular networks particularly message dissemination. She has published in various flagship conferences and prestigious journals. She volunteers for IEEE Young Professionals Climate and Sustainability Task Force. She has been as a finalist for Women Leaders in Electronics Awards 2024 by Electronics Weekly. She was highly commended as a Rising Star in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Awards by WorldSkills UK in 2022. She also received N2Women Fellowship in 2020.

Matilda Clark

The Enzyme Revolution: How the Environment can Help us Recycle Plastic

Presentation slot: 12noon-1pm
Matilda Clark has been interested in science since she was a child. After much deliberation between biology and chemistry she decided to study biochemistry at the University of Leicester. Here she discovered a passion for proteins and understanding how small changes in their structure can cause a big difference in their activity. She also completed a one year placement at medical research charity LifeArc where she learnt how express proteins and test them. Combining this with a passion for protecting our environment she chose to undertake a PhD looking for enzymes that would degrade plastics. She is now in her forth year and spends her time investigating the activity of plastic degrading enzymes at different temperatures to see how they could be applied in an industrial setting.

Hannah Hersant

Women in Sport Science: How You Can Make an Impact

Presentation slot: 11am-12noon
Hannah specialises in sport performance analysis, with over seven years experience in higher education and practice. She has been lecturing in sport science and performance analysis for 5 years, and has worked as an analyst for British Canoeing, England Netball, Surrey Storm and Saracens Mavericks Netball Club. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Kent, in which she is completing a detailed exploration of the strategies and tactics implemented within centre passes in professional British Superleague netball. She also has a keen interest in promoting the representation of females within sport, both within education, practice and industry. Hannah's research interests lie within performance analysis and profiling within netball, and how this information can be used to enhance performance. She is also interested in the general research area of women in sport and physical activity, with a keen interest in exploring the unique barriers women face towards exercise, and what strategies can be implemented to aid with this.

Jo Herbert

The Enzyme Revolution: How the Environment can Help us Recycle Plastic

Presentation slot: 12noon-1pm
Jo Herbert is a final year PhD student studying the genomics of bacteria that can break down plastics within the Centre for Enzyme Innovation, University of Portsmouth. Her research focuses on exploring these bacteria with these special capabilities. Specifically her research involves sourcing plastic-degrading bacteria from the environment, conducting experiments in the lab to see how they break down plastic, and how we can improve their abilities to break down plastic and use this data to discover further novel plastic-degrading enzymes that can be used to recycle plastic on an industrial scale as a solution to humanities plastic problem.

Jessica Lock

Particle Detectives: Searching for Subatomic Secrets

Presentation slot: 11am-12noon
Jess Lock is a second year PhD student at the University of Sussex, working with the Experimental Particle Physics group. Her work focuses on developing opaque scintillator technology with the LiquidO consortium. She has also worked with on the NOvA neutrino experiment, based at Fermilab in the USA, as a part of the computing team.

Dr Liat Levita

How everything you thought about teens is wrong - Teen brains rock!

Presentation slot: 1pm-2pm
Dr. Liat Levita has dedicated her career to unravelling the complexities of adolescent development through her work as the head of the Developmental Affective Neuroscience lab. Her research takes a translational approach, bridging insights from neuroscience and psychology to understand the human adolescent period comprehensively. Dr Liat Levita did her UG degree in neuroscience at the University of St Andrews and her PhD at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Liat Levita is currently a Reader in Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, prior to which she held roles as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield and a Lecturer at the University of York. Her academic journey extended to work in the United States, including postdoctoral research positions at Weill Medical School of Cornell University, Columbia University and Emory University, where she honed her expertise in psychology, development and neuroscience.

Susmita Aown

Meadow Spittlebug - the ‘foam-lover’

Presentation slot: 12noon-1pm
Susmita is a third PhD student working on the ecology, biology, and behaviour of Philaenus spumarius, the primary insect vector of Xyllela fastidiosa. Susmita has been collaborating with lavender and grapevine farmers in Sussex and Kent to survey their farms for the presence of her study insect, P. spumarius. Susmita is interested in equality and easy access to science and science communication outside of academia. She has become the Vice-Chair of The Racial and Ethnic Equality and Diversity (REED) Ecological Network. Susmita is doing her three-month placement at the Royal Horticulture Society Wisley Gardens. She is working as an Entomologist on the Pathology Advisory and Diagnostics team, where her main duties involve identifying garden members' enquiries regarding insects on their plants, taking care of the Wisley Entomology Museum Collection, and taking part in general garden outreach events such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Sponsors for Soapbox Science Brighton 2024

We thank the following organisations for their support in making Soapbox Science Brighton such a successful annual event.