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The University of Southampton


Athena Swan Silver Award
Athena Swan Silver Award

The Faculty of Medicine has achieved a Silver Athena SWAN award in the latest results announcement. The award is part of the Athena SWAN Charter for women in science, which recognises commitment to advancing their careers in STEMM academia (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine).  Read more about this achievement.

WISE Awards
WISE Awards

The Faculty of Medicine's Dr Ying Cheong was named winner of the WISE Tech Start-Up Award and Dr Katherine Woods-Townsend was also shortlisted for the WISE Impact Award.

Find out more about our involvement in WISE here.


Dr Ying Cheong, Professor of Reproductive Medicine, Honorary Consultant in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, Clinical Director, Complete Fertility Centre, Southampton 

Dr Cheong founded the Complete Fertility Centre Southampton at the Princess Anne Hospital in 2011 which now treats hundreds of patients with fertility problems and in 2016 founded Vivoplex with her co-workers, a company which combined technical and clinical expertise to develop advanced miniaturized biometric sensors for advance monitoring of the environment within the womb.

Ying’s research interest centers around understanding the biology of womb. She works closely with collaborators across disciplines in the School of Electronics, Computer Science and Nanoscience within the University in the development of nano-therapeutics and medical biosensors and have multinational collaborators in Europe, China and the Far East. For the first time, parameters vital to the environment within the womb are directly measurable, providing a better understanding of the fertility process. The business is built on strong partnerships and collaborations between industry, academia and the health service sectors. Ying leads the academic clinical team, who have facilitated the development of powerful medical sensor technology, which is continually being trialled, to generate evidence-based critical outcomes which can directly address the current clinical need of many aspects of women’s reproductive health. Wireless medical sensor technology is integral to investigating the environment of the womb and will continue to be at the heart of Vivolex’s development and advancement.

Judges comments: This winner has created a ground breaking, innovative technology product which uses a data driven approach to deliver better outcomes to an industry which lacks scientific rigour. The judges were impressed with the inspiration behind the idea and the level of thought leadership displayed.


Dr Kathryn Woods-Townsend, Life-lab Project Manager, University of Southampton

LifeLab is an innovative educational intervention, actively engaging teenagers and teachers with the science explaining how lifestyle choices at an early age drastically affects future health and the health of their future children, a particularly important message for adolescent girls. A successful research scientist with a PhD in Human Genetics, Kathryn retrained as a secondary school teacher, consolidating her interest in Science, Scientific education and Scientific literacy and has been instrumental in driving forward the LifeLab initiative, contributing her understanding of the educational environment to the smooth running of the project and ensuring its ongoing success. In developing the LifeLab activities, it has been important to ensure that boys and girls are equally motivated, whilst at the same time ensuring that Kathryn, and her team, are seen as role models of successful women in science by the pupils and teachers who attend. To ensure that they maximise opportunities to normalise the gender imbalance, they always have a ratio of 2:1 female:male scientists. Of the 300 researchers on their database, 202 are female and 95 are male, which is a great representation. The schools decide which classes to bring to LifeLab and slightly more female teenagers have attended (55% vs 45%). A passionate advocate for opening up the world of science to school students, a key motivator for Kathryn is to ensure that girls are given opportunities to see themselves as scientists and to support their growing confidence in occupying that role and it appears that LifeLab is doing just that.

Kathryn's People Like Me types: Explorer, Trainer and Persuader

VC awards ceremony

The Faculty of Medicine Athena SWAN action committee was nominated and shortlisted for the University of Southampton 2017 Vice Chancellor awards for the category of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (working towards a more inclusive culture at faculty, departmental and institutional levels). Winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards were announced on Friday 13 October, at a special evening designed to celebrate exceptional contributions made to our University.  The team were congratulated for their hard work and dedication in achieving the silver Athena SWAN award for the Faculty. 

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