Prospective Students

Penny Handford

BSc, PhD S'ton, MA Oxf


I teach a range of tutorial topics on the Molecular and Cellular biochemistry course, 1st year- molecular cell biology, 2nd year, primer design and aspects of protein purification and 3rd year, extracellular matrix in health and disease. I lecture on the Biochemistry course to the 1st years and 3rd years. I host 4th year undergraduate students for their 18 week research projects.

About me

I have been Tutor in Biochemistry at St Catherine’s since October 1998; before that I was a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford.  I was awarded the personal title of Professor in the 2004 Recognition of Distinction exercise at the University of Oxford.


My long term interest has been in understanding molecular mechanisms underlying human disease. My early work focussed on haemophilia B and Marfan syndrome. My main research interests currently are i)  cell- extracellular matrix interactions in health and disease ( Marfan syndrome, acromelic dysplasias) and ii) cell surface organisation and regulation of  the Notch receptor and its ligands ( Alagille syndrome). My work is currently funded by MRC, CRUK and Arthritis Research UK.

Graduate Teaching

I have DPhil students and post-doctoral research assistants in my laboratory working on aspects of my research interests. I am college advisor to graduate students at St Catherine’s in the Medical sciences division.

Wolfson Fellow and Tutor in Biochemistry
Professor of Biochemistry

Christoph Reisinger

MA Oxf, Dr phil Heidelberg, Dipl Linz


I currently teach undergraduate classes and tutorials in applied mathematics and lecture Masters courses in mathematical and computational finance.

About me

I am a member of the Mathematical and Computational Finance Group at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, and have a doctorate in Mathematics from the University in Heidelberg.

My research covers various aspects of the development, analysis and implementation of numerical algorithms for partial differential equations and stochastic (partial) differential equations, such as those arising in financial engineering.

I serve as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Applied Mathematical Finance and am on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Computational Finance and the International Journal of Computer Mathematics.

Graduate teaching

I have supervised graduate students at Masters and PhD level in numerical analysis, scientific computing and computational finance and would welcome prospective students in these areas.

Fellow and Tutor in Mathematics
Professor of Applied Mathematics


Grunnfag Oslo, BA Yale, MA, DPhil Oxf


I teach the Prelims Victorian and Modern literature papers at Catz, as well as selected FHS papers on special topics such as Literature and Science, Fin de Siècle Literature and Modern Drama.  My lectures in the Faculty of English cover topics in modern drama and in literature and science from the nineteenth century to the present.

I supervise D Phil students working on a range of topics in modern drama and in literature and science.  I also regularly co-convene the Post-1900 M St and teach C-course options on modern British drama, Victorian theatre, Drama since 1945, and Women and Theatre.

About me

I received my BA in English from Yale University and then worked for two years in the publishing house Alfred A Knopf, Inc in New York City before graduate studies at the University of Oslo (on a Fulbright Grant) and then Oxford, where I received my D Phil in English.  Prior to coming to Oxford in 2007, I taught at the University of Birmingham in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts.  Before that I taught at North Carolina State University in the Department of English, at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

In addition to my roles within the Faculty and the college, I serve as the Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement Champion for the Humanities at Oxford (2015-17).


There are three main strands to my research.  One is the study of theatre and science, looking at the ways in which plays and performances have engaged with scientific ideas.  My book Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett (Columbia University Press, 2015) investigates the interaction between theatre and evolutionary theory since the 1840s, encompassing the full spectrum of theories (Lamarck, Darwin, Haeckel, DeVries, Huxley, Wallace and many others) and a wide variety of dramatic modes and playwrights, some well known and some forgotten.  The project was supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2011-12.  My book Science on Stage: From Doctor Faustus to Copenhagen (Princeton University Press, 2006; paperback 2012) traces the development of the "science play" since the Renaissance and was the first full-length study of this genre.  I have published articles on theatre and science in American Scientist, Nature, Gramma, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Women: A Cultural Review and elsewhere.  In addition I co-edited two special issues of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews on "New Directions in Theatre and Science" in 2013 and 2014.

I also work on Ibsen’s plays.  My book Ibsen and Early Modernist Theatre, 1890-1900 (1997) explores how Ibsen’s plays were staged and critically received in England and France in the context of the incipient modernist theatre.  Articles I have published in this area have appeared in Theatre Research International, Ibsen Studies, Nordic Theatre Studies, and elsewhere.  I convened the Ibsen Network at Oxford funded by TORCH (2013-15) and have just been awarded funding for a new Nordic Network which I co-convene with colleagues across the Humanities division:

The third key research interest for me is in the role of theatrical performance in the historiography of modernism, and I have published on this topic in journals such as Modernist Cultures and Theatre Research International.

Fellow and Tutor in English
Professor of English and Theatre Studies
Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement Champion for the Humanities Division

Marc Mulholland

BA, MA, PhD Belf, MA Oxf


In Prelims (First Year) I teach:

Approaches to History


General History IV (1815-1914)

British History VI (1815-1924)

British History VII (1914 - )

Optional Subject: Theories of the State (Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx)

Option Subject: The Rise and Fall of European Socialisms


In FHS (Final Honours School, Second and Third Year) I teach:

Disciplines of History

General History XII 1856-1914

General History XIII 1914-1944

General History XIV 1944-1973

British History VI (1815-1924)

British History VII (1914 - )

Further Subject: Nationalism, Politics and Culture in Ireland, c. 1870-1921

Special Subject: The Northern Ireland Troubles, 1965-1985

About me

The son of a forester and a primary school teacher, I was born in Ireland. I took my degrees up to PhD at the Queen’s University of Belfast.

Recent work includes:

Bourgeois Liberty and the politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-Conservatism (Oxford, 2012)

‘Inventing the Working Class’ [Review Essay on Marx], Dublin Review of Books, August 2013

Terence O’Neill: Life and Times (Dublin, 2013)


About half the time, I work on Irish History in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Otherwise I’m researching the history of political thought since the French Revolution. Currently I have two projects underway: Irish peasant activism in the 1880s, and leftist attitudes internationally to the proletarian working-class.

Graduate teaching

I have supervised graduate students at Masters and PhD level on nineteenth and twentieth Irish history and leftist political thought, and would welcome prospective students in these areas.



Wolfson Fellow and Tutor in History
Professor of Modern History
Senior Tutor

Richard Todd

MA Camb, MA status, DPhil Oxf


I have been teaching in Oxford for 18 years.  The main subjects I cover in tutorials concern the links between materials processing, microstructure and mechanical properties. I give lecture courses in the Department of Materials on Engineering Ceramics (3rd year), Fracture and Fatigue (2nd year) and Creep and Superplasticity (2nd year). I also run a workshop for research students on how to write and publish scientific papers.

About me

I studied Natural Science at Cambridge and after a few years in the electronics industry came to Oxford to do a Doctorate in superplastic metals. After 5 years of a permanent position at Manchester University, I returned to Oxford to take up my present post in 1999.

I received the Pfeil Award of the Institute of Materials 2001 for published work in ceramics and the Verulam Medal and Prize of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining 2012 in recognition of distinguished contributions to ceramics.  I am a Fellow of the European Ceramic Society - ECERS (2013) and Senior Editor of the Journal of the European Ceramic Society (2011- present).


My research concerns the mechanical properties and processing of ceramics and metals. Current interests include ceramic – carbon nanotube composites and ceramics with microstructures inspired by natural materials such as bone and seashells, mechanical testing and stress measurement in ceramics at the microscale so that the properties of the individual building blocks of materials can be understood, the impact performance of ceramics for use as armour for personnel and vehicles, polycrystalline diamond for the ultimate hard cutting tool, new methods of making ceramics such as "flash sintering" and “cold sintering” for energy saving and greener production, probing of internal stress and structure using neutrons and synchrotron radiation, improved metal forming for automobiles and mechanisms of superplastic deformation.

Graduate teaching

I supervise graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the above areas of research interest.

Goldsmiths' Fellow and Tutor in Material Sciences
Professor of Materials

John Foord

MA, PhD Camb, MA Oxf


I teach most branches of physical chemistry, with specialisation in aspects of surface and solid-state chemistry.

About me

I completed a BA degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD in surface chemistry at Cambridge University, followed by spells as a Junior Research Fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge and as a lecturer at Southampton University. At Oxford,  I serve as Tutor in Physical Chemistry at St Catherine's and run an active research group as a Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry in Oxford, concerned with surface chemistry and nanomaterials.


Current projects are especially involved with sustainable energy, focusing on the development of improved electrocatalysts for fuel cells, along with the safe provision of hydrogen for portable energy applications.

Other research areas include the study of materials for supercapacitors and new types of chemical and bio- sensors, based on the use of synthetic thin film diamond, the self-assembly of nanostructured interfaces using templating techniques, and new transparent conducting oxide thin films for next generation electrophotonics.

Graduate teaching

Within my research group, I supervise the studies of D.Phil. students working on various projects connected with the research areas described above.


Tutor in Physical Chemistry

Jim Thomson

MChem, DPhil Oxf


I teach all aspects of organic chemistry for Prelims, Part IA and Part IB, in the first three years of the Oxford MChem course; I also supervise Part II students who wish to undertake a research project in synthetic organic chemistry in their fourth year.

About me

I studied chemistry at the University of Oxford where I gained an MChem (2003) and then DPhil (2007), working with Professor Steve Davies in the area of β-amino acid organocatalysis. In 2006 I moved from New College, Oxford to join the chemistry teaching team at St Catherine’s and in 2007 was elected to a fellowship.


My research interests lie in the area of synthetic organic chemistry, the development of novel asymmetric transformations, and the total synthesis of natural products.

Fellow by Special Election in Chemistry
College Lecturer in Chemistry
Director of Studies for Organic Chemistry
Tutor for Admissions

Heidi de Wet

BSc North-West, PhD Cape Town


I teach Physiology and Pharmacology to first-year pre-clinical medical students, as well as critical analysis to first-year, second-year and FHS students.

About me

I was awarded my DPhil from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.  Following a brief post-doctoral period in South Africa, I moved to the UK to pursue post-doctoral research at the University of Oxford.  I am currently starting up my own laboratory in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.


My doctoral work in the Department of Chemical Pathology at the UCT Medical School introduced me to the ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) family of membrane transporters, which has been the focus of my research ever since.  This structurally-conserved protein family is remarkably diverse in function and I have been privileged to be involved in this field from its infancy.

My post-doctoral research in Oxford focussed on neonatal diabetes, a rare form of type 2 diabetes, and the dysfunctional ABC transporters involved in this disease.  More recently, my focus shifted to studying the role ABC transporters in gut endocrine K-and L-cells.  These cells are involved in nutrient sensing in the small intestine and the subsequent secretion of appropriate peptide hormones which regulate several essential physiological responses to food intake.

Graduate teaching

I have supervised graduate students at Masters and PhD level and would welcome prospective students interested in the fields of diabetes and obesity, and the membrane transporters and signal transduction pathways involved in these pathologies.


Director of Studies for Pre-clinical Medicine
Fellow and Tutor in Pre-clinical Medicine
Associate Professor in Physiology

Directions for Drivers

From London and the East

Leave the M40 motorway at Junction 8 signposted Oxford A40. Continue for approximately 5 miles; the A40 meets the Green Road roundabout, go straight across, following signs for Headington and the City Centre; continue straight on for 2 miles through Headington until you reach another roundabout - The Plain - and take the last exit. Cross Magdalen Bridge, and at the traffic lights turn right into Longwall Street and take the first right into Manor Road after St Cross Church. Cross the river and you have arrived.

From the South

Leave the A34 at the first Oxford exit. At the roundabouts follow signs for the city centre. Pass the Park & Ride on your left, take a right at the second set of traffic lights into Donnington Bridge Road. At the lights turn left, continue straight on until you reach a roundabout - The Plain. Go straight over and cross Magdalen Bridge; at the traffic lights turn right into Longwall Street and take the first right into Manor Rd after St Cross Church. Cross the river and you have arrived.

From the North

Leave the M40 at Junction 9, following signs for Oxford A34. Continue for approximately 8 miles, then take the Oxford/ Cheltenham exit. At the Pear Tree roundabout take the second exit. At the next roundabout (Wolvercote) take the second exit along the A40, following signs to M40 London. At the next roundabout take the right exit, following signs for Summertown and the City Centre. Continue for approximately 2 miles, then turn left into Parks Rd (opposite church). Pass the Park and Museum on the left, and take the next left into South Parks Road. The road bends sharply right, past more playing fields; take the next left into Manor Road just before the road bends sharply right again. St. Catherine's is ahead of you.

From the West

We recommend that visitors bypass the City and approach from the North. Leave the M4 at Junction 15 and follow signs for Oxford A420. Continue along the A420 for approximately 30 miles. Rather than continue through the western side of the City, at the A34 interchange, head north following signs for M40 but leave at the next exit. At the Pear Tree roundabout follow signs to City Centre, passing the services and Park & Ride; at the next roundabout (Wolvercote) take the second exit. From here follow directions as from the North. For those approaching on the A40,cross straight over the Wolvercote roundabout and follow the directions as from the North.

Postcode for Sat Nav: OX1 3UJ

Byron Byrne

BCom, BEng Western Australia, MA, DPhil Oxf


I teach mostly structures and mechanics to the first year and mainly structures to the second year students at St Catherine’s. I also teach soil mechanics in the third and fourth year of the course, and usually supervise a third year design project in offshore renewable energy.

About me

I read undergraduate degrees in Civil Engineering and Commerce at the University of Western Australia before moving to Oxford in 1996 as a Rhodes Scholar. I then pursued doctoral research as a member of Balliol College before transferring to Magdalen College as a Fellow by Examination and 1851 Research Fellow. Prior to taking up my St Catherine’s post in 2005 I was a Departmental Lecturer in Engineering and an Official Fellow at Magdalen College. Outside of my academic work I take a keen interest in sports and as a student I played cricket for Oxford gaining a Blue four times (1997 to 2000).


I specialise in Civil Engineering and geotechnical engineering, with current research interests focusing on the mechanics of soil and applications associated with offshore engineering. Within this broad area I concentrate on two topics both relating to soil structure interaction. The first topic is on the foundations for offshore structures and most recently I have been concentrating on applications for offshore renewable energy structures, such as offshore wind turbines. The second topic relates to the behaviour of offshore pipelines. I routinely provide advice to industry through short term consultancy contracts.

Graduate supervision

I currently supervise seven postgraduate students, most of whom are pursuing doctoral degrees in offshore geotechnical engineering. My research is sponsored by a variety of industrial funders. I welcome approaches from prospective students in these areas.


Fellow and Tutor in Engineering Science
Professor of Engineering Science


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