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Below you will find the 2023 list of Council members of the Palaeontological Association:

*attends Council meetings but is not a Trustee
** co-opted on to Council at October 2022 meeting.
‡ member of diversity group


Rachel A. Wood - University of Edinburgh, UK; e-mail

Rachel is based in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. Her main research interests are in the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition, the history of reef-building, and carbonate sedimentology and petrography. She tries to integrate palaeobiological data with geochemical indicators of environmental change and sedimentology. A key joy in her professional life has been working with talented students and international colleagues.   

Rachel is delighted and honoured to be elected President of the Palaeontological Association for 2023-2024.



Paul Barrett  - Natural History Museum, London, UK; e-mail

Paul is an Individual Merit Researcher based at the Natural History Museum, London. He is a specialist on the taxonomy, biology and evolution of non-avian dinosaurs and he also works with other Mesozoic reptile groups. This research is international in scope and his many collaborations bring insights into palaeontological research on the global stage.

As one of the Vice-Presidents, Paul sits on Council to provide independent input on all matters, based on his previous experience with other related societies and editorial matters, as well as with the palaeontological community. He leads and/or participates in important sub-committees, particularly those tasked with making recommendations for grants and awards, and has strong interests in professional ethics. 


Uwe Balthasar ‡ - University of Plymouth, UK; 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.

As one of the Vice-Presidents, Uwe sits on Council to provide independent input on all matters, based on his previous experience of Council membership. He leads and/or participates 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 organization 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, UK; e-mail

Manabu 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.



Alan R.T. Spencer - Natural History Museum, London/Imperial College London, UK; 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 scretary, was as a Trustee and Internet Officer and then as (the unofficially titled) “Emeritus Internet Officer”.

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.


Editor in Chief

Paul D. Taylor ‡ - Natural History Museum, London, UK; e-mail

Paul is a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum, London, following retirement from his post as an Individual Merit Researcher at the end of 2018. Paul’s research focuses on the palaeobiology and systematics of bryozoans and the palaeoecology of hard substrates. He also has an interest in fossil folklore.

Paul is Editor-in-Chief for the Association’s journals Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology.


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 she worked on Devonian tetrapods before moving to Cambridge University Press. She took on her present role in 2013.


Editor Trustees

Evelyn Kustatscher - LMU München, Germany; e-mail

Evelyn is a Researcher in fossil plants and spores/pollen and Curator of paleontology at the Museum of Nature South Tyrol, Bolzano (Italy). Evelyn’s research focuses on late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic plant fossils and spores/pollen to reconstruct the plants, their relative abundance in the flora, and landscape and climate change through time. 

Evelyn sits on Council as a member of the Editorial Board of the Association's journals Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology. 


Susannah C.R. Maidment - Natural History Museum, London, UK; e-mail

Susannah 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's journals Palaeontology and Papers in Palaeontology


Newsletter Editor

Emilia Jarochowska ‡ - Utrecht University, The Netherlands; e-mail

Emilia is an Assistant Professor at Utrecht University. 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, Poland, 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 Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany; e-mail

Thomas is currently based at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg. 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 have branched 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

Nicola Vuolo ‡ - ICONS, Italy; e-mail

Nick’s main research interest is in conodont morphology and evolution. For his PhD at the University of Milan, Italy, he studied Carboniferous and Permian conodont biostratigraphy. He worked on 3D reconstructions of conodont feeding apparatus as a visiting researcher at the University of Bristol, UK and he explored conodont disparity at the P/T boundary during his post-doc at the University of Lyon, France. In 2021 he did a master’s in science communication at SISSA University in Trieste, Italy. He is currently working as a project manager for Research and Development European project communication at ICONS foundation, Italy, while collaborating with Italian scientific schoolbook publishers.

As Publicity Officer, Nick drives the Association’s social media, raising awareness of the Association’s events and initiatives, promoting the Association and palaeontology among experts and the general public. He 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 ‡ - The University of Manchester, UK; 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 and server, web shop, e-mail systems, content management system, and conference web systems, for example. 


Deputy Internet Officer

Shane Wheatley ‡ - University of Lincoln, UK; e-mail

Shane’s research is primarily based around the evolution of shape across various vertebrate groups, although anomodonts take precedence! Shane’s MRes has been based around the shape evolution of the hindlimbs in theropods, at the University of Lincoln. In his spare time, Shane enjoys gaming, technology and tinkering. 

As Deputy Internet Officer, Shane’s role is to run assist the Internet Officer run the Association's web infrastructure, and undergo training in the different systems used (AWS hosting, and the Drupal CMS, for example). 


Outreach Officer

Elizabeth M. Dowding - Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; e-mail

Elizabeth is a biogeographer, interested in the Devonian (419-358 Ma) and trilobites. Elizabeth’s current interests centre around bioregionalisation and the impacts of positionality on data collection and interpretation. Originally from Australia, Elizabeth enjoys the great outdoors, beach days, and sunscreen.

As Public Engagement Officer, Elizabeth is excited by the opportunity to foster peoples interest in palaeoscience and our shared fossil heritage. Elizabeth currently gives talks to schools and fossil lubs about Earth Science. If you are interested in Earth Science or would like some support, please contact them.



Meetings Coordinator

Robert Sansom - The University of Manchester, UK; e-mail

Rob is a senior lecturer at the University of Manchester. His research spans across taphonomy and phylogeny to reconstruct evolution in deep time. As such, his research utilizes a variety of approaches including specimen based studies, laboratory experiments, as well as quantitative and theoretical analyses. This spans across a variety of animal groups, but early vertebrates and fossilization biases are areas of focus. 

In his role as Meetings Coordinator, Rob is responsible  for the Association's presence at major international meetings in the wider Earth sciences domain. He also coordinates the Association’s Postgraduate Travel Fund and the Exceptional Lecturer Scheme.


Diversity Officer

Farid Saleh ‡ - Yunnan University, China; 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.


Early Research Career Officer

Orla Bath Enright – State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, Germany; e-mail

Orla is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart. In broad terms, her research interests are understanding the factors (primarily biological and sedimentological) that bias soft-tissue preservation. She uses experiments, fossil data and fieldwork to investigate these processes. Orla grew up in Ireland before moving to the UK for her PhD. She completed her first postdoc in Switzerland and has now moved to Germany.

As Early Research Career Officer, Orla’s role is to raise awareness of the challenges facing the ECR community and create new support activities. She will work closely with the other members of the Council, such as the Diversity Group, to continue to ensure an inclusive space for all Association members.


Ordinary Members

Harriet B. Drage – University of Lausanne, Switzerland; e-mail

Harrie (she/her) is a postdoctoral researcher in the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research focuses on the evolution of exoskeleton moulting behaviour in the fossil record of Euarthropoda, and methods of reconstructing extinct animal ecologies in deep time. Prior to her postdoc, she worked in science education publishing for Oxford University Press in the UK. Working towards equity in science is one of her key interests, including how we ensure the language we use is inclusive and diverse. 

Outside of work, Harrie enjoys climbing, hiking in the Alps, lifting weights, and video games. 




Robert Theodore ‡ - Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, UK; 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.

As an Ordinary Member of the Council, Rob contributes to the Association’s work on public engagement and diversity and inclusion. He is a member of the Council’s Diversity Group.


  • Samuel Cross, Amber Wood-Bailey, Matthew Dempsey** - University of Liverpool, UK (Progressive Palaeontology 2023 representatives)
  • Kirsten Flett** - University of Bristol (Progressive Palaeontology 2023 representatives; email:
  • Alex Liu** - University Of Cambridge, UK (Annual Meeting 2023 representative; email:


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