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DDI Spotlight: 5 minutes with Susan John and Heidi Lempp

Our DDI Spotlights explore our Academic Leads for Development, Diversity and Inclusion from across the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine. Professor Heidi Lempp and Dr Susan John are the Co-Academic Leads for Development, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences, below they give an insight into their typical day, what inspires them and advice they would give their 18 year old selves.

Susan John Heidi Lempp 780x450

Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

Heidi: I have worked in the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences for many years as a Medical Sociologist, contributing to applied Health Service Research, e.g., co-produced health service research studies, clinical trials in Rheumatology, and diverse medical education research with colleagues across King's and beyond.

Susan: I joined King's as a Lecturer in the Department of Immunobiology, currently in the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences. My lab’s research focus is on understanding T cell signal transduction mechanisms in health and disease, with the aim of translating this knowledge to patient-based studies. We are currently involved in two exciting clinical studies.

What is a typical day as a DDI Lead like for you?

Heidi: In my role as a DDI Lead a typical day includes actioning the decisions made during our two monthly DDI Committee meetings, inviting internal or external colleagues to brief our Committees on new initiatives, e.g. diversification of BSc curriculum, King's involvement in environmental sustainability, meeting together with Susan to discuss our DDI agenda and solving DDI related problems that occur within the School.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Heidi: Never give up on a good idea, pursue until you have reached your goal, whatever the barriers with constructive support by colleagues.

Susan: The same thing I told myself then, pursue your dreams and career aspirations with conviction and don’t let obstacles stop you from achieving your goals.

What do you do with your time outside academia/work?

Heidi: Meeting friends, travelling, outdoor activities, visiting family

Susan: Walking, family and friend get togethers, cooking, gardening.

What have you enjoyed the most in your role as a DDI Lead?

Heidi: Working together with Susan has been excellent, she is a great critical friend and has motivated colleagues to become involved in our SIMS DDI Committee.

Susan: As a co-lead, I have enjoyed working together with Heidi on all aspects of our DDI mission, but I am particularly keen to support our younger School members (postdocs/PhD students) to feel included and have a voice.

Who inspires you most and why?

Heidi: Members of our Expert Patient Group, they are so motivated to collaborate with academics/clinicians and are always grateful and happy to help with funded research projects and medical education.

What is something positive that happened to you in 2023?

Heidi: Supervising the PhD students from who I have learnt such a great deal and who understood how qualitative research methods can contribute to health science.

Susan: Being awarded further funding to continue our patient-based study.

What is your favourite thing about working at King’s?

Susan: Colleagues at all levels, whom I interact with every day.


Favourite season:

Heidi: Autumn

Susan: Summer

Favourite cuisine:

Heidi: freshly cooked vegetarian Mediterranean food

Susan: All types of Asian cuisine: Chinese, Korean, Japanese

Coffee order:

Heidi: cappuccino

Susan: skinny capuccino

One thing you could not go a day without:

Heidi: Coffee and fresh berries with natural yoghurt

Susan: Coffee and/or Tea

In this story

Heidi  Lempp

Heidi Lempp

Professor of Medical Sociology in Rheumatology and Medical Education

Susan  John

Susan John

Senior Lecturer

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