The Committee

Chair: Dr Maithrie White

picture of Dr White imagining somethingAs an undergraduate pursuing a degree in English (Literature) in Sri Lanka, I learned how crucial it was to develop a Christian mind in my studies as well as the world around me. This vision was fired and nurtured by FOCUS (the IFES affiliated Fellowship of Christian University Students - Sri Lanka), and subsequently by the passion and commitment of its community of graduates. As a graduate in Sri Lanka, I was extensively involved with the ministry of FOCUS as an associate staff worker and speaker. It is the same passion and vision of FOCUS that fires the vision of the Postgrad conference,  which was founded by a group of us - then students, academics and chaplains - in 2003, during my PhD at the University of Nottingham. 

I like exploring off the beaten track, and my PhD in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory led me to Monty Python and Douglas Adams. After my PhD I returned to lecturing in Sri Lanka, where as Head of the Department of English, I discovered that the title also conferred a zombied existence of infinite babble and meetings. I love lecturing and managed to sneak J K Rowling and Terry Pratchett into my modules. I am fascinated by the beauty and mystery of the Universe, and intrigued with what makes our world go round. I enjoy dabbling with theology, theory, and the magic of words, and delight in mixing them all up one way or another. Oh, I am also a writer, and am in the process of editing my fiction for publication.   


Secretary: Dr Eline van Asperen

Eline van AsperenEline is a postdoctoral researcher in palaeoecology, based at Liverpool John Moores University, where she is studying fungi that grow on animal dung to investigate the impact of herbivores on forest regeneration. She is originally from The Netherlands, where she studied Archaeological Sciences at Leiden University. She came to York to do her PhD, which involved visiting lots of museum cellars across northwest Europe for a detailed study of horse bones to find out more about the impact of climate change on these animals. In previous postdoctoral research she examined the dynamics of large mammal communities during the Ice Age, expanding her love for odd-toed hooved animals to include rhinos. She is delighted that she is now studying live rhinos! The most exciting thing she ever dug up was a number of human graves dating from the Stone Age, one of which contained a man holding the prehistoric equivalent of a lighter under his nose!

Besides archaeology and palaeontology, her second love is philosophy, which unfortunately has to be confined to Sunday afternoon musings and reading big books on long train journeys. She is passionate about her faith and her academic calling and enjoys a good discussion about the relationship between the two.

Treasurer: Dr Mike Clifford

MikeMike Clifford is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham and a volunteer with Tearfund. His research interests are in combustion, biomass briquetting, cookstove design and other appropriate technologies. He has published over 80 refereed conference and journal publications and has contributed chapters to books on appropriate and sustainable technologies. In 2009, he was voted "engineering lecturer of the year" by the Higher Education Academy’s Engineering Subject Centre for his innovative teaching methods involving costume, drama, poetry and storytelling.

At work:

At play:

Now online at:

Dr Helen Moore

Helen Helen is an Associate Medical Writer at Meditech Media in London. Her academic positions have included a postdoc at Queen Mary University London and a visiting researcher role at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Her true passion is in circadian rhythms (body clocks), understanding how time of day affects physiology and behaviour. In 2013 she completed her PhD in Circadian Biology at University College London where she first worked with zebrafish and wrote a blog (

Helen began coming to the National Postgraduate Conference in 2009, and found it a great place to start truly integrating her Christian belief with science. She is a member of Christians in Science and regularly attends the Bear Church in Deptford, London, with her husband. In her spare time she can be found running, at the theatre, or playing board games with friends.

Dr David Parry

Stephen David Parry currently teaches English literature for various colleges of the University of Cambridge, where he pursued his undergraduate and graduate studies. He enjoyed a year’s interlude in Canada at the University of Toronto after his PhD, and appreciates the ongoing friendships forged there. He is on the national committee of the Christian Literary Studies Group and is an Associate Editor of the CLSG journal, The Glass. In Cambridge, he is a member of the Christian Graduate Society and helps to coordinate Christians in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHAS). David enjoys taking arty photos, writing poems and hanging out with international students. He is a lifelong compulsive reader.