Network for Early-Stage Toxicologists (NEST)

The BTS Network for Early-Stage Toxicologists (NEST) is an inclusive network with the remit of actively representing its members within the BTS and wider toxicology arena. It aims to be innovative in supporting, nurturing, educating, and recruiting individuals in the early stages of their toxicology careers. We are here to support toxicologists with less than 10 years of experience (taking career breaks into consideration).


As a committee we have numerous roles which include producing our podcast ‘Flying the NEST’, running NEST specific social media, supporting the BTS mentoring scheme and helping to promote toxicology as a career at career fairs. If you are interested in joining our mentoring scheme or discussing your research via our podcast then do get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

Get in touch via e-mail:

Flying the NEST podcast

NEST Committee

Nevine is currently a PhD student at the University of Hertfordshire. Her project is a collaboration with the U.S Army and is sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Her project involves investigating various decontamination techniques and procedures for mitigating the dermal absorption of chemical warfare agents.

Prior to embarking on a PhD, Nevine was already part of the Centre of Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology (TDDT) and played an important role in the evidence-based development of the Primary Response Incident Scene Management (PRISM) guidance which provides strategic, tactical and operational guidance on mass casualty decontamination during a chemical incident. Prior to joining TDDT Nevine completed a Masters degree in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences from King’s College London with a focus on genetics and environmental toxicology.


Jamie Dunn is a regulatory toxicologist at Penman Consulting and is currently involved in the development of testing strategies and read-acrossjustifications for key industrial hydrocarbons in the chemicals industry, including alkene gases and specialty alkenessuch as polyalphaolefins. He studied Pharmacology as an undergraduate at the University of Manchester, followed by a part-time MSc in Toxicology at the University of Birmingham whilst working full time.

Outside of work, he enjoys writing, playing and recording music, and employs these skills in developing the new NEST podcast series.





After completing my BSc in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Thessaly and an MSc Toxicology degree from the same university, I joined British American Tobacco in 2017 as a toxicologist and consumer product safety assessor.

Since joining BAT, my focus has been on conducting detailed human health risk assessments for flavouring ingredients that are used in consumer products. I have also experience evaluating devices and device materials for both e-cigarettes and tobacco heating products. Following my role in BAT I became a toxicology consultant and worked on pet care, laundry, OTC, medical devices and cannabis product assessments while leading and supporting teams of toxicologists. Currently, I am working in Imperial Brands focusing on vaping products and oral nicotine products.

After completing my BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester and MSc Toxicology degree from the University of Birmingham, I joined Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) in 2017 as a toxicologist and consumer product risk assessor.

Since joining Unilever, my focus has been on exposure led next generation risk assessment (NGRA) for consumer product ingredients. My current role as a capability build platform/project lead focuses on driving development and application of new approach methodologies (NAMs) for hazard and exposure assessment, and utilising integrated computational modelling approaches, in order to answer skin allergy and systemic safety questions. I also directly support our beauty and personal care business through my role as a risk assessor.

I am a member of The British Toxicology Society (BTS) Network for Early Stage Toxicologists (NEST) Sub-Committee, and am co-opted onto the BTS Education, Training and Career Development Sub-Committee.



Julianna is currently on secondment with the Public Communications sub-committee.

Shortly after gaining a master’s in science from Heriot-Watt University (2015), Julianna started work as a Regulatory Toxicologist, specialising in human health, with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE, 2016 – current). Her work mainly focuses on pesticides and biocides approvals. Her main interests lie in carcinogenicity, chemical hazard and risk assessment, and alternatives to vertebrate testing. Julianna has been a member of the BTS since beginning in this role. She is actively involved in the work of the BTS as a membership ambassador and a member of the Communications Sub-Committee (CSC, 2019 – current, co-opted), focussing on social media engagement and outreach. More recently, Julianna joined the Network for Early-Stage Toxicologists committee (NEST, 2021 – current), focusing on the engagement between established and early-stage toxicologists. Julianna was accepted on the UK and EU Registers of Toxicologists in 2021.





Ishita Virmani is currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences at Masaryk University, Czech Republic. She is a member of the Cell and Tissue Toxicology group, where her research focuses on the use of in vitro models to investigate the effects of environmental chemicals, especially in relation to male reproductive toxicity.Ishita is passionate about exploring New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) for risk assessment. She is an active member of both the Society of Toxicology and the American College of Toxicology. Prior to her PhD, Ishita earned an MRes degree from Newcastle University in the UK. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and reading books.

Emma currently works as an experimental Toxicologist at the UK Health security Agency. Her current work is focused on validation of a non-animal test method related to endocrine disputing chemicals and non-genotoxic carcinogenesis for human health hazard assess

ment in collaboration with Defra. Whilst in this role Emma has gained an interest in international toxicological regulation as well as development of NAM’s. Previously she studied Biochemistry specialising in genetics as an undergraduate, continued by a Masters in Toxicology at the University of Birmingham graduating in 2022.




Barbara currently works as a Technical Expert in Toxicology for Syngenta.

Before joining Syngenta in 2023, she completed her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences at Masaryk University, Czech Republic, and worked on a post-doc position with the UK Health Security Agency on the GOLIATH project.

Both, her PhD project and post-doc at the UKHSA aimed at increasing regulatory acceptance and the development of in vitro test methods for human developmental neurotoxicity, endocrine, and metabolic disruption.

She is passionate about New Approach Methodologies for hazard and risk assessment, and about supporting early stage scientists in their professional development.

In her free time she likes to spend time with her family and explore the Great Outdoors.




After completing my BSc in Forensic Science at Keele University and my MSc in Forensic Investigation at Cranfield University, I went on to work within the field of forensic toxicology at Eurofins Forensic Services as a reporting scientist. I worked on reporting and peer reviewing cases that related to a range of drink and or drug driving traffic offences and when required, presented findings in court.

I then moved away from forensic toxicology and joined Imperial Brands as a product stewardship toxicologist where I focus on risk assessing vape products for their human health risks and ensuring compliance with various regulatory authorities.




João works at Imperial Brands as a product stewardship toxicologist, with an important role in the human health risk assessment and regulatory compliance of oral nicotine products including nicotine pouches and SNUS.

He completed a BSc in Forensic Science at Egas Moniz School of Health & Science and an MSc in Forensic Toxicology at the University of Huddersfield.

Soon after finishing his master’s, João worked at the stability department at Recipharm as a quality control analyst before joining Imperial Brands in 2022.

He has an interest in the study of adverse outcome pathways and in silico tools, and in his spare time, enjoys playing music and cooking.