Christ's College Alumni

E-newsletter Winter 2020

Bridgemas in Porters' Lodge

Welcome to the winter issue of the e-newsletter

We have successfully completed the first term of this academic year, and I send my thanks to all those who have made this possible. The University's asymptomatic testing programme has enabled us to identify positive cases and control the spread of the virus in College, helped by the positive approach of the students to the restrictions and regulations in place. Members of the College community have found new and inventive ways to keep spirits up, from the pizza and beer available to take away from the Buttery, to the Senior Tutor's prizes for activities organised by the students themselves. The Chaplain and Director of Music organised a wonderful carol service in First Court, which was extremely popular despite the rain, and Father Christmas will be delivering presents from the College to the children of staff and Fellows, as the traditional party can't take place this year. 


As I write, most of our Fellows are busy interviewing the applicants for next year's entry. Of course, this is being done remotely for the first time, and we are finding ingenious ways to ensure that each candidate has the opportunity to show their potential. I think we will all need a break from the computer screen over the vacation, and I send you all my warmest wishes for Christmas, and for a happy and healthy 2021.


Jane Stapleton, Master


2020 Art Competition Winners

The winners of the new annual Christ’s art competition have been announced. The subject this year was ‘Diversity’, giving everyone in College an opportunity to reflect upon the remarkable richness of our community, both past and present. The first prize went to doctoral student, Lieske Huits for her work entitled Just what is it that makes today’s colleges so diverse, so appealing. Read more about the competition and find out about the launch of the 2021 art competition with the theme of ‘Touch’.

Art Competition 2020

Above left: the winning entry by Lieske Huits. Above top right: runner up Francesca Rigg. Above bottom right: the gardening team.


Professor Chris Abell 

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Professor Chris Abell. Chris was admitted to the Fellowship in 1986, and held the College's Todd-Hamied Fellowship in Chemistry. He was regarded with great admiration and respect by all in Christ's, and his contribution to the College over the years was enormous, generously giving his time and energy to help transform many areas as a wise Director of Studies, Tutor, and member of the College Council.

As well as all his activities in College, he was a highly regarded Professor of Biological Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry. He was appointed the first Director of Postdoctoral Affairs for the University in 2013, and, from 2016, held the post of Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016, the Society described 'his research as having changed the face of drug discovery'.

Chris was a pioneer in the field of fragment-based drug discovery, an innovative approach to designing small molecules that bind specifically and selectively to proteins and has pursued this area academically and commercially. In 1999 he cofounded Astex on the Cambridge Science Park. Astex developed an international reputation is drug discovery. In 2013 Astex was purchased by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals for $886m. In 2017, the first Astex-associated drug Kisqali [for breast cancer] secured FDA approval. In his University lab, the Abell group focus on developing new therapies for tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, and cancer. Read this tribute to him.


Professor Chris Abell


Above: Professor Chris Abell


Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

Following a generous benefaction from the Yusuf and Farida Hamied Foundation, the Department of Chemistry will be named the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry until 2050. His transformational gift ensures that chemistry at Cambridge will continue to be world-leading in both teaching and research.
We are incredibly proud to have Dr and Mrs Hamied as two of the greatest friends of the College, and we have also benefited enormously from their generosity and warm spirit. This is clearly visible to the Christ’s community through the Yusuf Hamied Centre, but also a number of graduate hostels, support for graduate scholarships, undergraduate bursaries, and Fellowships. Read more about Dr Hamied’s contribution to chemistry and Cambridge.

Dr Yusuf Hamied

Above: Dr Yusuf Hamied


Daniel Field Zoom Lecture - Thursday 17th December 6pm GMT

This month, we continue our series of ever-popular Zoom webinars with a talk from Dr Daniel Field (Fellow), renowned for the discovery of “The Wonderchicken” earlier this year. Register now to hear how Daniel uses the fossil records of birds to help answer questions about how, where, and when Earth’s modern avian diversity arose.

Dr Daniel Field

Above: Dr Daniel Field


Alumni News

Congratulations to alumna Charlotte Collins (m. 1986), who has won the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation for her joint translation of the novel ‘The Eighth Life’ by Nino Haratischvili. The book itself was also longlisted for the International Booker Prize.

Alumna Jane Martinson (m. 1987) was shortlisted for the Press Gazette British Journalism Awards in the Business, Finance and Economics category.

Alumnus David Carr (m. 1983) who has been named Racing Writer of the Year in the Horserace Writers and Photographers Derby Awards 2020. 

Several Alumni have made the Waterstone Best Books of 2020: History list. Toby Wilkinson (m. 1990) for his book, 'A World Beneath the Sands', Natalie Haynes (m. 1993) for 'Pandora’s Jar' and Sujit Sivasundaram (m. 1994) for 'Waves Across the South'.


Christ's College Chapel goes online

The College Chapel has launched its very own YouTube channel, where you can now watch recordings of Sunday services, or this year's beautiful Advent Service, online, no matter where you are in the world.

Chapel being set up for livestreaming

Above: the Chapel being set up for live streaming.



If you want to connect with other alumni in your field and with current Christ's students, then join our Christ's College Connections LinkedIn group. You can use the platform as an opportunity to share ideas, connect with others, and provide careers advice to current students and recent graduates. 



Following the success of our online lectures, we are continuing with a further schedule of online events. We hope to have our usual calendar of events in place from March 2021.

17 December 2020: Dr Daniel Field Zoom lecture –

20 January 2021 – Rev’d Dr Robert Evans Zoom lecture

25 February 2021 – Dr Julia Shvets Zoom lecture (Postponed from November)


Please keep the Development Office updated with your preferred address details.
You can view the contact details the College holds for you by logging into the alumni portal at:



Christ's College, St Andrew's Street, Cambridge, CB2 3BU, UK
Phone: (0)1223 766710  |  Fax: (0)1223 747495  |  Email:

Christ's College is a Registered Charity No.1137540


Privacy Policy  |  Email Preferences Copyright 2020 Christ's College