Ask the Expert

Join our new live career session. We present a unique opportunity for you to get sound career advice from leading scientific experts and ask them questions in an engaging online session.

Organised and chaired by our student board members, these online events are aimed at our ECR and student members and provide the opportunity to engage with experts you may not otherwise have access to. After an introduction from the expert, 15 minutes is given to any questions submitted in advance, followed by time for live questions. 

Next Event: Careers in science regulation and policy

Janka Mátrai, European Research Council Executive Agency

Thursday 14th January, 17:00 CET

Watch live on our YouTube Channel and take part in our live Q&A. 

Send us your questions! We invite you to send us your questions before the event. You can email them to us at

Janka Mátrai, PhD is a scientific officer at the ERCEA - The Executive Agency of the European Research Council (ERC), Life Sciences Unit, Brussels, Belgium ( She is at the forefront of scientific regulation and policy, with responsibilities for the whole life cycle of applications, grants and various steps of the grant evaluation process. She is also involved in the widening participation campaign which aims to close the gap between the EU13 countries and the rest of the EU. Prior to this, Janka worked as a scientific/technical project officer at the European Commission, Joint Research Centre – Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements in the Standards for Innovation and Sustainable Development, Reference Materials for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Unit (June 2013 – February 2016). 

Her PhD was completed in July 2005 at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), Leuven, Belgium, supported by a Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) grant. After which she continued with scientific research as a postdoctoral research scientist in areas of Biochemistry and Bioinformatics in the field of Molecular Modeling and Drug Design at KUL, FWO (July 2005 – May 2006); Fundamental and Translational Medical Research at the KUL-VIB, Vesalius Research Centre (May 2006 – December 2010); Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine at Janssen Pharmaceuticals-VIB-KUL, VUB (January 2011 – December 2012).

Janka has earned several national and international prizes and fellowships: EHA, AFM France, J&J-COSAT-IWT, FWO, co-authored two book chapters and contributed to over 18 scientific publications in top international journals (IF>10, 5), many of them in international collaborations. She is also a member of the Association for Glycogen Storage Disease UK, and cofounder of the Belgian Club of Hungarian Scientists ( 

February 2021: Careers in Industry

Dr Takis Athanasopoulos, GSK

Dr Takis Athanasopoulos is head of vector & transgene as part of the Cell & Gene Therapy Research & Discovery platform at GSK, Stevenage, UK. Before joining GSK, Takis was a Lecturer in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Wolverhampton (September 2011-2016) and Academic Visitor/Research Consultant for the Gene Therapy Group at Royal Holloway University of London. Before joining the Faculty of Science and Engineering at UoW, Takis was a member of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) ( - an international network of scientists and experts dedicated to designing a variety of novel HIV vaccine candidates and advancing the most promising ones to clinical trials.
Takis has previously worked as a research scientist in the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) ( He has also worked on collaborative projects with scientists and clinicians at the Royal Free Hospital (UCL) and Imperial College London (ICL). Previously he has been funded by the State Scholarship Foundation SF/IKY (Greece), Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (UK), the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) ( and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
He has developed critical expertise on various vector systems’ technologies through conducting, collaborating and managing a number of diverse research projects. He holds a BSc in Biochemistry from University of Patras, Greece, and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of London.
Areas of Research Interests: Gene Therapy, Virology, Genetic Vaccines & Research Consulting