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Local organising committee

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Claire Higgins - Imperial College, London

Dr Higgins is a Reader in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine in the Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London.  She joined Imperial College in 2014 to establish her own research group after postdoctoral training at Columbia University, USA, and postgraduate studies at the University of Durham, UK.  Her research group focuses on skin regeneration after injury, and in particular the role of the hair follicle in this process.  She is the President of the European Hair Research Society (EHRS), Vice President of the Institute of Trichologists and the Chair of the Organising committee for the EHRS2023.  


Andrew Messenger - University of Sheffield

Andrew Messenger was appointed a consultant dermatologist to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Children’s Hospital in 1986 and Honorary Professor at the University of Sheffield in 2010. His undergraduate training was at the University of Newcastle-upon Tyne. He has a longstanding clinical and research interest in hair biology and disorders of hair growth. He was a Founder member of the European Hair Research Society and its President 2004-6. He was President of the 7th World Congress for Hair Research held in Edinburgh in 2013 and is current President of the Institute of Trichologists.

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Gillian Westgate - University of Bradford, Bradford

Gill works at the University of Bradford, UK where her role is to develop sustainable partnerships between industry and academic research and to help translate science into business opportunities. She is past President and Secretary of the European Hair Research Society (EHRS) and immediate past chair of the International Federation of Hair Research Societies. Gill serves on the organising committees for UK and international conferences, including EHRS Sheffield 2023 and co-founded Cosmetics Cluster UK, a networked member organisation for the cosmetics sector. She regularly lectures and publishes articles on various aspects of hair biology, with current interests in the formation of curly hair.


Sharon Wong - London Bridge Hospital, London

Dr Sharon Wong is a Consultant Dermatologist with a sub-specialism in hair loss and scalp disorders. Between 2012 and 2018 she worked at the Homerton University Hospital in London where she set up a dedicated hair loss service. Due to the large African and Caribbean representation in the local community, she developed a unique understanding and clinical expertise in treating hair disorders in African hair and contributed to setting the world record in delivering the largest hair education lesson during the first World Afro Day in September 2017. She now holds weekly hair and skin clinics at The Shard in London. In 2018 she founded Get Ahead of Hair Loss (GAoHL) - an educational platform uniting the full spectrum of hair professionals together with hair loss patients. 


Matthew Harries -The Dermatology Centre, Salford

Dr Matthew Harries received his medical degree from the University of Leeds, UK (1998). In 2001, he gained membership in the Royal College of Physicians of London, and in January 2003 took a post as a Specialist Registrar in Dermatology in Manchester. During training he took time out of programme to study the hair immune system in primary cicatricial alopecias, working as a Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, and a visiting Research Fellow in Experimental Dermatology at the University of Lübeck, Germany. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Manchester in 2011. He now works as a Consultant Dermatologist at Salford Royal Foundation Trust in Greater Manchester, is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London. He has a special interest in hair loss disorders, in particular the scarring alopecias, receiving specialist referrals from around the region. He is the research lead for the British Hair and Nails Society (BHNS), a member of the UK-DCTN steering committee and also sits on the newly formed Alopecia UK research committee.


Gabriela Daniels -University of Arts, London

Gabriela Daniels is the programme director for the Science Programme at the University of the Arts, London (London College of Fashion). She has an MSc in Science and Technology of Cosmetics and Essential Oils from the University of Food Technologies in Bulgaria and has worked in the cosmetic industry in Bulgaria and the UK in a variety of roles. She joined the Cosmetic Science teaching team at UAL in 2000 and has taught surface chemistry, hair formulation and claim substantiation to students on the integrated Masters in Cosmetic Science course. Gabriela’s research interests are focused on multidisciplinary studies on how hair fibre and assembly properties meet consumer needs and on Artificial Intelligence for hair evaluation. She has presented posters and published at a range of scientific and industry journals. 

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Talveen Purba - University of Manchester, Manchester

Dr Talveen Purba is a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester where he studies metabolism, the cell cycle and epithelial stem cells in the human hair follicle, with translational research interests in alopecia areata and chemotherapy-induced alopecia.  His work is supported by the Manchester NIHR Biomedical Research Centre "Inflammatory Hair Diseases” programme, industry grants and Wellcome Trust ISSF EDI fellowship funding. Talveen previously completed his PhD training under the supervision of Professor Ralf Paus.

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Kerry Montgomery - Alopecia UK, Sheffield

Kerry’s academic background is in Psychology, spending 15 years working in mental health. More recently Kerry has specialised in Psychodermatology, specifically alopecia. Kerry’s work has involved developing psychological interventions for those with conditions which affect appearance including; self-help, group-based interventions, 1:1 and peer support. Having worked across a number of national charities, Kerry has become one of the leading experts in low-intensity interventions and peer support for those with visible difference. As Psychological Wellbeing Lead at Alopecia UK, Kerry manages the development of support resources for people affected by alopecia. In addition, Kerry is developing education resources for professionals to increase understanding of the psychological impact of hair loss as well as how to signpost people to relevant support.


Bessam Farjo - Farjo Hair Institute, Manchester

Dr Bessam Farjo has been exclusively dedicated to practicing hair restoration surgery and medicine since 1993.


He is a Fellow, Past President and Past Lead Ambassador of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), Past President and co-founder of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery, Diplomate and Past Board Director of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, and Fellow and Past Board Governor of the Institute of Trichologists.


Since 2000, he has been involved with on-going hair research collaborations with Universities of Manchester, London, Bradford and Durham as well as Unilever plc, Intercytex plc and HairClone Ltd (co-founder).


He is widely published in peer reviewed journals and has contributed numerous textbook chapters in the hair restoration and research field. In 2012, he jointly received one of the highest awards in hair restoration surgery, the ISHRS Platinum Follicle, for his work in hair loss and hair biology research.

Claire Higgins
Andrew Messenger
Gill Westgate
Sharon Wong
Mathew Harries
Gabriela Daniels
Talveen Purba
Kerry Montgomery
Bessam Farjo
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