Sources of Support

Even though the entire machinery of Cambridge is designed to make you work as hard as possible for eight weeks, three times a year, they have actually thought about looking after us – there is in fact a whole list of people you can see! They are:

  • Your tutor
  • Your director of studies (DoS)
  • Your DoS or tutor’s secretary
  • The college nurse
  • The college chaplain


The two Natsci Tutors at John’s are Dr. David Stuart (on sabbatical in 2018/2019 to be replaced by Dr. Nathan MacDonald), who is a Maths fellow and mostly looks after the Bio Natscis, and Miss Tomaselli, who is a History fellow and takes care of the Phys Natscis. They can give you unbiased advice and guidance, as they’re not involved with teaching the Natural Sciences Tripos. They’re meant to provide pastoral care independent of your subject.

You’ll see your Tutor at the start and end of each term, just for a quick chat about how everything’s going. They receive your supervision reports and are responsible for welfare issues. If you need someone to talk to about any problems, your Tutor is normally your first port of call.

Nurse and chaplain

If it’s something a bit more personal, you can speak to the College Nurse, or Rev’d Carol Barrett Ford, the College Chaplain.

Your DoS or Tutor’s secretary

For problems of a more administrative nature, your Tutors’ secretary is the person to see – all the secretaries are very helpful. They can help with student loan problems, grant applications, etc..

Your DoS

Dr Paul Wood is the Physical Sciences Director of Studies (DoS), while Dr. Franze is the Biological Sciences DoS. You’ll discuss your first year options with either Dr Wood or Dr. Franze at the start of Michaelmas Term. They’re also the people to see about academic problems. If you’re a mixture, you can go to either.

Each subject also has its own DoS, who’ll arrange supervisors for you and can be approached for general subject queries. You’ll also meet the DoS for each of your subjects at the start of Michaelmas. For IA:

Biology of Cells – Dr. K. Franze

Chemistry – Dr. P. Wood

Earth Sciences – Dr. E. Tipper

Evolution and Behaviour – Dr. C. Jiggins

Mathematics – Dr. S.M. Colwell

Materials Science – Prof. S. Best

Physics – Dr. M. Atature

Physiology of Organisms – Dr. H. Matthews

The Natural Sciences Society of St John's College