Meet the Team: Executive Secretary

Published on 11th June 2019

This week we speak to our Executive Secretary (till February 2021), Dr Elizabeth Rollinson FLS.

Elizabeth Rollinson

What are the key parts to your role?

My job involves oversight of the Society’s day-to-day operations, facilitating implementation of the Society’s strategic and charitable aims by the staff team and volunteers. I provide support to the President and other Trustees, participate in the many Council, Committees and other meetings, support the Fellows where possible, and work with the other Courtyard Societies.

What do you like most about your job?

The variety and working with the highly professional and creative team in the most wonderful setting. I drink a lot of tea.

How did you end up in this job?

Long story, short… husband saw the ad and said I would love the job (and I do!). My career has focused on research in infectious diseases, moving from a PhD on a fungal disease of wheat, to chemotherapy and vaccine development against viruses of veterinary importance, to viral-vectors to treat cancers caused by viruses in humans — focusing on anti-nicotine and anti-cocaine vaccines along the way. I also had a 3-year science advisory role in Paris for an intergovernmental organisation, but couldn’t wait to get back to the research bench.

What is your favourite species of animal or plant?

© Wikimedia Commons

I absolutely adore the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) (the world’s largest rodent). Saxifrages (especially silver) and peonies are my favourite flowers.

What is the most interesting item to you in the Linnean Society collections?

Ferns of Great Britain
The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland

I just love going into the collections store and inhaling the air there – always make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I’ve adopted Moore’s Ferns of Great Britain, which has the amazing original nature prints by Henry Bradbury (you should read Simon Prett & Pia Östlund’s treatise The Nature-Printer: A Tale of Industrial Espionage, Ferns and Roofing-Lead, and see the special edition held in the Library).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Apart from family, which takes an increasing amount of time with three grandchildren now on the scene, and caring for our chronically mentally ill son, I have three real passions: my horse (eventing), our garden, and print making, especially nature-printing. David and I also like to travel to remote places and immerse ourselves in nature and photography.

Elizabeth Horses