New and outgoing Senior Tutors work together in response to coronavirus


St Catharine’s College has been fortunate to be able to draw upon the combined skills and expertise of our outgoing and incoming Senior Tutors to ensure continuity in our response to the evolving public health emergency caused by Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dr Holly Canuto (2020) was formally admitted to the Fellowship of St Catharine’s, starting as Senior Tutor on 1 April. Dr Miranda Griffin (2007) continued to serve the College as Senior Tutor until 31 March, ahead of taking up a University Lectureship in Modern & Medieval Languages in conjunction with a Fellowship at Murray Edwards.

“We are now expecting a period of exceptional disruption to College life. Dr Canuto is an excellent appointment to our Fellowship and our team at this difficult time, given her considerable experience and energy,” explained Professor Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s. “On behalf of the whole College, I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Dr Griffin for her outstanding service ­–  including during this challenging time ­– and our very best wishes in her well-deserved new role.”

The Senior Tutor is responsible for promoting student welfare, upholding high academic standards, and providing leadership and administration of teaching and tutorial arrangements, including admissions. In response to COVID-19, Dr Griffin has been in close contact with St Catharine’s students – undergraduates and postgraduates – to provide support and the latest available public health information so they could make informed decisions for their own safety and wellbeing. She has also been working intensively with others in College and the University to ensure that our community was able to follow official government advice.

Dr Canuto added, “Dr Griffin has been a champion for student welfare and collaboration during her time in post, which was exemplified by her encouragement in recent weeks that everyone should be taking steps to keep themselves and those around them safe and well. As Senior Tutor, I hope to build on the first phase of the College’s response to COVID-19 throughout the Easter term and beyond. I look forward to working with all members of our community to manage the very real disruption that will be caused by COVID-19, while safeguarding St Catharine’s position as a welcoming, supportive and academically successful College.”

Dr Canuto has volunteered a significant amount of her time in preparation for joining St Catharine’s. Since the start of Lent term, she has actively participated in meetings about important College matters and worked closely with Dr Griffin to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities. In recent weeks, Dr Canuto has been supporting Dr Griffin, other Fellows and staff to help our students who could make arrangements to leave Cambridge if they are able, as well as our students whose circumstances meant they could not leave St Catharine’s.

“As we’ve worked together on our handover over the past few months, I’ve got to know Holly well (and learned that she and I grew up in the same small Wiltshire town!) so I’m completely confident that she will hit the ground running and be a tremendous Senior Tutor. This is a strange time to be stepping down, but I know I’m leaving the St Catharine’s community in very safe hands,” commented Dr Griffin.

Dr Canuto joins St Catharine’s from Fitzwilliam College where she has been an Admissions Tutor (Sciences), College Lecturer, Director of Studies and Tutor. She is also Director of Pre-Clinical Medical and Veterinary Education at the University of Cambridge’s School of Biological Sciences. As an inorganic and physical chemist, she has a particular research interest in magnetic resonance spectroscopy, especially biomedical imaging.