Author: Nikita Rathod

Hyunman Shin, e-Access Licensing and Subscriptions Coordinator, Library Services  

“I set up authentication for all the electronic journals, books, and databases so that Imperial members can access them virtually from anywhere.”

I joined Library Services at Imperial in 2004. Thinking about all the years I’ve spent at Imperial, it has been quite a journey professionally and personally. I witnessed how the bookshop in the library turned into a café. I’ve walked around the stacks shelving books relishing the smell of them. I also once served Professor Robert Winston at the issue desk. My time at Library Services has been memorable so far. I remember buying a book costing more than £7,000 and I got involved in challenging the biggest journal publisher. I’ve also helped users located as far as Australia to access library journals. Most importantly, I’ve made friends here. 18 years on, I am still here. 


Michele Paulatto, Research Fellow, Earth Science and Engineering

“I have been working with an illustrator to produce a series of artistic but scientifically accurate drawings of the roots of active volcanoes.”

I started my university career as a Physics student in Italy. During my undergraduate degree, I spent a year abroad at the University of Manchester and this experience opened the door for me to British academia. I switched from Physics to Geophysics and was offered a PhD scholarship at the University of Southampton to study the Soufrière Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat.   

Since then, my main research focus at Imperial has been to image the plumbing systems of active volcanoes to better understand how magma is transported to the surface before and during an eruption. The volcanoes I study are usually submarine volcanoes or island volcanoes, and they are best studied using marine geophysics. These are the same field techniques that are used by the oil industry to image and monitor hydrocarbon reservoirs.  


Alaine Berry, Senior Research Radiographer, Institute of Clinical Sciences 

“I was lucky enough to be part of the medical team at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, a truly unforgettable experience and a patient group like no other!”

I completed my undergraduate degree qualifying as a Diagnostic Radiographer in 2004. I’ve enjoyed a brilliantly varied career up to now, working clinically in various countries, commencing a research career at UCL, and completing an MSc in Medical Magnetic Resonance. I was lucky enough to be part of the medical team at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, a truly unforgettable experience and a patient group like no other! 

A particular career highlight came in 2014 when I worked in the Falkland Islands for a year. I was responsible for the medical imaging of the human population as well as that required by the veterinary service and the fisheries department.  

My current role at Imperial is as Senior Research Radiographer in a friendly and supportive team at the Mansfield Centre for Innovation. We optimise, acquire and analyse MRI data for an array of different studies, working closely with cardiac and psychiatric imaging groups who study diseases ranging from cardiomyopathy and pulmonary hypertension to schizophrenia and psychosis. We also perform some clinical imaging, such as running the fetal MRI service for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.  


Rita Kounoudis, Research Postgraduate, Earth Science and Engineering 


“I use the vibrations of earthquakes to visualise what lies hundreds of kilometres below the Earth’s surface”

I work towards unravelling the mysteries of why the interior of our planet looks the way it does today. As a seismologist in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, I use the vibrations of earthquakes detected all around the world to visualise what lies hundreds of kilometres below the Earth’s surface. Currently, I am trying to image the deep Earth beneath the remotest parts of East Africa – one of the few places on Earth where the continent is splitting in two and may eventually form a new ocean!  

Cyprus, where I grew up is tectonically active, experiencing many earthquakes every year and hosting some of the most geologically unique mountain ranges in Europe. Inspired by such fascinating geology, I decided to embark on an MSci course in Geophysics at Imperial . However, it was not enough studying to quench my curiosity, and so I threw myself into a seismology PhD focused on East Africa. During my PhD I even got to visit Ethiopia in person! This was certainly a highlight of my work and life so far.  


Mo Akinseye, Communications Intern, Communications Division

“My experience at Imperial has impacted me positively, both personally and career-wise.”

At the start of the summer, just after finishing my first year of my English and Communications degree at the University of Exeter, I was eager to get into the working world. I wanted to gain first-hand experience of communications, and I feel very lucky to have achieved this in Imperial’s communications team. 

I’ve had a long-standing interest in the broader creative industry for a long time, so I applied to intern with Imperial through Creative Access, an organisation that enables people from communities under-represented in the creative industries to access careers, progress and reach leadership. I came across the job description for the Communications Intern role at Imperial, and was drawn by the variety of media projects that the role offered. I didn’t have much prior knowledge of communications as a career path, so I aimed to find out what this would look like. 


Elena Virlan, Centre Manager, Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre 

“I have always had a passion for helping people and using my organisational skills to implement new processes.”

I have organised an exciting programme of events and activities for Postdoc Appreciation Week (PAW), which takes place this week. This has been achieved in close collaboration with my colleagues in the PFDC, Postdoc Appreciation Week Committee and several Imperial postdoc reps. This is a great opportunity for the PFDC and Imperial to show their appreciation for the postdocs who make the College a leading research and educational institution. 

Organising events such as PAW gives me a great sense of fulfilment and responsibility and I’m looking forward to developing new initiatives, focusing particularly on wellbeing. 

I have always had a passion for helping people and using my organisational skills to implement new processes. A combination of the two has been visible throughout my career and educational journey so far. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Event Management and Marketing and a Master’s in Psychology of Mental Health. I decided a career in Higher Education would enable me to combine aspects from both my degrees, so I started by working in Careers, first at the University of Reading, then at Imperial from January 2018. 


Sheena Cardoso, EDIC Co-ordinator, Human Resources 

“I love how flexible my role is – every day brings a new challenge which I am always ready to tackle”

I joined Imperial in 2015, fresh out of university with a degree in Advertising Management and Marketing. I started as a temp and worked in several teams in the College, including the undergraduate office in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the People and Organisational Development team. I learned how different departments operated and how the College worked. This helped me in my next role, in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Centre 

I joined the EDI Centre as a temp and then became a full-time member of staff in 2017. I’m currently a coordinator for the team and look after our communications and social media channels, training administration, and any EDI project coordination. I also organise events and support and coordinate our EDI volunteers.  


Sonata Petrauskaite, Soft Services Administrator, Estates

“The pandemic helped us to realise that it’s better to recycle, reuse or giveaway as we need to take care of our society”

The Soft Services team is responsible for all the waste recycling, minor removals, chemical and hazardous waste at the College. I joined the team four years ago, having originally joined Imperial 14 years ago.  

Before this role, I worked as a Senior Waitress with the Events and Conference department for ten years. After working as a maternity cover in the Soft Services team, I felt I was ready for a move to the team. It was daunting, but I trusted myself to take on a new challenge in a different environment.  

My role involves making our Imperial staff, students, and visitors aware of the right recycling procedures to maintain a healthier and safer environment. As a team, we deal with any incoming requests, as well as reporting issues, finding a solution to problems – we are Imperial’s little soldiers! We patrol between campuses, ensuring a safe working and studying environment is in place.  


Sophia Quazi, EDI Coordinator, Mechanical Engineering 

“I always knew I wanted a career that helped people.”

My educational and career journey hasn’t been the most straightforward trajectory. When I was a kid, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded with cartoonist or marine biologist, quite like my idol Stephen Hillenburg who created SpongeBob SquarePants and was both. I didn’t really know that equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) or diversity and inclusion (D&I) was something that I could work in. However, I always knew I wanted a career that helped people. It all clicked for me when I selected Sociology as one of my A-Levels.  

My interest in social sciences grew and I studied criminology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, earning a Master’s degree. My specific focus was eradicating violence against women and victimology. Both of my dissertations were focused on sexual violence on university campuses, and this was something I wanted to pursue career-wise.  


Dr Adrian Najer, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, Materials 

“I started a long-term project aiming to provide an alternative nanotherapy-mediated vaccination strategy for malaria.” 

After finishing my studies in nanosciences,  I decided to take on the challenge of a cross-field PhD at the University of Basel and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland. Ever since, my research focus has been to use nanotechnology for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, mainly malaria.  

Malaria is a devastating infectious disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is responsible for the death of about half a million children every year. The current COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, has led to a stagnation of the anti-malarial fight, which highlights the urgent need for innovations distinctively different to our current solutions.