Author: Sarah Saxton

Dr Marisa Miraldo, Associate Professor in Health Economics, Business School  


“The impact I value the most is making a difference to the lives and careers of my students.”

I am an economist by training. Early in my career I realized that I wanted to contribute to improving society and wellbeing, so I opted to focus on health economics and policy.  

The core of my job is conducting research with social impact, with an emphasis on policies and interventions to promote population health at global level. My work has been featured at the World Economic Forum and has informed the development of health policies internationally, for example the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to curb obesity. During the pandemic I led a project that created a tool to help governments decide which patients should be seen first in hospitals given their capacity constraints. If implemented, it has the potential to save years of life globally.   

My work on diversity and inclusion has impacted the lives of Imperial staff through initiatives to mitigate gender pay gaps and prevent bullying and harassment. I chair the Diversity Committee and have been awarded a Julia Higgins award for my contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion.  

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Leila Janani, Research Fellow (Clinical Trials Statistician), Imperial Clinical Trials Unit 

“I am involved in trial design, data management and analysis and preparing reports.”

I work as a Research Fellow (Clinical Trials Statistician) at Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU). Clinical trials are a fundamental tool for investigating the safety and efficacy of treatments, and I think that during the pandemic, most people realised their important role in health.  

Before joining Imperial in January 2021, I completed my PhD at Tehran University of Medical Sciences and then worked as an Associate Professor at the Iran University of Medical Sciences, where I taught Biostatistics and undertook research.  

However as someone who’s really interested in working on clinical trial studies, I decided to change my career and start my journey to Imperial Clinical Trials Unit. I arrived in the UK at the start of the year during the big lockdown. This made it really difficult to settle in and to focus on my projects. During these challenging times I have really appreciated the help and support of my lovely manager Dr Victoria Cornelius, friends and all ICTU staff. 

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Dr Gbemi Oluleye, Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Technology and Policy, Centre for Environmental Policy 


“I develop decision-making tools to support integration and uptake of industrial decarbonisation concepts”

My educational journey started in Nigeria and continued in the United Kingdom where I completed a PhD in process integration. My professional career has followed the same pattern. I worked as a process engineer in both countries and consulted for industrial partners before moving into research and academia. 

My career choice was initially influenced by my interest in designing industrial processes. This expanded into looking at whole industrial systems – minimising resource and energy use, and decarbonisation.  

joined Imperial in 2019 and my research develops and applies concepts at the interface of engineering, economics, and policy to address industrial decarbonisation. I develop modelling and decision-making tools to support cost-effective integration and uptake of industrial decarbonisation concepts such as advanced materials and energy efficiency, fuel and technology switching, carbon capture utilisation and storage, and greenhouse gas removal.  

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Kalpna Mistry,  Staff Network Coordinator & Disability Advisor – Equality Diversity and Inclusion Centre, Human Resources Division 

“I help staff talk more openly about their disability needs and advocate on their behalf, and I also help managers who wish to support their disabled staff.”

Since joining the College as an administrator many moons ago, my role has grown to one that helps steer the staff networks. They have been an incredible source of engagement during lockdown and I am thrilled to see them flourish and deliver topical events pertaining to inclusion. The staff networks increasingly highlight and celebrate the many intersectional elements of diversity through their activities and campaigns. I’ve even taken part myself when I was interviewed on Imperial as One’s Belonging Series. 

I love seeing people develop and thrive and so I love being a co–facilitator on the Calibre and Impact courses where I facilitate training and the one-to-ones with the delegates. Being a College coach also feeds my desire to see others progress, as does being a staff disabilities adviser and Harassment Support Contact. 

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Doris Pappoe, Postgraduate Administrator, Department of Chemistry


“I support and advise students from their initial application to their graduation.”

I have been working at Imperial for 35 years. In my role as Postgraduate Administrator in the Department of Chemistry, I am responsible for PhD recruitment and training activities.

I manage and co-ordinate all aspects of postgraduate administration. This includes processing PhD applications, making offers, and welcoming new students to the department. I work closely with the Director of Postgraduate Studies and the Research Student Manager.

I like the varied and interesting aspects of my job. During a normal week, I may be answering queries from staff and students or processing applications for admissions. I also help administer the President’s PhD Scholarships.

I am there for students from the beginning and advise them throughout their time at Imperial. I become part of their journey and help them be successful, and their success is (partly!) a result of my support. It is really special to see students through their assessments and watch them pass their vivas and attend their graduation in the Royal Albert Hall.

The role offers a high level of interaction with staff and students at all levels. I lead the supervisors and students through our processes and explain our policies, rules and regulations and what is expected. As that point of contact, the staff rely on me to guide them.

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Sara West , Communications Manager, Chemical Engineering 

“I was fortunate to join Imperial’s Calibre leadership programme, which I highly recommend to anyone with a disability.”

As a communicator I enjoy mending the gaps in information transmission, to better connect people with science, or services.   

One of my proudest achievements at Imperial has been winning the President’s Award for Culture and Communication (Team Award) as part of the Chemical Engineering Student Communications Group, who have worked incredibly hard to ensure that students have remained informed and engaged during the pandemic.   

I’m regularly told: “But you don’t look like you have a disability”. My condition is largely hidden, unless you happen to catch me wincing in pain or falling asleep at my desk from fatigue. Unfortunately, this has happened. It took almost two years to receive a diagnosis, during which time my biggest fear was the future and trying to imagine having a successful career while managing my symptoms.  

I was fortunate to join Imperial’s Calibre leadership programme, which I highly recommend to anyone with a disability. The course had a profound impact on my sense of self-worth and my confidence in speaking up for myself and others with disabilities. I hope that one day the lessons from this course are embedded within training for all staff and managers, not just those with a condition. The scale of change that’s needed in society is daunting, but I have to remain optimistic that one day a person with a disability isn’t automatically faced with the question: “Are you sure you can do this job?”   

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Janice Man, Graphic Designer, Business School

“I turn ideas into visual images to communicate a message.”

I wouldn’t describe my recent career as a journey, but a two-minute walk. I was a graphic designer at the Science Museum before joining the Business School. At the museum, I could be designing for a gene editing exhibition one day, then toilet direction signs the next. Now I get to work with academics, who are as passionate about Microsoft PowerPoint as they are about digital transformation. 

I’m the Business School’s graphic designer. For anyone new to this role, I turn ideas into visual images to communicate a message. A client submits a design brief and I interpret it creatively to meet their needs, while keeping within the brand guidelines. My specialism is information design. This is the practice of presenting information in a clear and accessible way for users. 

During the week, I could be working on anything from full digital campaigns to pull up banners for the annual conference, or a 60-page report on clean energy investing. Throughout lockdown, I worked with the Student Experience team on concepts to encourage student engagement. Client feedback is really important – after a few minor edits, I usually finish jobs at around version 11.  

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Dr Albert Busza, Clinical Imaging Facility Manager, Department of Brain Sciences 

“I’ll work with the radiographer or physicist to see if I can optimise a scanning method so that we can help the researchers with their studies.”

After getting a degree and PhD in biochemistry, I worked as a postdoc in magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This led to ten years working in industry before I moved to Imperial to manage the Clinical Imaging Facility. 

We are a small department with an MRI scanner and a PET scanner supporting research performed by the College and external groups, such as the NHS and clinical research organisations. The scanners help researchers answer questions such as how the brain functions following traumatic injury. We help the researchers to develop or refine imaging techniques to address their research questions. 

Although the technologies used by the scanners are very different, they are complementary. The MRI can be used to assist many clinical diagnoses, whereas the PET scanner, which uses radioactive tracers, is mainly used for research studies, including cancer and dementia. There are numerous ways of innovating with MR images and, if the scanner is free, I’ll work with the radiographer or physicist to see if I can optimise a scanning method so that we can help the researchers with their studies. 

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Dammy Shittu, Research Technician, Life Sciences  

“We get to work alongside independent African research groups and communities rather than taking over and making decisions for them. As a Black Brit, I am proud to be a part of that.”

Since finishing my postgraduate degree in Molecular Medicine I have been using my genetics and bioinformatics skills in my role as research technician. More recently, I have been a minor sounding board for mental health awareness, the technician’s registration programme and disability positivity. 

What I like about my workplace is the increasing representation. I enjoy discussing differences and similarities between customs and educating colleagues about Nigerian delicacies and traditions. It was great to work with someone from the same tribe as myself which, sadly, isn’t commonplace in my line of work….yet! 

My current role allows me to get creative. I do a lot of genetic cloning within mosquitos amongst other techniques to help reduce their ability to transmit diseases such as malaria. As this is important work, my lab had to minimise but continue day-to-day work during the pandemic. Assisting my lab manager with the running of the lab has been insightful. I believe we are one of the largest at Imperial – around 25 scientists, postdocs and PhD students coming together and collaborating with groups around the world.  

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John Aouad, Disability Advisory Service Administrator, Education Office 

“I love getting rid of manual processes and replacing them with automated systems – I get the computer to do all the hard work!”

I have worked in education and inclusion for most of my career. I spent ten years working in the UK, China, and Taiwan teaching English. When I returned to the UK, I worked on the National Citizen Service programme with 16/17-year-olds ensuring the programme met its inclusive targets.    

I joined Imperial’s Disability Advisory Service in January 2019, in a new role as its administrator. I have been working on operational projects to improve the service for both students and staff. This has included implementing an online booking system that allows students to book appointments directly with the team, improving our CRM database, relaunching and managing our website and leading on the transition to Office 365. I am now working on a comms project to ensure students know about what we do.   

Mostly, I love getting rid of (or reducing) manual processes and where possible replacing them with automated systems – I get the computer to do all the hard work! My colleagues have appreciated that I have made the service a lot more streamlined as I have simplified many processes. They spend less time clicking buttons and doing data entry, and more time focusing on supporting students.   

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