Category: Research Staff

Kamilla Rekvényi, Research Associate, Department of Mathematics

“As a child I wanted to make an impact on the world, and as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial I feel I am getting closer to fulfilling this dream.”

I arrived at Imperial in 2019 as a PhD student, after completing an MMATH degree at St Andrews. In 2023 I began an EPSRC Research Associate in Pure Mathematics. As a child I wanted to make an impact on the world, and as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial I feel I am getting closer to fulfilling this dream.

My role mainly involves research but I am also lecturing a first-year course this term. My research is on the intersection of group theory, which is an abstract way of thinking about symmetries and combinatorics, which is the art of counting. I always like to be involved in university life in as many ways as possible, so I am now a Postdoc Representative. I am also passionate about supporting and inspiring women to pursue maths research through outreach and being on scholarships panels. I am a co-founder (with Eoghan McDowell) and organiser (with Zain Kapadia and Bob Dabson) of the Junior London Algebra Colloquium, a seminar series aimed at PhD students

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Luke McCrone, Research Associate, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

Luke McCrone

“My research has directly informed and shaped the redesign of several transitional learning space redesign projects across Imperial’s campuses, all of which were driven by students and staff under the StudentShapers scheme.”

I studied Geology (BSc) and Petroleum Geoscience (MSc) at Imperial in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering. Following my MSc, I was elected to the role of Deputy President (Education) at Imperial College Union for a sabbatical year which nurtured my interest in the student experience and exposed me to how the College is governed. The connections and knowledge I acquired in that sabbatical year, whilst reflecting on my own time as an Imperial student, afforded me the exciting opportunity to undertake the first full-time PhD in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS). I am now a Research Associate in CHERS building upon this context and experience.

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Salvador Acha, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Chemical Engineering

Salvador Acha

“I model and analyse how new technologies perform in buildings or in urban areas and then provide recommendations on how to maximise their impact or improve their performance, which is a very exciting line of work”.

I did my undergraduate engineering degree at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico and then an electrical engineering PhD at Imperial. I was very lucky in being able to secure scholarships to cover the costs, as a result of being dedicated in my studies and thanks to the example my family set at a young age.

I am an energy and sustainability researcher in the built environment, advising Sainsbury’s supermarkets on their Net Zero Strategy. This means that I model and analyse how new technologies perform in buildings or in urban areas and then provide recommendations on how to maximise their impact or improve their performance. This is a very exciting line of work as I advise a commercial organisation on how to become more sustainable and efficient in the way they use energy and other valuable resources. All advice needs to be practical, cost-effective, and replicable to ensure high impact, and converting technical expertise into sound practical advice is an art in itself!

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Chetna Vaghela, Anglian Water Research Coordinator, Centre for Environmental Policy

Chetna Vaghela

“Teaching is a gift – you share a space with students who are as enthusiastic about the environment as you.” 

I’ve always had an enormous passion for the sciences and the natural world, from entomology and ornithology, to our blue spaces including freshwater aquatic ecosystems and marine life. Studying biochemistry and forensic science enabled me to apply laboratory skills for scientific and environmental applications, such as river water quality monitoring. I’ve had an environmentally and science focused career in and out of academia, including with river and botanic garden charities and scientific research at Imperial. 

Wanting to continue my passion related to water and to apply a variety of skills, the role of research coordinator of the Strategic Research Partnership between Imperial and Anglian Water based at the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) was very appealing.   

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Lara Shemtob, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow, School of Public Health

Lara Shemtob

“The relationship between work and health is relevant no matter where you work or what you do” 

The work I do here at Imperial is all about the relationship between work and health. This is currently high on the policy agenda in the UK as more people are falling out of employment due to long-term ill-health. The healthcare landscape is not a level playing field when it comes to occupational health – access varies depending on the employer, which makes it harder to deliver change.  

One of the policy areas I am focusing on is how we can improve the health and working conditions of health and social care workers. The other policy area that interests me is how we make better use of the fit note (commonly known as a sick note…a misnomer!) to help people living with medical conditions to keep working.   

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Dr Federica Bernardini, Research Associate, Department of Life Sciences

Dr Federica Bernardini

“I fell in love with London and started looking for a PhD position in the field of malaria” 

When I was young, I thought I wanted to be a medical doctor. It was after attending a lecture in biochemistry that I decided to re-direct my interest toward the microscopic dynamics that take place within cells, as I found this fascinating.    

I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Università degli Studi di Palermo in biology, and cellular and molecular biology respectively. At the end of these studies, I travelled from Sicily to London to learn English. I fell in love with the city and started looking for a PhD position in the field of malaria to combine my passions of molecular engineering and Africa. 

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Roger Teoh, Research Associate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

“My research is about the climate impacts of contrail cirrus clouds – line-shaped clouds that form behind an aircraft” 

I am a research associate at the Transport and Environment Laboratory in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Global aviation is fundamentally entwined with the fabric of modern society, bringing significant social and economic benefits, but it also generates negative impacts in the form of climate change and local air pollution.  

I develop computer codes to improve existing models of aircraft flight. I use them to simulate aircraft fuel consumption, exhaust emissions, and the formation and lifecycle of contrail cirrus – line-shaped clouds that form behind an aircraft. My research objective is to improve our understanding of the climate impacts of contrail cirrus clouds, which are responsible for two-thirds of the climate effects from aviation.  

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Julia Sanchez Garrido, Research Laboratory Manager, Department of Life Sciences

Julia Sanchez-Garrido

“As scientists, I believe it is our responsibility to convey what we do to the general public”

My desire has always been to answer unanswered questions and defy what has been established, broadening the fields of research one small discovery at a time, and contributing to the better understanding of ourselves and our surroundings. With this aim I started my career in my home country Spain, where I studied biology. In 2013 I decided to move to the UK to do an MSc in virology at Imperial, and luckily obtained funding from Spain that enabled me to do just that. This is where I discovered my interest in how our body’s defences, our immune system, respond to attack by harmful microbes (pathogens) by mounting a complex and well-orchestrated response, and how pathogens have evolved ways to subvert this response.

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Jang Ah Kim, Research Associate in Biosensing, Department of Materials

Jang Ah Kim

“I use nanotechnology to boost light-matter interactions with the aim of developing a sensing platform to detect disease biomarkers.”

I am a Research Associate in Biosensing at the Department of Materials. My academic journey to date has been dynamic and crossing boundaries. Having graduated in mechanical engineering at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, I chose to study nanoscience and nanotechnology for my PhD at the same university. Then I dived into biomedical engineering research at the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial for my first postdoctoral role. After four and a half years at the centre, I moved to the Stevens Group at the Department of Materials to further dig into biosensing studies, where I have been working on developing a next-generation biosensing platform for disease screening of broader diseases. (more…)

Dr Karen Logan, Senior Project Manager and Network Coordinator, Target Malaria  

Dr Karen Logan

“I look forward to the day when malaria is eradicated, and I can say we helped contribute to that!”

I’m an immunologist by training, with my early career focused on vaccine development. When I shifted away from the bench into project management, I wasn’t really sure I liked it, but over 20 years later I realise I’ve found my place. (more…)