Category: Research Staff

Dr Dimitra Gialama, Research Associate, Department of Chemical Engineering

“I have coached younger scientists and organised STEM outreach activities for several years. Recently, I initiated a collaboration with the University of the Arts London, teaching art students basic scientific principles”.

I finished my MRes in Biochemical Research at Imperial and I was happy to return in August 2018 to work as a Research Associate at the Department of Chemical Engineering. Previously, I completed my diploma in chemical engineering and my PhD in microbial biotechnology at the National Technical University of Athens in Greece. During my career journey I have worked on diverse bioscience-related research topics and to complement my research, I have coached younger scientists and organised STEM outreach activities for several years. Recently, I initiated a collaboration with the University of the Arts, teaching art students basic scientific principles.

Currently, I am leading an innovative project around the characterization of host-construct interactions in mammalian cells in order to advance Bioprocessing with Synthetic Biology. This means that the aim is to understand cell-target protein (product) interactions to increase the target protein yield in mammalian cells using synthetic biology tools. Mammalian cells are important production vehicles for the pharmaceutical industry. What I mostly enjoy about this role is applying my knowledge and expertise to lead lab and project set-up, deliver exciting initial results, all the while bringing new approaches to the project. Working in a new lab, in a new project makes the output of my work very satisfying and rewarding for me.

As a junior member of staff at Imperial, apart from the extremely interesting research and the lovely friendly atmosphere, I appreciate the College’s policy to respect and support the personal development of the staff. The Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre offers the option to attend influential seminars and workshops on interesting topics. I believe these personal development opportunities at Imperial have contributed to my development as a well-rounded scientist and have helped me to identify and pursue new opportunities for my future.

Dr Piers Gaffney, Research Associate, Department of Chemical Engineering

“The opportunity to work at Imperial has attracted some of the best young talents in the world to our team – they are the very bedrock on which our achievements are built.”

I received my BSc from Imperial in the 1980s, but then undertook a Master’s at Durham studying pyrophoric boranes, before returning to London and King’s College London to obtain my PhD in organic chemistry. Here I studied the synthesis of signalling phospholipids, and this became the key to my current position with Professor Livingston in the Department of Chemical Engineering. (more…)

Dr Arnau Garriga Casanovas, Research Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering

“I really like being at Imperial. The best part is working alongside some of the most capable people in the world, who inspire me and make it truly enjoyable to work here.”

I came to Imperial in 2014 to do an engineering doctorate. My PhD project involved the research and development of a snake-robot to perform inspections of jet engines while the engine is on-wing, and was sponsored by Rolls-Royce. It was a really interesting project, where I conducted research on different types of miniature snake-robots – mostly concentric tube robots and soft robots. (more…)

Dr Yonghua Yin, Research Associate, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

I work as a Research Associate in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial. I received the President’s PhD Scholarship in 2014 and completed my PhD in electrical engineering at Imperial last year. Before this, I completed my undergraduate and Master’s in engineering at Sun Yat-sen University in China. (more…)

Dr May Sule, Research Associate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

I was born and raised in Nigeria, where I studied Chemical Engineering at undergraduate level at the University of Lagos, and then worked in the water sector. I moved to the UK in 2007 for my MSc at Newcastle University and two years later, started my PhD in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial. My focus was investigating the removal of contaminants from water using a pervaporative membrane filtration process. (more…)

Stefan Hoyle, Head of Health and Safety, Faculty of Natural Sciences

I first joined Imperial in 1999 as a Research Assistant in Professor Douglas Young’s group, working on developing luminescent reporter constructs to identify drugs effective against Tuberculosis. I was given the opportunity to get involved with lab management and completed the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health’s National Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health. (more…)

Andy Thomas, Research Computing Manager, Department of Mathematics

As the manager of the Department of Mathematics’ research IT facility in the Huxley Building, which has over 200 systems providing more than 1000 processors and 1000 terabytes of data storage, I have a busy, varied and enjoyable job.

I have been very fortunate to have spent most of my working life in research, starting in 1975 as an Electronics Technician in the Acoustics Lab of the former Chelsea College. I spent a decade creating specialist devices for projects and driving a mobile laboratory all over the UK.

An advert in the Guardian in 1999 for someone to come and sort out a motley collection of UNIX and Linux systems in Imperial’s Department of Mathematics was too much to resist. After arriving at Imperial in January 2000 (just in time to face and deal with the infamous Y2K bug), I have not looked back and have thoroughly enjoyed being here. Working at Imperial is like being part of a large family where I always feel at home, where thinking outside the box and embracing new ideas is the norm.

My present job is more like working for a small start-up. I routinely work on systems, networks, databases and programming all at once, and am responsible for every aspect of the facility. But above all, the most satisfying part of my role is providing a reliable service which gives researchers exactly what they want, when they want it and within budget.

Finally, receiving the President’s Medal for Research Support Excellence in 2018 has been the high point of my being at Imperial.

Dr Sophie Rutschmann, Senior Lecturer and Academic Lead for Postgraduate Education

I joined Imperial at the end of 2006, following a post-doc at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Immunology. Around half of my time is spent leading the MSc in Immunology, which means organising, teaching and looking after our students. In the other half of my time, I am the Academic Lead for Postgraduate Education in the Faculty of Medicine.

In this role, I aim to develop the Faculty’s education portfolio and work with the programme teams to maintain and improve the quality of our education. Recently, we have actively engaged with Imperial’s new Learning and Teaching strategy and are in the process of finishing the Curriculum Review of our postgraduate programmes, which has been a rather intense but rewarding process! This will lead to exciting changes in the way we teach – more specifically we’ll be progressively introducing more interactive sessions with our students.

I believe that the best learning environment is one where we all – both students and staff – have fun, enjoy what we do, and convey our passion; a place where we are challenged, but feel safe to take risks and make mistakes, and where we interact in a trusting, fair and transparent way.

Read a Q&A with Dr Rutschmann from the Department of Medicine’s blog