“From smart manufacturing to autonomous flight, I believe that control and automation will play a crucial role in the future of the aerospace industry.”
If science is all about understanding the world around us, engineering is about using this knowledge to build systems that make our environment safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable. Control engineering in particular, focusses on using mathematical models to design input laws, which allow us to modify and shape the behaviour of such systems.
My PhD project at Imperial’s Department of Aeronautics explores the role of information in control engineering and how to overcome the lack of it. Particular focus is given to networked systems, which consist of multiple interconnected parts such as power networks or satellite constellations. The aim is to develop systematic control design methods which guarantee a desired performance based only on limited available information. This challenge is addressed in my research by combining methods from dynamic game theory, which provides tools to model the interaction of strategic decision-makers, and direct data-driven control, in which unknown system information is replaced directly with measured data.
“My work seeks to understand the entire system of interconnected responses that can successfully bring infections like HIV under control.”
A colleague recently described the body’s response to infections as an orchestra in which the musicians within the instrumental ensemble understand their positions well enough to do their bit when summoned by the movement of the baton. Within the context of the immune system, I would go as far as to say that the components of the body’s response to infection must appear when summoned, with the appropriate cadence and melody for the performance to be deemed successful. In this context, it is also safe to state that a single instrument does not constitute an orchestra.
My work at Imperial seeks to understand the entire system of interconnected responses that can successfully bring infections like HIV under control. I am a postdoctoral Research Associate at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative’s Human Immunology Laboratory which is based at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Prior to joining Imperial, I completed my PhD at Cardiff University in Wales.
“Being a trusted ally for researchers is vital in my role”
I joined Imperial three years ago, weeks after I finished my Master’s degree in Smart Cities and Urban Analytics at University College London. I work as a research support analyst in the Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU) within the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI).
My main role is to support clinical researchers with any enquiries, issues, and questions in relation to their use of the BDAU’s research environment (a secure platform used for clinical research). Other key aspects of my role include data management, managing data documentation and supervising the BDAU Secure Environment operations, including data transfers from our data providers, such as NHS Digital and Public Health England.
Like many people at Imperial and around the world, the impact of COVID-19 on my job was immediate and profound. However, the BDAU team and I were able to meet the challenges of remote working and continue our work of supporting clinical researchers.
“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.
“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.
“The invisible webs of connections that we all have bear a strong influence on the ideas we develop and promote.”
I joined Imperial over twelve years ago, straight after finishing my PhD in the Netherlands, where I grew up. Currently, I lead an EU-funded research program titled “Networking for Innovation” to study how networking enables entrepreneurs and innovators to achieve business and innovation success. Together with a diverse team of postdocs and PhD students, as well as local and international collaborators, I seek to understand how individuals go about building the connections they need and assess how different approaches to building and mobilizing these connections help individuals to innovate.
Networks are a fascinating field of study. Behind the scenes, the invisible webs of connections that we all have bear a strong influence on the ideas we develop and promote, but some people are better able to build and exploit strong networks than others. We observed, for example, how some R&D scientists and R&D managers closely working together excelled at innovation, because they “mirrored” each other’s networks: they gained useful input from similar but non-overlapping connections which they used to challenge one another in productive ways.
“For me, the most satisfying moment is when I see colleagues put what they have learnt into practice.”
I work in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship where I co-lead the PG Cert in University Learning and Teaching which enhances staff learning, teaching and assessment practices. I previously taught research and academic writing skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of East London. I found it fascinating to shift from teaching students to teaching staff. For me, the most satisfying moment is when I see colleagues put what they have learnt into practice and can explain the educational rationales and pedagogies that underpin their activities.
I am currently also Principal Investigator for the Supporting the Identity Development of Underrepresented Students (SIDUS) which aims to promote inclusion and support success for STEMM students from underrepresented groups. Our team conducted 110 interviews with underrepresented students to explore their lived experiences, including their successes, challenges and opportunities. We are currently working with three brilliant StudentShapers students, to develop pedagogical materials to promote inclusion, educational aspirations and student success. I am very excited to see how our materials can support staff and students!
“I recently completed COVID-19 vaccination training and have joined other healthcare professionals in vaccinating the nation.”
I’m a qualified pharmacist with experience of working in an NHS Trust and a community pharmacy. During my pharmacy career, personal and academic experiences exposed me to the different health challenges faced by populations around the world. This sparked my interest and led me to pursue a Master’s in Public Health – the global health stream.
I have learnt about the principles of public health and policy development as well as different global health challenges. I have also learnt about the significance of global governance, health economics and other disciplines such as statistics and epidemiology – which are all essential for improving global health. I am looking forward to working with my supervisors on my summer project, which will utilise data from the Improving Health in Slums Collaboration to explore migration.
“During lockdown I volunteered for Sikh charities providing supplies and meals to care homes and homeless shelters.”
Joining Imperial was a dream come true for me as I had previously applied for over 50 courses and jobs here. My inspiration was Imperial’s (supposedly) first Sikh scientist, Professor Narinder Singh Kapany, who is known as “the father of fibre optics”. I believe that I might be the second proud Sikh scientist with a PhD in natural sciences to work at the College. I previously worked in industry for a successful startup company that tested ammonia toxicity in blood.
My current project on nuclear waste treatment is part of a national consortium on nuclear decommissioning. I am investigating the capabilities of phosphate-coated magnetic nanoparticles to adsorb radioactive uranium from nuclear waste using tiny magnetic particles. This is an exciting project that is vital to the UK government’s 2030 and 2050 goals to decommission nuclear power plants and tackle climate change.
“No matter how far away your work is from the clinic, there is nothing more motivating than bringing patients and the public into your research bubble.”
After completing my undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and a Master’s degree in Cancer Biology, I chose to undertake a PhD at Imperial. Imperial is all about research, but being a researcher is not all about lab coats, hypothesis testing and data analysis.
Although most of my time was lab-based (pre-pandemic) I have really enjoyed taking opportunities to gain insight into the clinical impact of research through patient and public engagement activities. I have helped to deliver charity lab tours and taken part in clinical trial design discussions with clinicians, scientists, patients and the public. I’ve found that no matter how far away your work is from the clinic, there is nothing more motivating than bringing patients and the public into your research bubble and talking to them about what you do!