Blog posts

Rhea Samra, Sustainability Officer, Office of the Provost

Rhea Samra
“Sustainability Fortnight, the annual celebration of sustainability at the university started last week. This year, we’re excited to host a range of workshops, exhibits and seminars.”

I’m based in the central Sustainability function, working to support the delivery of the university’s Sustainability Strategy, and it’s been great to see the momentum build around sustainability over the past few years at the university.

I’m lucky to work with a wide range of colleagues at Imperial – from academic experts to help draft the upcoming Sustainable Business Travel Policy, to operational leads who attended our pilot staff climate literacy course. I also work with communications experts to help amplify the great work going around on campus, such as sustainable lab practices, such as closing fume cupboard sashes completely when not in use. This reduces their energy consumption by 40% or more. (more…)

Amber Yitong Liu, MSc International Management, Imperial College Business School

“I hope every individual will no longer be entangled with the question of who they are, no longer fear their differences, and with joy, accept themselves and others, and accept this world that is inherently colourful like a rainbow.”

I was born and raised in China until I came to Canada at 13 and discovered I was genderfluid and bisexual. You can’t imagine my ecstasy upon realising that the ostracisation from school wasn’t because of my “weirdness” in my boyish behaviours, but rather a lack of understanding from those around me. One day, my high school finance teacher praised me, noting I was different from others, in a good way. Being the simple person I am, I decided finance was my favourite subject (the alluring world of finance also attracted me, of course).

After completing my undergraduate degree in finance and marketing, I decided to pursue a deeper understanding of the business world, and leverage my knowledge to assist those in need. Therefore, I joined the MSc International Management program at Imperial College Business School. It is the most exciting master’s program in business. I have opportunities to engage in worldwide projects in Cape Town, the US, Europe, and so many incredible places. It completes my UK experiences and makes this year of journey an unforgettable milestone in my life. (more…)

Dr Stephanie Hodeib, Teaching Fellow, Department of Immunology and Inflammation

“Celebrating LGBT+ History Month is crucial to acknowledging and appreciating the diverse contributions of the community throughout history.”

As a recently appointed Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London, my professional journey has been a blend of education and career growth. I embarked on this journey by completing a PhD in the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial. There I developed the skills that paved the way for my current role, principally by teaching fundamental lab skills. During my PhD I gained experience in teaching by working with taught courses and providing teaching support. This allowed me to successfully achieve the Fellowship of Higher Education.

In my current role, I focus on developing wet laboratory skills in students, and evolving their ability to critically think about the scientific method in an objective manner. My teaching is also about bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world applications. It’s about making science come alive in the laboratory, but with a strong focus on immunology and infection. The impact of my work is evident in the growth and proficiency of students. Witnessing their progress is immensely rewarding, and their feedback informs me of how transferrable, and important, the skills they develop are in their future education and careers. (more…)

João Cabral, Professor of Soft Matter Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering

Prof Joao Cabral

I am an incredibly lucky married gay man, with two children, and Imperial has provided me with a great supportive environment.” 

I am a professor of soft matter in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Associate Director of the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (IMSE). I also co-chair our Equality, Diversity & Culture Committee in the department. I hold a research chair co-sponsored by Procter & Gamble, and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Our team collaborates closely with industry to understand and redesign the thermodynamics and performance of ‘complex fluids’, to enable a sustainable transition of the sector. 

I grew up in Portugal, between Lisbon and the countryside of Alentejo, where my family comes from and runs a cattle and cork farm. At school, I somewhat resented having to accept and memorise concepts and formulae in chemistry and physics. Perhaps my stubbornness led me to study physics at university, and I attended the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Lisbon, where I had some amazing mentors. I became fascinated by atomic and molecular physics and, for the first time, appreciated the humility and tentativeness of scientific discovery. I was lucky to spend time at KTH Stockholm, and a year at a nuclear laboratory Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, just outside Paris, before doing my PhD in polymer thermodynamics at Imperial. I then moved to Washington DC as a postdoc at the National Institute of Science and Technology, and learned the importance of articulating the significance of our research to funders in industry and government, before returning to Imperial as a lecturer.

LGBTQIA+ History Month is a time to remember and celebrate the many contributions of LGBTQIA+ individuals to society. This requires some research, particularly in science and engineering, where so little is known about these individuals. (more…)

Kathryn Wills, Centre Manager for the Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation

Kathryn Wills

“I’ve recently moved to the Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions, which has the goal of aiding the transition to net zero pollution.”

My path to my current role has been a bit of a melange of interesting experiences and educations, each of which have contributed in their own way! I completed an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Nottingham, and a PhD at the University of Bath. I was part of a Doctoral Training Centre and this provided opportunities outside of my day-to-day research for training in topics such as public engagement and entrepreneurship, and in helping to organise events such as an annual showcase.

After my PhD I worked as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate, which is an Innovate UK funded route for industry and academia to work together on an innovation idea. This position helped me build my experience and skillset on the project management and ‘other activities’ side of things, i.e. everything else that goes on alongside the core research to add value to a project.

Fast forward a little, and I started a role at Imperial College in 2019 as Programme Manager for an initiative called IDLES (Integrated Development of Low-carbon Energy Systems). This was hosted in the Energy Futures Lab, and I spent a happy few years working alongside colleagues on all things energy systems related.

I’ve recently moved to the Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions. The centre is a collaboration between Hitachi Ltd and Imperial College, with the goal of aiding the transition to net zero pollution, and beyond. We work together on a set of joint research projects which all sit within the three research pillars of the centre: Carbon Management and Decarbonisation, CO2 Removal (Technology and Nature-based Solutions), and Socio-economic and Policy work. I’m really enjoying being part of a new team with exciting new challenges ahead!

Mary O Kenneth, Research Postgraduate, Department of Computing

Mary O Kenneth

“I am excited about delving deeper into the world of AI, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible”

My journey has been a thrilling ride through the realms of technology and academia. Starting with a BSc in Computer Science at the Federal University of Lafia, Nigeria, and then earning an MTech at the Federal University of Technology Minna, my pursuit of knowledge has been relentless. Currently, I am immersed in the world of artificial intelligence as a PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at Imperial, wearing multiple hats from demystifying the magic of calculus to exploring the fascinating realm of AI.

My research as a PhD student is focused on the creation of an AI multimodal humour style recognition model. In an era when mental health issues are on the rise, having a system that can automatically detect the complex nature of our jokes and comprehend how they affect our wellbeing and relationships is an important step towards encouraging better mental health. This undertaking is more than just a technological problem; it marks a significant step forward in understanding and improving our daily wellbeing and social relationships. (more…)

Ali Lyons, Outreach Evaluation and Research Manager, Outreach

Ali Lyons

In a nutshell, I work to help students from any background to be able to go to university”

When answering the question “What do you do?”, for some the job title is the explanation. My role is less obvious, so I often reply, “How much time do you have?”.

In a nutshell, I work to help students from any background to be able to go to university. But if you’re not careful, I’ll talk your ear off for hours about the different ways that we might define who is underrepresented at university, what role universities have in supporting students, and the many policy areas that impact access to education.

Working in widening participation has been a natural fit for me, despite the fact that when I interviewed for my first role in this field, I had never heard the term! It came as no surprise to me that some students are shut-out, alienated, or face extra hurdles in their educational journeys, but I just hadn’t had the language to describe this idea. (more…)

Rachel Williams, Strategic Implementation Manager, Commercial Operations

Rachel Williams

“I am a lifelong learner. I look beyond my everyday world, seeking inspiration from diverse resources, other managers, and colleagues across Imperial. One day, I’d like to set up an organisation which helps people from diverse and less privileged backgrounds to reach their best potential within the hospitality, events, and tourism industry.”

I started my career in auditing before transitioning first to global banking, then into the hotel, venue and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) industries. I’m passionate about business strategy and really enjoyed the diverse experiences that working in hospitality provided – from building multimillion pound venue facilities from scratch, to creating and developing Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.

In my current role as Strategic Implementation Manager, I lead the development of the growth strategy and long-term plans for Commercial Operations. Our team transform the student accommodation and teaching spaces into a residential venue for the Easter and summer vacation periods to generate additional income for Imperial. We also deliver Imperial’s flagship Global Summer School (GSS) which feeds into the student recruitment journey – over 350 GSS students have become undergraduates and postgraduates at Imperial.


Sandra Roscoe, Student Wellbeing Adviser, Department of Bioengineering

“The majority of my time is spent having one-to-one wellbeing meetings with Bioengineering students. I also liaise with colleagues and student representatives in the department and advocate for students if needed.”

I joined the Department of Bioengineering in September 2019 as their Student Wellbeing Adviser. Prior to that, I spent eighteen years working as an NHS doctor. Most of this time was spent in General Practice, with additional work in Palliative Medicine and Medical Education.

The student wellbeing adviser roles at Imperial were very new when I joined in 2019. It was both exciting and slightly daunting to be told I could lead on developing the role for the department. The majority of my time is spent having one-to-one wellbeing meetings with Bioengineering students. These cover a wide range of issues including mental health, personal relationships, family situations, academic, financial and accommodation issues. Depending on the needs of each student, I might continue to meet with them myself or signpost to other services. I also liaise with colleagues and student representatives in the department and advocate for students if needed. The lighter side of the role is arranging wellbeing events such as therapy dog visits and craft sessions.


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