Imperial College London

7 eye-openers from our Imperial People


Woman in red coat smiles at camera in green/natural setting

Dr Cristina Banks-Leite from the Department of Life Sciences is one of 87 people who have featured in the Imperial People campaign so far

Our Imperial People campaign celebrates the best talent among our staff and students. We reflect on all the eye-opening things we learned in 2019.

1. David saved someone’s life on campus

man in suit smiles at cameraDavid Gordon, Mobile Supervisor in Security Services oversees security operations at all our campuses. This year he saved someone’s life on campus when he successfully resuscitated a man who was suffering a cardiac arrest.

He said: “I was doing compressions for 10 minutes, but it didn’t seem that long at all. You don’t really think about what you’re doing until afterwards, the training we have kicks in and you’re focused on doing the best you can.”

The London Ambulance Service said that David and his team saved the man’s life.

2. Michael is helping amputees in Sri Lanka

man smiling at cameraDr Michael Berthaume, former Research Associate in the Department of Bioengineering, worked with a team in Sri Lanka to look at the design of orthopaedic devices, including prosthetics for amputees affected by civil war in the country.

Michael travelled to Jaffna and visited collaborators at Jaffna’s teaching hospital, and the Jaffna Jaipur Centre for Disability Rehabilitation (JJCDR). The JJCDR provides prosthetics and orthotics to patients across northern Sri Lanka at almost no cost to the patients.

Michael, who recently moved to London South Bank University, said: “Seeing their work brought tears to my eyes, and knowing that the research I was doing could help them and thousands of amputees was a humbling experience.”

3. Flavia won a barista skills competition

Woman smiles at camera holding certificateCatering Supervisor Flavia Zago manages our Electrical Engineering Café and the Junior Common Room.

She ensures that our food outlets are well-maintained and that staff and students are receiving good customer service. “I always put my all into everything,” Flavia says. “If I start something, I work hard and make sure I achieve it.”

Flavia is a trained barista and this year she won Gold in The University Catering Caterers Organisation’s (TUCO) Barista Skills competition.

“Imperial is where I found my passion for coffee,” Flavia says. “In 2017, I entered Imperial’s internal barista competition, which I won! I then got the opportunity to participate in TUCO's Barista Skills competition in 2018, and finished third in the contest. Last year, I also trained our baristas to take part in the College’s internal barista competition, which was a great challenge and experience for me.”

4. Natasha published her second novel

Woman smiles at camera Natasha Suri is a Senior Library Assistant, who supports our staff, students and researchers with all their book, journal and database needs.  

In an interview with us earlier this year, she said: “I’ve really enjoyed working with students from so many different disciplines. They have interesting queries about topics such as sustainable luxury – as you can imagine, this is a difficult subject to find lots of research material on! I find it rewarding to help them comb through the databases and search for useful papers.” 

When she isn’t working in the library, Natasha is busy writing fantasy novels – her debut novel Empire of Sand was published last year, and the second book in the series, Realm of Ash, was published in November.

Tasha won the British Fantasy Society’s Best Newcomer Award in October this year.

5. Joshua revealed that fake moon dust is a thing!

man with glasses smiles at cameraJoshua Rasera is living his dream of working in the space sector. He works as a Research Assistant in Department of Earth Science and Engineering, and his doctoral research is in lunar mineral process engineering.

Joshua explains: “My work is mostly experimental, and so I spend a lot of time in the lab developing my experimental apparatus and running tests. My experiments focus on testing different ways to statically charge fake Moon dust, and then attempting to determine the best way to use the different charges carried by each mineral to separate them by type.”

6. Hans is tackling the plastic problem

Chemistry undergraduate Hans Chan won the Faculty of Natural Sciences Make-a-Difference competition in 2017 and created a startup company, Matoha Ultrascience, which is trying to solve the plastic pollution crisis.

Hans reflects: “It was an incredible journey, starting from just a vision, then communicating it to get funding, using said funding to develop the substance of the idea, and finally taking that to a viable business."

7. Gareth has supported nearly 900 schools in The Gambia

man smiling at cameraGareth Oliver, Remote IT Support Engineer, joined the College two years ago. Before coming to Imperial, Gareth spent five years volunteering in The Gambia.

During his time in The Gambia, Gareth trained head teachers to analyse exam results more effectively.

“Every school in the country, approximately 900 to date, has gone through training which I developed and delivered,” said Gareth. “If you visit any school principal’s office today, you can see the results of my training. I was most happy to see better analysis of girls’ attainment at all levels, and that schools were investigating the root causes of the large gap between boys and girls in every subject, and nearly every grade.”


Martha Nahar

Martha Nahar
Communications and Public Affairs

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