New UROP opportunities will be listed here for one month, and thereafter will appear on the relevant faculty page (UROP website) until notified otherwise by the relevant member of academic staff.


Title of UROP Opportunity (Research Experience) & DetailsExperienced required (if any)Contact Details and any further Information

NEW : 11 June, 2018

Pressure distributions under granular piles using sensor pad and modelling: The study of particle systems has a wide range of applications from soil mechanics to powder technology. Nevertheless, many questions on their mechanical behaviour are still open. In particular the exact mechanism for transmitting loads between neighbouring particles with ‘force chains’ is still obscure. To understand this we propose a combination of experiments using a sensor and FEMDEM simulations using www.Solidityproject to study the forces measured at the base of a granular pile, and simulations to ‘see’ inside the pile See details (


Skills and experience required: You will build a granular pile on top of one or both of our high precision dynamic pressure pads (supplied by Teckscan). The project student will aim to reproduce identical simulation and experimental conditions. Results will be discussed in terms of (i) code validation; (ii) variability of contact force statistics as a function of experimental variables – which may include particle size and shape.

Summer Vacation only

Contact: Dr John-Paul Latham, Room 4.97, Dept of Earth Science and Engineering, South Kensington Campus. Email: Tel: 0207 594 7327.  

NEW: 11 June, 2018

Ultimate strength of jetted boreholes: In our European research project on geothermal energy (SURE), a most pressing challenge is being addressed: how to drill many lateral deviator holes to depth cheaply and control the fluid and thus the heat flow. Water jet drilling has become a very promising rapid and cheap technique in the softer rocks and is used widely in Oil and Gas. Water jet drilling has become a very promising rapid and cheap technique in the softer rocks. There are now some concerns that the small uncased holes created may degrade with time. Not all holes cut by the water jet are of circular section – this is because the jetting nozzle has forward facing (to erode rock) and backward facing jets (thrusters to propel the drilling forwards). The back thrusters leave behind a star shaped section hole. We have developed a code www.Solidityproject that can model the stresses in the wall rock and any crack development around the jetted holes, under stressed conditions. The response of a circular cross section to borehole breakouts is well understood but for star-like shapes, no-one has investigated the effect of shape. The project objectives are therefore very well posed and we have uniquely suited codes to investigate this with. More info is available at:


Skills and experience: Basic mechanics of solid materials. Experience in use of FEM deformation modelling is helpful. Scientific software experience.  

Summer Vacation only

Contact: Dr John-Paul Latham, Room 4.97, Dept of Earth Science and Engineering, South Kensington Campus. Tel: 0207 594 7327.

NEW: 4 June, 2018

Computing and bioinformatics for malaria vector control: Our lab aims to study population demography and selection in Anopheles mosquitoes, important vectors of malaria, using modelling and simulation techniques. We also use genome data to help us predict how genetic methods of vector control would work in nature. We have several potential projects that would suit candidates with strong computing skills.

  1. Simulating selective sweeps in order to determine genetic signatures of selection, using the software SLiM 2. Time permitting, this will be used to infer how mosquitoes evolve using whole-genome sequence data from the Anopheles gambiae 1000 genomes project (Ag1000G).
  2. Understanding and inferring population histories of Anopheles mosquitoes. Both real and simulated genome data will be used to construct and evaluate estimators for population histories, under Likelihood or Bayesian frameworks.
  3. Detecting positive and purifying selection using genomic data from Ag1000G and the Anopheles 16 genomes project. This will include analyses of new mutations to estimate their fitness effects in natural populations.
  4. Mining genomic data from Ag1000G project to look for a) Y chromosome markers in female mosquitoes to estimate the number of mated females that were sampled; b) PiggyBac-like sequences that could result in off-target effects in transgenic mosquitoes. 

The student(s) may work on any combination of these projects as time permits.


Skills and experience required: The student(s) must have sound computing knowledge with good programming skills. An interest in biology and bioinformatics would be an advantage. Further, some projects listed above require specific skills:

  1. Physics/maths background or interest and experience in mathematical modelling would be advantageous. Matlab would be a plus.
  2. Have experience in programming in C or R. Knowledge of Imperial’s HPC would be an advantage.
  3. Interest in molecular evolution, some knowledge of bioinformatics and scripting in Python or R.

Students who do not meet all the requirements are also encouraged to apply. Some training will be given, but the student should be prepared to work independently most of the time.


Preferred Dates of Placement: Summer vacation 2018.

A bursary may be available to the successful candidate or candidates.

Contact: Dr Dr Bhavin S Khatri (with Dr Vassiliki Koufopanou, Dr Tin-Yu Hui, and Dr Samantha O’Loughlin as co-supervisors), Dept of Life Sciences, Silwood Park Campus, Kennedy Building 2.9, Email: and Tel: +44 (0) 207 594 2379

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