List of Recipients

2022 Awards

Amy Smith will be undertaking a placement at the University of Stockholm 

Amy Smith is a second-year PhD researcher in the Physics Education Group working on the Strengthening Learning Communities (SLC) project. On completion of her BSc in Physics from the University of Manchester, Amy went on to teach physics and maths at an inner-city secondary school in Birmingham. Whilst teaching, she undertook an MA in Professional Education, investigating science capital and sense of belonging amongst female physics graduates.

The aim of her PhD research is ultimately to increase the sense of belonging for underrepresented groups within physics. In order to achieve this, Amy's discipline-based education research will focus on understanding perceptions of social norms within physics and how they influence behaviour and authenticity. The Stevenson Fund will allow Amy to spend 3 months with Prof. Anna Danielsson and her Science Education research group at the University of Stockholm, where she will learn about different theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the relationship between gender and physics. During the placement, Amy will contribute to the "Unexpected Scientists" project, which focuses on science identity enactment in underrepresented groups. Outside of her PhD, Amy has a strong commitment to the diversification of physics and is President of the Women in Physics Society.

Marine Secchi will be undertaking a placement at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

I am a second year PhD student in the Lo Celso and Luis labs. I moved to London to study Biology at Imperial, with a year in industry. I worked at GSK for a year and loved doing research and applying the knowledge I had of immunology. I got into the Molecular and Cellular Basis of Infection Wellcome PhD program to pursue my interest in the interactions between pathogens and the immune system. I did a 3-month data analysis project in Lo Celso and Luis labs and discovered the haematopoietic stem cell field, I found it fascinating.

For my PhD I am investigating platelet-biased stem cells activation following platelet depletion and infection. I do a lot of microscopy including 3D time lapses in vivo, immunostainings and RNA-FISH which generates beautiful but very complex images containing a lot of data. This placement will gives me the opportunity to develop my computational image analysis skills with an incredible team of experts in the field and dive into the vibrant stem cell research community of Boston.  


2021 Awards

Lily Peck undertook a placement at Paris Saclay University 

I am a Natural Environment Research Council-funded final year life sciences PhD student through the Grantham Institute. My PhD research topic focusses upon the emergence and divergence of a fungal disease of coffee using strains collected over the past 70 years. I am working in collaboration with CABI, an agricultural research not-for-profit organization that holds a fungal culture collection with over 20,000 strains of fungi, as well as with Kew Gardens. I am aiming to ensure a steady stream of espressos for the future.

Thanks to the Stevenson Fund, I have the opportunity to work with Professor Tatiana Giraud at Paris Saclay University. Prof Giraud is a leading female evolutionary biologist and her group recently proved the “horizontal” transfer of genes between species on cheese-making Penicillium strains. Her expertise will help me research this same “horizontal” transfer of genes on my own coffee-infecting fungal strains.

I am a firm believer in widening opportunities for Women in STEM, and started such a seminar series at Imperial College which aims to give a platform to people who may have historically been overlooked.

Outside the lab, I will be enjoying everything that Paris has to offer, including bouldering at Fontainebleau! 

Read about Lily's placement

2019 Awards

Sophie Curio undertook a placement at the University of Otago 

I am a second year PhD student in Dr Nadia Guerra’s group in the Department of Life Sciences, studying the interaction between immune cells and the gut microbiota in a setting of chronic intestinal inflammation and cancer development.

Thanks to the Stevenson Fund, I will get the opportunity to work with Dr Rachel Purcell at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Dr Purcell studies the microbiome in human cancer patients and is an expert in pathogenic bacteria in colorectal cancer. During my placement, I will learn the analysis of microbiome sequencing data using my own set of samples from models of intestinal cancer and compare it to readily available data sets from human patients.

After already having undertaken research placements in Germany, Sweden, the US and the UK I am excited to experience the academic environment in New Zealand.

Outside of the lab, I spend most of my free in a glider flying around Europe and I hope that I can continue that while I’m in New Zealand and explore the Southern Alps by air.

2018 Awards

Enrica Mazzon undertook a placement at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

I am a member of the London School of Geometry and Number Theory, a joint PhD program between Imperial College, KCL and UCL. During the Fall 2018 I spent three months at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta thank to the Stevenson Fund. This placement provided me with huge opportunities for productive research and career development, as well as strengthening ties between the mathematical communities at Imperial College and in the United States. 

I am originally from Italy, where I finished my BSc in Mathematics in 2013. I then joined the research master offered by the Fondation Mathématique Jacques Hadamard and I obtained my MSc at the Université d’Orsay in 2015. After broadening my mathematical background through various advanced courses, I started my PhD in pure mathematics at Imperial College London in September 2016.

Read about Enrica's placement

Kwok Yan Sarah Ho undertook a placement with Professor Karen Goldberg at the University of Pennsylvania

Many thanks to the Imperial College Stevenson Fund, it gives me an opportunity to complete a three-month exchange research project at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Professor Karen Goldberg. The project focus on the selective oxidation of methane to methanol using late transition metal catalysts, which is closely related to my PhD research at Imperial College London. In particular, I worked on the kinetic studies of the dioxygen insertion into cationic platinum(II) methyl and palladium(II) methyl complexes. 

During my research in the US, a couple of novel cationic platinum(II) and palladium(II) alkyl complexes were successfully synthesised and the reactivity of these complexes with dioxygen was examined in the presence of a radical initiator under heat. Methanol and possibly formaldehyde were released during the reaction, which could be used as an alternative energy source or precursor to other bulk chemicals. The kinetic studies were monitored by NMR spectroscopy to obtain the rate of reaction. I really enjoy working on this project and it helps me to strengthen my skills and knowledge.

Read about Sarah's placement

Rainbow Lo undertook a placement with Professor Vivian WW Yam at the University of Hong Kong

With the assistance of the Stevenson Fund, I was able to undertake a three month placement under Professor Vivian W.-W. Yam, the Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor in Chemistry and Energy, at the University of Hong Kong. Prof. Yam and her group have extensive knowledge and experience working with luminescent supramolecular assemblies for a range of applications including optoelectric materials and chemosensors for molecular recognition of key biological processes or substrates such as ions, proteins and DNA. They are pioneers in the synthesis of d6, d8 and d10 transition metal complexes and their photophysical, supramolecular assembly, and luminescence sensing and imaging studies.

Read about Rainbow's placement

Stav Zalel undertook a placement with Professor Sumati Surya at the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore

I am a second year PhD student at the Theoretical Physics Group. My research is in the Causal Set approach to Quantum Gravity. 

The Stevenson Fund allowed me to spend ten weeks working with Professor Sumati Surya at the Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bangalore. Having pursued all of my university education at Imperial College, this was a fantastic opportunity for me to experience working in a different academic environment. 

The visit has been fruitful and stimulating. I learnt new technical skills from Professor Surya and from her PhD students. The extended visit allowed us enough time to commence on a joint research project which we look forward to pursuing further. In addition, I benefited from long and interesting discussions with Professor Rafael Sorkin, an expert in the topic of my thesis, who was also visiting RRI at the time.

Read about Stav's placement

2017 Awards

Mona Furukawa, BSc Biochemistry is undertaking a placement with Professor Nobuko Hosokawa at Kyoto University, Japan

Mona FurukawaI am from Japan and have lived in London for twelve years. I am a second year Biochemistry student at Imperial College London. I am very keen on being able to contribute to cutting edge research in areas of cell cycle regulation and neurodegenerative disease. 

This summer, I will be working alongside Prof. Nobuko Hosokawa at Kyoto University. Stevenson Fund will enable me to explore the signaling pathways and the cell surface receptor of the Cerebral Dopamine Neutrophic Factor (CDNF), which is known to control neurons during development and mitigate degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons. Understanding these may aid us with the development of pharmaceutical drugs to alleviate Parkinson’s disease.

Starting from October, I plan to do a year of research at University of Cambridge to explore the link between DNA repair and neurodegenerative diseases.

During these experiences, I look forward to being able to immerse myself deeply within a stimulating intellectual environment. Apart from Biochemistry, I enjoy playing the piano and reading. This year, I am also part of the badminton committee for Imperial badminton.

Read about Mona's placement at the University of Kyoto (pdf file)

Sarah Gluszek, MSc Conservation Science will be undertaking a placement with Dr Meredith Gore at the MIchigan State University, School of Criminal Justice, USA

Sarah Gluszek

I am a postgraduate student on the MSc Conservation Science at Imperial College London. Having completed my undergraduate degree in Law with Criminology at the University of Manchester, I am working towards combining these two disciplines in my career, with a focus on the illegal wildlife trade.

For my placement, I will be collaborating with the inspirational Dr Meredith Gore, who is a leading female scientist in the field of conservation criminology. Together we will investigate the impact of enforcement on bushmeat trafficking in an urban context in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Whilst at Michigan State University, I am also keen to engage with other graduate students and staff at the School of Criminal Justice to share ideas and learn from the whole team.

Outside of this, I enjoy volunteering, travelling and dancing, and am excited to see what activities I can get involved in at MSU. I am also looking forward to exploring the outdoors, especially while carrying out research in the Congo. I hope that with this experience I can create a pathway to future collaboration with MSU and Imperial.

Read about Sarah Gluszek's placement at Michigan State University

Joanna Lester, PhD Physics will be undertaking placements with Prof Nikki Lovenduski at the University of Colorado Boulder and with Dr Ann McNichol at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, USA

Joanna Lester

I am a second year PhD student in the Space and Atmospheric Physics group at Imperial College London, where I am researching the ocean’s response to climate change and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, using ocean models and observations. My supervisors are Heather Graven and Samar Khatiwala.

Thanks to the Stevenson Fund, I have the opportunity to work with two eminent scientists in the USA. First I’ll spend 10 weeks with Nicole Lovenduski, an expert in the ocean carbon cycle and ocean modelling based at the University of Colorado Boulder, working with her group to investigate the behaviour of ocean tracers in a global Earth system model (CESM). Then I will spend three weeks at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with Ann McNichol, who leads the analytical program for the ocean radiocarbon measurements that are the observational focus of my PhD.

Both Boulder and WHOI are major hubs for oceanography, so these placements will offer real benefits to my research, providing me the unique opportunity to gain expertise in ocean modelling, build links to the ocean modelling community, and acquire hands-on experience measuring radiocarbon in ocean samples.

If I have any spare time during the placements, I look forward to exploring the Rocky Mountains around Boulder, and the coastline surrounding WHOI.

Hannah Williams, PhD in CCM will be undertaking a placement with Prof Tanya Zelevinsky at Columbia University New York, USA

Hannah Williams

For undergraduate I did an MSci in Physics at Imperial College. I took part in the Erasmus program and a year in Paris studying at ESPCI where I completed my Masters project. I started my PhD in the Centre for Cold Matter group at Imperial in 2014 where I work on laser cooling molecules to microKelvin temperatures. Ultracold molecules offer a vast range of applications from tests of fundamental physics to the development of quantum technology.  We are currently working on methods to reach these very low temperatures.

Thanks to the Stevenson fund I will work with Prof. Tanya Zelevinsky at Columbia University in New York. I am really looking forward to this opportunity to not only learn about different techniques and experiments within the field of ultracold molecular physics but also to experience life in a different research group. Outside of physics I enjoy netball, dancing and travelling.

Read about Hannah Williams' placement at Columbia University, USA

2016 Awards

Sarah Thomas, PhD student in the Centre for Doctoral Training on Controlled Quantum Dynamics undertook a placement with Prof Pascale Senellart at Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

Sarah Thomas

I did my undergraduate at the University of Cambridge (St. John’s College) and obtained a BA and MSci in Natural Sciences. I then joined the Centre for Doctoral Training on Controlled Quantum Dynamics at Imperial College London, which is a 1 year MRes + 3 years PhD programme. My PhD research is based in the Ultrafast Quantum Optics group in Oxford and I am working on developing a quantum memory for light, which is a vital component for quantum technology. The Stevenson Fund will allow me to spend three months with Prof. Pascale Senellart’s group in Paris, learning about and developing ultrabright single photon sources, which have recently emerged as a dominant and highly promising technology in our field. This will initiate a collaboration between our two groups and we plan to interface these photon sources with our quantum memory which would enhance and accelerate research towards photonic quantum information. Outside of physics I enjoy running, hiking and baking. I am also involved in outreach activities to encourage young people, and in particular young women, to be interested in and excited about physics.

Read about Sarah Thomas' placement at CNRS (pdf file)

Victoria Urland, PhD student in the Vilar Research Group, Department of Chemistry undertook a research placement with Prof. Jacqueline Barton at the California Institute of Technology

Viktoria UrlandI am originally from Germany but studied in Switzerland. I finished my BSc in Chemistry at ETH Zürich in 2012 and obtained my MSc in Interdisciplinary Sciences in 2014. Via the Erasmus programme I was able to carry out my Master's thesis in the field of bioinorganic chemistry at the University of Cambridge where I worked on synthetic porphyrin-protein assemblies. I enjoyed these six months of pure enlightenment a lot and could engage in the unique college life. Since November 2014 I have been doing my PhD here at Imperial College under the supervision of Prof. Ramon Vilar and Prof. Joshua Edel. My project is concerned with developing a high-throughput microfluidics based platform for G-quadruplex binders. I am very excited about my research stay at Caltech and hope to lay the foundation for a future collaboration in the field of DNA targeting probes.

Besides science, I enjoy playing Badminton and follow my interests in philosophy - another discipline which I am eager to explore in order to answer important questions of life.

Janet Peet, BSc Chemistry will be undertaking a research placement with Prof. Barbara Imperiali at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Janet Peet

As a final year Chemistry undergraduate at Imperial College London, I am passionate to commence further research at another world leading institution.

I have secured a placement to undertake an international research project with Professor Barbara Imperiali at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this summer. This project combines synthetic chemistry, biophysics and protein biochemistry into truly multidisciplinary research. 

In the past, I have completed a summer research placement at Kings College London in drug discovery and also a UROP at Imperial in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. Both of these experiences were really enjoyable and have encouraged me to undertake a MRes in Catalysis at Imperial in October 2016. In the future I hope to pursue a PhD and/or a career in the chemical industry. Apart from Chemistry, I enjoy cooking, travelling and helping out at Imperial OUTREACH events.

Read about Janet's placement at MIT (pdf document)

2015 Awards

Diletta Martinelli, Mathematics, undertook a research placement with Prof Clare Voisin at the Institut de Mathematiques de Jussieu-Paris

I was born in Ferrara, in the north of Italy, in 1988. In 2010 I obtained a BS in Mathematics from the University of Ferrara and in 2012 a master in Pure Mathematics from the University of Pavia.

I completed my master project at the University of Barcelona, where I visited for six months. In October 2012, I joined the Imperial College Geometry Group as a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Paolo Cascini.

My main research interests are in algebraic geometry, in particular the study of some geometric objects called algebraic varieties. Achieving a complete classification of them is a very fundamental question in geometry, with many applications in other areas of mathematics and science. During my PhD I visited the University of Tokyo and the University of Pavia for joint collaborations.

I support charities that spread mathematical knowledge in Africa. With other PhD students of my group I created a Christmas Card with a photo of the Geometry Group and sold it to support The Lightyear Foundation. I am currently fundraising for SAMI, Supporting African Maths Initiative.

Read about Diletta Martinelli's placement (PDF)

Priyaben Patel, Physics, undertook a research placement with Dr Bhuvana Srinivasan at Virginia Tech and Caltech

I am currently a second year physicist at Imperial College London. Physics has inspired me throughout my life and that spurred me on to study the subject at one of the leading institutions in the country.

However, I have always enjoyed challenges and enjoy thinking outside the box and that is perhaps why I am doing a summer internship in space plasma physics at Virginia Tech.I feel doing physical research is the best way to add to a field I enjoy so much, and this internship will therefore be a perfect way to spend my summer.

To fuel my enthusiasm in space physics, I represented the UK in the international space Olympics in Russia in 2012. I found this a wonderful experience where I met space enthusiasts and astronauts from all around the world, many of whom I still keep in touch with. 

Apart from physics, I also love dancing and music. In the past I have performed in front of 10,000 people at the Special Olympics and also represented Imperial at various dance competitions. I also love volunteering at my local temple and have been doing so for several years now.

Read about Priya Patel's placement (PDF)

Nikita Kamraj, Physics, undertook a research placement with Prof Fiona Harrison at Caltech

I’m a third year undergraduate currently studying Physics at Imperial College. My primary research interests are in Astrophysics and Cosmology. In the past, I have completed a summer research placement at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. I also undertook a UROP placement at Imperial College in the field of High-Energy Particle Physics, focusing on the phenomenology of searches for Dark Matter at the LHC in CERN.

In the future, I wish to pursue a PhD in the field of observational Astrophysics. My other interests outside of academia include modern dancing and learning foreign languages such as Japanese & French.

Read about Nikita Kamraj's placement here (PDF)

Lily Wong Le, Life Sciences, will be undertaking a research placement with Prof Susan Ferro-Novick at the University of California

I am a first year biophysics PhD student investigating the molecular mechanism underlying the activation of anaesthetics as well as developing a novel biomolecular tool to delineate the neuronal pathways controlling sleep versus those underpinning loss of consciousness under anaesthesia.

My model organism of choice is the baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but unfortunately, as talented as my laboratory colleagues are, I am alone here in my choice of organism, and will thus be jetting off to the University of California to work under the supervision of Professor Susan Ferro-Novick to learn more about vesicular trafficking in this fascinating fungus.

After having also attained my BSc and MRes at Imperial, I am looking forward to experiencing a different lab culture and working with a successful female academic supervisor, the latter of which I have not had the opportunity to do before.

I am excited to spend some time with the sun and sea too! While there, I hope to be able to continue my extra-curricular activities of learning Spanish and co-ordinating a long-distance volunteering project with Imperial Hub. I am also eager to get involved in any international development activities the university may run.

Thanks to the Greta Stevenson Fund for making this possible!