Alumni response to COVID-19
The Imperial alumni community is something pretty special. Among you are experts, innovators and medics. Group leaders bringing your community together. Work-from-homers reaching out to neighbours. Key workers on the frontline. Whatever you're doing to make a difference right now, big or small, we want to hear your story. Drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in this online profile form. What you're doing matters.
Dr Helena McKeown
Dr Helena McKeown
Helena McKeown (MBBS 1991) is a portfolio GP locuming in Wessex and a senior GP appraiser. She chairs the Representative Body of the British Medical Association (BMA).
As of January 2020, Helena and her fellow chief officers are leading the association's response to COVID-19, resolving strategic and local issues, strengthening the BMA's internal resilience and coordinating external comms with the three audiences of the public, the UK government and doctors. Since the outbreak of coronavirus, she has been a regular guest on various TV and radio channels, including appearances on the Channel4 news and LBC.
Peter Kwok (BEng Materials Science & Engineering 2007) is the Chairman and Founder of the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals.
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Peter led the founding of the Global Diaspora Coalition with the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) to bring together diaspora organisations from around the world to combat COVID-19. He also set up a global team of 400 to lead the second national virtual support centre in Cameroon after establishing the first in the UK, endeavouring to reach out to and safeguard vulnerable communities locally and globally.
Dr Eleonora D'Elia
Dr Eleonora D'Elia
Dr Eleonora D'Elia (MSc Biomedical Engineering 2011, PhD Materials Research 2015) is a Strategic Teaching Fellow in the Department of Materials.
During the UK lockdown, Eleonora was working on campus, producing thousands of face visors using the Department's 3D printers and laser cutters. Her project was part of an initiative supported by Helpful Engineering UK, a grassroots organisation which organised a nationwide network of institutions, including universities and schools, to redeploy their equipment and facilities to make PPE.
Monty Alexander (MEng Mechanical Engineering 2020) and his brother Hector are co-founders of Yokeru, an AI call centre designed to ensure that shielding residents get the support they need while isolating. Their system has been piloted at Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
Yokeru contacts 9,000 shielding residents in the borough every two weeks, to ask how they are coping with self-isolation, if they feel at risk, and if they have concerns for their mental or physical safety. Responses are presented to the Council and the appropriate officers make contact with those who need specific help. The AI system costs around a fifth of traditional call centres to run.
Case study block two
Manolya Adan and Basil Mahfouz
Manolya and Basil (both MSc Environmental Technology 2017) are co-founders of SynSapien, a startup developing an open innovation platform to help innovators worldwide co-invent technology, supporting researchers and scientists during the COVID-19 crisis.
Using the platform, dispersed groups of scientists can strengthen their research impact through international, interdisciplinary collaboration. The platform currently has several live projects being worked on by an interdisciplinary community of over 500 scientists, researchers, and students across the world. This includes a project to design a low-cost emergency ventilator to help lower-income communities respond to COVID-19.
Mikkaila Mckeever-Willis and Sophie Finnegan
Mikkaila Mckeever-Willis (MRes Chemistry 2017) and Sophie Finnegan (MSc Physics 2017), both current computational chemistry PhD candidates, have launched kotikoulu, a free networking service to connect those requiring home-schooling help with those with the time to volunteer.
kotikoulu aims to provide support to caregivers who have found themselves suddenly loaded with the responsibility of maintaining education for their children, often with their own full time job to contend with and little guidance. They aim to connect homeschoolers with a matched volunteer to provide tailor-made support. kotikoulu is a community where you can get help with quadratic equations, have guided science experiments, or debate Victorian poetry, all without leaving your home.
More information and a free signup form can be found at kotikoulu.co.uk.
Frederic John (MBA 2019) is a Consultant at Neckermann Strategic Advisors, supporting companies in understanding how the Mobility Revolution will change their business. He is the co-author of multiple smart mobility reports and an individual contributor to the World Economic Forum. He is also a mobility guest lecturer at Universities, a writer, and mentors mobility start-ups in London and Singapore and current FT MBAs.
Frederic is part of the New Mobility COVID-19 Task Force lead by the WEF which puts together global experts to think about the impacts of the crisis and what to do in the near future.
Jacopo Ranalli (Materials Science and Engineering 2016) is the Founder of COVID Guard, a web-based platform aimed at collecting and analysing anonymous health information to provide valuable insights on the pandemic without having to rely on resources with limited availability, such as swabs or serological tests.
COVID Guard aims to statistically determine high-risk areas and identify anomalous patterns days or weeks in advance compared to conventional solutions such as contact-tracing, thus preventing new outbreaks around the world.