Faculty of Medicine

Jessica Chadwick - Department of Medicine

Jessica ChadwickName: Jessica Chadwick
Department:
Medicine
Title of Research:
Epigenetic Mechanisms of Axonal Regeneration in Spinal Cord Injury
Email:
j.chadwick17@imperial.ac.uk
Supervisor(s):
Professor Simone Di Giovanni, Professor Steve Gentleman

About me: My academic journey in neuroscience began at the University of Leeds where I completed my BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience. During the summer breaks I undertook several research internships, first at Downing College Cambridge followed by a project in Dr Aspden’s lab at Leeds funded by the Biochemical Society. It was during these internships that my love of chromatin and molecular biology was first discovered. I graduated with a first-class degree and moved to Imperial to complete an MRes in Experimental Neuroscience. During my first rotation I studied the epigenetic mechanisms of regeneration following spinal cord injury as part of the Di Giovanni lab. I had found the ideal research combination in molecular neuroscience and knew immediately that I would pursue a PhD in this field. I graduated from my masters with distinction and am now proud to be part of the prestigious president’s scholar’s community at Imperial.

Summary of Research: Spinal cord injury is frequently a devastatingly severe condition affecting 50,000 in the UK alone, often with a high risk of low quality of life for patients. Central nervous system axons fail to regenerate after an injury, but this is not the case in the peripheral system. Research to date has identified ‘regeneration associated genes’ which are activated in peripheral neurons after injury, enabling these nerves to regenerate. Multiple environmental conditions can affect the expression of these genes, including exercise and fasting. My research focuses on the pro-regenerative effect fasting has on peripheral axons, identifying molecular targets which induce the epigenetic changes required for regeneration and manipulating these pathways in the central system to enable spinal cord repair after injury.

Research interests: Spinal cord injury, axonal regeneration, epigenetics, chromatin, single cell studies, massively parallel sequencing.

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College: The President’s PhD Scholarship offers total freedom and autonomy in designing and creating your PhD project, providing ownership over my research from the beginning and the flexibility to adjust the direction of your science upon obtaining results. This realistic and independent approach to research appealed to me greatly and summarises life at Imperial very well. The scholarship is also highly prestigious, attracting a talented and inspiring cohort of researchers which I am privileged to be a part of.

Faculty of Engineering

Liam Holder - Department of Earth Science & Engineering

Liam HolderName: Liam Holder
Department:
Earth Science and Engineering
Title of Research:
Production and Export of Ross Sea Bottom Water Throughout the Plio-Pleistocene
Email:
l.holder18@imperial.ac.uk
Personal Web Page:
www.imperial.ac.uk/people/l.holder18

About me:
Liam Holder is a research postgraduate at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering working in the fields of isotope geochemistry and paleoceanography. Liam started at Imperial College in 2018 having moved to the UK from Australia where he completed his Bachelors degree at the Australian National University in Canberra. Liam graduated from the ANU in 2017 with a first class honours degree in Advanced Science majoring in marine science and chemistry.

Summary of Research:
The production of Antarctic Bottom Water around the Antarctic margin is a critical mechanism within the global ocean circulation and has a strong control on global heat distribution and buffering the Antarctic ice shelves from oceanic heat flux. There remains almost no records as to how the production of this Antarctic Bottom Water and its export northward from the Antarctic margin has varied throughout Earth’s history, particularly during past warm periods. Liam’s research aims to use Neodymium isotopes as a water mass tracer to track changes in the production and export of bottom water throughout the last 3Ma of Earth’s history from the Ross Sea in West Antarctica which is responsible for ~25% of total production. Subsequent to this, a record of detrital provenance  will also be developed to assess the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during this time period. This research has substantial implications for our understanding of global ocean circulation in a changing climate as well as potential contributions to future sea level rise from the WAIS.

Research interests:
Liam’s research interests include inorganic isotope geochemistry focussing on rare earth elements and their application as oceanographic tracers and sediment provenance markers. This includes laboratory-based work in clean lab facilities and the operation of ICP-MS and TIMS. Liam has had a longstanding interest in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, previously working on an Australian project near the Totten Glacier on the East Antarctic Margin and now focusing more on the Ross Sea with his work at Imperial College. Liam hopes to explore the influence of Southern Ocean circulation on the Antarctic Ice Sheet throughout Earth’s history to improve our predictions of future sea level change.

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College:
Imperial College is a world class research institute with a reputation of producing impactful science. I wanted to become a part of this group of excellent scholars to not only give my own research potential a boost but also have the opportunity to be exposed to others who are at the forefront of their respective fields. The facilities, location and academic cohort of Imperial College will make for a rich and rewarding experience throughout my PhD that will take me onto the next stage of my career.

Swapnil Jagtap - Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Swapnil Sarjerao JagtapName: Swapnil Sarjerao Jagtap
Department:
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Title of Research:
Identification of viable technology and energy combinations for future intercontinental passenger aircraft
Email:
s.jagtap18@imperial.ac.uk
Personal Web Page address:
https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/s.jagtap18

About me:
I am a Ph.D. student funded by the prestigious President's Ph.D. Scholarship, in the faculty of Engineering at Imperial. I am also an aligned Doctoral student trainee of the prestigious 'Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet' (SSCP), Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Cohort 5, funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK Government, at Grantham Institute, Imperial College London. My research at Imperial focuses on minimizing the human and environmental health impacts of aviation through improved aircraft technology and alternative aviation fuels. Swapnil's primary Ph.D. adviser is Dr. Marc Stettler (Civil and Environmental Engineering department), and secondary adviser is Prof. Peter Childs (Dyson School of Design Engineering).

I completed primary and secondary schooling at Pune Vidyarthi Griha's Pune Vidya Bhawan school, in Ghatkopar, Mumbai; and high-school education with Science stream from SIES college Sion, Mumbai with vocational studies in Computer Science. I hold a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering (ME) from K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering, affiliated to the University of Mumbai with a grade of Distinction and University rank 41 (from approximately 5000 ME students). Additionally, I hold a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA with a 4.00/4.00 GPA.

Summary of Research:
The air-travel demand is predicted to increase in future with an annual worldwide average growth rate of approximately 4.5%, during 2017-2036 timeframe. This growth in air-travel will increase aviation’s climate change impacts. My Ph.D. research is a multi-disciplinary problem for minimizing the human and environmental health impacts of future civil aviation. I am evaluating the potential of futuristic and advanced/ultra-energy-efficient civil-aircraft technologies and alternative aviation fuels towards carbon neutrality. I develop aircraft performance/mission fuel-burn models of future large twin-aisle aircraft architectures (viz. blended/hybrid wing body aircrafts) with a capacity of 300 passengers. In addition to the future aircraft architectures, I examine the potential of hybrid-electric and full-electric propulsion, ultra-high bypass ratio turbofan engines, and ion propulsion for future civil-aviation use. In terms of alternative aviation fuels, I am examining: biomass derived ASTM approved blended jet fuels, liquid hydrogen, etc., along with their holistic impacts. My Ph.D. research can reduce aircraft’s carbon-footprint by at least 50% and has the potential to decarbonize the aviation sector. Presently, New York-Mumbai return air-travel emits similar amount of greenhouse gas a car in USA emits on an annual basis, and therefore my PhD research is impactful and significant globally. This research is in-line with NASA’s ‘N+i’ goals for environmentally responsible aviation, and with the objectives of UN's Paris-treaty on climate-change.

Research interests:
My research interests primarily lie in the areas of energy, power, transportation, propulsion and sustainability. I am interested in exploring the avenues of alternative ground and jet fuels, aviation, alternative power-drives, air-quality, clean water supply, combustion physics, emissions, gas turbine engines for ground-power production and propulsion: multi-disciplinary design analysis and optimization, heat recovery, impacts of ground and air transportation on human and environmental health, life-cycle analysis and impact assessment, alternative and renewable energy: solar, geo-thermal, hydro and tidal energy, thermo-fluid sciences, turbo-machinery aero-thermodynamics and flow control, turbine cooling.

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College:
The President’s Ph.D. Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship offered at Imperial College. It offers an opportunity to be part of a community of intellectual, motivated and passionate people and potential change-makers. With this scholarship, one has the freedom to work on self-formulated research problems compared to industry funded Ph.D. research which usually has a defined and restricted direction. I am highly passionate about my self-formulated Ph.D. research and being a recipient of this scholarship, to pursue the said research without any restriction, is very special to me. This scholarship is offered after a rigorous three stage shortlisting process (department level - faculty level - central college level), and being a recipient of it, is an honour for me. The scholarship is very substantial to support living expenses in London area, and therefore one can stay focussed and dedicated to their research without any distractions. Moreover, it provides an excellent additional support of £2000 towards research consumables viz. conference travel, for which one needs to make other arrangements otherwise. Additionally, it provides opportunities to attend exclusive lecture series and events.

Xiao He - Department of Mechanical Engineering

 Xiao HeName: Xiao He
Department:
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Title of Research:
Machine Learning Assisted Turbulence Modelling for Compressor Stall
Email:
xiao.he2014@imperial.ac.uk
Personal Web Page address: 
www.imperial.ac.uk/people/xiao.he2014
Supervisor(s):
Prof. Mehdi Vahdati, Dr. Sina Stapelfeldt

About me:
Before joining Imperial, I obtained a BEng (Hons) in Vehicle Engineering (2015) and an MSc in Power Engineering and Engineering Thermophysics (2018) from Tsinghua University. My research journey started when I joined Tsinghua Turbo Lab during my sophomore year. I found my interest in research there and conducted research on centrifugal compressors aerodynamics for five years. The aim of my research was to improve the fuel consumption performance and the stability of turbochargers and small gas turbine engines, in which the centrifugal compressor is an essential component. Apart from my experience in Tsinghua, I was a visiting research student at Imperial on compressor aerodynamics (2014) and at Tokyo Tech on biological flows (2017).

Summary of Research:
Gas turbine engines are the heart of modern airplanes. The stability of such engines is mainly determined by the phenomenon of compressor stall, featuring severe flow separations with vortices of various temporal and spatial scales. A conventional approach for compressor stall analysis is by using Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations with a turbulence model for closure. However, since the turbulence model is usually designed and calibrated in simple free shear flows and wall-bounded flows, it introduces uncertainties on predicting compressor flow fields and falls short of predicting the compressor stall boundary.

My research focus on the development of a machine learning assisted turbulence model for improved prediction of compressor stall. The first phase is to explore the potential of existing turbulence models by uncertainty quantification. Then, high-fidelity simulations on simplified compressor flow models will be conducted to unveil the physics of compressor flows. Finally, a physics-informed machine learning assisted architecture of the turbulence model will be built and tested in typical compressor cases.

Research interests:
Turbulence modelling, Fluid Mechanics, Turbomachinery, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Machine Learning

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College:
The President’s PhD scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship at Imperial. It is a life-long honor to be a part of the community. Besides, the scholarship encourages students to choose any research topics without constraints, which could have a long-term impact rather than falling into current interests.

Faculty of Natural Sciences

Bowen Ding - Department of Chemistry

Bowen DingName: Bowen Ding
Department:
Chemistry
Title of Research:
Post-polymerisation modification of conjugated polymers
Email:
b.ding18@imperial.ac.uk
Supervisor(s):
Prof. Martin Heeney

About me:
I come from the seaside city of Wollongong, near Sydney, in Australia. My undergraduate and Masters studies were completed at the University of Sydney. My Masters research project was focussed on probing charge transfer in hybrid inorganic-organic materials, for applications in modelling naturally occurring charge transfer systems, as well as for the catalysis of carbon dioxide reduction to useful industrial feedstock chemicals.

Summary of Research:
My research here at Imperial College encompasses the design and synthesis of new conjugated polymers with tailored electronic properties, giving rise to enhanced performance in specialised applications such as in solar cells and biosensors. I am looking at ways of achieving functionalisation for specific applications by applying a process called post-polymerisation modification, which allows us to tune the properties of the material after it has been synthesised. This allows us to unlock materials which could not be synthesised previously through conventional methods, thereby giving rise to bespoke materials optimised for each (and every) application.

Research interests:
I have always been interested in exploring charge transfer in extended polymeric and framework materials; developing design features with which we can modulate electronic interactions in these materials.

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College:
On top of being an institution with a large concentration of talented academics and students as well as resources for performing pioneering resarch, the collaborative environment offered by Imperial College, in my case in the Centre for Plastic Electronics, was a big factor in my decision to choose to study here. I am grateful for the generous President’s Scholarship offered by Imperial, as it allows me to focus on my research without having to worry about financial factors.

Daigo Oue - Department of Physics

Name: Daigo Oue
Department:
Physics
Title of Research:
Metasurfaces: electromagnetic properties and instabilities
Email:
daigo.oue@gmail.com
Personal Web Page address:
http://ouedaigo.webcrow.jp/
Supervisor(s):
Professor Sir John Pendry

About me:
Daigo OUE is a PhD student in Department of Physics, Imperial College London.

He obtained a BSc in 2016, and a MSc in 2018 from Department of Applied Physics, Osaka University. In April 2018, he moved to Division of Frontier Materials Science, Osaka University as a PhD student.

In October 2018, he moved to Department of Physics, Imperial College London as a PhD student. Now he is interested in light-matter interaction, and working on transformation optics, plasmonics, non-equilibrium many body system, open quantum system, and optical force & torque.

Summary of Research:
One of the interesting things in light-matter interaction is mechanical action by light on interfaces through Maxwell stress tensor. Curiously, even if we do not have any light, we do have an optical force, so-called van der Waals/Casimir force, which is induced by zero-point fluctuation of light. All modes of light near the interfaces contribute to van der Waals/Casimir effect. The structure of the interface plays a vital role in van der Waals/Casimir effect, since it modifies light behaviour. He studies how mechanical deformation has an effect on energetics of interfaces.

Research interests:
Electromagnetism in curved spacetime; Plasmonics; Open quantum system; Optical linear momentum and angular momentum.

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College:
IC PhD scholarship not only supports living costs but also travel fee for academic conferences. Thanks to this scholarship, I can devote myself to the PhD project.

Stanislav Piletsky - Department of Chemistry

Stanislav PiletskyName: Stanislav Piletsky
Department:
Chemistry
Title of Research:
Developing Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Nanoparticles for Cancer Theranostics
Email:
stanislav.piletsky14@imperial.ac.uk

About me:
While undertaking the MSci Chemistry course at Imperial, I had the opportunity to work on a number of projects related to molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs). My early work with MIPs was mostly based around diagnostic assays, having developed an antibody-free blood type test for the 2015 Faculty of Natural Sciences Make-a-Difference competition, and a new format of microtiter plate assay using magnetic microtiter plate inserts and paramagnetic MIPs.

I wanted to apply what I learned about MIPs to therapeutic applications. I encountered boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) during the second year of my undergraduate degree, when I discovered it was primarily restrained by our current lack of a good boron delivery agent. I realised this would be a good application for MIPs, and saw the Imperial President’s PhD Scholarship as an opportunity to secure funding to develop this idea.

Summary of Research:
Boron neutron cancer therapy (BNCT) is an underexplored radiotherapy technique that is able to destroy cancer cells by creating alpha emitting particles inside them. Though incredibly promising, this technology is held back by the fact that there is currently no good cancer-targeting boron delivery agent.

Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) nanoparticles are synthetic receptors that mimic antibodies with regards to binding affinity and specificity, but with much more controllable properties. MIP nanoparticles can be quickly and cheaply synthesised for virtually any target, and can be easily customised; for example, they can be made to be fluorescent, magnetic or electrochemically active.

By modifying the monomer mixture used to synthesise my MIPs, I can incorporate large amounts of boron directly into the polymer matrix. By imprinting cancer biomarkers, I can make MIP nanoparticles that are able to specifically target cancer cells to deliver large doses of boron for BNCT. Furthermore, by labelling my MIPs with positron-emitting fluorine-18, I am able to use these MIPs as a PET imaging agent that also provides information about the location and concentration of cancer biomarkers and boron within the patient.

Research interests:
Nanotechnology, cancer research, molecularly imprinted polymers, radiotherapy, radioimaging, analytical chemistry/diagnostics.

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College:
For the freedom to work on my own research without financial distractions, and to benefit from working in a university full of experts in every conceivable field.

Imperial Collee Business School

Lisa Makarova - Imperial College Business School

Lisa MakarovaName: Lisa Makarova
Department: Imperial College Business School
Title of Research: The process theory of entrepreneurial networking: the case of startup accelerators
Email: e.makarova17@imperial.ac.uk
Personal Web Page address: www.imperial.ac.uk/people/e.makarova17

About me:
I am a PhD Student at the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Department at the Business School.

I hold an MSc in Management (with a focus on Entrepreneurial Finance) from ESMT Berlin, and a BSc in International Business Administration from European University Viadrina, during which I completed a study abroad semester at W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

In addition to my academic background, I have extensive first-hand entrepreneurship experience as a startup cofounder, advisor and employee. I also coach (student) entrepreneurs and am the Lead Coach at the Imperial MBA connect program, a coaching programme that brings together the scientific minds and ideas from the wider College with the industry and entrepreneurial experience of Imperial’s MBAs.

Summary of Research:
I am a qualitative entrepreneurship researcher. What it means is that I work closely with entrepreneurs to observe their behaviour, to try make sense of it and advance our current entrepreneurship theories. The ultimate goal of the entrepreneurship research for me is to understand success factors of startups and to spread the awareness to help them do better thus improving the life of the society.

Research interests:
My primary research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurial networking and accelerator programmes. I am working with Dr Anne ter Wal on a research programme funded by the European Research Council: Networking for Innovation: How Entrepreneurs’ Network Behaviours Help Clusters To Innovate.

Why did you choose the scholarship scheme at Imperial College:
The President’s PhD Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship scheme at Imperial College and offers an opportunity to be part of a great community, attend exclusive events and meet a variety of interesting and intelligent people.