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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Read about Viktoria's placement at Caltech (PDF document)


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.


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 (http://www.lightyearfoundation.org/). I am currently fundraising for SAMI, Supporting African Maths Initiative (http://www.supportingami.org/).

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!