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College Research Associates

Ruth-armstrong
Dr Ruth Armstrong
College Research Associate
Law
Criminology: Desistance
What happens to us, individually, when we connect with others, socially? My research looks at how people rebuild their lives after being convicted of criminal offences. I have especially focussed on the role of faith, faith communities, trust and interactions between identity, agency, social structures and criminal justice practices. I have studied people’s experiences of this process as they are released from prison and during the years immediately after release and when they are imprisoned in high security prisons often with many years still to serve and sometimes when release is unlikely or impossible. Building on this, my current research involves the implementation and evaluation of a programme where university students and prisoners learn together within a prison. It is informed by previous work on intergroup contact theory and desistance theory.
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Barbara Bernardim de Souza
Dr Barbara Bernardim de Souza
College Research Associate
Natural Sciences (Physical)
Chemistry
As a Royal Society Newton International Fellow at the Department of Chemistry, I perform research towards targeted cancer therapies by developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Unlike traditional chemotherapy, which affects both tumour and proliferating healthy cells, ADCs are designed to specifically target and kill tumour cells while sparing the healthy ones. This is possible due to the capability of an antibody to recognise and bind to a specific antigen that is overexpressed in cancer cells. The structure of an ADC is complex, but fundamentally composed of an antibody linked to a cytotoxic drug. Despite the encouraging fact that five ADCs are already available on the market, there are still many problems to solve, including the premature cleavage of the drug from the antibody, leading to off-target toxicity. Could we create a stable chemical ligation between the antibody and the anticancer payload that will only fragment and activate after binding to the antigen on the tumour? My research has involved developing a reagent that creates such a linkage – resistant enough to survive before reaching the tumour cell. Improvements are ongoing to expand the applicability and power of this linker by applying it to the study and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.
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Bonan C
Caterina Bonan
College Research Associate
Modern and Medieval Languages
My field is theoretical linguistics and my work is set against Noam Chomsky’s nativist approach to human language. Accordingly, there exists an inborn cognitive capacity for language that requires minimal environmental stimulation for linguistic competence to develop during the early years of life. In this framework, seemingly different grammatical structures in the languages of the world are assumed to differ along fairly simple lines. More specifically, my work falls within so-called cartography, i.e. the attempt to draw maps of syntactic configurations that are as precise and detailed as possible. Because of its universal nature, all work stemming from the cartographic program is based firmly on the evidence coming from comparative and typological studies. My work has so far focussed on Romance comparative syntax, creolistics, dialectology, syntactic theory, and linguistic change. I have a doctoral dissertation on Northern Italian wh-questions, and I am now working on the morphosyntax of cleft questions in the Romance languages, under the supervision of Professor Adam Ledgeway. Information on my current research is available here: http://p3.snf.ch/project-184384.
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Buskell A
Dr Andrew Buskell
College Research Associate
Philosophy
"How should cultures be individuated? That is, how should human beings be sorted, if at all, into a set of different cultural groups? The problem raises important empirical issues; for instance, how to categorize archaeological assemblages, identify tips of phylogenetic trees, and determine the ontologies of cross-cultural databases. But this problem of individuation is also a central problem of political and legal theorizing: if the state has duties and obligations towards cultural minorities, that state should be able to determine what cultures are, and which ones are in the minority. My work analyses and synthesizes the various approaches that scientists, philosophers, and humanities scholars have used to describe and individuate cultures. At the same time, I address trenchant critiques of the very idea of ‘culture’ from researchers in social anthropology and science and technology studies."
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Clarke A
Dr Alex Clarke
College Research Associate
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS)
How do we understand what we see? Our understanding of what we see is shaped by our environment. When we see an object, we are already in a complex and rich environment and this leads to expectations about the things we are likely to see. My research tests how the environment changes the dynamics of visual and semantic activity in the brain, using a multimodal brain imaging framework based on fMRI, MEG, EEG and mobile EEG, with emerging methodologies including augmented reality, computational modelling, multivariate analyses, neural oscillations and brain connectivity.
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Degli Esposti E
Dr Emanuelle Degli Esposti
College Research Associate
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
A specialist in the politics and emotions of minority identities, Dr Emanuelle Degli Esposti is currently based at the Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge, where she is conducting research on Muslim minorities in Europe. In particular, she is investigating forms of public activism and outreach by Twelver Shi’a Muslims, especially those that might be said to be geared towards the cultivation of a “European Shi’a” identity. As well as exploring the way in which Shi’a communities view and understand themselves, the project seeks to illuminate the ongoing encounter between Islam and Europe, as well as the evolving dynamics within and between different Islamic sects.

Dr Degli Esposti received her doctorate in Politics and International Studies from SOAS, University of London, where she also completed an MSc in Middle East Politics. She completed her undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Modern Languages at Lincoln College, Oxford. The editor and founder of online magazine The Arab Review, Emanuelle is also a published journalist and writer and has more than six years’ experience working in consultancy and intelligence analysis covering Europe and the Middle East.
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Dhont M
Dr Marieke Dhont
College Research Associate
Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion
Biblical Studies & Hellenistic Judaism
My main areas of interest are Hellenistic Judaism, the Hebrew Bible in the Hellenistic period (in particular the Septuagint, but also the Dead Sea Scrolls), and Jewish-Greek literature. In my research on ancient Jewish literature, I engage sociolinguistics and contemporary theories of culture, literature, and translation.
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Dimitracopoulos A
Dr Andrea Dimitracopoulos
College Research Associate
Natural Science (Biological)
Neuronal Mechanics, Mechano-Biology, Neuroscience, Biophysics, Developmental Biology, Cell Biology
The role of the physical properties of neurons and their environment on axon formation during neuronal development.
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Taras Fedirko
Dr Taras Fedirko
College Research Associate
Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS)
Political Anthropology
I am a social anthropologist with an interest in bureaucracy, expert knowledge, ethics and communication.
My first research site is in the British central government, where I have conducted extended ethnographic fieldwork for my PhD dissertation. I explored how new models of collaborative policy-making, introduced in the Whitehall, reshape civil servants’ authority and transform government institutions. My research demonstrates that powerful, yet ambivalent norms of transparency and public participation enable outside actors, such as transnational corporations and NGOs, to pursue political and moral agendas that sit uneasily with civil servants’ ideas of expertise, responsibility and the public good. If public sector cuts and outsourcing have changed the government by redistributing its functions to markets and the civil society, I focused on another frontier of change, namely, the manner in which participatory governance transforms government practices from within in the name of greater transparency and accountability. I am working on a book based on this project.
My second field site is in Kyiv, Ukraine, where I focus on the problem of free speech and its various others – controlled, compelled, and manipulated speech – as they are imagined and practiced in the context of the so-called ‘information war’. This postdoctoral research is part of an ERC-funded project ‘Situating Free Speech: European Parrhesia in Comparative Perspective’.
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Ghoshs
Dr Siddharth Ghosh
College Research Associate
Natural Sciences (Physical)
Physics
Sid is a German Research Foundation/DFG Fellow at the Centre for Misfolding Diseases and Maxwell Centre. He is developing a research programme on ultrafast non-dissipative nanofluidic detection of protein-misfolding. He is also a Visiting Researcher at the Single-Molecule Optics group, Leiden Institute of Physics and High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Radboud University. During his postdoctoral research at the Leiden Institute of Physics, he developed a new research line to study persistent current in resistive nanomaterials. The visiting position at Leiden enables him to continue this research. Before moving to Leiden, he was in the Debye Institute of Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on non-dissipative single-molecule detection techniques. He received a PhD in Physics on 'Nanoscale Photonics' from the International Max Planck Research School for Physics of Biological and Complex Systems, Göttingen, Germany. During his PhD, he has developed methods on single-molecule nanofluidics and light-matter interaction in nanostructures. He has an MPhil in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, UK where he worked on AFM correlated electron microscopy technique for contact-free nanotribological characterisation of complex collagen networks of articular cartilage. Before that, he was a Junior Research Fellow in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore where he developed a single-photon lithography technique to fabricate high-aspect-ratio nanostructures for nanomechanical sensing. His research interests are experimental and theoretical nanophotonics, nanofluidics, nanomechanics, nanofabrications and didactic teaching. He is keen on developing an open platform of liberal arts for curiosity-driven research and studying a student dependent customised supervision methods, which turned into as Open Academic Research. Overleaf has awarded him an Overleaf Advisor position for his contribution to collaborative research communication.
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Graham C
Dr Calbert Graham
College Research Associate
Linguistics
Phonetics (speech science)
My current research interests centre on phonetic (speech science) theory and its applications in forensic speaker identification (and, in my previous research, language technology). Forensic phonetics is concerned with the analysis of spoken language for investigative purposes where the characteristics of an individual’s speech are critical to their identity. More and more court cases involve the need to establish the speaker of some recorded speech - a hoax emergency call, a fraudulent phone transaction, and so on. However, voices are not like fingerprints or DNA. A person's voice varies, depending for instance on whether they are sober or not, how loud and fast he or she is speaking, among many other factors. Despite this wide variation in speech, however, it is still subject to structural constraints that make processing by both humans and machine possible. My research focusses on the computational modelling of speech to isolate the invariant properties of a person’s voice or speech uttered in different contexts that are critical to their identity.
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e-honore
Dr Emmanuelle Honoré
College Research Associate
Archaeology
Archaeology of Africa, Northern African Prehistory, rock art
In North Africa, hundreds of rock art sites located in desert areas testify to the occupation of the so-called ‘Green Sahara’, when palaeo-environmental conditions were more favourable to human settlement and activities. Mostly dating from the Early and Middle Holocene periods (9 500 to 3 500 BCE), the Saharan rock art displays a large variety of scenes. Human bodies and social scenes are very frequent and show how prehistoric populations perceived and depicted themselves and the others. My research focuses on the expression of individual and collective identities through human depictions in the rock art of the Holocene Sahara.
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College Research Associate
Dr Sarah Inskip
College Research Associate
Archaeology
Bioarchaeology
The analysis of past epidemics has significant potential to enhance our understanding of the present in addition to informing about the future. The Black Death, which killed between one quarter to half of the European population in the 14th century, was one of the most devastating epidemics known to humankind. However, much of our knowledge about the impact of the Black Death on the surviving and continuing population remains unclear, and very little is known about its immediate and long term biological consequences. By analysing human skeletons, which are direct sources of biological information, my research assesses whether there were significant changes in living conditions and health, as well as aspects of social identity. This will be achieved through an analysis of variation in diet, disease, physical activities, gender division, and population genetics between various communities of medieval Cambridge. My research will produce a novel perspective on the direct impact of this catastrophic event on an ordinary population of Cambridge, and advance our understanding of how epidemics can shape human health and society long after their occurrence. Outside this project I also undertake fieldwork at Saqqara, Egypt and at Jebel Qurma, Jordan.
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Kreysing E
Eva Kreysing
College Research Associate
Natural Science (Biological)
I studied physics at RWTH Aachen University (Germany) specialising in theoretical solid-state physics. During my master thesis, I worked at the Institute for Quantum Information (IQI, RWTH Aachen) with Prof. Dr. Barbara Terhal and Prof. Dr. David DiVincenzo on improving the readout of transmon qubits with squeezed radiation.
During my PhD, I worked at the research centre Jülich at the institute for bioelectronics (ICS-8) under supervision of Prof. Dr. Andreas Offenhäusser. Here, I focused on the improvement of surface plasmon resonance microscopy (SPRM) for the quantitative characterization of the cell-substrate interface. This allowed us, not only to study cell adhesion of neurons, but also to quantify the fluctuations of the adhering cell membrane of beating cardiomyocytes with nanometre accuracy. Additionally, we could introduce SPRM as a label-free, non-invasive method for measuring the intracellular refractive index in vitro.
In January 2019, I started my work as a postdoc in the Franze lab at the University of Cambridge. My research focuses on the impact of physical cues on the development of neuronal networks. In particular, I study how mechanical interactions between neurons and their environment influence their electrical maturation.
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Lavoie J
Dr Jennifer Lavoie
College Research Associate
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS)
Nearly half of the world’s population of children is affected by violence that substantially impacts their overall development and wellbeing. My research focuses on how children communicate about sensitive issues because this affects whether they receive the support they need. My research identifies factors within the child and immediately surrounding the child that are associated with concealment (secrecy, lying) versus disclosures of violence to increase rates of disclosures. I am also interested in factors within the social and legal system that hinder or facilitate disclosures of violence and the prosecution of violence against children to improve how disclosures are processed and prosecuted.
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Levin A
Dr Aviad Levin
College Research Associate
Natural Science (Biological)
Biophysical Chemistry, Peptide Self-Assembly, Protein Aggregation, Biotechnology.
In nature, sophisticated materials and structures are formed through self-assembly, a process where chemically simple building blocks form complex arrays of biomolecules functioning cooperatively to underpin biological activity in living systems. This phenomenon has inspired a sustained research effort to elucidate the basic physical principles which govern self-assembly and the nature of the structures that emerge from this process, in contexts ranging from artificial materials to understanding human disease. My research interests lie in developing microfluidic approaches for the study of the fundamental driving forces involved in the self-assembly of peptides and proteins into ordered structures on the very small scale at which such processes occur inside living cells. By harnessing small volume confinement achieved by microfluidics, I specifically focus on the early molecular level interactions that trigger protein aggregation and deposition in aberrant protein disorders. I will further focus on elucidating the mechanism by which misfolded protein species can propagate in tissues. I thus aim to extend current biophysical approaches and gain fundamental understanding of the behaviour of biomolecules in systems with spatial inhomogeneities, thus bridging length scales from the atomic through nano to the microscale.
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Loftus E
Dr Emma Loftus
College Research Associate
Archaeology
African archaeology, stable isotopes, palaeoenvironments
My research project focuses on climate and subsistence records from archaeological shells, in order to better understand coastal adaptations among Middle and Later Stone Age hunter-gatherers in Africa. I am broadly interested in African and prehistoric archaeology, and in scientific applications to archaeological questions.
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LuginbuehlL
Dr Leonie Luginbuehl
College Research Associate, Director of Studies in Plant Sciences
Natural Science (Biological)
Plant Sciences
Multicellularity has evolved repeatedly across the tree of life and allowed the elaboration of fundamental biological processes ranging from organ development and reproduction to specialised metabolisms compartmented into specific cell types. One particularly striking example of this phenomenon is associated with photosynthesis, the process by which inorganic carbon is fixed into sugars. In plants that use the C4 photosynthesis pathway, two cell types in the leaf, the mesophyll and bundle sheath cells, co-operate to separate the metabolic reactions of photosynthesis into two different spatial compartments. This compartmentalisation drastically increases photosynthetic efficiency. As a consequence, many of the world’s most productive crops, such as maize, are C4 plants. A key step in C4 evolution was to restrict the expression of photosynthesis genes, which are expressed in all cell types in leaves of ancestral C3 plants, to either mesophyll or bundle sheath cells. Using photosynthesis as a model, my research aims to understand the genetic basis of cell type specific gene expression in leaves. I am using a combination of experimental, computational, and synthetic biology approaches to identify the gene regulatory mechanisms underlying cell type specific gene expression in C3 and C4 species.
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Elizabeth Michael
Dr Elizabeth Michael
College Research Associate, Director of Studies in Psychology
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS)
Cognitive Neuroscience/Visual Perception
My research focuses on the brain-wide interactions that allow us to make difficult perceptual judgements, like discriminating between very similar objects, or finding a target in a cluttered environment.

It is often assumed that brain regions play a fixed or continuous role in perception, but an emerging view suggests that this is not the case - the role played by any given brain region is strongly influenced by our level of experience with a particular task. In my future research, I will study how the contribution of different brain regions to making these kinds of difficult judgement change as we become more experienced with the task. For example, when we are trying to detect a target in a cluttered environment, we might first heavily rely on brain regions that help us to ignore distracting information, until our visual system becomes robust enough to withstand this interference.
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Nangalia J
Dr Jyoti Nangalia
College Research Associate
Natural Science (Biological)
Cancer genomics
Jyoti Nangalia a CRUK funded clinician scientist and consultant haematologist with a passion for cancer genomics. During her PhD, she discovered mutations in the gene CALR in the vast majority of patients with a certain type of blood cancer, called the myeloproliferative neoplasms (Nangalia et al, NEJM, Dec 2013). Testing for CALR mutations in clinical practice to diagnose patients is now routine internationally. More recently, together with other researchers, she studied the DNA of over 2000 patients with these blood cancers to build an accurate online personalised predictor of outcome for patients by integrating clinical and genomic information (Grinfeld, Nangalia et al, NEJM 2018). This tool is being increasingly used by clinicians to assess the future outlook of their patients. She believes that using cancer genetics to support clinical decision-making is a critical application of new genetic sequencing technologies, and her future aspiration is to provide clinicians with patient personalised decision-making tools that incorporate clinical and genomic information across all blood cancers. Her research also focuses on using sequencing technologies to understand exactly when these blood cancers originate in patients during their lifetime and how this relates to normal blood cell development and ageing.
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Jonathan Nixon-Abell
Dr Jonathan Nixon-Abell
College Research Associate
Natural Science (Biological)
After completing a BSc in Neuroscience at University College London in 2012, Jonathon began his research career with a joint PhD program in the labs of Prof. Kirsten Harvey (UCL - SOP) and Dr. Craig Blackstone (National Institutes of Health - NINDS) where he studied the structural and functional alterations of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in Parkinson’s disease. While at the National Institutes of Health, the focus of Jonathon's work shifted towards developing novel superresolution microscopy techniques to reveal never-before seen dynamic and structural features of subcellular organelles. Following the completion of his PhD in 2016, Jonathon was awarded an ORISE and HHMI visiting fellowship to undertake postdoctoral work in the lab of Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz (HHMI Janelia Research Campus), where his research continued to focus on the development of imaging technologies in order to study protein dynamics in the ER with single molecule resolution. As of September 2018, Jonathon has moved back to the UK as a research associate in the lab of Peter St George-Hyslop (Cambridge - CIMR) where he is exploring mechanisms of protein recruitment to specific organelle subdomains in the context of health and neurodegenerative disease.
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Parkinson E
Eoin Parkinson
College Research Associate
Archaeology
Mediterranean prehistory, funerary archaeology, bioarchaeology
My research focuses on the prehistory of the central Mediterranean region, with a particular emphasis on the Maltese Islands and Sardinia. My postdoctoral research extends the work of my PhD project, which explored the impact of social and economic change on the human body across 5000 years of Italian prehistory, through scientific analysis of human remains. As a CRASSH-British School at Rome Postdoctoral Fellow, I will further explore social change in the central Mediterranean Copper Age through analysis of prehistoric art and burial evidence. My other research interests include the megalithic monuments and the rock-cut tombs of the Mediterranean, and radiocarbon chronologies of central Mediterranean prehistory. Beyond the Mediterranean, my previous research has investigated the long-term impacts of colonialism and identity in Ireland through analysis of funerary monuments.
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Justin Pearce
Dr Justin Pearce
College Research Associate
Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS)
Politics and International Relations
Justin Pearce is conducting research on the current civil strife in Mozambique, part of a project on political legitimacy in contemporary southern Africa with a focus on Angola and Mozambique. His research is supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the Department of Politics and International Studies, part funded by the Newton Trust. Dr Pearce’s research interests include the politics and history of Lusophone Africa and of southern Africa, with a thematic interest in civil conflict, peace making, the continuities between wartime and peacetime politics, and the politics of memory and memorialisation. Justin Pearce worked as a journalist in southern Africa before commencing his DPhil at Oxford. His book, Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola 1975-2002, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.
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Proctor C
Dr Christopher Proctor
College Research Associate
Engineering
Electronic materials and devices
My research is focused on engineering devices and developing materials to enable a seamless connection between electronics and living tissue in order to address intractable disorders. On going project themes include:

Electrophoretic drug delivery: Targeted drug delivery can focus treatment on the region of the body affected by a given pathology thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the treatment while reducing side effects inherent in systemic treatments. Towards that end, we are leveraging the ion conductivity of polymers to develop implantable devices that can deliver drugs precisely when and where they are needed. We showed this to be a promising method for managing epileptic seizures. We are currently testing the efficacy of this approach for treating pathologies such as brain tumours and Parkinson’s disease.

Flexible devices for neural interfaces: We explore the application of organic electronic materials patterned onto flexible polymeric substrates in neural interfacing aiming to understand how the brain works and to develop new tools to address neurological disorders.

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A-Rao
Dr Akshay Rao
College Research Associate
Natural Sciences (Physical)
Optoelectronics
The optical and electronic properties of novel semiconductors and molecular materials, for applications in solar energy harvesting and optoelectronic devices.
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