Fusion: Multi-disciplinary Conference

pechakuchaThe Fusion: Multi-Disciplinary Conference (held on Friday 12th June) featured talks from 10 PhD students representing all QMUL departments.

Speakers were required to present their research in PechaKuchaTM style, a fast-paced and concise format of oral presentation in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each.

A panel of 4 judges rated the presentations. All speakers showed an excellent knowledge of their fields and managed to overcome the PechaKuchaTM challenge.

The winner was Stephen Dewitt for his talk on Bayesian statistics (‘Presenting Bayesian statistics to a general audience’) and the distinction went to Andreia Calisto de Freitas for a talk on MRI (‘Seeing voices – What happens inside my head when I speak?’). Congratulations!


‘Research Through a Lens’ Photography Competition Finalists

The Grad Fest committee received 39 incredible photos from QMUL PhD students for the ‘Research Through a Lens’ Photography Competition. Applicants were required to capture their research in one shot and write a 100-word accompanying blurb to describe it.

It was extremely difficult to shortlist to 10 photographs for the launch reception exhibition, but after much deliberation the below photographs were selected.

Once displayed, a panel of six people chose the top three prize winners who received £100, £50 and £25. They were announced at the launch reception by Prof Jon May, Director of the Doctoral College.


Kseniya Shuturminska. rose

Kseniya Shuturminska
Scanning electron microscope, QMUL Nanovision Centre
27th March 2015

This is a coloured image of an apatite mineral which was grown on a glass slide in the presence of proteins. One of the proteins I am using causes the mineral to grow in different directions, forming rose structures. My project is looking at making self-assembled systems out of organic material that can grow enamel-like mineral (apatite). We want to use these systems in order to remineralise tooth decay.


Danniella Samos photo competition

Danniella Samos
Linguistics Lab in the Arts Research Centre, QMUL
30th May 2015

My interdisciplinary study looks at how the aetiology of obesity is constructed through language in different text types, including news media, policy and personal narratives. Previous research has shown that attribution of responsibility for obesity is often placed on individuals rather than societal factors. This emphasis on personal choice is represented here by the gun (Nobody is putting a gun to your head!). Another common theme is the positioning of women as the main consumers of weight reduction products, as symbolised by the image on the computer screen, which is juxtaposed with the covered up sitter.


Suzanne Solley

Suzy Solley
Nuwakot District, Nepal
25th May 2014

Historically, Hindu widows have been treated with animosity. Societal oppression emanates from the belief that a widow’s bad karma must have caused her husband’s death, the result of which was her having to commit sati. Sati was a historic Hindu tradition where widows committed suicide by jumping on their husband’s funeral pyre. Although sati is now abolished, conservative traditions related to widowhood till persist. Among these is the expectation that widows should wear white so they can be easily identified. However, these women are becoming ever more colourful. Through colour they defy their historic discrimination and demonstrate their multiple identities. My research investigates these diverse identities and the complex ways they exert agency.


Ambika Kumar

Ambika Kumar
Fogg Building, Mile End, QMUL
18th May 2015

As a microbiologist, much of my work is done by looking under a microscope. Depicted is the lens of a microscope with T. brucei cells in the centre of the photo. T. brucei is a parasite that causes a condition called Trypanosomiasis. My PhD focuses on understanding the workings of this parasite with my main focus on understanding how these parasites repair damage to DNA. By looking at parasites under the microscope, I can achieve many different experiments including testing drugs against these cells and seeing how they behave under different conditions.

David Bennett

David Bennett

My research focuses on the ecosystem-level impacts of deforestation and conversion in Borneo from forest to oil palm, especially on bats and their prey. For this I spend 3 months per year catching bats and collecting faecal samples, before using DNA barcoding in the UK to identify what each animal has been feeding on. The species I study are forest-interior specialists and it’s not known the impact that deforestation will have on them. This photo was taken at a newly cut road, built for the extraction of timber from the forest, the background showing both forest and oil palm plantation.

Dexu Kong Epidermal cell layer forming focal adhesions and stress fibres to adhere to a substrate

Dexu Kong
School of Engineering and Materials Science
27th May 2015

Controlling cell adhesion to a surface is essential for tissue engineering. To do that cells use a network of cables, the cytoskeleton, that “hook” them to the surface of biomaterials or implants. This image shows, at high resolution, the fine structure of this network. Blue, nuclei; Green, vinculin; Red, F-actin. The image was obtained by super resolution microscopy.

Fearon Cassidy

Féaron Cassidy
Heart Centre Basement, CHSQ.
18th December 2014

This is a section through a late gestation mouse embryo. It shows some recognisable features; the developing brain, heart, liver, foot and a little of the umbilical cord and placenta. However, there is a depot of brown fat developing on the left hand side of the picture, around the shoulder area, that is the focus of my research. I look at how fat develops in-utero to try and better understand how this effects our health in adulthood. Mice are very similar to humans and looking at how their fat develops will hopefully help us to better understand obesity-related diseases.

Hui Gao-photo

Hui Gao
Nanovision, Queen Mary University of London
3rd October 2014

NaOH crystals with one-dimension morphology aggregate and assemble together into a beautiful bulk particle, which looks like fluffy fox’s tails. With the aid of scanning electron microscope, we could see that the world of nanomaterials is as wonderful as the real world. Particularly, we could use these amazing nanoparticles to modify, enhance and improve chemical or physical properties of particles with big size.

Lowri Evans

Lowri Evans
Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, California

The photo was taken on a fieldtrip with fellow PhD students from the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Joshua Tree National Park, California. The fieldtrip was aimed at developing our field research skills before embarking on our own projects within environmental sciences. This was a great opportunity to develop our PhD cohort (which includes students from across several London Universities) and learn about interesting research from other branches of environmental sciences. A reminder that training and networking are vital parts of developing as a researcher!

Jingyuan Zhu-jpg

Jingyuan Zhu
Nano-vision, Bancroft Building
October 2014

Carbon Nanotube is allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure. It has a same chemical composition as diamond, graphene. Actually, carbon nanotube can be made by wrapping a single layer of graphene. It has drew attention from physicists, chemists, and engineers for its special mechanical, thermal, and electrical characteristics. Shown in the image is the salt crystallizing together with the carbon nanotube on the surface. The salt would only crystallize when the temperature is low but stable. The tube here is working as starting point for the crystal.

Calling enthusiastic volunteers!

weneedyouKick off your summer holidays by joining a team of 10 volunteers to help out during the inaugural QM GradFest taking place between the 8th and 12th of June 2015. Be a part of an event which is the first of its kind promoting graduate research across the college.

Volunteers are required to be available on the 1st June for induction. Each volunteer will be provided a GradFest t-shirt and lunch.

Deadline: 25th May 2015

How to apply

We’re looking for volunteers to steward and help set up events during the week of the GradFest. It is up to you how many events you volunteer for. See the list of opportunities here: https://qmulgradfest.wordpress.com/

Send us your name, stage of study, department and contact details to QMULgradfest@gmail.com by Monday 25th May 2015, 5pm to register your interest in volunteering.

Please keep the afternoon of Monday 1st June at 3pm free for a brief 1 hour induction on the GradFest and to choose your events and hours.


What does your PhD look like?

The Graduate Festival is inviting entries for a photography competition that showcases elements of your research field. Whether it’s microscopic cell mutations or massive cloud formations, ancient texts or futuristic digital displays, we want to see your research through your eyes.

There are prizes to be won!

1st – £100

2nd – £50

3rd – £25

Email your photo to QMULgradfest@gmail.com by Monday 1st June at 11.59pm.

Photo guidelines

The scope for your photo entry is broad: we want to learn more about your research. What insight can you give the viewer into your fieldwork or lab experiments, your time spent in library archives or coding new software?

How to submit

  • Email your photo entries in jpeg format, at as high a resolution as possible, though good quality mobile phone pictures will be accepted, to QMULgradfest@gmail.com.
  • Include your name, date of photo, and location.
  • Add a short description (maximum 100 words) describing what the photograph shows and a little about your research.
  • Deadline for entry is Monday 1st June at 11:59 pm, for consideration by the judges.
  • If you have any queries, email QMULgradfest@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to help.


  • The judging panel will be made up of PhD students, QMUL and QMSU staff. They will be looking for images that are visually powerful, thought provoking and impactful, and that give us the best insight into your research.
  • The 10 shortlisted applicants will be notified by Wednesday 3rd June. The final 10 photographs will be professionally printed and displayed at the Grad Fest Exhibition.
  • At the Grad Fest Photography Exhibition (Mon 8th June at 6pm, Francis Bancroft Foyer), following the keynote address, the three winners will be announced.
  • A first prize of £100, a second prize of £50 and a third prize of £25 in amazon vouchers will be awarded to those entries the judges consider best fitting of the above criteria.

 Terms & Conditions

  • Images do not have to be new, they can be taken at any point during your time as a PhD student. However, any images submitted must be taken by you.
  • One entry per PhD student.
  • By entering photographs into the competition, you give consent for GradFest and QMUL to use the image on its website and publicity materials.
  • Your name will appear as a credit with the image in any publication (including online).
  • Entries will be judged by a panel; the judges’ decision is final.

Get skills points for Grad Fest events and training sessions!

The below table lists the number of points that you can accrue from attending and participating in any of the Grad Fest events, seminars and training sessions.

Based on the Researcher Development Framework, the table also shows you the domain (A, B, C or D) of where the skills points lie.

Event Date and Time Skills Points Total Skills Points Breakdown
Research Through a Lens Photography Competition Mon 8th June 6-7pm


1 point Domain D – Public engagement

1 point Domain A – Creative thinking

Matlab Training: Data Processing Tues 9th June 9.30-11.30am


2 points domain A – knowledge
Matlab Training: Image Processing Tues 9th June 1-3pm


2 points domain A – knowledge
Portfolio Careers Panel Tues 9th June 1-2.30pm


1.5 points domain B – career development
Building your own data processing cloud Tues 9th June 2.30-4pm


2 points domain A – knowledge
Using Zotero for Bibliographic Management Tues 9th June 3-4.30pm


2 points domain A – knowledge
Café Scientifique Tues 9th June 6-8pm Presenter 4

Attendee 1


2 points domain B – knowledge

2 points domain D –public engagement


1 point domain B – networking

Performing Urban Archives (day symposium) Wed 10th June 10-6.30pm


3 points domain A – knowledge

2 points domain B – networking

2 points domain D – impact

Alternative Funding Workshop Wed 10th June 10-11.30am


1.5 points domain C – management
Photoshop Training Wed 10th June 11.30-1pm


1.5 points domain A – knowledge
The Art of Peer Review Wed 10th June 12noon-1pm


1 point domain D – dissemination
Collaborative Research with Museums Wed 10th June 2-5pm


3 points domain D – impact
Lampedusa: The Barbican Fortress of Europe Wed 10th June 3-5.30pm


2.5 points domain A – knowledge
Speed-Networking for Researchers Wed 10th June 5-7pm


2 points domain B – Networking
How can we save our rivers? Thurs 11th June 10-5.30pm


2 points domain A – knowledge

2 points domain B – networking

2 points domain D – impact

Publishing a Monograph Thurs 11th June 11am-1pm


2 points domain D – dissemination
Three Minute Thesis Final Lunch Thurs 11th June 1-2.30pm

Presenter 6

Attendee 1.5


2 points domain A – knowledge

2 points domain B – networking

2 points domain D – impact


1.5 points domain D – communication

Interdisciplinary Research: What are the opportunities and challenges? Thurs 11th June 3-5pm


1 point domain A – knowledge

1 point domain D – communication

Winning Words: Making Yourself Heard Thurs 11th June 4-6pm


2 points domain D – dissemination
Conference Fri 12th June 9.30am-3pm Presenter 4

Attendee 4

Both = 8


1 point domain A – knowledge

1 point domain B – development

2 points domain D – dissemination


2 points domain B – career development

1 point domain A – knowledge

1 point domain D – communication

Question Time Fri 12th June 3-5pm


1 point Domain C – Knowledge

1 point Domain B – Networking