Abigail Hill, Geography, UCL

Pathway: Human Geography

Research area & contact details

About me: I previously studied at the University of Essex and gained a BA in Criminology and an Msc in International Management before starting my PhD in Human Geography at UCL.

My Research: My research focuses on developing a comprehensive understanding of the spatio-temporal dynamics of high-street retailing in Great Britain. Specifically, I am interested in developing a measure of retail vibrancy which can be mapped across the British high streets. The research aims to act as a basis for forecasting changes in British retailing and contribute to the development of  vibrant and sustainable retail spaces.

Supervisors: Dr James Cheshire and Professor Paul Longley

Pathway: Human Geography

Email: abigail.hill.19@ucl.ac.uk

Jakub Wyszomierski, Geography, UCL

Pathways: Cities, Environment and Development: Human Geography

Research area & contact details

About me:  Education: I was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland from where I moved to UCL to do my undergraduate degree in BA Human Geography with Quantitative Methods. Throughout my studies I have developed my interest in cartography and data analysis by discovering how the interplay of these two fields of knowledge can be used to solve real-world problems at both local and global scales.

My research: Geo demographic classification is a powerful tool of studying neighbourhoods based on their structure and character. For my PhD, I will study the structure of existing geo demographic classifications (2011 and 2001 Output Area Classifications) to devise suitably adjusted software to create the 2021 OAC when the 2021 small area Census statistics become available. Importantly, I will also focus on how administrative data can be used to support and supplement census outputs. This will allow to develop methods for regularly updating Output Area Classifications. Finally, the research will use consumer data to characterise the overall activity patterns associated with neighbourhoods, and their inter relatedness with workplace zone geographies.

Supervisors: Professor Paul LongleyProfessor James Cheshire, Dr Chris Gale

Email: jakub.wyszomierski.16@ucl.ac.uk

Tim Wickson, UCL Development Planning Unit

Pathway: International Development

Research area & contact details

About me: Having originally studied History, in 2011 I read Urban Development Planning at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL). Graduating in 2012, my subsequent work has predominantly focussed on efforts to defend and extend affordable housing options in cities of the Global South. Beyond this, I have also practiced as an urban planner, designer and policy-maker for public and private sector organisations in the UK.

For the past two years, I have been engaged as a Teaching Fellow and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the DPU, working with international student groups to explore the practice of urban development planning in rapidly transforming and increasingly unequal cities worldwide as well as the practicalities of supporting alternative housing options. My PhD research draws on both my professional and, in particular, teaching experience.

My research: My research project proposes a comparative exploration of ‘expulsion’ as an increasingly dominant mode of urbanisation in London and Colombo. Engaging with how ‘explusion’ is imposed (on), experienced and resisted by inhabitants of the literal and figurative periphery, it asks what the emergence of ‘everyday expulsion’ says about the reconfiguration of housing rights in the neoliberal city; and how ‘expulsion’ can be contested within existing and emerging logics of world-class city making?

Building on the work of Saskia Sassen, this project will elaborate the challenge of defending / extending rights to adequate housing. At the same time, it offers fresh ground to revisit the ‘dual-city hypothesis’; which holds that the economic restructuring of ‘Global Cities’ has fragmented working-class communities and foreclosed avenues to resist increasing inequality. In spatial terms, this inequality gains expression as dual-cities: off-worlds and on-worlds, the gated and the ghetto.
By comparing urban processes across two ‘Global Cities’ – one Southern, one Northern, one emergent, one established – this project promises a unique insight into the societal cost of expulsive urbanisation. Amplifying the voices of communities located at the sharp margins of world-class city visions this project will assert the irreplaceability of everyday neighbourhoods and leverage this assertion as grounds to think and do planning differently.

Supervisors: Dr Barbara Lipietz and Jorge Fiori

Email: t.wickson@ucl.ac.uk

Twitter: @tiwickson

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-wickson-27352526/

Disa Witkowska, UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences

Pathway: Linguistics

Research area & contact details

About me: Originally from Poland, I came to UCL to explore the structure of language from a scientific perspective. For my BA Linguistics project, I investigated the narrative (storytelling) development in children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) and their monolingual peers. My MRes Speech, Language and Cognition dissertation aimed to explore whether a syntactic priming picture-card game can facilitate grammar learning in children with EAL.

My research: My PhD will be a continuation of my research journey, during which I developed a particular interest in bilingualism. I am planning to combine the elements of my earlier work to test the best ways of supporting English in primary school children with EAL. My PhD project will include a series of training studies that will elucidate methods that maximise English language learning, while maintaining competence in the child’s home language.

Over 20 per cent of primary school children in the UK is learning English as an Additional Language (Department for Education, 2018), which requires them to develop academic skills while learning a new language. The educational outcomes of EAL children vary substantially, and some children would benefit from language support to bridge the attainment gap between them and their monolingual peers. My aim is to find out the optimal balance between input in English and the home language during English language learning, and whether the home language can support English language acquisition. As English grammar learning is a challenge for EAL children, I will seek to determine the most effective method to learn it: explicit articulation of grammatical rules, or incidental learning in naturalistic contexts. I will also investigate how many exposures children need to learn a new grammatical construction and whether this differs for mono- and bilingual children.

The difference my research makes: The goal of my research is to inform future research and provide scientific evidence for education policies that will eventually lead to better quality of life for bilingual children and their families. The three training studies, outlined above, will enable me to examine the crucial components of what an effective language programme for EAL children should contain.

Supervisors: Professor Courtenay Norbury and Dr Merle Mahon

Email: disa.witkowska.15@ucl.ac.uk

Hannah Wilt, UCL Speech Hearing and Phonetic Sciences

Pathway: Linguistics

Research area & contact details

About me: Growing up in California and France in a French-German family, I have always been fascinated by multilingualism and language learning. During my BSc in Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL, I grew a specific interest in the neurological substrates of speech perception, and a strong vocation to become a researcher in the field. I am currently on the MRes Speech, Language and Cognition programme, conducting research on the role of the primary motor cortex (M1) in speech sound learning as well as undertaking training in web programming and machine learning.

My research: Simulation accounts of speech perception suggest that listeners covertly imitate incoming speech stimuli in order to enhance sound perception. This theory is supported by extensive evidence of enhanced activity in articulatory areas of the primary motor cortex (M1) when listening to speech sounds produced by corresponding articulators. My research explores how this phenomenon relates to second language learning. Using a range of tools (Stimulus-Response Compatibility tasks, transcranial magnetic stimulation, machine learning), I aim to answer the following questions: How does M1 activity during non-native speech sound perception evolve through speech perception training? Can individual M1 activity patterns during speech perception training predict training outcomes?

Supervisors: Dr. Patti Adank

Email: hannah.wilt.15@ucl.ac.uk

Website: The Speech on the Brain Lab

Andy Preston, UCL Department of Economics

Pathway: Economics

Research area & contact details

About me: I am currently studying for an MRes in economics at UCL, before moving onto the PhD programme. I completed my undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Exeter in 2017, and then completed an MSc in economics at UCL in 2018. For the last year, I have been working as an Assistant Economist at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), where I have been involved in analysis on a wide range of tax-related policy issues.

My research: My research focus lies within the field of macroeconomics primarily. I am particularly interested in how workers and households react to the threat of unemployment by changing their spending and saving decisions. Large scale job losses were a particularly notable feature of the Great Recession, and I am interested in how these operate to worsen economic downturns. More generally, I am interested in the effects of heightened uncertainty on the macroeconomy. This was again highly prevalent during the financial crisis, and has plagued the UK economy following the vote to leave the European Union in 2016. I pay particular attention to uncertainty specific to conditions in the labour market conditions, and the detrimental effects this can have. Finally, I am interested in how machine learning techniques can be used in macroeconomics to address a range of questions.

Supervisors: Prof Franck Portier

Email: uctpapr@ucl.ac.uk

Mikaela Bloomberg, UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare

Pathway: Life Course and Social Epidemiology

Research area & contact details

About me: I hold an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a BSc in Computational Biology from Cornell University. At LSHTM, I became increasingly interested in chronic diseases of old age and social determinants of health.

My research: My research at UCL is in the association between sex and dementia. There are documented sex differences in the severity and progression of dementia, with women performing worse on neuropsychological tasks and displaying more severe physiological signs of brain degeneration compared to men. Many social, behavioural, and biological risk factors have been identified as contributing to cognitive function and decline, however there is little literature which systematically evaluates the effect of sex on cognitive function, ageing, and dementia. My project will aim to investigate sex differences in cognitive function and decline as well as formally evaluate the interaction between sex and previously identified risk factors for dementia.

The difference my research makes: Strategies to reduce sex differences in cognitive outcomes require a better understanding of whether sex modifies the association of risk factors with dementia. Exploring the interaction between sex and other factors associated with cognitive outcomes is vital to the eventual development of effective targeted interventions to slow rate of cognitive decline and risk of dementia. This research could contribute to improving the quality of life for individuals with dementia and reducing the significant cost of care associated with dementia.

Supervisors: Professor Archana Singh-Manoux, Dr. Séverine Sabia, Professor Annie Britton

Email: mikaela.bloomberg.19@ucl.ac.uk

Christine Carter, UCL Psychiatry

Pathway: Mental Health and Mental Health Care

Research area & contact details

About me; I have a BSc (Hons) in Health Studies (University of Sunderland) and MSc in Social Research Methods (South Bank University, London) where my research interests centred on married women adopting the role of carer for their husband with dementia and how nurses working on an older peoples assessment unit thought about and defined sexuality. I have a background working in health and social care settings, primarily working with older people and I remain a registered a mental health nurse. I have worked as a community psychiatric nurse and also as a specialist liaison nurse in acute hospitals, specifically with older people. I have been a lecturer in mental health and older people at City University London and University of the West of England and until recently was a lecturer in Dementia Studies at the Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester. Here I worked with Admiral Nurses providing educational support and research around the development of their competency framework.

My research; I am a full-time PhD student in the Division of Psychiatry funded by the ESRC. My PhD focuses upon active ageing and the concept of limitless rather than limited ageing, understanding how people with mild cognitive impairment communicate and understand dementia prevention advice. This is a qualitative study comprising of a literature review followed by participant observations and interviews with people with cognitive impairment who are part of the APPLE-Tree programme of health promotion.

Supervisors:   Professor Paul Higgs & Dr Penny Rapaport

Selected publications: 

  • Carter, C. and Bray, J. (In Press). Reflecting and Articulating Competency: Using critical reflection as a process for developing a meaningful Competency Framework for Admiral Nurses. Journal of Dementia Care.
  • Carter, C., Bray, J. and Read, K. (2019). The Admiral Nurse Competency Framework: Encouraging engagement and putting it into practice. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 50(5), 205-210.
  • Carter, C., Bray, J., Read, K., Harrison-Dening, K., Thompson, R. & Brooker, D. (2018). Articulating the unique competencies

Email: christine.carter@ucl.ac.uk

Twitter: @carterchelt

Brendan Hallam, UCL Research Department of Primary Care & Population Health, Royal Free Hospital

Pathway: Mental health and Mental health care

Research area & contact details

About Me: I completed my BSc undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Chichester, where my dissertation investigated cross-cultural differences in response styles to Likert-type questionnaires. Since graduating in 2014 I have worked within the field of dementia across the NHS, private health sector, third sector and in academia – both at UCL and at the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) in Melbourne, Australia. Within the last year, I came back to UCL to complete the Clinical Mental Health Sciences MSc where I conducted a systematic review attempting to outline the neural correlates of Anosognosia and meta-cognition in people living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Overall, for the last nine years I have had experience of working or studying within mental health and dementia. Over the next 3 years I will be completing my PhD at the UCL Research Department of Primary Care & Population Health.

My Research: I am a full-time PhD student based in the UCL Research Department of Primary Care & Population Health, jointly funded by ESRC UBEL DTP and NIHR. The PhD is embedded within the APPLE-Tree programme: Active Prevention in People at risk of dementia: Lifestyle, bEhaviour change and Technology to REducE cognitive and functional decline, led by Prof Claudia Cooper. The PhD is a mixed methods study on reducing dementia risk in UK Primary Care. Comparisons of NHS treatment across people who are at higher and lower risk of developing dementia are explored to outline how active dementia preventative care could be optimised in UK Primary Care. The second part of the PhD will be qualitative semi-structured interviews with people at high risk of developing dementia to explore the barriers and facilitators to engaging in these dementia prevention strategies (such as, increasing exercise, managing cardiovascular risk and addressing social isolation).

The difference my research makes: The aim will be to provide recommendations on how active dementia preventative care could be optimised in UK Primary Care. This research may then potentially benefit those implementing policy around health care. Additionally, it may provide guidance to clinicians and GPs within the primary care sector regarding the most suitable treatment recommendations for active dementia prevention to people with high risk of developing dementia and their families. Therefore, the most important and ambitious implication is to slow cognitive decline and reduce the risk of people developing dementia; by providing further knowledge into how active dementia preventative care could be optimised in UK Primary Care.

SupervisorsProf Kate Walters, Prof Claudia Cooper, Prof Irene Petersen, Dr Christina Avgerinou

Kinnunen, K. M., Rapaport, P., Webster, L., Barber, J., Kyle, S. D., Hallam, B., … & Espie, C. A. (2018). A manual-based intervention for carers of people with dementia and sleep disturbances: an acceptability and feasibility RCT. Health Technology Assessment. 22(71), 1-408. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3310/hta22710

Rapaport, P., Webster, L., Horsley, R., Kyle, S. D., Kinnunen, K. M., Hallam, B., … & Livingston, G. (2018). An intervention to improve sleep for people living with dementia: Reflections on the development and co-production of DREAM: START (Dementia Related Manual for Sleep: STrAtegies for RelaTives). Dementia, 17(8), 976-989.                    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1471301218789559

Livingston, G., Barber, J. A., Kinnunen, K. M., Webster, L., Kyle, S. D., Cooper, C., Espie, C., Hallam, B., … & Rapaport, P. (2018). DREAMS-START (Dementia Related Manual for Sleep; Strategies for Relatives) for people with dementia and sleep disturbances: a single-blind feasibility and acceptability randomized controlled trial. International psychogeriatrics, 1-15.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610218000753

Goh, A. M., Gaffy, E., Hallam, B., & Dow, B. (2018). An update on dementia training programmes in home and community care. Current opinion in psychiatry, 31(5), 417-423.    DOI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30015671

Email: brendan.hallam.18@ucl.ac.uk

Lucy Mitchinson, UCL Division of Psychiatry

Pathway: Mental Health and Mental Health Care

Research area & contact details

About me: I have a background in Psychology and am particularly interested in research focused on health and wellbeing. I received a BSc. in Psychology from the University of Leeds with an Industry year. During this time I worked as a Research Assistant at the Bradford Institute for Health Research. Within the Quality and Safety department I gained experience conducting research as part of a multidisciplinary team. I developed an interest in health care and a desire to understanding the patient perspective. After this I went on to receive a Master of Research in Psychology at the University of Manchester. This experience allowed me to further develop a variety of qualitative and quantitative skills and gave me the opportunity use new methodologies and approaches. For my dissertation project I aimed to understand the doctor and patient perspectives for using a routine postnatal appointment as an opportunity to encourage health behaviour change.

My research: Now working within the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research department at UCL, my research aims to better understand and evaluate the benefits of complementary therapies in Palliative care. Complementary therapies are offered alongside routine medical treatments and aim to address physical, psychological, social and spiritual distress. These therapies include massage, reflexology and aromatherapy and are frequently offered within hospices and cancer support centres. Despite their popularity the evidence on their effectiveness is limited. Working closely with Marie Curie, my research will investigate the views of patients, family members, therapist and staff to better understand the benefits of complementary therapies. This will inform the later adaption of an evaluation measure which will focus on the patient priorities.

The difference my research makes: With an ever increasing pressure on health services, it is essential that the treatments offered are effective and evidence based. By better understanding the benefit of complementary therapies and how to evaluate them, the true value of these treatments can be understood. With more and more people living to a palliative stage of conditions, the demand for these treatments is greater than ever and strong evidence is needed to ensure the best treatments remain available to all patients.

Supervisors: Professor Paddy Stone, Dr Bridget Candy, Dr Nuriye Kupeli, & Dr Celila Vindrola

Email: lucy.mitchinson.19@ucl.ac.uk


https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=BCAND79Johnson, J., Cameron*, L., Mitchinson, L., Parmar, M., Opio-te, G., Louch, G., & Grange, A. (2019). An investigation into the relationships between bullying, discrimination, burnout and patient safety in nurses and midwives: is burnout a mediator?. Journal of Research in Nursing24(8), 604-619.

David Suber, UCL Security and Crime Science Department

Pathway: Politics and International Relations

Research area & contact details

About Me:  My academic background is in history and political science (BA SOAS; MA Tüebingen University & American University in Cairo), with regional focus on the North Africa and Middle East regions. I work as a freelance journalist for various international media through radio, writing and illustration (Rassef22, Middle East Monitor, Al Araby Al Jedeed), as well as being Creative Director of the journalism platform Brush&Bow

My Research: My research focuses on international migration and counter-migration policies, with a focus on the role of applied security measures in EU bordering states, geo-spatial analysis and human rights.  I currently work in UCL’s Security and Crime Science Department.

Such research aims to broaden perspectives on migration as a human historical and political complex phenomenon, undertaking considerations in policy, human rights and international security.

Supervisors: Dr. Ella CockbainDr. Ben BradfordDr. James Cheshire


Suber D.L., Coguiec A., ‘Agency Encamped, the case of Calais’ Jungle inhabitants’, Refugee Issues: Practitioner Reports, Refugee Review: Special Focus Labour, Vol. III, Fall 2017.

‘Fallire i rimpatri: Il caso tunisino’ in (ed.) G. Acconcia and M. Mercuri, Migrazioni nel Mediterraneo, Franco Angeli: Torino (2019)

Pilati K., Acconcia G., Suber D.L., Chennaoui H., ‘Between organization and spontaneity of protests: the 2010-2011 Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings’, Social Movement Studies, Routledge, (2019)