UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


People 2022–23

The department has seen significant growth over the last few years, and 2022–23 was no exception. We welcomed a number of new research, teaching and professional services staff, increasing our staff community to just under 50 people: 31 members of academic staff, with another scheduled to start in January 2024. The IRDR also has 13 members of project staff ranging from research assistants to senior research fellows and ten members of professional services staff.


Several members of the department’s professional services support team were nominated in the BEAMS Professional Services Awards: Sarah Jeal and Nadia Jackson in the ‘Communicating and engaging effectively with the world’ award category and Nicola Jordan for ‘Giving our students the best support, facilities and opportunities’. Nadia went on to win her award and Nicola received a special mention by the judges in recognition of her outstanding contribution.

In the UCL Education Awards and MAPS Faculty Education Awards, which recognise staff making outstanding contributions to the learning experience and success of UCL students, IRDR staff were both finalists and winners in different categories. See the Education section for more details.

Academic staff

Aeron O'Connor

Lecturer (teaching) in Social Anthropology and Humanitarianism

Bayes Ahmed

Associate Professor in Risk and Disaster Science; Programme Leader - MSc Risk and Disaster Science

Caroline Russell

Associate Lecturer (teaching) Risk, Disasters and Humanitarianism

Dan Haines

Lecturer in Disaster and Crisis Response

David Alexander

Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction (20%)

Estella Carpi

Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies

Fatemeh Jalayer

Professor of Geophysical Hazard Risks

Gianluca Pescaroli

Associate Professor in Business Continuity and Organisational Resilience

Ilan Kelman

Professor of Disasters and Health (50% IRDR, 50% Institute of Global Health)

Joanna Faure Walker

Head of Department; Professor of Earthquake Geology and Disaster Risk Reduction

Katerina Stavrianaki

Lecturer in Risk Analysis (50% IRDR, 50% Dept. Statistics)

Lisa Danquah

Lecturer in Global Health

Lisa Guppy 

Lecturer (teaching) in Global Humanitarian Studies

Mark Pelling

Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction

Maureen Fordham 

Professorial Research Associate of Gender and Disaster

Megnaa Mehtta

Lecturer (teaching) in Social Anthropology

Mohammad Shamsudduha

Associate Professor in Humanitarian Studies

Myles Harris

Associate Lecturer (teaching) Risk, Disasters and Humanitarianism

Patty Kostkova

Professor of Digital Public Health and Emergencies

Peter Sammonds

Professor of Geophysics (20%)

Philip Cunliffe

Associate Professor in International Relations

Punam Yadav

Associate Professor in Humanitarian Studies

Roberto Gentile

Lecturer in Crisis and Catastrophe Risk Modelling

Rozana Himaz

Associate Professor in Humanitarian Economics 

Saman Ghaffarian

Lecturer in Geospatial Science 

Sarah Dryhurst

Lecturer in Risk Perception and Communication

Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson 

Lecturer in Climate, Policy, and Intersectionality

Stefan Leeffers

Lecturer in Disaster and Crisis Risk Finance

Susannah Fisher

Future Leaders Fellow in Climate Change Adaptation

Ting Sun

Lecturer in Climate and Meteorological Hazard Risks

Yasmine Sabri

Lecturer (teaching) in Humanitarian Logistics

Yulia Ioffe

Lecturer in Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Research project staff

Research Associates and Fellows

Femke MulderSenior Research Fellow, RiskPACC
Jessica FieldResearch Fellow, GRRIPP
Jonathan BarnesResearch Fellow in Climate Change Adaptation
Louisa AcciariResearch Fellow in Gender and Disaster
Maureen FordhamProfessorial Research Associate of Gender and Disaster
Thaisa Comelli DutraPostdoctoral Researcher in Urban Risk Governance

 Project staff

Aishath Green               Research Project Officer, Urgency with inclusion in global climate adaptation finance:
why measurement matters
Debora Galvao Finance Assistant, GRRIPP
Hannah HaycoxResearch Fellow, Uncovering the Hidden Dangers: The Risk of Human Trafficking for
Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking and Refugee Children in Home Office-Operated Hotels
Hui Hui ZhengAssistant Project Officer, GRRIPP
Jessica RobertsGRRIPP Assistant and LGBTQI+ Reference Guide   
Laila ShahzadPunjab Higher Education Commission Post Doc
Laura PetersResearch Fellow in Disaster, Conflict, and Peace

Nadia Jackson

GRRIPP Finance and Due Diligence Manager 

Olivia ThynneEvents Assistant, GRRIPP

Olivia Walmsley

GRIPP and GDN Coordinator

Yahya Gamal

Postdoctoral Researcher in Urban Risk Modelling


Professional services staff

Christopher Gallagher

ISD support for MAPS faculty, with remit to support IRDR, IMD, and MAPS faculty office

Dhashvini Ramanathan

Operations Administrator

Jose Delgado

Education Administrator

Kamariyah Mbamba

Senior Research and Finance Officer

Matthew Lee

Finance and HR Administrator, Research Finance Assistant

Mumtaz Abdul Ghafoor

Senior Postgraduate Research Administrator

Nicola Jordan

Work Placement Manager

Nidhi Rathod

Department Manager

Paula Ktorides

Senior Education Administrator

Sarah Jeal

Communications and Events Manager

Sian Rees-JonesEngagements, Networks and Partnerships Manager

Visiting staff

  • Assoc. Prof. Anawat Suppasri, IRIDeS, Tohoku University
  • Professor Jeffrey Keisler, University of Massachusetts
  • Dr Laila Shahzad, GC University Lahore
  • Dr Chris Needham-Bennett, Needhams 1834
  • Prof A. S. M. Maksud Kamal, University of Dhaka
  • Ewan Haggarty

PhD students

Abby Ewen
Disability and identity in times of Crisis in Nepal, balancing urgency and inclusion in disaster resilience
Funding: Self (supported by the Tomorrows Cities Research Hub) 
Supervisor: Mark Pelling 

Adel Alharb

Ahmed Ziaur Rahman
Geospatial assessment of water and soil salinisation risk to climate and disaster resilience in coastal Bangladesh
Funding: Government of Bangladesh

Supervisors: Mohammad Shamsudduha, Richard Taylor (external)

Aimee Colgate
How cascading events of hazards happening in concurrence are managed  
Funding: Self  
Supervisors: Gianluca Pescaroli, Roberto Gentile  

Aisha Aldosery
Internet of Things (IoT) based Surveillance System for Predicting Areas that are High- risk of Mosquito Infestation: A Case Study of Mosquitoes Surveillance at Madeira Island and Northeast Brazil 
Funding: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau 
Supervisor: Patty Kostkova

Alex Thompson
Health system emergency preparedness, resilience and response: the case of wildfires
Funding: Self
Supervisors: David Alexander, Gianluca Pescaroli

Anastasia Chau
The efficacy of disaster-related warnings triggering safety-seeking behaviour
Funding: UCL Studentship
Supervisors: Joanna Faure Walker, Adam Harris (external)

Anuja Jaitly
An impact analysis of microinsurance on generational progress at the household level 
Funding: Self
Supervisors: Punam Yadav, Maureen Fordham

Ava Sullivan
Characterising risky human-animal interfaces to prevent zoonotic disease spillover events
Funding: EcoHealth Alliance
Supervisors: Patty Kostkova, Jon Epstein (external)

Bernice Mufor Nkekeh
Community Emergency Preparedness and Response. A comparative analysis of the cases of Mount Cameroon and Mount Etna
Funding: Self-funding
Supervisors: Peter Sammonds, Lisa Danquah

Christiana Iliya
Desertification and the Covid-19 pandemic as contributors to food insecurity in Africa
Funding: Self-funded
Supervisor: Bayes Ahmed

Dan Thompson
Financing Community Electricity Resilience
Funding: Self
Supervisors: Gianluca Pescaroli, Rozana Himaz, Jun Rentschler (External) 

David Gregory
Fault action, interaction and Seismic Hazard in the Central Apennines system 
Funding: CoreLogic 
Supervisor: Joanna Faure Walker

Emma Back
How has the experience of COVID-19 shaped perceptions of pandemic risk? A comparative study.  
Funding: Self
Supervisors: Patty Kostkova, Stephen Roberts (UCL Institute for Global Health)

Emmanuel Agbo
Disaster Mitigation and Emergency ResponseA case of flood vulnerability in Nigeria
Funding: TETFund, Nigeria
Supervisor: David Alexander and Rob Wicks (external)

Izazul Haq
Risk of groundwater salinisation in an Asian Mega-delta under global change: evidence from the Bengal Basin
Funding: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK
Supervisors: Richard Taylor, Mohammad Shamsudduha

Jack Bestwick
Tsunami Evacuation Modelling
Funding: UCL Stipend
Supervisor: Fatemeh Jalayer

Jeremy Reynolds
Learning from organisations regarding adaptive capacity and their relevance to urban resilience planning
Funding: London Fire Brigade
Supervisors: David Alexander, Gianluca Pescaroli

Joshua Anthony
Palaeochannels in the Somerset Levels and their implication for flood risk management. 
Funding: Self
Supervisors: Katerina Stavrianaki, Simon Day

Kayla Paulson

Khuloud M Al Mufarraji
Effective risk and crisis communication for better community resilience
Funding: Ministry of Higher Education - Sultanate of Oman
Supervisors: David Alexander, Katerina Stavrianaki

Kimon Pantelides
Developing a Consistent Approach to Ensuring Community Resilience to Risk during times of Financial Crisis: A study of Fire Services in Southern Europe and the importance of Quality Assurance systems
Funding: Self
Supervisor: David Alexander and Gianluca Pescaroli

Lan Li
The Real Impact of Social Media on Vaccination: A Comparison Study on Behavior Change between the UK and China
Funding: China Scholarship Council-UCL Joint Research Scholarship
Supervisor: Patty Kostkova, Caroline Wood

Lillian Norris

Liran Renert
Omissions in pandemic preparedness plans and the COVID-19 crisis 
Funding: Self
Supervisors: David Alexander, Estella Carpi, Patrizia Duda

Mark Kuyo Ojal 
Understanding how relationships between institutions and actors in urban development contribute to risks in urban poor settlements
Funding: IRDR
Supervisor: Mark Pelling, Cassidy Johnson (UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit)

Mater Almehmadi
Post Disaster Waste Management Reducing Human Vulnerability when dealing with Toxic Wastes in Post Disaster Waste Management: The Case of Hurricanes\
Funding: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau
Supervisor: David Alexander, Gianluca Pescaroli

Mhari Gordon
Displaced Populations and Natural Hazards 
Funding: UCL Warning Research Centre
Supervisors: Punam Yadav, Ilan Kelman, Carina Fearnley (UCL warning Research Centre)

Minna He

Michael Ruprecht

Miriam Orcutt

Mohamed Alwahedi
Time series analysis of borehole strainmeter data in the western US reveals coseismic and postseismic surface deformations associated with intermediate magnitude earthquakes (M4-6)
Funding: Ministry of Education – United Arab Emirates
Supervisor: Peter Sammonds, Katerina Stavrianaki

Musaad Almuthaybiri
Investigating the Perceptions of Emergency Managers towardsTowards Supply -Chain Management for Disaster Preparedness in the Saudi Arabia Health System: A Qualitative Study of Challenges and Opportunities
Funding: Saudi Cultural Bureau 
Supervisors: David Alexander, Yasmine Sabri 

Myles Harris
Prolonged field care: a grounded theory of prehospital health for risk reduction in remote environments 
Funding: Self and London South Bank University
Supervisors: Ilan Kelman, Di Lamb (External)

Naif Alrehaili
Assessing the Emergency Planning Requirements for Responding to Flash Floods in the KSA 
Funding: The Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in the UK (SACB) 
Supervisors: David Alexander, Gianluca Pescaroli 

Nicole Paul
Population displacement following disasters
Funding: UCL Overseas Research Scholarship, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Willis Towers Watson Research Network
Supervisors: Carmine Galasso (UCL CEGE), Jack Baker (External)

Qiushuang Shi
Community-based Cascading Risks Assessment
Funding: Self
Supervisor: David Alexander

Rebekah Yore
Transitional phase(s) to disaster recovery: microinsurance, warning systems and shelter/temporary housing
Funding: UCL-IRDR Impact Studentship with Rescue Global 
Supervisors: Joanna Faure Walker; David Alexander

Rhea Leung
Mitigation and disaster preparedness measures enacted in remote mountainous areas affected by earthquake–triggered geohazards
Funding: Self
Supervisors: David Alexander, Simon Day

Rob Davis
Exploring the flood early warning risk data and how this is used by rescue service for a search and rescue methodology
Funding: Self
Supervisor: David Alexander, Gianluca Pescaroli

Salma Al Zadjali
Decadal Variability of Precipitation in Oman and the Assessment of Cloud Seeding in the Al-Hajar Mountains
Funding: Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in Oman
Supervisors: Peter Sammonds, Simon Day, Mohammad Shamsudduha 

Sam Mitchell
Spatio-temporal variations of slip on active normal faults in central and southern mainland Greece
Funding: London NERC DTP 
Supervisors: Gerald Roberts (external), Joanna Faure Walker 

Sangita Thebe Limbu
Indigenous Knowledge, Gender, and Climate Change  
Funding: IRDR
Supervisors: Punam Yadav, Maureen Fordham  

Shinta Michiko (Chiko) Puteri

Shiyi Zhang
Assessing the economic and non-economic impacts of climate transition
Funding: China Scholarship Council-UCL Joint Research Scholarship 
Supervisors: Sonja Ayeb Karlsson, Ting Sun

Umut Lagap
Quantifying post-disaster housing stock resilience
Funding: The Ministry of National Education, Republic of Turkey
Supervisors: Carmine Galasso, Roberto Gentile 

Victoria Maynard

Xiao (Shaw) Han
Disaster, vulnerability, and development
Funder: Self
Supervisor: Peter Sammonds and David Alexander

Xiaohui Shen

Yasna Karina Palmeiro Silva

Zerong (Chelsea) Li
An integrated approach of GIS and space syntax modelling to investigate how well an ethnic group is integrated into its host city – a case study of the London China Town
Funding: Self
Supervisors: Bayes Ahmed, Yasmine Sabri

Zhu Yu
Building an Effective Response Framework to Cascading Disasters Linked to Hazardous Materials 
Funding: Self
Supervisors: Bayes Ahmed, Yasmine Sabri

Find more information about our PhD students on our People pages.