UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Academic & Teaching Staff

Academic staff are permanent staff who teach our postgraduate programmes, supervise PhD students, lead research activities, and collectively shape the direction of UCL IRDR



Professor Peter Sammonds

Role: Institute Director, Professor of Geophysics jointly appointed with Earth Sciences, and Programme Director, MSc Risk and Disaster Science.
Email: p.sammonds@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 07795056201

Masters modules taught: IRDR0010 Risk Analysis For Disaster ScienceIRDR0014 Independent project - module coordinator

My research aims to understand the geophysical mechanics of the Earth's crust and cryosphere, the relation to natural and anthropogenic hazards and their societal impact. I employ a combination of experimental, field and modelling (particularly statistical) methodologies and work closely with social and medical scientists on conflicts and disasters. I lecture on Earthquake Risks and organise the IRDR MSc independent projects. I advise the UK research councils on the increasing resilience to natural hazards. I have contributed to inter-disciplinary reports on disaster and recovery, taken up widely by government for policy advice.


David Alexander image

Professor David Alexander

Role: Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction and Programme Director, MRes Risk and Disaster Reduction.
Email: david.alexander@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 0203 108 1108

Masters modules taught: IRDR0002 - Emergency and Crisis Planning,   IRDR003 - Emergency and Crisis Management, and IRDR005 - Practice and Appraisal of Research

My research interests include natural hazards, cascading disasters, disability and disaster, earthquake emergencies, emergency planning and crisis management. I head the IRDR cascading disasters research group. I am currently working on a new book on emergency management, and another on popular culture and disaster. My books include "Natural Disasters", "Confronting Catastrophe", "Principles of Emergency Planning and Management", "Recovery from Disaster" (with Ian Davis) and "How to Write an Emergency Plan". I teach emergency planning and management. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, and Vice-President of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management.  



Dr Joanna Faure Walker

Role: Associate Professor in Risk and Disaster Reduction, IRDR Director of studies, and Programme Director, MSc Risk Disaster and Resilience.
Email:  j.faure-walker@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 0203 108 1109

Masters modules taught: IRDR0015 - Integrating Science into Disaster Risk Reduction, and IRDR0001 - Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability

Earthquake geology and seismic hazard are my main research themes. I study faults in the Earth's continental crust to better understand the physical processes controlling earthquake locations, timing and generation. I am also interested in disaster resilience, especially topics such as risk perception, warning and shelter. I am motivated to tackle scientific problems that have potential to improve quality of life. My teaching encompasses earthquakes and other natural hazards, disaster-related vulnerability and risk, and integrating science into decision-making. I have industry experience working for the catastrophe modelling firm RMS and academic consultancy practice for clients such as the World Bank.




Dr Ilan Kelman


Role: Reader in Risk, Disasters, and Global Health jointly appointed between IRDR and Institute for Global Health. IRDR Graduate Advisor.
Email: i.kelman@ucl.ac.uk

IRDR Masters modules taught: IRDR0006 - Conflict, Humanitarianism and Disaster Risk Reduction

My main research interests link disaster and health topics through (i) diplomacy, namely disaster diplomacy and health diplomacy; (ii) climate change; and (iii) island and polar locations. Bringing my research into the classroom means coordinating modules on 'Conflict, Humanitarianism, and Disaster Risk Reduction' and 'Climate change and health'. I lecture on migration, sustainability, gender, and disability, connecting practice with theories of vulnerability, resilience, disasters, islandness, Arcticness, and climate change's role. My recent consultancies have been for the international and national agencies as well as the private and non-profit sectors. My work has appeared throughout the media around the world.


Carmine Galasso

Dr Carmine Galasso

Role: Senior Lecturer in Engineering Risks jointly appointed between IRDR and CEGE.
Email: c.galasso@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 0203 108 1109

My research focuses on the development and use of probabilistic and statistical tools for modelling and managing risk caused by extreme loads on the built environment, with emphasis on developing new tools for hazard-consistent seismic input assessment, engineering applications of earthquake early warning systems, structural reliability and flood risk assessment.


Robert Wicks

Dr Robert Wicks

Role: Lecturer in Space Weather Risk jointly appointed between IRDR and Space and Climate Physics. Programme Director, MSc Space Risk and Disaster Reduction.
Email: r.wicks@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 0203 108 1109

IRDR Masters modules taught: IRDR0007 - The Variable Sun: Space Weather and You

My research aims to improve our understanding of the behaviour of the Sun and the near-Earth space environment. I find this particularly interesting because of the link between understanding outer-space and the risk posed to society by space weather. Much of our modern technology is potentially affected by space weather, for example satellites and the power grid. I teach a module covering the physics of space weather and the hazards and vulnerabilities that make up space weather risk, as well as the political and societal responses that the rapid changing of awareness of space weather is bringing about.



Dr Patty Kostkova

Role: Senior Lecturer in Digital Health and Emergencies.
Email: p.kostkova@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 02031087081

Masters modules taught: IRDR0004 Data Analysis and Interpretation and IRDR0009 - Digital Health: Epidemics and Emergencies in the Era of Big Data


I am a Senior Lecturer in digital health investigating serious games and community engagement using mobile technology in Brazil, Nigeria and Nepal; exploring big data for early warning and rapid response to epidemics, and disseminating the best evidence about infection online via iNRIC. My teaching includes digital health in the age of big data. Consultant and advisor to WHO, ECDC and Foundation Merieux, I have won many prizes, including recently, nomination for the Woman of the Year by the Computing Women in IT Excellence Awards. I established the International Conference on Digital Health series and am editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Digital Health journal.



Dr Katerina Stavrianaki

Role: Lecturer in Risk Analysis jointly appointed between IRDR and Dept of Statistical Science.
Email: k.stavrianaki@ucl.ac.uk

Masters modules taught: IRDR0010 Risk Analysis for Disaster Science

My research interests include seismology, statistical seismology, seismic hazard and rock mechanics. I recently completed my PhD at UCL IRDR. My PhD research included the statistical analysis of earthquakes using the Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model and more specifically I studied the clustering in earthquake magnitudes. I also study acoustic emissions generated during laboratory deformation of sandstone samples, which can be used as a proxy for natural processes such as earthquakes. The motivation of my research is to improve current forecasting and seismic hazard approaches. I teach statistics and R programming as a research tool to study natural disasters and statistical seismology.


Dr Gianluca Pescaroli

Dr Gianluca Pescaroli

Role: Lecturer in Business Continuity and Organisational Resilience
Email: g.pescaroli@ucl.ac.uk

My research investigates how to build and improve the ability to maintain operations during disruptive events, how to minimise their impacts and how to increase the resilience of the public and private sectors. This includes learning to understand complex challenges such as cascading risks, critical infrastructure failures, cross-sectoral interdependencies, and compound dynamics. For example, even during an ordinary day an electricity blackout could occur and could compromise the delivery of vital services. My teaching and research address the promotion of business continuity and organisational resilience. My work is impact-oriented, and I publish in both the academic literature and strategic documents such as the UNISDR Guidelines on National Risk Assessment.