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UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

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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

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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: IRDR0007 Space Weather and Technological Failures

I work at the interface of natural and social sciences. My research and knowledge exchange is on natural hazard risks, disasters and recovery. I have worked on earthquake mechanics, volcanoes and ice physics in the Arctic. I work on research council, British Academy and Royal Society-funded projects on Increasing Resilience to Environmental Hazards in Border Conflict Zones and Resilience Futures for the Rohingya Refugees. I have advised the UK research councils on the increasing resilience to natural hazards programme; been a member of EEFIT Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation teams, contributing to inter-disciplinary reports on disaster, taken up widely by government for policy advice; and been a Commissioner on the UCL–Lancet Commission on Migration and Health, 2017–18, whose report has been influential. I am currently the Gender and Intersectionality Ambassador for the UKRI network+ GRRIPP project led by the IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster.

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Professor David Alexander

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

Masters modules taught: IRDR0002 - Emergency and Crisis Planning and Management,   IRDR003 - Advanced Emergency and Crisis Planning and 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.  

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Dr Joanna Faure Walker

Role: Associate Professor in Risk and Disaster Reduction, IRDR Director of Studies and Graduate Tutor (Taught)
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.

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Professor Ilan Kelman

Role: Professor of Disasters and Health jointly appointed between IRDR and Institute for Global Health, Graduate Tutor (Research)
Email: i.kelman@ucl.ac.uk
Phone: 02076799329

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: Associate Professor in Engineering Risks in CEGE, and associate staff in IRDR.
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.

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Professor Patty Kostkova

Role: Professor 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 Professor 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.

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Dr Katerina Stavrianaki

Role: Programme Director, Risk and Disaster Science MSc; 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.

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Dr Gianluca Pescaroli

Role: Programme Director, Risk, Disaster and Resilience MSc; Lecturer in Business Continuity and Organisational Resilience 
Email: g.pescaroli@ucl.ac.uk

Masters modules taught: IRDR0017 Business Continuity Management and Organisational Resilience

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.

Bayes Ahmed

Dr Bayes Ahmed

Role: Lecturer in Risk and Disaster Science; Undergraduate Admissions Tutor
Email: bayes.ahmed@ucl.ac.uk

Modules taught: IRDR0012 Independent project - module coordinator

My background includes research into the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR), conflict and migration, climate change adaptation, community vulnerability and resilience, and climate justice. I work in the intersection between conflict and disaster with a vision to help improving the living standards of forced migrants and stateless population. I teach quantitative and qualitative research methods, application of geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing in disaster science, risk-sensitive land use planning, and landslides. I am passionate about working with grass-root people to understand their disaster vulnerabilities and producing effective policy recommendations to address their problems. I dream of a world full of peace, prosperity and happiness. 

Punam Yadav

Dr Punam Yadav 

Role: Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies, Co-Director, IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster; Global Humanitarian Studies BSc Programme Lead
Email: p.yadav@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Punam Yadav is Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies and Co-director of the IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster. She is also the Co-Investigator for the UKRI Collective Fund award – GRRIPP Network Plus (2019–2023). Dr Yadav coordinates an MSc module, ‘IRDR0016 Gender, Disaster and Conflict’. She will also be coordinating a module on Humanitarian Research Methods for the new BSc programme. She joined the IRDR in April 2018. Prior to IRDR, Dr Yadav was a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Politics Science. Dr Yadav has also worked with various international and local Humanitarian Organisations.

Jessica Field

Dr Jessica Field 

Role: Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies; Undergraduate Tutor
Email: jessica.field@ucl.ac.uk

I am an interdisciplinary scholar and my research focuses on past and present humanitarian crises in Asia. Recent publications have examined disaster management and refugee protection in India and the conflict-disaster nexus in the Philippines. I advise on humanitarian policy and am a member of UNHCR India’s Research and Advocacy in Action Group and an Advisory Group member for Save the Children India’s new Risk Vulnerability and Resilience Centre of Excellence in Delhi. I am co-investigator on a British Academy grant, "Rohingya Journeys of Violence and Resilience in Bangladesh and its Neighbours: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives".