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.
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.


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.  


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.

Ilan Kelman portrait

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: Professor of Catastrophe Risk Engineering 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.

Patty Kostkova

Professor Patty Kostkova

Role: Professor in Digital Health and Emergencies; IRDR Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Officer 
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

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
Email: p.yadav@ucl.ac.uk

Modules taught:  IRDR0016 – Gender, Disaster and Conflict and IRDR0012 – Independent Project

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.

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Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha (“Shams”)

Role: Associate Professor in Humanitarian Science and BSc Programme Lead
Email: m.shamsudduha@ucl.ac.uk

Masters modules taught: IRDR0001 - Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability
BSc modules taught: IRDR0020 - Climate and Natural Hazard Risks; IRDR - Humanitarian Data Science

I am a geoscientist by academic background. My research is centred around earth’s water resources, environment, and people. I study and train students on hydro-meteorological hazards, water risks and resilience to global change using geospatial big data, earth observation satellites, remote sensing, geographic information system and machine learning tools. For over a decade, I worked in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa on the promotion of sustainable and equitable access to freshwater, and how water can help nations build resilience to changes in land-use and climate. My current research seeks to bridge the humanitarian-development divide as I argue that protracted humanitarian crises and increasing human displacement, particularly in the Global South, cannot be solved with short-term humanitarian interventions but with sustained development solutions, addressing root causes and social change. I work with academic researchers, practitioners, donors, national and international agencies, non-government organisations, and private sector.

Lisa Guppy

Dr Lisa Guppy

Role: Lecturer in Global Humanitarian Studies; Undergraduate Tutor
Email: lisa.guppy@ucl.ac.uk

I have worked across humanitarian, peace and development fields, primarily with United Nations organisations, in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East. My roles have spanned local to global level and experience in humanitarian responses from the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka to drought in the Horn of Africa and ongoing complex emergency in Afghanistan. Most recently I have worked in the Asia Pacific Region, focusing on the environmental and climate dimensions of disasters, displacement and insecurity.

With the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, I lecture in humanitarian studies, drawing on more than a decade of delivered training, teaching and other capacity development modalities to humanitarian practitioners, senior government staff, students and others in locations from, amongst others, Kenya, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, India, Thailand, South Africa and globally online.

I have particular interest in protracted and chronic crises and the implementation of nexus solutions in fragile humanitarian settings. I also focus on how more considered water and environmental management can improve resilience and peacebuilding in these places.

Rozana Himaz

Dr Rozana Himaz

Role: Associate Professor in Humanitarian Economics
Email: r.himaz@ucl.ac.uk

My research interests look at (i) how catastrophe modelling can incorporate ‘non-conventional’ aspects such as impacts on livelihood and mental health (ii) how welfare impacts of shocks on individuals and households evolve over time and (iii) how program/policy impacts can be evaluated. I focus mainly on developing countries such as Indonesia, Ethiopia, India and Sri Lanka. My work uses large household surveys and statistical methods to support evidence-based understanding of these issues in an interdisciplinary context. At IRDR I’ll be teaching students several ‘tools’ from the toolkit of micro, macro and quantitative economics relevant to disaster risk reduction and humanitarian research. I have consulted for the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation. 

Yulia Ioffe

Dr Yulia Ioffe

Role: Lecturer in Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
Email: y.ioffe@ucl.ac.uk

Module taught: IRDR0022 Key Concepts and Debates in Humanitarianism

I am an international lawyer. I have worked with a range of international organisations and NGOs on humanitarian policy development and practice, including the International Court of Justice, the UNHCR Representation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UNHCR Regional Representation for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Red Cross Society.

My research interests lie within international human rights law, forced migration, and children’s rights. My primary focus is on the rights of children seeking refugee status and other forms of international protection. I am also interested in non-penalisation and non-criminalisation of refugees and other migrants for illegal entry or stay, interpretation of human rights treaties by international bodies, reparation for human rights violations, and impact of international law on refugee protection. At IRDR, I teach international law modules related to humanitarian action and assistance.

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Dr Jessica Field 

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

I am interested in the history and political geography of humanitarianism, particularly in South and South East Asia. I am the Undergraduate Tutor for the new BSc in Global Humanitarian Studies and on this programme I teach the Year 1 'Global History of Humanitarianism' and Year 2 'Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Conflict and Migration' modules. My research currently has three strands: i) the history and politics of disaster governance in India, ii) refugee protection and assistance across South Asia and iii) the professionalisation of international humanitarianism. Recent publications include an edited volume on the significance of the Global Compact on Refugees in India, and several articles and reports examining the lives, livelihoods, and security of Rohingya refugees in India. 

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Victoria Maynard

Role: Teaching Fellow in Humanitarian Studies
Email: v.maynard.12@ucl.ac.uk

Modules taught: IRDR0023 Practice and Analysis of Humanitarian Action

I trained as an architect and have been involved in humanitarian response, recovery and resilience for more than 15 years.  This has included direct experience of humanitarian action, research and evaluations, and teaching at an undergraduate and postgraduate level.  I specialise in humanitarian shelter and urban crises with a focus on topics such as decision-making, participation, inclusion, and livelihoods.  I am currently completing a PhD in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at UCL.  My research investigates the characteristics, causes and consequences of decisions made by the Philippine government and international humanitarian organisations following super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013.

Aeron O'Connor

Dr Aeron O'Connor

Role: Lecturer (teaching) in Social Anthropology and Humanitarianism (IRDR) and Co-Investigator: Ethnographic Research Laboratory (Anthropology) 
Email: aeron.oconnor@ucl.ac.uk 

Module taught: ANTH0003 Introduction to Social Anthropology 

I’m a social anthropologist interested in the cross-generational endurance of social groups, particularly cultural elites. Since 2015 I have worked in Tajikistan, examining the family, urban and intellectual histories of communities who, over the past century, have navigated radical political change and persecution, and been forced to re-settle elsewhere across Central Asia and beyond. I focus on: urban-to-urban migration; how ways of life are transferred to new places in times of uncertainty; how cities endure, and are vulnerable to, political upheaval; and the interface of ecological destruction and socio-political change in cities. I have previously written on the ambiguous relationship between cosmopolitanism and orientalism, as well as on literary exchanges between opposite sides of the Cold War. I am currently also Co-Investigator for a UCL Innovation & Enterprise grant to develop a research laboratory at the Department of Anthropology at UCL.