Celebrate Our Staff - September 2020

Here we celebrate our colleagues’ achievements across the University this past month.

Professor Cath Noakes was one of the recipients of the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s awards

Am outdoor shot of Professor Cath Noakes. September 2020.

Special award for pandemic service

Professor Cath Noakes (School of Civil Engineering) has received a top award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

She was one of 19 individuals who received the President of the Academy’s Special Awards for Pandemic Service.

The accolade comes in recognition of her work, which has had “widespread and significant impact” in tackling the spread of coronavirus (covid-19).

The citation praises her “...role in advising the NHS and Government at the highest level during the pandemic, shaping life-saving guidance based on her expertise in environmental and engineering controls”.

She is an expert on the way pathogens spread inside buildings and is a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Professor Noakes said: “I am deeply honoured to receive the award from the Royal Academy of Engineering. It is a recognition of the vitally-important role that engineers play in tackling the big challenges facing humanity.

“The strength of engineering research and innovation comes through teamwork and collaboration – and my contribution to tackling the pandemic has resulted from working with many people across multiple disciplines.”

Read the full story

Fellowship joy after family’s covid-19 ordeal

A portrait image of Dr Charalampos (Harry) Tsoumpas. September 2020.

The IPEM have awarded Dr Charalampos Tsoumpas a Fellowship

Being awarded a Fellowship brought double delight for one Leeds academic.

Dr Charalampos (Harry) Tsoumpas (Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine) recently discovered he had become a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

The appointment is in recognition of demonstrating scientific and professional attainment of outstanding merit. 

But there was an extra reason to celebrate, as Dr Tsoumpas and his young family have all recently recovered after contracting covid-19.

They found the early part of lockdown particularly difficult, with all four of them suffering from the virus – with little medical support as their symptoms did not match formal guidance.

Dr Tsoumpas said: “Beyond the great stress and unimaginable fatigue, it meant that I was unable to work properly for more than a month.”

He found it had a major impact on his work, especially due to the extra effort needed due to the substantial changes in teaching activities caused by the pandemic.

While his plans for a UKRI Fellowship application may have been impacted, the IPEM Fellowship proved to be a high point during the summer.

“What I was left to alleviate my disappointment was the IPEM Fellowship, which was awarded to me to my great surprise and privilege,” Dr Tsoumpas said. “It is a great feeling to be recognised by them.

“However, I have to emphasise that, having experienced being ill during a pandemic, I am already so much happier that my family and I are all healthy. The Fellowship award is just a good excuse to organise a nice occasion to celebrate, more than anything else!”

IPEM is the UK’s professional body and learned society for physicists, engineers and technologists in the field of medicine.

Success for Leeds in National Teaching Fellowships

An image of Professor Paul Taylor. September 2020.

Professor Paul Taylor’s teaching efforts have been recognised by Advance HE

Professor Paul Taylor (School of Chemistry) has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by Advance HE.

Professor Taylor is a champion of co-curricular undergraduate research opportunities and believes strongly in research-based learning, allowing students to develop research skills while providing innovative and engaging settings for learning within the formal curriculum. 

He said: “I’m excited that my Fellowship will showcase the astonishing, hopeful things that can happen when we work in partnership with students and empower them to become independent researchers. 

“Students are key contributors to my scientific research on molecular evolution, my current work on decolonising the curriculum and a ground-breaking staff-student co-authored textbook on ‘Stereochemistry’, about to be published. It’s a huge privilege to collaborate in this way.”

Professor Taylor has promoted the provision of summer research internships and collaborated in the development of dissemination opportunities for undergraduates.

In his discipline of chemistry, he has driven changes to widen participation and develop more inclusive teaching practices that allow all students to succeed. 

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, administered by Advance HE, celebrates and recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education. 

Read the full story

Outstanding article award for ‘Unpopular Culture’ 

A portrait shot of Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli. September 2020.

The Journal of Popular Culture published Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli’s award-winning article

Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli (School of Sociology and Social Policy) has received the 2020 Russel B Nye award for the Outstanding Article.

Dr Tzanelli was recognised for her article in The Journal of Popular Culture (JPC) entitled Unpopular Culture: Ecological Dissonance and Sustainable Futures in Media-Induced Tourism.

The award is granted annually by the American Popular Culture Association (APCP).

Dr Tzanelli said: “I feel humbled by this recognition and extend my thanks to the APCP and JPC, as well as the Special Issue Editors, with whom I also collaborated on other occasions.

“I believe that research on the cultural politics of the popular is important in resolving conflicts between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture.

“A non-hierarchical approach to culture has been my personal project, both as a tourism and cinema studies scholar and an author of fiction and poetry.”

Her public sociology features in the new title Worldmakings: A Book of Blogs, which is the product of nine years of published blogposts on various recognised academic and social movement networks.

Her critical fiction The Virus Diaries: Travels in Alterrealities interrogates issues of racism, pandemics and political ecology, recasting some of the questions of social inequality addressed in her award-winning article in alternative styles.

Teaching Fellow’s novel debut

A portrait image of Dr Lickorish Quinn. September 2020.

Creative Writing Teaching Fellow Dr Lickorish Quinn

Dr Karina Lickorish Quinn’s debut novel – Mancharisqa – will be published by Oneworld Publications.

Dr Lickorish Quinn, a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow in the School of English, is a bilingual Peruvian-British writer, who recently completed her PhD in Creative Writing at Queen Mary University of London.

The work is an ambitious and formally inventive literary epic about haunting and counter-histories – adopting the traditional Andean concept of cyclical time in a manner reminiscent of One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the novels of Bolaño, suffused with the surreal atmosphere of Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.

Dr Lickorish Quinn said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Oneworld and its list of remarkable, talented authors.

“I have long admired Juliet Mabey and Oneworld for their commitment to introducing readers to a range of cultures and voices from across the world.

“And thank you to my wonderful agent, Seren Adams, for believing in me and my work. Mancharisqa could not have found a better home.”

Juliet Mabey, editor at Oneworld, added: “I fell completely and utterly in love with this mesmerising, intense, multi-layered novel as soon as I started reading.

“The tone is wonderfully mystical and haunting, with echoes of other great Latin American writers without feeling remotely derivative.

“A stunningly original saga of an expansive, complex, troubled family in Peru, it is conveyed with a lightness of touch that belies its debut status, and I could not be more thrilled to feature Karina’s astonishing writing on my literary fiction list. There is really nothing else like it.”

Read the full story

Scientific Achievement award

Professor Quentin Ramasse at a computer. September 2020.

Professor Quentin Ramasse, Chair in Advanced Electron Microscopy

Professor Quentin Ramasse has been announced as one of six recipients of the Royal Microscopial Society (RMS) Mid-Career Scientific Achievement Award 2020.

He is currently Chair in Advanced Electron Microscopy in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering and Director of the SuperSTEM User Facility at the SciTech Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus.

The award recognises long-term contributions and outstanding scientific achievements across all forms of microscopy or flow cytometry.

His award noted the quantity and quality of his research, as well as his role in the development of advanced STEM techniques and their applications in addressing challenging materials science questions.

It also recognises his contributions to spectroscopy through his role as Director of the SuperSTEM facility, along with his ‘hands on’ approach to electron microscopy, research and teaching.

Of the recognition, he said: “I am of course delighted and humbled to get this distinction. But it really should be a team award, and I hope this is seen as a recognition of the amazing work carried out at the SuperSTEM facility over the years in service of the community.”

Body of work published

The front cover of A Jurisprudence of the Body. September 2020

A Jurisprudence of the Body, edited by Dr Chris Dietz, Dr Mitchell Travis and Professor Michael Thomson

A trio of academics from the School of Law have published a new book that considers the place of the body in healthcare law.

A Jurisprudence of the Body was edited by Dr Chris Dietz, Dr Mitchell Travis and Professor Michael Thomson, and has been published through Palgrave’s Socio-Legal Studies Series.

The book brings together some of the most vital researchers in the field of healthcare law to consider how the body is regulated, understood and constructed at the intersection of law and health.

Dr Travis said: “We are very pleased that the collection is now available.

“It does a great job of showcasing some of the work that has been fostered through the Centre for Law and Social Justice’s research theme of ‘Health, Embodiment, and Justice’ and really places Leeds at the forefront of this field.”

The collection explores themes as diverse as vulnerability, temporality, human rights and the professionalisation of health.

It also raises timely questions about public health, race and the role of the state in ensuring health.

Fellowship to provide research launchpad

A portrait shot of Anton Calabrese. September 2020

The Fellowship will allow Dr Anton Calabrese to establish an independent research programme

Dr Anton Calabrese (School of Molecular and Cellular Biology) has been awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society.

Anton joined the University of Leeds in 2013 as a postdoctoral researcher, having completed a PhD at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

He was appointed as a University Academic Fellow in Biological Mass Spectrometry in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology in January 2020.

The Sir Henry Dale Fellowship will provide Dr Calabrese with five years of support to establish his own independent, innovative research programme.

He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have received this prestigious award, which will enable me to rapidly drive my research forward.

“The focus of the project is to understand the molecular mechanism of a process that occurs in cells known as liquid-liquid phase separation.

“When phase separation goes wrong, diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, can occur. Also, when viruses infect cells, viral factories form by phase separation where the virus replicates. 

“The ultimate aim of this project is to uncover new targets to combat neurodegeneration and viral infection.”

Delight at Honorary Fellowship award

A portrait image of Professor Philip Helliwell. September 2020

Professor Philip Helliwell has been honoured for ground-breaking research and international leadership

Professor Philip Helliwell (Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine) has been made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Glasgow.

His citation noted his ground-breaking research into rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease podiatry, and the impact it has had on the entire discipline.

It also noted his leadership of podiatrists in the UK and beyond.

Professor Helliwell said: “As a rheumatologist, I have worked with podiatrists most of my consultant career. I was ‘encouraged’ into this collaboration by a fresh-faced lecturer from the local university – Jim Woodburn. [Professor Jim Woodburn, Assistant Vice Principal, Research Excellence, Glasgow Caledonian University]

“Since then, my podiatry colleagues and I have developed many fruitful research projects and improved the delivery of podiatric care within musculoskeletal disease in the NHS.

“I have witnessed first-hand the valuable contribution of podiatry to the multidisciplinary team, and the way podiatry improves patients’ quality of life.

“I am delighted to be joining the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine at a time where both the College and the Faculty have, for the first time, a female president and dean respectively.

“Progressive leadership stands to benefit the profession going forward. I am looking forward to supporting the profession from this privileged position, supporting the Faculty around continuing professional development as it goes from strength to strength.”

2020 British Society of Rheology award recognition

A portrait shot of Professor Daniel Read. September 2020

Professor Daniel Read’s contribution to the rheology community has been recognised

Professor Daniel Read (School of Mathematics) has won the 2020 British Society of Rheology annual award.

His citation highlights his extensive contribution to the rheology community, as well as his work developing and making important software tools freely available.

It also highlights the fact he is recognised internationally as one of the leading polymer physicists of his generation. 

It also noted his contributions to the wider polymer industry, such as making algorithms that he has developed freely available.

He originally joined the University in 1994 as a Physics PhD student, then joined the School of Mathematics as a lecturer in 2000. 

He is currently Professor of Soft Matter and Head of Applied Mathematics. He is also local director for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter for Formulation and Industrial Innovation (SOFI2 CDT), jointly run by the Universities of Durham, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Professor Read said: “I’m very honoured to receive this award.

“The British Society of Rheology is a wonderful and welcoming community of scientists, and to receive recognition from people I class as both colleagues and friends is one of the best things that can happen to you.”

Digital education success

A woman types at a computer. September 2020.

Leeds helped to create digital workplace skills courses that saw a huge uptake earlier this year

Online courses to help build digital skills for the workplace – created in partnership with Leeds – saw a massive boost in participants during lockdown.

The Digital Skills for the Workplace course collection was devised by academics and industry experts as a flexible way to help people learn new skills in uncertain times – and has seen a 2,000% increase in enrolment since February.

The Institute of Coding (IoC) announced the success of the online digital skills courses hosted on its FutureLearn platform in early September.

Such a success would not have been possible without the hard work of colleagues in teams across the University.

Professor Neil Morris, Dean of Digital Education, said: “It is fantastic to see these online courses proving so valuable to individuals who will be able to use the knowledge and skills gained to start, or progress, their careers.

“It is particularly pleasing to see these courses reaching, and appealing to, people who have not traditionally engaged with Massive Open Online Courses.

“This is a testament to the teams involved in designing and creating the courses who have used our research in this area to ensure they represent and portray the target audience, and offer engaging, interactive, learning opportunities inclusive to all.”

Read the full story

‘Thrilled’ by grant award

A portrait image of Dr Julia Lehman. September 2020.

The project will see Dr Julia Lehman build a Highly Instrumented Low Temperature Reaction Chamber

Dr Julia Lehman (School of Chemistry) says she’s absolutely “thrilled and honoured” to be awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant.

The project will see her build, optimize, and apply a Highly Instrumented Low Temperature Reaction Chamber (HILTRAC) to study organosulfur chemical reactions.

This chamber is the first of its kind to couple a uniform supersonic flow (USF) capable of achieving a wide range of cold temperatures (30 – 250 Kelvin) with the unique detection capabilities of an infrared direct frequency comb spectrometer (DFCS).

It is designed to be highly versatile, with sufficient sensitivity and selectivity to measure very low concentrations of molecules in a gas phase chemical reaction.

The goal is to create a single instrument that will have the ability to collect multiplexed information on temperature-dependent reaction kinetics, product identification and product branching ratios.

Dr Lehman said: “I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be awarded an ERC Starting Grant. This is an outstanding opportunity, and I cannot wait to start the grant!  

“The research driven by my ERC grant will set a new benchmark for what should be considered a more complete understanding of the way this type of chemical reaction evolves.”

Book prize for Beautyscapes

A portrait picture of Professor Ruth Holliday. September 2020

Professor Ruth Holliday, one of the authors of the book

Two colleagues from Leeds are among a team of academics celebrating a major book award.

Beautyscapes: Mapping Cosmetic Surgery Tourism has won the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness book prize. It was written by a team of academics, including Professor Ruth Holliday (School of Sociology and Social Policy) and Professor David Bell (School of Geography).

The book was published in 2019, following an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded project between 2011 and 2014, and will be reprinted in paperback next year.

The study followed ‘cosmetic surgery tourists’ who travelled from the UK, Australia and China to destinations in East Asia, Eastern Europe and North Africa to change one thing about their bodies they didn’t like.

Professor Holliday said: “For many travellers, the things they encountered on their surgical journeys were totally unexpected – such as fellow patients and hospitals entangled in the Libyan civil war, instead of the ‘spa’ type clinics they had expected.

“However, for many others, currency rates meant they were able to access ‘up-market’ private facilities for half the price of surgery back home, even when most patients had modest incomes.”

The team found that unlike the common media representations of cowboy surgeons and irresponsible patients undergoing treatments on an impulse, many people were actually conducting extensive online research beforehand.

“In effect, cosmetic surgery tourism pre-empts the privatisation of health, and patients become patient-consumers who have to research their own healthcare,” said Professor Holliday. 

On winning the prize, she added: “As you can imagine, we’re pretty delighted about it!”

New Directors of the Centre for Responsive HealthTech Innovation

Professors Alex Frangi and David Jayne from the Centre for Responsive HealthTech Innovation. September 2020

Professor Alex Frangi and Professor David Jayne

Professors Alejandro Frangi and David Jayne have been appointed as the first joint Directors of the new Centre of Responsive HealthTech Innovation.

Professor Alejandro (Alex) Frangi joined Leeds in 2018 as Diamond Jubilee Chair in Computational Medicine, with joint appointments in the Schools of Computing and Medicine.

He works across computational medical imaging and computational physiology, and brings an international research profile in computational medicine, machine learning in imaging and in silico clinical trials.

Professor Frangi said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed as Scientific Director of the Centre for Responsive HealthTech Innovation and to work alongside Professor David Jayne and our health and care provision and academic community in the Leeds City Region.

“My ambition is the Centre for Responsive HealthTech Innovation will engage with all key stakeholders to undertake research and innovation, and streamline the pathway to clinical evaluation and adoption of value-based technologies for health and care.

“Current health and care challenges require a team science approach and a clear focus on patient benefit and outcomes. Leeds is uniquely positioned as one of the most connected, innovation-driven health-tech ecosystems in the world.”

Professor David Jayne (Leeds Institute of Medical Research) was appointed Professor of Surgery in 2011, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Professor in 2012, and Bowel Cancer UK and Royal College of Surgeons England (RCS Eng) Chair of Surgery in 2018.

As Clinical Director, he brings a world-leading clinical research track record in the development and evaluation of new surgical technologies.

Of the appointment, Professor Jayne said: “I am honoured to have been appointed to the role of Clinical Director of the Centre for Responsive HealthTech Innovation.

“Healthcare systems are facing a time of unprecedented challenges to which the HealthTech sector needs to respond by producing solutions that make a real, sustainable difference.

“I will be working tirelessly with my Scientific Co-Director, Professor Alex Frangi, and other members of the Centre to realise this ambition and place Leeds at the forefront of HealthTech innovation.”

Read the full story

Get in touch! 

We know that there are lots of great things happening to support the work of the University in these testing times, and we want to hear about them. 

Please follow the staff Twitter account to see the latest updates and copy in our @UniLeedsStaff handle when posting success stories, so we can share them with colleagues. 

You can also contact Internal Communications directly if you or one of your colleagues would like to appear in this monthly feature. This is open to all staff – professional and academic. 

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