2019-20 Cohort

Our first cohort of 14 students started their PhD studies in September 2019. Find out more about their interests and research projects below.

Pete Knapp - Imperial College London

Project: Filtration of Charged Aerosols

SupervisorsMarc Stettler, Prof. Jonathan Reid

Pete graduated in Maths from Southampton in 2008 and then tried to make a success in a band for the next four years. Success was elusive, so he trained to become a Maths teacher and took a job in Beijing for 3 years, where he learnt about the horrors and realities of air pollution. To escape this, he moved to teach in a school in the Swiss Alps also with a view to work at CERN, which he did the following year where he obtained an MRes in Antimatter Physics. After one more year teaching abroad, in Shenzhen this time, he came back to the UK to look for a PhD in air quality. Imperial College had a stand during a science fair and they showed him a device that could detect levels of air pollution. The student gave him the name of his supervisor, who in turn gave him details to apply to the Aerosol Science CDT. Pete started a PhD in Indoor Air Quality, where he will be investigating how electrically charged indoor pollutants are with a view to incorporating charge into more effective filters to improve indoor air quality.

Max Robson - University of Bath

ProjectsAerosol-assisted Chemical Vapour deposition (AACVD) of inorganic and hybrid materials

SupervisorsDr Andrew JohnsonDr Adam Boies

Having completed a Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Bath, Max is conducting doctoral research in materials chemistry for aerosol technologies. Under the supervision of Dr Andrew Johnson, he is using aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition to fabricate thin film, inorganic semiconductor materials, with emphasis on precursor design and synthesis. Given the increasing demand for smaller electronic devices and technologies, Max aims to provide cheap and scalable means to manufacture intricate semiconductor architectures – such as transistors and photovoltaic cells.

Madeleine Reader - University of Bristol

Projects: Damage to jet engines by airborne particulates; Detection and mitigation

Supervisors: Dr Matthew Watson, Dr Paul Williams

Before starting the programme Maddie completed a Master’s degree in Volcanology from the University of Bristol and a Geology degree from the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD project will focus on looking at how volcanic ash affects jet engines; focusing on particle size, distribution and composition. As volcanic eruptions have the potential to close large amounts of airspace, as seen during the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull crisis, this research aims to better understand the limits surrounding ash ingestion into engines.

Jamie Knight - University of Bristol

ProjectExtinction Cross Section Measurements for Single Aerosol Particles Confined to a Linear Electrodynamic Quadrupole Trap

Supervisors: Prof. Andrew Orr-EwingDr Adam Squires

Jamie is working at the University of Bristol with Professor Andrew Orr-Ewing using cavity ring-down spectroscopy techniques to determine both real and imaginary refractive index components of absorbing aerosol species. In his spare time he enjoys watching the Bristol Bears rugby team and socialising with friends.

George Adams - University of Manchester

Projects: Determining the effects of airborne particulates on immune and barrier epithelial cell function

Supervisors: Prof. Sheena Cruikshank, Dr David Topping

George undertook his undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of central Lancashire from 2015-2018 and gained a master’s degree in Infection biology from the University of Manchester from 2018-2019. During the master’s degree, George performed an 8 month research project focusing on Macrophage activation during Helminth infections. It was during this project that he developed a keen interest in immunology and a passion for research and lab work. His PhD project will be conducted at the University of Manchester, under the supervision of Professor Sheena Cruickshank. His work will be focused on examining biological particulate matter, that makes up the ambient microbiome in the atmosphere and the effects that these pollutants have on the immune response. In particular whether a damage response can be triggered, leading to the activation of the inflammasome within macrophage and epithelial cells.  

Kathleen Thompson - University of Leeds

ProjectSize, sources and transport of the seeds of ice in clouds

SupervisorsProf. Ben MurrayProf. Catherine Noakes

During Kathleen’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Leeds, she developed an interest in atmospheric science and the Earth system, in particular, how aerosols impact clouds and climate. Her PhD research focuses on the aerosols that nucleate ice in clouds, which affect cloud reflectivity and lifetimes. Her research will aim to improve our understanding of the size of these particles in the atmosphere. Therefore, it will increase the knowledge of the sources and transportation of these aerosols in the Earth system.

Khaled Hassan Alzahabi - Imperial College London

ProjectInhalable nanomedicines for treatment of tuberculosis

SupervisorsProf. Terry Tetley, Prof. Alexandra Porter

Khaled Hassan Alzahabi is a PhD candidate in the department of National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. His doctoral research develops a new therapy to treat tuberculosis using a combination of antitubercular substances which will be tested using a novel lung cell model. He holds BSc and MSc in Pharmacy with a successful record of performing pharmaceutical projects in the field of drug delivery.

Rui Wang - University of Bristol

Project: Exploring the limits of detection for single nanoscale aerosol particles by light scattering, absorption and luminescence 

SupervisorsProf. Jonathan Reid, Prof. Andrew Orr-Ewing

Rui joined the first cohort of CDT in aerosol science on September 2019 after he completed his master’s degree in Optical Engineering. He is now working with Prof. Jonathan Reid at University of Bristol to investigate novel measurements of the optical extinction and fluorescence of single nanoparticles. By combining both single particle trapping and sensitive optical detection techniques, nanoparticle’s optical properties will be precisely determined without external interferences, which can provide basic knowledge needed for modelling community and further novel applications in nano sensing, imaging, and photonic devices.

Tom Hilditch - University of Bristol

ProjectImproving the understanding of the gas/particle partitioning behaviour of organic aerosols in different environmental conditions 

SupervisorsProf. Jonathan ReidDr. David Topping

Tom undertook his Undergraduate studies at the University of Bristol from 2015-2019, where he studied Chemistry (MChem).  In the summer of his third year he was granted 8 weeks of funding by AkzoNobel to investigate the evaporation dynamics of industrial paint spray droplets, where he worked in the Bristol Aerosol Reseach Centre (BARC) with Dr. Rachael Miles. He then went on to work in the same group for his final year project supervised by Prof. Jonathan Reid, where he investigated condensation reactions upon drying in aqueous organic droplets.  Having enjoyed his time so far studying aerosols in BARC, he decided to carry on through the EPSRC Aerosol Science CDT, where his research will focus on improving the understanding of the gas/particle partitioning behaviour of organic aerosols.

Joshua Harrison - University of Bristol

Project: Dynamic surface properties of atmopsheric aerosol and resulting climate impacts

Supervisors: Dr Bryan Bzdek, Dr Matthew Watson

Joshua completed his MChem (Chemistry with a Year Abroad) at Cardiff University, gaining an interest in aerosols during a research placement as part of his Year Abroad in Australia.

Joshua’s PhD research will focus on understanding how atmospheric aerosols affect climate by direct scattering/absorption of solar radiation and indirectly, via the ability to serve as Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN), to form clouds. In particular, Joshua will be examining the surface properties of atmospheric aerosol, as the surface plays a critical role in the fraction of atmospheric aerosol that may form cloud droplets.